Sunday, July 24, 2016

Killjoys, Season 2, Episode 4: Schooled

Dutch has established herself as in charge last episode – and also learned that before Khlyen left Arkhen he transferred a huge amount of data out. Turin has now found where that went and has arranged a warrant to get the team back into Westerly

The warrant is to escort disadvantaged, intelligent kids from oppressed and walled in Old Town in Westerley and takes them to a special school where they can get the best of possible education

That sounds surprisingly compassionate for the Company. Especially when one of the kids they’re escorting is going to join his brother already in genius school and is escaping an abusive father (which definitely gets the sympathy from D’avin and Johnny who had their own abusive father).

Johnny, meanwhile, is picking up Pawter which is taking a little longer than expected since she has gone and rescued herself several times over and doesn’t really need Johnny to pull her out of trouble. After defeating what appears to be a less than flattering characterisation of a large Black woman, Pawter continues to try and escape on her own. She has discovered the Company’s plan to wall up every city in Westerley and basically turn the whole planet into a prison camp. This is why she tries to escape without John – because he’s a Killjoy. And Killjoys have to be neutral

Hah, they haven’t been neutral for a way long time. And besides, this is John, with all the compassion (and a developing crush on Pawter) is not going to leave her behind. I really like, as D’avin points out to Dutch (since she’s not happy with John being distracted), that this is John’s role (and tech support). She leads. He shoots. John cares. It’s an integral part of his character. He convinces Pawter to join them on Lucy for a while until she can figure out what to do

Which is why she joins them in their little trip to take the kids to their special school.

Now to poke holes in all that Company generosity. Firstly the whole education isn’t really optional…. So it’s less “opportunity” and more “kidnapping”

And when they arrive, they see that Delle Sayah is behind the “school”. And something terrible has happened that even Delle Sayah is surprised by

It seems all the kids were being put in cryogenic chambers, which isn’t the usual way kids are educated. Oh and they’re all missing which is also a bad way to educate kids.

As they question Delle Sayah, numerous holograms and a whole lot of sinister searching around the station while an extra is picked off in sinister ways the real purpose of the facility comes clear

Firstly, Delle Sayah is keeping all of this quiet – she has almost no security or entourage (which allows Dutch to shoot her in the leg and make it clear who is in charge here) because what she is doing would destroy her reputation

And what she is doing is both experiment on Westerley children to see if you can download information right into their brains and get rid of all that pesky learning. Pawter, being a doctor (and an old rival back on Kresh who grew up with Delle Sayah) tells us all that this is a) extremely dangerous and b) completely illegal as well (oh and c) really dangerous for the kids you evil evil person you).

She’s not even doing this for education purposes – she’s doing it because she wants to create a “seed bank” of Kreshi knowledge and culture. This suggests that something big and bad is coming that is going to devastate the Quad so badly that the culture of the capital and Company rulers will actually be at risk.

This also involves Khylen which is why he sent the vast flow of data to the school (and he’s the one who will warn Delle Sayah when the worst is about to happen). Unfortunately this data went all squiffy and ended up being downloaded into he kids’ brains – causing all kinds of malfunctions including having all those kids melted. They’re goo.


The one survivor is a kid with headaches, a whole lot of problems and a great deal of paranoia and fear over Rac agents, the Company et al and he’s the one trying to escape with his brother (one of the new genius kids who haven’t been melted yet) and threatening to kill them all by sucking out the oxygen from the station. He’s very bright, though, and he kind of has a point since Delle Sayah is one of the worst.

John manages to resolve this by bringing his own family issues to the fore, talking the kid down and getting him to a monastery with his brother. Happy ending!

This is achieved with Dutch making a deal with Delle Sayah. They both want the information in the kid’s head… but if Delle Sayah takes him to any Company planet to be examined then they’re going to see the naughty bad stuff she’s done. So, instead Dutch keeps the kid, they use monks to try and access the information in his head –from Khlyen – and promise to share with Delle Sayah. Delle Sayah now declares them to be allies

This could be interesting. And I need them to be allies, especially with Dutch being so completely and unnecessary hostile towards Pawter. Between Delle Sayah being kind of evil, us not seeing much of Bellus and Clara has, alas, disappeared we don’t have a whole lot of women in Dutch’s life who she actually likes.

The meta is still buzzing away (and Alvis is back to being a ripped, shirtless monk. I think organised religion needs to look at buff shirtless monks as a sacrament, it seems like a very good idea) but we’re still on the 10,000 questions part of the season

Speaking of – Fancy slaughters a few level 6 guards and rescued Khlyen from his own suspended animation. They’re heading to the Jacobis’ home planet so he can find out exactly why D’avin is level-6 repellent.

Ok we need to look at Killjoys and it’s handling of LGBTQ characters – or PRESUMED Gay, Bisexual or Lesbian characters. Killjoys likes to hint, likes to play, likes to make it almost completely certain that someone is LGBT – but never overtly make it unquestionably so. Take Pree – he has pretended to be Gay with Johnny to go undercover and his entire character is a caricature of Gay representation and sassy Gay Best Friend tropes – but have we actually had the show confirm he is actually Gay? Have we seen any relationships?

Or Dutch and Delle Seyah – we have banter flirting and the kiss…. For biometric information. There’s always that second explanation for their actions, a resistance to just overtly saying “hey these people like the same-sex and we’re going to show that”.

Do I think it’s almost certain that Delle Seyah is a Lesbian or Bisexual? Yes. It’s almost certain
Do I think it’s almost certain to the point of laughable to deny it that Pree is Gay? Yes, of course
Do I think there’s an extremely good chance that Dutch may be Bisexual? There’s a not-unlikely chance, yes.

Do I think any of them are going to be overtly portrayed as LGB without any ambiguity or brushing it off? I doubt it.
Do I think we’re going to see any of them in a same-sex relationship (while Dutch love-triangles around and Johnny and Pawter become a thing after D’avin and Pawter were a thing)? No, I don’t.

This is a problem. It’s a problem when LGBT relationships are used for banter, amusement, jokes and caricatures – but LGBT relationships are non-existent even while opposite sex relationship sub plots abound all round. It’s a problem when a show decides to paddle in the pool of LGBT representation, but won’t dive in and always always always tries to cling to some level of deniability.

Speaking of relationships – I actually have to comment on how mature the treatment of these opposite sex relationships have been this episode. We have D’avin telling Dutch that, while their relationship is… complicated, he’s not going to cause any kind of drama if Dutch decides to have a relationship with Alvis. And we have Johnny edging to a relationship with Pawter who previously hooked up with D’avin and we’re not getting any drama or dubious tropes about this.