Here’s my review of Killjoys season one episode “The Sugar Point Run.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.
I’m going to be completely honest. “The Sugar Point Run” was a disappointing episode. It felt like an extension of the pilot episode where everything was basically more setup for our main story and our main characters. It seems unnecessary to have a whole episode devoted to making up a reason for D’av to join the crew when they could have easily settled that after the events of “Bangarang.” As the audience is watching, we should be getting to know more about Dutch and John and why they work together, but the episode splits them up. Because of this, the episode lacks any sort of character moments and so we are left with a really uninteresting plot about a hostage exchange.
I think the series’ biggest problem is the lack of an overarching plot. Some story or mystery for us to visit each week. Killjoys shouldn’t be set up like a broadcast procedural where the main characters track down a warrant, get into trouble, and then ultimately save the day. That’s gonna get old really fast each week. Procedurals work with that kind of style because they have well-developed characters. Take for example the two procedurals I review: Elementary and NCIS: LA. Each episode is a self-contained storyline with only a minimal serial plot running in the background to connect the episodes. This isn’t a problem, however, because both series have excellent, well-developed characters. The stories they deal with within each episode adds to their character development and lets the audiences learn more about these characters. That’s how you make a series with standalone episodes work. The audience has to have a point of interest, and if it’s not the plot, it’s got to be the characters.
Currently in Killjoys, the only point of interest is the universe in which the story is set. We don’t know the characters well enough yet. All we know so far is that Dutch was trained as an assassin, D’avin is PTSD-suffering ex-soldier, and John is… there. Since the partnership between Dutch and John is already established before the series begins, it seems like the writers don’t think this is something they really need to explore. As such, what should be the strongest pairing on the show becomes the weakest. The two of them spend both the pilot episode and this one mostly separated from each other. A few lines through the comm device don’t tell us how the two have managed to work together so long. Hopefully future episodes will show us more of how their partnership came to be and why they continue to work together. Right now, the only potentially interesting thing is that the two of them seem to lie to one another a lot.
So back to the plot. If the characters aren’t being developed, then we need to have a good plot to keep us tuning in each week. A serialized plot that continues each week is one way to do that. The hostage exchange, however, does not really connect much to anything that happened in the previous episode, nor does it seem like it will connect to anything in future episodes since it was wrapped up pretty neatly at the end. Therefore, we are just left with a relatively uninteresting prisoner exchange complete with the usual gotta-fix-the-ship-on-the-clock routine and the makes-a-daring-escape-without-giving-the-enemy-what-they-want cliche. Nothing unexpected. Nothing out of the ordinary. Try to break out of the box next time, writers.
The best thing this episode has going for it is the world-building it does. Giving us a glimpse into a place like Sugar Point helps establish what things are like in the Quad and what the Company does to people. We got to see how the Scavengers live and it’s not pleasant. There is potential here in the Quad for a fascinating look at power and politics, if only the plot will stop getting in the way of it. Perhaps the next episode will dive into the meat and potatoes of this conflict and give our characters something more interesting to do.
- John’s confusion about whether Dutch is his “partner,” “boss,” or “partner-boss” sums up their relationship best. Please explore more of this in future episodes!
- The guy they were chasing at the beginning of the episode said “Take your warrant and shove it where the air ain’t sweet” which has to be the weirdest way to say “shove it up your ass” I’ve ever heard.
- Why were there flower petals all over the floor in Dutch’s flashback when she killed that guy??
- I demand the sassy bartender be in every episode. He’s the most fun character out of everyone.
- Lucy the ship’s computer is also a lot of fun. “Sharp turn imminent” she says AFTER the sharp turn. LOL
- I did in fact spell one of the planets wrong last week. It’s Westerley. My apologies for misreading the subtitles.
So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.