Wednesday, July 27, 2016

[Review] Killjoys Season 1

I am probably irrevocably damaged by my own background, so I see patterns everywhere, in every show I watch. Wanted to watch something light and fluffy, so I tried Killjoys, then I realized I was watching an Orwellian world. Or worlds.


 As always, this won't be the detailed review, because I don't want to spoil the pleasure of watching this series (10 episodes in the first season) if anyone wanted to. Even though I feel the fear of spoilers is just pure dumb and shows how oversensitive we became. Ned Stark dies, get used to it.

According to TVmaze, the synopsis looks barely interesting, because it says absolutely nothing about the whole dynamics of the trio:

Killjoys follows a fun-loving, hard living trio of interplanetary bounty hunters sworn to remain impartial as they chase deadly warrants throughout the Quad, a distant system on the brink of a bloody, multi-planetary class war. 

They belong to the RAC, an agency hiring Killjoys, which credo is "The Warrant Is All", that means nothing is more important than the mission and loyalty to the RAC. Our one and only Johnny boy screws things up when he grabs a warrant unofficially (under Dutch's name) and goes solo... but to rescue the bounty not to bring him to the officers. Turns out, the Level 5 warrant (means to kill) is his brother. Dutch realizes this and helps him in rescuing his and his brother's ass in the process. And the trio starts. And the whole series of events unfolds.

Johnny is the squishest squish times squish thing here

The creator, Michelle Lovretta did a great job in presenting the Quad system, complete with religion, politics, social structure, written language, fashion, technology and law system as well. The first season offers but glimpses into the social structure, which interests me, to be perfectly frank. We see the pure-blood Qreshi elite, a little inbred group of oligarchy living far removed from the everyday people. They even have surrogate mothers to their children, because good-looking women don't want to go through that hassle. A special Surrogate order, kind of the nunnery, located on a desert and well hidden from the view, where the girls live and bear children of Qreshi elite. This episode (Vessel) left me with mixed feelings, honestly. For some of the girls, sold into this by their families, the whole idea of Surrogates became their own life idea, but some wanted more of their lives.

The still above pictures the phenomenon called the Black Rain (which indeed is black), a toxic fall coming with the storm from the destroyed and polluted areas far outside of Old Town and Westerly. I really liked the whole reason behind it - the clouds accumulate the toxic waste and toxic rain falls on town. During that time, everyone needs to be hidden, because the rain is dangerous. That is why it is used as a method of a death penalty (picture below) - the prisoners are immobilized to a special construction allowing the rain to touch their faces and bodies in the most invasive way possible. They die horribly.
Why the regions are toxic, you may ask - well, the Qreshi elite exploited it to the point of rendering it barren and toxic. After that, they left "lesser people" to live there, working in mines, because that's the only thing that can be done here. How familiar is that, hm?

The whole system reminds me a bit of a state under a martial law, there are orders communicated via screens and megaphones, breaking the law is punished by hard labor or death, everyone should know their place in the society. The Market is a wonderful place too.

The destruction of Old Town in Westerly was a powerful moment - the elite and Company punished the town this way for a freedom movement, kind of a resistance, led by a very unique order of monks, worshiping roots of the trees, and like to be hanged by the hooks in their bodies, among other things (the show presents even a blessing formula, which just proves how thoroughly crafted this world is).

This scene haunts me. Instead of hiding in the shelter to avoid the bombers, they remained in the bar.

We have racial violence, religious violence, inequity based on wealth and lack thereof, politicians so far removed from the lives of usual people they seem to be of another species, brotherly bond, a blood-deep friendship, and questions about what it means to be free.

I really liked season 1 of Killjoys, and currently the series is mid-season 2. If you like fun, quirky zingers from the characters, strong women and the ship computer Lucy who clearly favorites Johnny - this is a series for you. It doesn't pretend to be something it's not. It's fun, craftily weaving aspects of our own world into it. Because what sci-fi show doesn't?


Trailer for season 1: