With “The Harvest,” Killjoys is finally starting to get out of pilot territory, but I’m still not sure exactly what the point of the show is. I would have liked, three hours into a ten hour season, to have a better sense of what exactly is going on, but I’m just not quite there yet. It’s unfortunate, because there’s a lot that I like about this series, and I think it has some real potential.
The episode starts with D’avin passing his tests to become a Killjoy. He’ll actually start at level four, outranking his brother, as soon as he can pass a psychological evaluation. Of course, John is insecure about it, but we don’t actually get to see the brothers interact that much, and John’s feelings end up being worked out with Dutch instead in the final minutes of the episode. Instead, after the introductory scenes, D’avin spends most of his time trading barbs with a new character, Pawter, the shady doctor he’s trying to get to sign off on his psych eval.
The job of the week (retrieving a runaway migrant worker) seems like it should be an easy one, and it’s a favor for a friend of John’s, but for some reason Dutch is reluctant to do it. I know she’s wrapped up right now in trying to figure out why she’s supposed to be killing the guy she grabbed at the end of episode two, but this seems like the sort of job that should be right up her bounty-hunter-with-a-heart-of-gold alley.
Which brings me to my major complaint about the series so far, which is that it’s just damned inconsistent. While there are a lot of interesting things going on and a lot of neat ideas on display, everything seems to become more and more garbled with every episode. While this episode finally moves beyond (mostly, anyway) what I would consider first episode material, there still seems to be a lot of exposition and a lot of set up going on without any payoff. The one piece of drama that was resolved in this episode–John’s jealousy of D’avin–is actually something that would have been better either as a long term part of the dynamic between the trio of main characters or just left out entirely because it’s predictable and trite.
D’avin’s PTSD-like condition is ongoing and unresolved, although it so far doesn’t seem to have any serious impact on his ability to function. While I think it’s being treated in a serious manner by the writers, it seems like they don’t want it to be too big a part of the show. And aside from Pawter, who deliberately triggers D’avin in a public place in order to try and force him to seek treatment, neither John nor Dutch seem to be particularly concerned about it–even though D’avin literally almost killed a random dude at a bar for no reason early in the episode.
Dutch’s mysterious past (and present) becomes no clearer in this episode. While we do get to see her torturing the dude that she is apparently too ethical to want to assassinate, we don’t even know who the guy is or what his job is or anything about him at all that might give us a clue about what Dutch is involved in. It’s incredibly disappointing, because I was very hopeful last week that this episode would shed some light on things. Instead, I know less than the character does about what’s going on, and all I learned about Dutch this week is that, while she doesn’t want to kill people for money, she’s totally cool with putting the screws to some dude who doesn’t even know why someone wants him dead.
“The Harvest” continues exploring the idea of inequality, but I still don’t get how the Quad is organized. So there are people who are really rich and people who are de facto slaves, and this is bad. But our Killjoy protagonists also gleefully send some dude off to be a slave in a mine because he’s an asshole. I suppose it’s not so much that I’m not beginning to see what is going on in the Quad; I’m ust not understanding how our supposed protagonists fit into it.
Honestly? They don’t seem like sensible people. They seem very young, rather irresponsible, and totally directionless. Every damn one of them has some kind of dark past, but they seem to be only sporadically affected by their histories. They inhabit a world of drinking and banging married women and dealing with black markets. They kill people in the course of their work, and there doesn’t seem to be any real rhyme or reason to whatever half-baked honor code they live by.
Now, it could be that what is unfolding in this show is a coming of age and the political awakening of the characters, but that brings me back to the fact that we’re already three episodes into a ten episode season and I’m just not feeling very invested in the journey yet. I expect a coming of age or political awakening story to be messy, but as much as there is to like about Killjoys and as much as I’ve enjoyed parts of the show so far, I just don’t feel like the story has started yet, whatever it is.
Killjoys is a fun show with a theoretically likable concept, but if something doesn’t happen soon I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to stick it out hoping.