Oh, my freakin' Gawd. As an episode, Pandora Season 2 Episode 10 was pretty "meh" with a little bit of "argh" thrown in.
As a season finale, it could've been salvageable if they'd ended it at Aleka's fun speech about returning to her hugely misogynistic society to grow them a new way of being.
It might even have worked to have the Ancients wipe everything out, and then Jax gets to see how a new universe starts à la Ragnorak, in a way.
But their choice to play a mulligan/do-over card and then drag out the exposition for an unfathomable fifteen minutes reads to me like they didn't know where they were going with it all.
Regarding the mission of The Ancients, if I squint really hard, I can see how bringing a delegation of the different races to testify on behalf of the universe makes sense.
Additionally, having Xander's wackadoodle encounter with her cloned brother on Pandora Season 2 Episode 7 instigate Captain Roy's reunion with his sister, who turns out to be Chronin, who then joins up -- no questions asked -- with Jax's rag-tag team was almost clever in its serendipity.
So let me see if I can get this right. The entire fate of the universe depends on you getting to Asmodeus VI so that you can convince an ancient, alien super-race that our universe should keep on truckin'.Scantron
Mind you, for Bertha to represent all Chronins seems a bit of a stretch, seeing as she was hatched (!) and raised by humans.
And it was super-sweet for Aleka to come at Jax's call.
Honestly, that relationship had a lot more going for it than any of Jax's hetero-hookups.
Especially when you consider Xander, who has been sliding with increasing speed all season into a cesspool of stupidity, machismo, and whiny entitlement.
I have a hard time deciding if they were attempting to write a good man with many flaws or a bad man deluding himself into thinking he is a good man.
Repeatedly, he has shown poor judgment when it comes to dealing with opponents, unwarranted distrust and inconsiderateness in his relationship with Jax, and a complete disregard for his crew, his command, and civilian lives.
I've followed orders for almost all of my life. I suppose maybe now it's time for me to find out what life is like with no one to follow except myself.Xander
And, throughout it all, he seems to think he holds the moral high ground somehow.
How he can declare his love for Jax when faced with separation when he just shot and boxed her moments before -- albeit in a different timeline now, but he REMEMBERS -- is infuriating.
If he and Tierney are being set up as some sort of rebound relationship, I sincerely hope Jax's half-sister is less sentimental and takes the opportunity to shoot him at least once.
Tierney: Let's follow her and find out what she's up to. And then we'll shoot her.
Xander: Wait, we can follow her, but we're not shooting anyone.
Tierney: Don't be so sure. These things always end in shooting.
Tierney's shenanigans suffered from a lack of budget to provide the trappings of realism.
When she passed the knife, Cordelia stabbed her in the stomach with Xander with a perfectly clean blade and was not visibly bleeding; I thought the sisters had pulled something on Bey Turhan for a moment.
But no, it was just the latest case of having cast mime something and hoped the audience doesn't notice.
Neat to see Cordelia again, by the way. She was a fun part of Pandora Season 1.
The fact that she had masterminded the appearance of a Parallax-Sumi weapons deal to oust her father and beat her sisters was an entertaining moment of deus ex machina.
Xander: Do you have any idea how many people will die so that you can work on your daddy issues, Cordelia?
Cordelia: You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.
Her lingering affection for Jax prompts me to wonder about the Pandora's attractiveness to tall blondes.
But like anyone who actually cares for Jax, she gets wounded (probably dead this time) just like Greg and Aleka.
I don't know if I have the mental energy to parse out all the weirdness in Xander taking the clone of Zion back to his catatonic mother on her farm in the middle of nowhere and just leaving.
He's a clone. Of a soldier. A programmable clone of a soldier who has already malfunctioned by tapping into his genetic material source memories.
What if he malfunctions again? What if new programming is downloaded?
What if their mother figures out he really isn't Zion? How is any of this a good idea?
Siblings are a huge theme this season.
Roy's sister, Bertha, is the missing piece to the entourage of the Ancients.
Aleka names Jax as a sister, sealing their relationship as something sacred.
Tierney is revealed to be Jax's half-sister, her biological mother being Osborn's sister, Eve, Jax's adopted mother.
This means Jax sort of had a sexual relationship with her half-sister's half-sister, Cordelia. Huh.
Osborn's wife, Laura, and Meredith Lucas were sisters. Although Meredith held a grudge against Osborn for killing Laura for being a traitor, she didn't seem to have any qualms about telling him she was a traitor in the first place.
The most interesting elements of the season, newcomer Zazie and sort-of newcomer Jett were given underwhelming send-offs.
I was so afraid. All the time. Of letting my friends see the real me. Then I learned it takes real courage to be who you truly are.Jett
Not sure why Jett got to sit on the side of the room in the Ancients' motel dimension with all the birds and hostages and stuff, but his testimony of personal growth in trust and self nicely encapsulated the character's development since returning from disgrace.
Also not sure why Zazie signed on to travel with Scantron and Bertha but ...okay.
A girl from another dimension who inseminates her roommate with a cloned embryo gets to go interstellar joy-riding before school starts in the fall.
Of course, if Ralen and Jett are still fugitives, she'll need a whole new study group.
Jett: What do we do now, cap?
Xander: We resist.
Ralen: Until we can't.
So if you've stuck with this series this whole time -- and good for you, I hope you've been joyfully drunk for most of it -- when you watch Pandora online, you notice they seem to expect a renewal despite the fact their title character is gone and her clone baby now "belongs to the stars."
They've left Xander, Tierney, Ralen, and Jett on the run from Earth Com in a ship Osborn forgot to tell them can be hacked by Harlan Fried at any time.
They've left Lucas alive and in charge of Earth Com while secretly in cahoots with the Zatarians to begin a war between Earth and the Sumi.
They've left Shral in the hands of the Zatarians, apparently about to discover he's been a sleeper agent mole the whole time since his capture in the war.
And they've left Eve kicking around who-knows-where now that the portals have disappeared because there is no longer a Pandora.
Except that there is. Bloom. Who uses portals, not only to travel in space but in time. AND who seems to be still doing the bidding of the Ancients who said they'd be staying out of it for the next thousand years or so. So what the hell?
Even if you suspend your disbelief, blindfold it, coat it in resin, and set it on fire, it's almost impossible to acknowledge this show on its merits as sci-fi, storytelling, or characters because it just can't pick a lane.
Based on the crickets in the comments section this season, I would assume that I'm writing into a vacuum at this point. By all means, correct me if I'm wrong, but after ten weeks of painful plot holes and excruciating character meanderings, I. Am. Done.
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.