Tag Archives: Killjoys

Killjoys is starting to get really awkward for everyone

So “Kiss Kiss, Bye Bye” is another episode that moves things along, which is great, but my main complaint is that it felt like every single scene was just a bit too long (except for the scene with Dutch and Delle Sayeh, which wasn’t nearly long enough). Frankly, it got awkward.

Things are awkward for D’avin and Pawter, as Pawter seems to have–rather inexplicably–mistaken D’avin’s desire to bang her and her own lack of professionalism for an actual relationship. I kind of wanted to cheer when D’avin actually pointed this out, but he’s such a giant douchebag about the whole thing that I can’t. Basically, he’s being a dick and only brings up Pawter’s jerkwad-ery in order to deflect attention from his own so he can bully her into continuing to help him. Pawter, being a huge sucker, is down for that I guess and gives him a lead.

I don’t know which is the worst: John’s mock turtleneck thing, D’avin’s fake arm tattoos, or the guy wearing the red Dr. Horrible costume.

The team goes to break some guy out of a mental hospital, and then they have to go to–I shit you not–some kind of very cheesy interplanetary fetish club so they can get more information. On the way there, John breaks the neural implant thingy that they are trying to use to track Khlyen, but fortunately the fetish club has someone who can help with that, too. D’avin does drugs and makes out with Dutch, then they get some kind of info that isn’t actually useful, then they end up arrested for kidnapping a mental patient I guess. Also, the costumes at the fetish club are so awful, and I’m embarrassed for everyone. Except Dutch, who looks amazing in everything she wears.

In jail (I guess) Delle Sayeh comes to talk to Dutch, and I want them to just run away together and leave D’avin and John to rot. Instead, Delle Sayeh fixes things so they can talk to this Dr. Jaeger that D’avin is looking for. In exchange for–get this!–an unspecified favor at a future date! Because that is always an amazing bargain.

Things go predictably poorly with Dr. Jaeger, who says she can’t really do anything to help D’avin. Back on the ship, John goes to run some errands, and while he’s gone D’avin and Dutch finally bang just like we’ve all been expecting them to for a while now. John gets back just in time to find Dutch’s clothes all over the ship, so he goes to talk about his feelings with Pree. No one (literally no one) is buying that John isn’t jealous, but alright.

Meanwhile, Dr. Jaeger turns on the thing in D’avin’s head and he tries to kill Dutch. I actually really loved this fight scene. It’s well-choreographed and felt enough like a real fight that there was actually a part of me that thought Dutch could kill D’avin–not that she would for show reasons, but that it was a possibility within the world of the show, which is kind of awesome. Fight scenes like this often struggle to communicate any sense of real stakes for the characters, so great job for this show in making that happen.

After tying up D’avin and leaving John to babysit him, Dutch goes to deal with Dr. Jaeger. While she’s gone, D’avin manages to almost kill his brother, and Pawter comes to the rescue. We learn that Pawter is probably someone kind of important when she gives her name as “Eleanor Seyah Simms.” Dutch and Pree come to visit John in the hospital, and then Dutch goes back to the ship, where she and D’avin have a sort of awkward talk that doesn’t actually deal with any of the stuff between them.

I was going to jokingly write that probably next week will be an episode where Dutch and D’avin get trapped somewhere together where they are forced to talk about their feelings, but it turns out that that is literally the description of episode eight.

Killjoys’ sixth episode has me cautiously optimistic about the show’s future

“One Blood” is definitely the best constructed episode of this show so far. It’s not perfect, but it’s a damn sight better than most of the previous half of the season, and it’s the first episode that I’ve finished with a real feeling that the story is moving along.

What I liked:

  • Dutch and Khlyen having interactions that help us understand some more of their history together.
  • Fancy. Sean Baek is seriously gorgeous, and he needs a bigger role in this show. He thinks that a trio is a bad idea, so maybe he should join up with Dutch and company to make it a foursome.
  • Dutch’s decision at the end to take active action and go after Khlyen to try and figure out what the hell is going on in the Quad. Finally something is happening to further the overall plot of the series.

