Five episodes in, Killjoys pretty much has me hooked.
Everyone knows I’m a huge Firefly fan, and seeing another story setting with a diverse social strata spanning multiple planets interconnected by law and commerce that honestly feels like it’s been lived in by all these people for a long time is delicious, from my viewpoint as both a storyteller and a fan of story.
Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) and Johnny (Aaron Ashmore) are our lead Killjoys (bounty hunters) when the story opens, and we learn pretty quickly that running a con is part of their arsenal in capturing fugitives (see the first 4 minutes of the first episode).
The first monkey wrench thrown into the smoothly running partnership comes when Johnny finds out a Kill Warrant has been issued on his older brother, D’avin (Luke Macfarlane), a former soldier, and he goes on a solo mission to find out more.
Johnny discovers that it really is his long-missing brother, but while tracking his alias down proves easy enough, extracting D’avin from a slave ship where cage fights are the entertainment for paying bettors and fans proves to be an obstacle where they need Dutch’s wits and savvy to get them all out alive.
The second monkey wrench comes when we find out that because Dutch captured but didn’t kill D’avin, that means she’s fair game herself to be killed for violating the terms of the original warrant (which Johnny had forged her ID to in order to chase down his brother).
Shenanigans ensue while Dutch tries to figure out if trading someone else higher on the Company’s Wanted List in exchange for D’avin’s life is an option, then tracking down that person and eliminating them for the Company before she herself gets eliminated.
It turns out well in the end, with at least two extra mysteries thrown into the mix by the time we get there. And yes, by episode 3, D’avin has decided to take Dutch’s advice and join the RAC to become a Killjoy (sibling rivalries surface when he starts out ranked higher than Johnny because of his experience as a soldier), but he has an ulterior motive of his own.
The subsequent episodes have been about a team of two learning how to operate efficiently as a team of three, and delving deeper into the secrets and mysteries that both Dutch and D’avin are hiding… with Johnny caught in the middle, wanting to help both the people he considers family as much as possible.
The fourth character in the team is actually their ship, a seemingly near-sentient craft they call Lucy. Lucy’s origins are a mystery, and hints abound that a ship that advanced and expensive is not typical, and Dutch having such a ship may itself be a key clue to her upbringing and origins.
Treating the team with more of family dynamic seems to make everything run smoother as far as Johnny’s concerned (and for some of the storytelling), and that seems to be something they are going to keep intact going forward, with the introduction of a handful of recurring side characters in the town they use as home base, Old Town on the planet Westerley. That home base is also a hotbed of unrest against the Company, and may become the flashpoint in a long-simmering class war.
I also like the idea of how the agency running the Reclamation Agents (Killjoys) is autonomous, separate from the Company that technically controls all aspects of life in the Quad planet system, but it seems like it might not be completely immune from the political machinations played out by the Nine families who own the Company, and live as near-royalty on the main planet in the Quad, Qresh.
The RAC has legal authority recognized by all jurisdictions throughout the system, so they can avoid any potential jurisdictional disputes while pursuing and capturing fugitives since agents by rule have no citizenship on any of the Quad system planets, but part of me wonders how that wouldn’t have been a harder system to set up in the first place. I have a feeling that procedural separation is going to play into future power plays between organizations and the planets, so I’m willing to wait and see what happens and enjoy watching the action along the way.
Killjoys is another show Syfy shares with Space Channel, and given that it’s created by the same creative team behind Lost Girl and Orphan Black, I’m willing to bet that both the intrigue and the stakes will continue to ratchet up for our cast of characters.
Which means I’m wondering if they’re somehow going to tie D’avin’s memory blocks and the fact a kill warrant had previously been signed out for him back into the larger story of the friction between the Nines, the secrets of Dutch’s upbringing, and the true nature of the conflict that seems to be being stirred intentionally by someone.
So yeah, I’ll keep watching, and waiting to hear about a renewal for Season 2.
You can watch Killjoys Friday nights at 9pm on Syfy Channel, right in between Defiance and Dark Matter. And don’t miss out on our interview with Aaron Ashmore about the show.