After a clunky pilot episode, Killjoys gets much more fun in its second outing: “The Sugar Point Run.” (Even the title has more energy.) If this tale of our favorite space bounty hunters supervising a hostage exchange in the bombed-out city is anything to go by, then this show is much better when it’s dealing with a “case of the week” rather than focus on serialized world building.
That’s not to say there’s no world-building or serialized strands in this second episode. There is, it’s just more organically woven into the tale. In “The Sugar Point Run,” Dutch and John are hired to return a criminal to his warlord sister in exchange for the mayor’s daughter said warlord has taken as a hostage. In the process, we learn a bit more about Westerly — and, more accurately, the kinds of conditions The Company has created in the quashing of rebellions.
Sugar Point is a wasteland. Its workers rose up against The Company and families were killed for it. The survivors are left to fend for themselves in a land where warlords and scavenging gangs fight for the scraps of materials left behind. The Company is the client who hired Dutch and her team for this particular mission, which paints killjoys in a troubling light. As D’avin puts it to Dutch: “Killjoys are The Quad’s bagmen. Nice job you’ve got there.”
Killjoys may technically have no allegiance, but that means, for the right price, they are seemingly loyal to everyone — from the corrupt to the compassionate. At one point, Dutch tells D’avin: “Warrant served by a neutral party helps keep things clean.” But do they really? Clients are seemingly judged by their ability to pay rather than any system of justice. This moral murkiness will presumably be an integral theme moving forward and is one of the more interesting aspects of the show.
“Sugar Point Run” does something clever in pairing off its characters, allowing us get to know them better and, in the case of Dutch and D’avin, allowing these characters to develop a more of a relationship. Prior to this, Dutch reluctantly allowed D’avin to stay on the ship because he is John’s brother. By the end of the episode, she has learned one of this truths — that he is searching for some doctor — and offering him a permanent place on their ship as a killjoy.
John’s partner in this episode is Lucy, aka the ship. The show seems committed to making Lucy a character, but so far she just comes off as a glorified Siri. She has attitude, but the show is trying a little too hard to sell personality. That being said, Lucy and John do manage to save the day. When Dutch and D’avin are trapped trying to make an escape with the recovered hostage, John rises up from behind a ridge in Lucy to point the guns and deliver a pithy line. I am choosing to look at this moment as a homage to rather than a rip-off of the very similar sequence in Firefly’s “Train Job,” which see Wash bringing Serenity up from behind a plateau to save the rest of the crew from a bar fight they’re losing.
In this ep, we also learn more about Dutch’s mysterious past. The training she received as a child has a Black Widow vibe to it. We get a glimpse into the time Child Dutch was forced into a kill-or-be-killed situation with a grown man. Harsh stuff.
We also learn what is inside that red box delivered onto Lucy by her creepy mentor in the pilot: it includes a blade and the name of a man she must kill. The episode ends with Dutch finding and attacking her target. Though Dutch may be forced to kill sometimes in her day job, she only does so in self-defense, so it seems unlikely that she will murder this man. On the other hand, she also seems genuinely afraid of the repercussions from her former mentor if she doesn’t, upping the security settings on Lucy to protect her friends. We will have to wait until next week’s episode to find out.