Sunday, July 5, 2015

Killjoys, Season 1, Episode 3: The Harvest

It’s time for the results of D’avin’s killjoy exam – with lots of nerves and John expecting to be his brother’s co-boss. He’s interviewed by a woman is kind of awesome in pushing him into telling him exactly why he wants to be a Killjoy. He passes – and renounces all loyalties to become a Killjoy

And he’s cleared for level 4. That’s one level higher than John. Poor John is not happy – but first D’avin has to pass a psych eval. Oh course, like any good brother, D’avin rubs this in most cruelly. Of course, there’s still the psych eval.

Over to Dutch and she’s been busy torturing the guy she was sent to kill to try and find out why Khylen wants him dead. He convinces her that he honestly doesn’t know why Khylen wants him dead – and she releases him.

Baxck to the brothers we get some more dystopian background scenes and learn it’s “Harvest week” which means lots of flush folks getting drunk and causing problems which also means D’avin and John have to break up a fight in Pree’s bar in exchange for all those free drinks they get.

No allegiances, no loyalties, but you do not mess with my local. ‘kay?

Except D’avin goes from “bar fight” to “strangling to death” which is a little excessive, thankfully Dutch arrives and quells the entire room with her aura of awesomeness. Dutch also brings up D’avin’s psych eval and throws him to Sarah Power who has a room upstairs running a clinic (she’s the drunk woman D’avin helped in the bar fight). She agrees to sign his eval if he will get her to get Dutch to give her a ride to Leith (Dutch doesn’t like her) so she can go to the bazaar. He also tries for some sleeping tablets which she refuses

John’s own dealing is spilling all his brother issues to a woman he is having sex with who massively Does Not Care. But hey if he’s talking she’d love to talk about her husband Vincent who hasn’t come back for Harvest. He’s vanished and if he isn’t back in 2 days his visa expires – which means 10 years hard labour and since she signed it, that will apply to her. Damn, this place is run by UKIP (well the moderate wing of UKIP anyway). She’s going to put out a warrant to find him and she wants John to take it

Never ever make business deals when you’re naked in bed with someone. It’s so damn awkward to say no. He tells Dutch this and she says no and also adds he needs to stop being friends with everyone he sleeps with, it’s “weird.” He throws more not-subtle and very fun guilt at her (I love how these two interact. He’d also quite like a fun run with the two of them without D’avin (me too) and he’s noticed she’s stressed

So undercover as farm workers (which means John gets injected with some kind of tracking chips to stop him oversteering his visa, gruelling work day and complete isolation from the rest of the world.) We get more info about how unpleasant the whole thing is when Dutch talks to Bellus (who is awesome in any other company’s than Dutch who eclipses all awesomeness). Dutch’s own cover is a much higher ranking businesswoman to speak to the head of the operation, Pedros Martel. And she’s awesome

And we get a demonstration when John sees people worked to near exhaustion in the heat and anyone who tries to leave has their little ear tracker explode – and it’s counted as an “accident.” Of course, a tracker does mean they have a simple means to find Vincent.

Investigations continue which means John befriends farm workers while Dutch shows off her excellent palette and seduces Pedros (and gets some more backstory) where she has a quick thinking explanation of her scars and marks and steals his eye-scan for the computers.

She tracks Vincent’s tracker – but finds his ear not connected to the rest of him. It points towards a forest outside the grounds so Dutch wants to call in D’avin to check it out (since John’s head will explode if he leaves the grounds though he’s still not happy about her calling his brother). Dutch insists John keeps his head down with a bomb in his head though John is offended.

Instead he kisses Shyla, the female farm worker he’s befriended, convinced she’s behind some secret thing going on (for reasons). She agrees – but it involves cutting off his ear. Which Dutch later finds.

Shyla is part of an organisation that tries to gather Westerlans who aren’t happy with the general crap they have to deal with. She leads him to a camp in the woods where they’re growing Jack (a drug we saw at the beginning of the episode which is flammable and nasty). He finds Vincent, who is kind of hostile since he doesn’t know John (John’s cover is he was an old friend of Vincent’s). Vincent doesn’t want to go back to Westerley – not does he care about his wife’s fate.

Meanwhile D’avin takes Sarah to Leith bizarre to try and find lifesaving medicine which isn’t going well – not least because more dead Westerlings isn’t seen as a bad thing. So the nice doctor injects the merchant with plague, that’s one way to do it. D’avin isn’t thrilled about being used but Sarah isn’t guilty – happily pointing out how he tried to use his looks to manipulate her. Besides, life saving medicine justifies a lot.

The firework celebration that night also bother D’avin also causing flashbacks – classic PTSD signs. Back in the ship, Sarah basically diagnoses D’avin with Stress Response Syndrome (which includes trouble sleeping, hyper-violence and unable to distinguish civilian life from battle). D’avin doesn’t take it well and drags up her backstory she’s looked into about her. He offends her and decides to find her own way home – and still won’t sign off on him

D’Avin is called in to search the forest when Dutch finds out what John has done – and Dutch’s cover is blown. Pedros tries to have her killed even knowing she’s a Killjoy. Obviously this doesn’t go well for him or his men. When questioned Pedros tells her that John has fled to the Jack grove – but also that he has (belatedly) contacted the authorities about the Jack camp to try and throw the scent off him. Which means the whole forest is going to be hit with nasty death stuff

In the camp, Vincent orders Shyla to kill John and he takes advantage of Jack’s flammability (as mentioned in some nifty foreshadowing) to pull out his own awesome. So when Dutch arrives he has everyone on their knees with their hands behind their heads. They also hear the defoliation ships – Vincent is happy to come with them now. But Shyla is determined to stay behind and fight to protect their camp – they leave her behind, they don’t have a warrant for her, it’s not their job to force her.

The ships pass and John looks angsty – Shyla is probably dead.

Vincent and his wife No’a are reunited and he plays the super-concerned husband and she smacks him. (Dutch likes her). It seems they spent just a little too long getting back to Westley (they took the scenic route) which means Vincent’s permit is now 1 hour late – 10 years hard labour for Vincent.

Back to Sarah who grows John a new ear. She and D’avin talk with him apologising and her confronting him about his need for treatment and how his medication doesn’t match what he says is wrong with him. Despite that she still passes him – but she tells him he needs help for his sake and his team’s sake. He agrees if she’ll treat him.

And John and Dutch talk – with John’s jealousy and brother issues while Dutch affirms what he means to her. And that he has to deal with his issues with D’avin because they can’t let his issues destroy them. She’s still cagey about her issues though – he backs off when she asks him to just let it lie as “over.”

I’m actually not pleased that D’avin did end up with a higher rating than John – the whole point last episode was that, while D’avin was skilled, he didn’t have Killjoy skills and that soldier skills don’t just transfer over directly. I feel that’s undermined by him getting the second highest rating from the very first exam. Also, you don’t have to work up or anything? It seems like a dubious system to take a brand new recruit and be happy to hand them the second highest warrants especially for an organisation that seems to set a great store by its integrity and reputation.

I’m interested to see how they deal with D’avin’s PTSD because I’m quite happy with the conflict I see so far. Less so with Sarah signing him off. On the one hand, I am very happy that her emphasis on why he needs treating is because he wants to be – she asks him if he wants to live that way. Not because he needs to be “functional” or pass a test but for him, his own life, his own health. I like that emphasis. I think too much focus on mental health treatment is based on, basically, making mentally ill people “fit” in society more than focusing on what makes them healthy and happy (which may be both the same thing, certainly, but one is humanising and patient centred, the other is utilitarian and more “productive” focused). The flip side is that D’avin is applying for a job as, basically, a cop/mercenary/bounty hunter and, in her own words, he’s hyper-violent and unable to distinguish battlefield from civilian life which we have seen repeatedly. Regardless of any deal he’s made, he is not fit to be running around with a weapon in high stress combat situations – someone’s going to end up being killed. Even if he is being treated, it is deeply unethical and irresponsible for Sarah to sign off on that

The more I see of John and Dutch the more I am convinced that I wanted to see them alone before D’avin showed up. Again, not because I dislike his character or

It’s three episodes in so I’m hesitant to make major judgements but Dutch is striking me as excessively sexualised. For all her combat skills, we have a lot of straight-male-gazy angles on her and she has used her looks and seduction a few times (of course, so has John and D’avin – but in decidedly less sexualised manners). I think that latter is a point – D’avin and John are both attractive men, so if they start using their sexuality as an overt tool in the same way (and with the same lens) as Dutch does it would go a long way to balance things as much as Dutch pulling back would.

I still like the world building, each episode we colour in a little more of the dystopia, the extreme class issues and the similar elements that really underpin this world and I think it’s done pretty smoothly which I appreciate.