Retro Review: Killjoys, Season Two: Episodes 6-10

Moving on to the second half of Killjoys’ second season. Again, spoilers ahoy.

The logo for Killjoys“I Love Lucy”:

You know, I’m not really a fan of all the pop culture references in episode titles (or the similarly current soundtrack). It would work for a near future sci-fi set on or near Earth, but Killjoys is so far removed from our society in terms of both time and space it might as well be an alternate reality. It just doesn’t fit.

Anyway.

“I Love Lucy” sees Dutch and the team contact an eccentric collector in the hopes of acquiring more of Khlyen’s green plasma (which sounds like a strain of weed, now that I think about it). Of course, shenanigans ensue.

This is another weirdly mixed episode. The first half is what I remember from season one of Killjoys: a painfully predictable string of cliches I’ve seen countless times before. But it does redeem itself a bit later on. I did enjoy seeing Dutch go full Yalla on the guy — a chilling reminder of the darkness of her past — and the whole twist where maybe he’s not such a bad guy after all was an interesting choice.

Overall rating: 6.9/10

“Heart-Shaped Box”:

Dutch and D'avin in KilljoysSo apparently D’avin’s penis can cure level six conditioning.

Did not see that coming.

Following their night together, Sabine is revealed as a level six, but one who has been stripped of her power and conditioning. This becomes an opportunity to study a live level six, though in practice we mostly learn about their state of mind more than anything practical.

The idea here seems to be to tell a tragic story about how Sabine has regained her humanity, only to have it slip away again. And it kind of works, but not entirely. There’s too many holes and hiccups.

For one thing, we as viewers haven’t really been given enough time to care about Sabine. For another, D’avin was way too okay with letting his girlfriend get tortured in the first part of the episode, which rather kills the romance.

But most importantly they just didn’t do enough to try to keep Sabine cured. Really they didn’t do anything. I cannot believe that this is a phrase I am about to type in all seriousness, but they really should have spent more time investigating the fact that D’avin’s penis seems to cure level sixes, even if temporarily.

The cast of KilljoysSeriously, that should have been a bigger deal. I mean, I’m not saying he should bone her every time she starts feeling stabby, but clearly there’s something there. Something about the whole exchange of bodily fluids, presumably — it messes with the plasma. Maybe they could have used some of D’avin’s DNA to try to create an anti-six vaccine.

Oh my gods what I am even writing right now.

Also, Dutch assuming the name in the box is the other her is a huuuuge leap. How does she know?

Overall rating: 7/10 What am I doing with my life.

“Full Metal Monk”:

This episode manages to have all kinds of bad stuff happen and escalate events quite a lot while still feeling like a complete and total waste of time. Impressive.

Dutch and D’avin investigate a trail of breadcrumbs left by Khlyen and find a long-abandoned facility on Arkyn, which once again raises more questions than answers.

Meanwhile, Johnny, abandoned by his teammates, seeks the aid of Pawter to discover the purpose of the wall around Old Town. Which they are only partially successful in.

The cast of KilljoysI’m bothered by how much of a waste of time this episode is — offering so many opportunities for real answers without actually giving any — but I’m even more bothered by Dutch and D’avin’s treatment of Johnny.

They’ve basically abandoned him to his fate for trying to do the right thing. That’s a terrible way to treat your brother/partner, and massively hypocritical when you consider how much time Johnny’s spent bending over backwards to help them with their problems. As established by the last episode, Dutch is half a sociopath at the best of times, but D’avin’s better than that. Or he should be.

Overall rating: 6/10

“Johnny Be Good”:

This season started well, but it’s really losing momentum as it heads toward the end. Sort of the opposite of season one that way.

“Johnny Be Good” starts en media res, as is common these days (maybe too common — I’m getting a bit sick of it), but it reveals an unusual amount, which both spoils a lot of the episode’s tension and makes the whole thing feel very disjointed, especially considering how much is going on.

To make a long story short, the crap hits the fan in Old Town, Dutch and D’avin drop everything to go rogue and defy the company despite berating Johnny for doing the same thing last episode, and we get yet more super vague sinister hints about the level sixes.

The Quad, the setting for KilljoysI was enjoying this mystery for quite a while, but now they’re just heaping question after question on without offering any answers. It’s stopped being intriguing; now it’s just confusing. I’m being strung along, and I hate being strung along.

There better be a damn good explanation for all this, and soon.

There’s also the matter of Pawter’s death to consider. I know it was coming because I’d had it spoiled, and even if I hadn’t it was quite glaringly foreshadowed, but I’m still unhappy. Pawter was the show’s best character — likable, complex, and well-acted — and Killjoys doesn’t have enough strong points to be able to burn those it has.

Overall rating: 5/10

“How to Kill Friends and Influence People” (season finale):

Well, I finally got my answers. This episode feels like it’s about half info-dumps. Would have been far better to portion out the reveals over the whole season, but at least they didn’t just keeping piling on more mystery.

The finale of Killjoys’ second season sees Khlyen show up, the Killjoys deciding to immediately trust him despite past history, him doing a whole lot of exposition, and finally him sacrificing himself to save the Quad. It’s rushed, and there are parts of it that don’t make sense, but at this point that’s about what I expect from this show.

The mysterious Khlyen in KilljoysI really don’t buy Dutch being so traumatized by Khlyen’s death. I can see her doing some mourning, because he was essentially her father, however terrible a parent he may have been, but I can’t see her being so distraught at his sacrifice when up until about twenty minutes previously he was what she hated more than anything else in existence.

To be fair, though, “How to Kill Friends and Influence People” does have its moments. It’s got some extravagantly over the top action sequences, even by Killjoys standards, and that’s a lot of fun. The banter that often feels so forced is actually pretty funny here, and I laughed out loud more than once.

Really, though, the saving grace of this episode is Johnny. Every single scene of his is amazing. Some of them are exciting, some are intense, some are funny, and some are heartfelt, but he absolutely nails every single one. If the rest of the episode could have lived up to the standard he set, it would have been amazing.

As it is, it’s just okay.

Overall rating: 7/10 Nearly all of those points are for Johnny.

So I leave Killjoys’ second season the same way I did the first: unsure if I want to bother watching more. It has its moments, and there’s glimmers of potential here, but the writing is consistently sloppy, the acting often mediocre, and the overall quality level is consistent only in its inconsistency.

Killjoys is okay, but that’s all it is, and it’s increasingly clear that’s all it will ever be.

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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