Very few TV shows hook me within the fist scene but Killjoys definitely steps up to the mark with a main cast comprised of Aaron Ashmore, (Psst. It’s Jimmy Olsen from Smallvillle), Hannah John-Kamen, and Luke McFarmer. But the final splash in what makes this first episode pop is director Chris Grismer – with over 34 directing credits ranging from Orphan Black to The Originals it’s safe to hope Grismer’s Killjoys will be one of the few good ensemble sci-fi TV shows that sticks around.
The episode begins with Dutch (John-Kamen), walking across a barren wasteland, followed by us seeing Johnny (Ashmore) being tortured. Dutch is brought in by his captors and almost immediately threatened with rape if Johnny doesn’t tell them what they want to know. Johnny asks to speak with the goons’ boss. who enters the room within the blink of an eye as if he was waiting just outside the door! While the boss trades barbs with Johnny, Dutch gets dragged over to a table and fires a laser gun through her skirt because she is a BADASS. She and Johnny team up and disarm the bad guys quickly, efficiently, and with time for a quip at the end.
One of the things Killjoys does well in this premiere episode is being able to provide information about whom and what everyone’s role is in this world. We learn Dutch and Johnny both work for the RAC aka Reclamation Apprehension Coalition as Reclamation agents. Essentially, they’re bounty hunters in the future, except they aren’t beholden to any government/religious organization. After dropping off their latest catch, Dutch and Johnny are ready to relax and party when a Kill mark pops up on Johnny’s phone. He begs off hanging out and says he has something to do, leaving Dutch looking surprised. We later find out why when she visits a local bar, because regardless of the century there will always be a local bar. We find out Dutch and Johnny not only work together, they also live together, which is why Dutch instinctively knows something’s up and leaves to investigate.
Next we see Johnny at a boxing match having sold himself to a shady boxing manager, who explains the rules of the game; people sell themselves off for a time in order to pay off debts they owe. Almost like a payday loan except this payday loan might get you killed. Dutch meets up with her handler Bellos to line up new jobs, when she finds out exactly what Johnny has been up to. It turns out the mark Johnny’s after is actually his brother D’avin. This is where things start getting personal as we find out the brothers do not have the closest relationship. Regardless, Johnny is there to bust his big brother and is handed a plate of ass whooping instead.
Dutch meanwhile is trying to find a way to extricate Johnny and D’avin from the ring when she notices a rival RAC agent also there for Johnny’s brother. Time is off the essence and Dutch moves and fires a projectile neuro blocker that knocks D’avin out cold. And we get our first shot of a handsome/creepy grey haired man, who picks up the neuro blocker and when approached by the boxing manager from earlier, immediately stabs him with a calm and deadly precision.
After leaving the boxing match Dutch, Johnny, and D’avin come together to figure out a plan, and still getting nowhere Dutch goes to meet her handler, who is just the best when it comes to sassing her. But she also seems like the type of person who would kill you and not be at all sorry. We continue to see Dutch’s devotion to Johnny play out in this scene as a plan is formed on how to get the kill mark taken off D’avin.
When Dutch returns home we’re treated to more chemistry between the actors, and although they are not a couple it does not mean we don’t feel the sizzle. Dutch and Johnny meet with a guy by the name of god, who is part of a religious order and make a bargain of tit for tat: he gives her the information on a man they need to trade to the Company for D’avin’s kill mark and she owes him a favor. We also find out a war is coming and soon everyone will be forced to take sides – even the Reclamation agents.
After returning to the ship, Dutch is attacked by D’avin as he comes out of a nightmare he dubs “Battle Brains” and we find out he was a soldier. Which leads me to wonder how long D’avin has been gone if he served for 9 years and was missing for 8? Exactly how old was Johnny when his big brother left home? Its obvious Johnny is still hurt, and for this doesn’t want D’avin along on the mission, but Dutch overrides him.
Dutch and the gang head to a Garden blessing party in order find the guy they are looking for: Rolly the monk. In the process, Dutch is hit with a poison dart from Fancy Lee, the Reclamation agent she pissed off earlier when she got to D’avin first. Luckily enough, D’avin narrowly pushes her out of the way and a guy at the party gets a full dose and immediately starts foaming at the mouth. Dutch insists the guys continue on as planned and that she will figure out a way to stop the poison. She heads to the kitchen to make a poultice and is approached by the grey haired man we saw earlier. He calls her little bird, and the viewer, as weary as Dutch is, wonders if this guy is friend or foe? Especially when she asks how he found her and he creepily replies that he never let her go.
Dutch passes out and we see a flashback of an adorable little girl being given a gift of a Rumari “Splinter stick” a curved dagger which he will teach her to use, and as he moves to the side we see a man tied to a chair while the grey haired man leads her. (Soooooo Dutch is a trained child assassin? I’m here for that.)
The Jaqobis brothers are upstairs and Johnny attempts to talk down Rolly the monk, which does not seem to be working, which leads D’avin to take the kill shot. They retrieve the flash drive/nose ring and while attempting to escape are trapped in a hallway, and in comes Dutch in all her glory to the rescue. Removing her innocuous looking necklace, Dutch throws it to the ground and it turns into little robot bugs that blow up, and she takes down three men in single hand-to-hand combat. D’avin is sufficiently impressed, made clear by that lingering look he gives Dutch as she walks away.
The crew returns to Dutch’s handler and learn the kill mark has been removed from D’avin, but Dutch still has to go in to the RAC for breaking the rules. She arrives and is chewed out immediately by a William H. Massey lookalike for not following said rules, but it seems Dutch has friends in high places and is not going to be expelled or executed. That night, the gang celebrates and D’avin tries to get info out of Dutch and fails. That doesn’t stop him from trying again through Johnny. This only gets him a MYOB from Johnny for a second time that night. I love how Dutch and Johnny have each others’ backs so completely. D’avin asks how much Johnny trusts Dutch and he says more than he trusts him. Ouch.
This show has great chemistry between the actors and the first episode was really well edited – with a moving storyline that keeps the audience involved while showing a world the viewer wants to continue to be a part of. I also love the banter between the characters. There is an ease between them and D’avin shirtless is not a bad addition to the show either. The action scenes throughout were great, and Dutch’s take charge attitude is very refreshing when compared to many other women on TV.