What I didn’t like:

  • I do not understand Pawter’s seeming obsession with D’avin. He’s just not that great, to be honest, and I don’t really understand why she is so willing to risk herself to help him when he’s clearly not that into her.
  • I feel like the show is pushing D’avin and Dutch together, but again, D’avin just isn’t that great.
  • The whole “black warrant” thing was, frankly, just plain silly. Sure, maybe D’avin got to “meet the family,” but basically none of them mattered at all except for Fancy. Also, I’m increasingly not on board with the show’s attempts to make being a killjoy seem like a sort of fun thing. No amount of banter and camaraderie is going to cover up that these folks are bounty hunters and paid killers who do most of their work for an evil corporation running a tyrannical government. This needs to be dealt with at some point.

To be fair, this episode definitely felt like things are moving–albeit slowly–towards addressing the ethical issues of being paid killers for an oppressive government. There are four episodes left in this season, and I’m starting to feel a little hopeful that we’ll get some sort of resolution to all of this stuff. Which would be nice, since there’s still no word on if Killjoys will be getting a second season.

Halfway through the season, Killjoys is still floundering

I would have liked “A Glitch in the System” if it were a 90-minute sci-fi thriller, but as an episode of this show it just didn’t work for me. Because I have a hard time just abandoning shows in the middle of a season, I will be continuing to watch, but I’m beginning to despair of the show ever finding its footing.

In this episode, we learned some things:

  1. D’avin is still having PTSD nightmares, but he’s going to Pawter for some kind of treatment.
  2. Apparently Killjoys also sometimes loot wrecked ships, I guess.
  3. D’avin and Johnny have some inside family joke about space rats that no one thinks is funny. Because it’s not funny.
  4. This wrecked ship is clearly a terrible place. Yep. Turns out it’s a torture ship, because that is a thing in this universe, although it largely goes unexamined and uncriticized in spite of the use of politicized terminology like “enhanced interrogation.” It feels more like dystopian window dressing than any sort of serious political or social commentary.
  5. The thing that D’avin did that is causing him so much mysterious manpain is murdering his whole squad, except he doesn’t remember anything about it other than that he did it. No one seems particularly surprised or concerned by this, although they do feel bad for D’avin because he’s clearly torn up over it.
  6. Dutch is a badass, and she jumps out into space with no suit on.
  7. Lucy is an asshole, and she likes Johnny best. Personally, I like jerk AIs although this is, admittedly, a silly trope.
  8. D’avin has some kind of memory dampeners implanted in his brain, which I guess explains his memory loss.
  9. Khlyen really wants Dutch to do murder for him, but I still don’t understand why it’s so important that it has to be her, what with her being so reluctant about it. This plot is moving along at an almost negative pace.
  10. This episode is very sadly devoid of the costume porn we saw in previous episodes. There’s not even a single pretty dress in it.

Here’s the thing about this show. It needs to pick a thing and stick with it. Early on, Killjoys was compared heavily to Firefly, but the major strength of Firefly was that it was essentially about just one thing: how the ragtag group of libertarians kept their ship running and avoided government interference in their professional crime. Sure, Firefly had a couple of background plots like with the Tams (although they were also just trying to avoid the government) and whatever was going on with Inara (who even knows?), but it was all very thematically consistent.

Killjoys is all over the place thematically; although it has some interesting ideas, it just never quite manages to be coherent. It could be that the season is building towards some kind of major resolution in the final couple episodes or something, but if I wasn’t so neurotically committed to seeing things through it would have already lost me as a viewer. Judging from the general lack of buzz and mediocre reception of the show I’ve seen elsewhere, whatever the show’s strategy is doesn’t seem to be working out so great for them.

Killjoys is improving, but at a glacial pace of fits and starts

In spite of its awful title–I actually find it, like, deeply and viscerally disgusting–“Vessel” was an episode good enough to keep me watching this show for at least one more week.

There are some tropes on display in this episode that are usually pretty annoying, but that I think are mostly well-executed here. I do tend to have a soft spot for badass pregnant women in fiction, though, and so I’m willing to forgive quite a lot just because I love the characters of Constance and Jenny.

I actually like Constance and Jenny so much that I’m not even going to write much about the rest of the episode. Dutch is still mysterious, and she’s mysteriously in possession of some fancy musical instrument that usually only belongs to royalty. The newly introduced Delle Seyah Kendry is fascinating, and I kind of liked the dynamic between her and Dutch, although I thought things were wrapped up a little too neatly at the end. I kind of liked that D’avin was so good with the girls, although I also sort of hated that his basic human decency (learning their names! gasp!) is played for laughs.

The surrogates.

Back to Jenny and Constance, though.

If the show really feels like they must write an episode dealing with young women who are in a sort of fertility cult where they are surrogates for wealthy people, I generally approve of the way it was done in this episode. These aren’t poor, sad, ignorant girls. They are interesting young women who are trying to make the best of what life has handed them.

Jenny saving the day.

Jenny, it turns out, is something of an engineer, but when her family couldn’t afford to keep her she got sent to be a surrogate. However, this doesn’t stop her from continuing to develop and use her skills. Unfortunately, Jenny dies in the episode when she kind of inexplicably decides to suicide bomb the men who are trying to capture Constance. It’s an effective tactic, though, and Jenny’s sacrifice clears the way for the remaining girls to escape.

Sadly, I don’t think Jenny’s death is treated with a truly appropriate amount of gravity–the team just keeps on with barely a pause to think about what just happened. Obviously this sort of “job of the week” show is going to have some kind of disposable single-episode characters, but I’d prefer if Jenny wasn’t so disposable, especially when I’m still not sure why she didn’t just throw the grenade instead of walking it to the bad guys herself. This makes her character seem not just disposable, but senselessly disposable in an effort to elicit a cheap emotional response from the audience that isn’t backed up by the other characters in the show.

Constance, however, is a consistently great character, in my opinion, and I think this is shown best in her interactions with Dutch, who seems at first to think that all the surrogates are sad, brainwashed waifs who need a Strong Female Character to rescue them. Dutch is quickly disabused of this notion, however. Constance actually has a pretty realistic view of her situation, she’s not afraid to advocate and make choices for herself, and she clearly knows her way around a gun.

Constance and Dutch.

I loved the conversation when Constance is going into labor and Dutch stops to ask what Constance wants. Dutch has so far bit a bit of a cipher, and she’s only being very slowly rounded out as a character, so it was nice to see her have a sort of human moment here. It also makes me happy to see women supporting women–especially women like Dutch, who is (so far, anyway) so much a totally stock version of the badass fighter type of Strong Female Character.

Constance is a character with a different sort of strength, and I enjoyed seeing Dutch increasingly come to accept that over the course of the episode. By the end, when Constance refuses the opportunity to help raise the child she bore in favor of dedicating her life to helping other young women like herself, Dutch seems to have come to truly respect her and again supports Constance’s choice.

Dutch and Delle Seyah. Dutch Seyah? I could go down with this ship.

This unconditional support for and respect of women’s choices was a strong theme in this episode, although it felt a bit buried by the end underneath the sheer amount of exposition “Vessel” contained about the Killjoys universe and its politics. I definitely feel like I have a better grasp on the politics of the Quad after this, and I’m looking forward to more intrigue with Delle Seyah, but I would have liked to see a bit more character development at this point. “D’avin and John are nice to women” isn’t character development, and was, frankly, a bit undermined anyway when they were discussing Dutch’s bangability at the end of the episode.

I’m glad to see things moving along in the show, even slowly, and I’m not ready to quit watching yet, but I still think it’s uneven and inconsistent.

In its third episode, Killjoys is finally moving along, but slowly

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.

The second episode of Killjoys feels like the second half of a first episode

“The Sugar Point Run” still feels a lot like Firefly, but I do think we’re already starting to see Killjoys distinguishing itself a bit from its predecessor.

Unfortunately, to me, this episode feels almost more like a pilot episode than the first one did. There’s still a lot of verbal exposition going on, some of which is repeated from last week, and I would have liked the situation with Dutch, Johnny, and Dav to have ended up last week where it is at the end of this episode. Because of course that’s what has to happen in order for there to be a story here.

Nothing says “dystopia” like some skulls on spikes in a devastated, wartorn warehouse district in Toronto.

There’s a lot of good stuff going on in “The Sugar Point Run,” though. It takes us deeper into the Company-run dystopia the characters are inhabiting, and there are some neat things happening there. I definitely came away from this episode with a better understanding of the politics of the Quad and what the killjoys’ role in things is supposed to be. I’m not completely sold on it all yet, but it’s still interesting enough to keep me watching. I’m hoping, though, that we’re coming to the end of this heavy handed info dumping so we can get on with learning more about the characters and seeing a real story play out.

