About Tyler F.M. Edwards

Freelance writer, fantasy novelist, and nerd of the highest order.

Retro Review: Killjoys, Season Two: Episodes 1-5

Since I had already resubbed to CraveTV for the sake of Discovery, it only made sense to check out what else they had on offer. I soon learned that season two of Killjoys had been added in my absence, and though the thought didn’t fill me with tremendous enthusiasm, it did seem worth another look.

The logo for KilljoysAs usual with my binge watch reviews, there will be spoilers.

“Dutch and the Real Girl”:

If you remember my reviews of season one, you’ll know I’m not the biggest Killjoys fan. It’s generally something I watch for lack of any better options.

That said, this is a pretty promising start to the season. It’s a little rushed, but it doesn’t lack for excitement. Killjoys is always trying so desperately hard to be “cool,” and often it ends up feeling forced and lame, but this episode actually is pretty cool, most of the time. I particularly enjoyed the unveiling of “Alice.”

And the mystery with Khlyen is certainly going interesting places.

The best and worst part of this episode is the character of Clara, played by Defiance alumni Stephanie Leonidas (nice seeing her again). The best because after one episode she’s already my favourite Killjoys character by far. The worst because she didn’t end up becoming a main cast member.

Overall rating: 7.5/10

“Wild, Wild Westerley”:

The cast of KilljoysWith the team reunited, Dutch and her crew return to the desolate ruins of Old Town on a warrant. In practice, this mainly serves to reintroduce the show’s more peripheral characters, like Dr. Pawter.

My main takeaway from “Wild, Wild Westerley” is that Killjoys actually has a lot of great characters; it’s just that none of them are main cast members. Give me a series that’s just Pree, Pawter, Alvis, and Clara. That would be an amazing show.

On that note, Pree used to be a warlord?!? You can’t just mention that and not tell the story, Killjoys!

Also damn this show’s soundtrack gets on my nerves sometimes. I’d forgotten about that.

Overall rating: 7.1/10

“Shaft”:

You know, it may not be amazing, but overall I am enjoying season two of Killjoys more than season one.

In this episode, Dutch and her team learn of a missing team of killjoys that Khlyen apparently tried to cover up. They set out in the hopes of rescuing their comrades and learning more about his plan, only to be drawn into madness and violence in an abandoned mine. Alvis accompanies them, and in the depths he uncovers new evidence that the Scarbacks may have an important role in current events.

The Quad, the setting for KilljoysMeanwhile, Pawter continues to be awesome.

The main thing I like about this season so far is that it seems to have a clear sense of direction. There’s a pretty well-defined arc, and they aren’t wasting a lot of time on extraneous matters.

I do hope this starts going somewhere soon, as right now it’s just a whole lot of, “Huh?” But for now the mystery is intriguing. I really have no clue what’s going on with Red 17, Khlyen, and the Scarbacks right now.

Overall rating: 7.5/10

“Schooled”:

Khlyen’s last message before the destruction of Red 17 went to an unlikely place: a school. And this is no ordinary school, but an experimental space station funneling in “gifted” children from Westerley, run by a familiar face from Qresh.

I’m a little lukewarm on this one. In theory it’s still part of the main arc around Khlyen, but we don’t really learn anything, so it ends up feeling like filler even though it isn’t necessarily.

It’s entertaining enough, but this isn’t an episode I’m going to remember much in the long run.

Overall rating: 6.9/10

The cast of Killjoys“Meet the Parents”:

It’s family time. While Johnny and Pawter sue for support from Pawter’s insufferable Qreshi family, Khlyen hunts down D’avin’s father in the hopes of discovery the source of his immunity to the Red 17 conditioning.

This episode’s a bit of a mixed bag. As much as I like Pawter, the attempts to make me feel sympathy for her awful, decadent family fell entirely flat, and there’s a lot of leaps here that don’t make a lot of sense. How does Pawter go from being exiled to on the Nine’s council just like that? Why was Hank trying to kill everyone again?

On the other hand, Khlyen’s story is a lot better. Still doesn’t do a lot to advance the plot (a little, but not much), but the respective actors for him and D’avin did a great job of playing each other, and it was just a lot of fun. I’ve seen lots of stories like this in sci-fi, but they’re rarely executed so well.

Overall rating: 7.3/10

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TSW: Waiting on a Miracle

Is there a word for something that’s both unexpected and yet totally unsurprising?

A Filth infected person in The Secret WorldLast month, the Halloween season had me feeling nostalgic for The Secret World. It was the first time in years I didn’t have TSW’s Halloween event to look forward to. Eventually I figured, “To hell with it, it’s not Halloween without TSW.”

So just a few short months after saying goodbye to the game, I was back in the dark days. For what it’s worth, this was still probably the longest I’d gone without playing the game since I started.

For the most part my characters are still retired. The only one I’ve pulled out of mothballs is Kamala, my second of three Dragons. Years after her creation, I finally finished Kingsmouth with her, and as of this writing she’s just started on Blue Mountain.

