Killjoys, and Actually Progressing the Plot (TV still does that?)

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Synopsis: Dutch and John are bounty hunters. But as much as they’d like to get back to business as usual, John’s brother getting a kill order put on him involves them in his problems, and Dutch’s mysterious past is starting to catch up to her. The powder-keg political situation back home isn’t particularly promising, either. It’s only a matter of time before all of these things come to a head.

Series: First season is over.

I’ve Watched: S1 (10 eps).

Verdict: Entertaining.

This show really does throw some wrenches in the team’s path.

Happily, I was right during my review of the first few episodes, when I thought that the plot bombs planted early in the season would explode. Killjoys isn’t holding on to its secrets for dear life. It’s moving the story forward, giving us new secrets to ponder, changing up the status quo. The characters are at a completely different place in episode 10 than they were in episode 1. How much they know has changed. Their goals have changed. The environment around them has changed.

Killjoys isn’t perfect, but just by making the story this dynamic, it’s already made me happy. Also doesn’t hurt that I like most of the characters. Their relationships with each other are more organic and less modeled into prescribed roles.

One thing that I really appreciate in Dutch is that, sure, she’s an independent, competent, badass powerhouse with assassin training and even some political skills. But she’s not isolated, like I’d normally expect from her kind of character. She’s got John, her partner, in whom she can confide. Bellus, the woman who books the team’s jobs, cares about her and looks out for her in the ways she can. We meet an old  Killjoys mentor of hers in one episode.

She’s got a support network of friends even before the show starts. And while we don’t really see it as much in the first half of the season–partly because she doesn’t let anyone know there’s something wrong until things start to go really wrong–there’s a few nice touches later on where we get to see the loyalty and affection a number the characters have for her. I was expecting her to have been struggling with a lot of her problems on her own, for a long time. And the first half of the season doesn’t work very hard to disabuse the audience of that notion. So I’m happy to have been wrong.

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And have I mentioned how much I love Dutch and John’s friendship? Because I do.

John is amazingly functional all things considered, and he’s got his hands full trying to manage the boxes of issues Dutch and D’avin bring to the table. He smoothes over conflict like it comes naturally for him. There are a few things that get thrown his way, though for the most part, this season is geared towards the other two protagonists’ problems. I imagine now that we’ve gotten some of those issues, the story will be able to put more focus on developing some of the things we’ve seen in John.

I like a lot of the side characters, but I want to highlight Fancy. He didn’t make much of an impression on me in his first appearance, but that changed we met him again. Now, he’s grown on me quite a bit. I like how he designates himself as the resident asshole, doing the things that someone has to and no one wants to, then accepting how this will isolate him. I really hope we see more of him, in a way that explores his character more.

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Plot-wise, the show has managed to touch upon some contentious issues, and for the most part just manages to miss doing so in a way I could identify as problematic. And I’m starting to think this is deliberate. There’s no way they can skim so close to the surface without falling in this many times by accident. I’m not saying that they didn’t fall in a time or two. But there were definitely moments when I was watching the set-up and thinking that this could be kind of iffy, only to watch the show veer off in a different direction.

I’m convinced I was set-up to think I knew where this was going to go, only to have my expectations be deliberately subverted. And the fact that the show obviously tried to do this in the first four minutes of the pilot yet failed only makes me more sure–if they tried to do it once, what’s to stop them from succeeding another time?

Not sure if we’re getting another season, but if we are, I’m totally watching. I want to see where this goes, and the show is overall just fun.