Because the characters have a ton of potential. “The Sugar Point Run” shows us more of Dutch’s training as a child assassin, which is actually pretty harrowing, and we also see that D’avin is still having PTSD dreams, which isn’t explored at all. A big part of this episode was Dutch and D’Avin doing stuff together, which I liked, although I don’t like that it looks as if they’re headed for will-they-or-won’t-they sexual tension town. They have nice chemistry, as beautiful people often do, but that’s just such a tired trope that I could really do without it, maybe, just this once.

Repairs aren’t going smoothly when you have to pull out a gun.

The other half the episode is Johnny hanging out with the ship, Lucy. We get to see Johnny being competent, which is good to establish, although he still feels a little too much like a comic relief character to me. While he’s repairing the ship, he does make a discovery that starts him to questioning Dutch, though, which introduces some more tension into their relationship.

I’m actually more interested in Lucy, though. We’ve seen a good amount of the human characters’ interactions with the ship, and it looks like they are definitely going to be developing the ship herself as a character. I’m not generally a fan of sentient ships, although I do think they can be done well. So far, Lucy has gotten some of the show’s best lines, but I think that’s a testament more to the overall weakness of the scripts than it is of how well the ship is being utilized as a character. Like the other main characters, though, Lucy definitely shows some potential.

All things considered, I am still enjoying Killjoys quite a bit, and I’ll almost certainly be sticking out the rest of this season. If the writers can move away from info dumping, get the series arc moving, and give the characters a bit more depth, I think it could be be a great show. And it could be that my impression of this episode as a second half of our introduction to the world and characters is exactly what the writers intended. If so, it’s not how I would have done it, personally, but it would mean that things will start getting really good this week with episode three. Here’s hoping.

Killjoys seems like a worthy successor to Firefly in the fun space opera genre

I’m nuts for original space operas these days, with recent movies like Jupiter Ascending and recent books like The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet to whet my appetite, so giving this show a chance was a no brainer for me. The deal was sealed when I saw it compared favorably to Firefly over at io9. Fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed when I sat down to watch the premiere episode, “Bangarang.”

The Quad is a dwarf planet and three moons.

I can see right off why this show will be heavily compared to Firefly. The Quad is a multiplanet system controlled by an oppressive centralized government (the Company). Nevertheless, there seems to be a little bit of wild west atmosphere going on, where outside of the Company’s direct oversight there are black markets and other illicit goings on. Probably the most notable similarity to Firefly however is the vision of a future cultural fusion between East and West.

The bad news about this is that it feels a little derivative, although for Firefly fans (myself included) it might also be pleasantly familiar. The good news, however, is that whoever is making the decisions on Killjoys has taken notes on the criticisms of Firefly over the years, and the world of Killjoys looks, so far at least, a lot more diverse than Firefly ever managed to be. To be fair, that isn’t saying much, and a glance through the entry for the show at IMDb still shows a pretty white cast, but it’s definitely a step up and in the right direction.

“Bangarang” is a fast-paced episode that didn’t feel very long considering the amount of worldbuilding going on. While there were a couple very obvious straight out infodumps to the audience, I think they handled them as well as is possible to do, and I’m happy to have that out of the way. The story of the episode is fairly simple; it gets our main trio of characters (Dutch, John, and D’Avin) together, and it sets up basically three mysteries that I expect to define the rest of the season:

  • Who is Dutch?
  • Why does someone want D’Avin dead?
  • What’s the deal with the Company?

Honestly, though, this is pretty standard stuff, and there’s not really anything groundbreaking here.

Such a pretty dress, though. And the necklace does something awesome, too.

It’s nice to see a woman of color (Hannah John-Kamen) taking the lead in a sci-fi show, and I think I am going to really like her character, but I found it off-putting to see a rape threat in the first two minutes of the show and she’s of course sharing the spotlight with a pair of square-jawed white dudes. Also, I kind of hate the “She Can Still Kick Ass in a Dress” trope, which was on full display in this episode, complete with an absolutely absurd camera focus on her sashaying into battle in a ridiculously sexy manner.

Just in general, I felt like the cast just didn’t quite gel properly in this episode, but I think this is largely because the episode was so heavily focused on worldbuilding and setting up the story. All in all, I enjoyed the premiere, and I’m looking forward to see how things go once they get a bit more into the meat of things.