I’m playing very casually, just poking away at a mission or two here or there, and I’m not sure if this is a long-term return or just a lark. At this point I might as well finish Dawning of an Endless Night, but I’m not thrilled with the idea of slogging through Egypt yet again, so we’ll see.

The irony is not lost on me that I refused to make the jump to Legends because I didn’t want to start over, so my solution was to pretty much start over.

I’m complex.

My second Dragon alt in The Secret WorldI will say there’s a difference between starting over by choice and starting over by necessity. In the immortal words of Frank Costanza, “It’s different psychologically.”

And there’s things Legends can’t offer me. I’m a big fan of Kamala’s appearance, but near as I can tell there’s no way to make a character who looks like her in Legends. That same problem dogs all my characters, really — it would have made such a difference if I could have imported my original character looks into Legends.

Nor can I tinker with builds in Legends to the same extent. That has always been one of the greatest joys of TSW, at least for me. For Kamala, I’ve focused on super-charging her resource generation as much as possible, so she can fire out finishers like a machine gun. As with all fist builds, it does lack AoE damage, but otherwise it’s proving very effective, and it’s damn fun. It’s crazy how fast I can tear through single targets. Being twinked six ways from Sunday doesn’t hurt, I guess.

There’s something oddly surreal about playing this walking corpse of a game. You can almost feel it dying day by day. Almost every week there seems to be some new bug or crash. Most recently the DirectX11 client randomly stopped working for about a week.

In some ways it’s not as dead as you might think, though. Oh, it’s mostly dead, but not entirely dead. There are still people hanging out in Agartha, though much less than there once were, and I’ve even run into a few other lowbies out in the world while leveling.

The Savage Coast Lighthouse in The Secret WorldI’m also still getting spammed with notifications about Fusang non-stop. Of course maybe it’s just one guy running around solo-capping stuff for kicks. Over my five years in The Secret World, I think I’ve spent maybe an hour in Fusang, and most of that was to fight the lunar golem back when that was a thing.

Still, I won’t pretend this isn’t a game with one foot in the grave, and there is a very lonely feeling to playing it these days. I guess the silver lining is that this is a game that’s meant to feel lonely and unsettling, so in a twisted sort of way having the population crash kind of enhances the experience.

As I’ve said, I’m surprisingly okay with not seeing any more content updates. I’d love more, of course, but mostly I’m just grateful for all the awesome stuff I’ve already gotten to experience.

What does sadden me is the thought that no one new can ever find this game again. It’s a bad habit, but I’ve always had a great desire to share anything that makes me happy with other people, and so I’ve spent years evangelizing this game and trying to get everyone to give it a shot. I miss being able to do that. I don’t like that this is something I’ll never be able to share with anyone else ever again.

And beyond personal concerns, I wish more people had been given the chance to play TSW. It was always very poorly advertised, and a lot of people were scared off by the fact it was an MMO despite the fact you could just as easily play it as a single-player RPG, so there are undoubtedly tonnes of people out there who would have loved this game but never got the chance.

A wild Rakshasa in The Secret WorldThat’s the real loss here.

Yeah, there’s Legends, but it’s just not the same.

Still, despite it all, I am having fun. Even with the game bleeding out, even with this being my fourth time through, I’m having fun. This is still one of the best games I’ve ever played. Maybe the best.

One thing that I’ve always loved about TSW is that it seems like every time I revisit an old zone or mission, I find something new and interesting that I never noticed before. Amazingly, after all this time, that’s still true.

This time the discovery came while interacting with John Wolf. Now, I’d undoubtedly heard this conversation many times before, but the significance had somehow passed me by.

John talks about a home that he lost. And he gives this home a name: Miracle.

Now, even if you’re a long-time TSW fan, I don’t blame you if you don’t know what Miracle is. But if you do know, it’s a name that’s likely to give you chills.

I’ll explain, and it is very hard to find concrete info on Miracle, so take anything I say with a grain of salt, but this is the story as I understand it.

Bong Cha, the Voice of the Dragon, in The Secret WorldRagnar Tornquist has worked on the setting of The Secret World for a very long time. Almost sounds a bit like me and Soulcleaver. And while The Secret World is the only incarnation of that universe to make it to the public so far, it’s not the only one he has planned. Miracle is another.

We know Miracle is a video game, but beyond that the details are harder to uncover. It seems clear that for a time Miracle and TSW were in fact one and the same, but somewhere along the line he seems to have decided Miracle would be a separate game in the same setting.

Reading between the lines — and again, grain of salt — the impression that I’m left with is that Miracle is the true conclusion to the arc of TSW and its main conflicts. The end of the Fourth Age of Humanity and the dawn of the Fifth, all that. TSW is the set-up. Miracle is the pay-off.

The matter of when or even if Miracle will be made, like so much about the game, is an open question. But at least there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that Ragnar ever gave up on the idea.

And it is therefore to Miracle, not Legends, that I am currently inclined to give my hopes for the future of the franchise.

Until that day comes, I’ll continue to enjoy TSW as I can.

The Franklin Mansion in The Secret WorldBe seeing you, sweetlings.

In the half-light.