Sunday, August 28, 2016

Killjoys, Season 2, Episode 9: Johnny Be Good

Ooh look, we’re starting the episode on the middle of the story again

Did I ever mention how much I hate this? Oh I did? Pfft, like that’ll stop me? I write a blog about marginalised fuckery in the media – sadly repetitiveness is a daily reality.

So, after convincing me for 10 minutes that I’ve missed an episode and getting me all confuised and googling – it would appear that Dutch’s capture and torture over rescuing Jelcho of all things, while Pree is ready to die defending her is going to get explained when we start at the actual beginning.

Dutch and D’avin swoop into Old Town, surrounded by everyone tripping out because of the wall’s happy juice and more than a few of them dying because of their actions and/or the poison the Company has shipped out. They rescue Johnny and Pawter and get them back to Lucy

There Dutch and Johnny talk a bit about the whole rift between them and cover it pretty quickly. I like that actually – because good friends don’t necessarily need long apologies and a lot can go unsaid.

Johnny and D’avin do wonder why Dutch is so jealous of Pawter because it’s totally unlike her.

 Uh, since when? Seriously since this show began Dutch’s possessiveness of her men has been pretty strong. Are we now shocked by this?

Dutch takes the moment to take her beef to Pawter and help explain a little more of this endless hostility. I’ve said before that I find it really depressing and frustrating that the two most awesome female characters on this show are so antagonistic towards each other. The one silver lining in this is that there has been a genuine effort to try and make the hostility part of the story rather than standard “rawr there can only be one woman!”

Dutch is angry because she values Johnny, his heart, his compassion – because she pretty much sees herself as a murderous monster who needs Johnny’s Jiminy Cricketness to keep her human. Interestingly, of course, is when Pawter points out that Johnny wants to be more than a Killjoy. Which makes sense – if both Pawter and Dutch look to Johnny because he’s a genuine, nice, caring guy (which he has always been) then equally he’s not going to be content to be a “neutral” Killjoy and ignoring the pain around him. The very thing Dutch relied

But there’s more – Dutch pretty much doesn’t think that Pawter is tough enough or strong enough to dive into this and survive, and she’ll drag Johnny down with her. We see this backed up with Pawter’s unwillingness to carry a gun or kill because she’s a doctor and saves lives. Dutch finds this naïve

Ok… yes I can see this conflict. It’s a good conflict. And an excellent take down of an ivory tower revolutionary who has never been in the trenches…

…but that isn’t Pawter. Pawter was in Westerley when the wall dropped. She was the doctor who did her best with very limited supplies. Pawter may have been born a Kreshi princess, but we can hardly call her ivory tower now. Now, not trained in violence? Maybe we have more of a point here.

Anyway, the plan is to take down the Wall by raiding Jelcho’s little camp and kill Jelcho in the process. They go in, things are a bit changed with the plan now well in advance but with D’avin going super soldier and Johnny setting snarky computers on each other…

…if the future of the world brings me nothing else, it simply MUST bring me a sarcastic computer. If I must endure the Blue Screen of Death, at least let it be with mocking commentary.

There they find the wall controls which Pawter can’t make work. She tries to contact Delle Sayah for help but Delle Sayah has no time for this. She tells Pawter that there’s a big grand mysterious thing in place long before they were born and she has no idea what’s really going on because she’s never had to “grow up and do what has to be done.”

I know this is supposed to connect with Dutch’s summation of Pawter, but I think this is more fair and better connected to what hermother said to her. Because Dutch has been on the front line with the desperate of Westerley, but she hasn’t had to make the difficult decisions of leadership. This is exactly what her mother told her – being a leader means making decisions you will hate yourself for.

And so Pawter makes a decision. She makes a powerful speech to Westerley, a tragic, poignant speech, an apologetic speech. She directs their anger towards the Wall – and then uses its emotional manipulation power to crank their rage to the maximum

They throw themselves at the wall, dying as it shocks them until waves and waves and waves of these bodies overwhelm the wall entirely.

Over a pile of huge bodies. This is exactly the kind of thing both Dutch and Delle Sayah were talking about – terrible decisions made because she can see no other way. While, at the same time, we definitely can’t say they were good decisions. Pawter’s arc has reached a fascinating place – don’t get excited though

Meanwhile Dutch has managed to find Jelcho but has also found lots and lots of Plasma. Yup, phase 3 of the plan after all the elderly and weak have been killed off and everyone pacified, is to turn them all into Sixes. An army of Sixes.

Obviously that would be not good so to find out where the rest of the plasma is and the rest of the plan they need to take Jelcho hostage and keep him safe from the army of enraged Westerley people even now tearing down the camp. D’avin is tasked with getting Jelcho out while Dutch tries to fight a large army

Hence her being captive and tortured for information about Jelcho – which she holds out long enough for D’avin to make a deal with cringe-worthy character among the nomads to help them blow up Jelcho’s camp and all the green goo inside

This doesn’t exactly pacify Herrin and the rest of the enraged Westerley people who really want someone to pay and are willing to blame Dutch when Delle Sayah arrives

With an offer of independence. Pawter’s excellent speech exposing everything AND showing people just how terrible the wall is now means they have no chance of building another such wall anywhere without everyone rioting and generally causing chaos. Delle Sayah admits defeat and is ready to sign a treaty… which isn’t believable. BUT she also insists, as part of it, that Pawter renounce her land, titles and politics.

This is a nice touch – that personal vindictiveness sells it. Without that I couldn’t picture Delle Sayah doing this or anyone believing her. But getting Pawter out of the way? I can see that

But I can’t see Pawter accepting. Yes she’s concluded she hated politics and she’s just had to make a really traumatic decision. But I’d want more reasoning from her than “I don’t like politics.” Even a “I can’t do it. I can’t do this again. I can’t make these decisions, never again.” That would complete her arc – how about some consideration that this passionate woman who desperately wants to make things better would want to keep her position of power to use it. That a woman who has been told repeatedly that hard choices have to be made – and just made one – would want to be one of those ensuring the RIGHT hard choices are made. There needs to be some agonising about this

And there really does because Pawter died. Pawter dies when Delle Sayah betrays them all, stabs her and takes out the westerley’s with a squad of Sixes, leaving Johnny, Dutch and Da’vin to run

Damn it, Killjoys, Pawter’s arc was getting good, really damn good and now it feels aborted and hurried.