Call me cynical and unromantic, but the best thing Pandora Season 2 Episode 2 had to offer was the possibility of the Jax and Xander relationship actually going kaputs.
I know it won't last, but a reprieve from the bad pillow-talk and worse sitcom-esque lovemaking is welcome.
Meanwhile, I'm rooting for the Zatarians and actually a little worried about their homeworld. Definitely more than I was for Lost-in-Space Xander at the end of Pandora Season 2 Episode 1 anyway.
The entire concept of the Clayton's World society is incredibly absurd, as well as superlatively disturbing.
My first issue is with the Council being perpetually young and NO ONE noticing as they are sent off through some weird portal year after year.
Of course, the first batches of portal fodder would've been those older than the twenty-five year-old cut-off. I assume they started with the actual injured and feeble and then started moving the cut-off down, conveniently stopping before Jennifer's alleged (and static) age.
But as generations of colonists continued to be marched off into the unknown, how could they not notice that the Council wasn't changing or aging?
Councilor: Surely, you can appreciate -- being so young and beautiful yourselves -- the superiority of youth. Your strength, vigor, stamina, in all number of things. Eventually, your mind and body will decay.
Ralen: But, with age, comes wisdom.
Councilor: An axiom invented by an old, human male.
I mean, sure, most of them were barely out of adolescence before their timer went off, and there's obviously a lot of dogma (and whatever that fermented drink is called) involved in a society always hovering on the brink of resource collapse.
Given the twenty-five-year cutoff, we'd have to assume people were being married off early and having children quickly, only to leave them to be raised by the under-twenty-fives once they Departed.
Talk about intergenerational trauma.
And, as if we didn't know this already, Xander is a TERRIBLE first contact representative. To borrow from Star Trek tropes, he's got First Officer instincts with a Captain's authority.
Forgetting for the moment the fact that he's intimately involved with his cadet (and I try to all the time), the first thing he does is demand their weapons back.
Apparently Earth Com protocol is never to bow to a foreign power, but shouldn't cadets know that if it's actually a thing? And doesn't it look more awkward to be correcting your crew in front of said foreign power?
And who the HECK chugs an unknown beverage like he does? It would've served him right if the drink had knocked him out completely or turned him into a blathering idiot. Oh, wait.
Admiral: Welcome aboard, Captain. How are you feeling?
Xander: I'm just happy to have a pulse, Admiral.
Jax's impulsiveness remains her trademark, and Matta is understandably concerned with her seeming disregard for safety and protocol AND chain of command.
Ralen: Are you sure that's wise?
Jax: I don't know if it's wise but it's what I'm going to do.
Honestly, if they spun off a Ralen and Matta series about their new life wherever, I'd be so onboard.
Nothing about Eve and the Pandora's explanations for being there made any sense.
And the IDEA that Roxanne McKee is Tierney's biological mother (the actresses are only eight years apart in age IRL) blows suspension of disbelief into another dimension.
Furthermore, the number of years needed to turn Harlan Fried the Younger into Harlan Fried the Elder (who now vampires his way back into the shape of The Younger) clearly surpasses Eve's lifespan, so WTH?
Doctor: It appears to be some kind of anti-matter weapon, able to completely consume solid matter within minutes.
Fried: And what does my daughter, Tierney, possibly want with it?
Doctor: I couldn't say.
Fried: Well, who could have created such a thing?
Doctor: I couldn't say.
Fried: You know absolutely nothing. Why on earth do I even keep you in my employ?
Doctor: I... couldn't say?
Back on Earth, I continue to feel there are better stories going on.
The power struggle between Osborn and Lucas is one I can enjoy since neither is all that likeable.
I'd like to think Admiral Lucas is smarter than she lets on.
I'm praying that she realized that Harlan Fried bugged her office with that model ship and that's why she interrogated Osborn out in her sitting room, instead.
Meanwhile, seeing Osborn set back and sunk into a holding cell is somewhat satisfying as he wasn't much for warm, fuzzy, collaborative feelings when he was in command in Season 1.
Speaking of Osborn, how does he not know his sister had a baby with Harlan Fried? Also, when was it established that Osborn and Fried were once besties? I definitely missed that note in Season 1.
Shral doesn't get a lot of screen time -- never has -- but always makes an impression when he does appear.
He's been a member of the inner circle from the beginning, and every Academy faculty member involved with the CIS has had sketchy -- or at least, undefined -- motivations.
His involvement with Jett's reinstatement and his little visit with Osborn continue to alert my spidey-senses that he's got things in the works.
While I can buy that Jett might be moonlighting as a janitor to cover his tuition costs, I'm betting that his return to school as well as his actual implants are courtesy of the good and grumpy professor.
Zazie's moral compass is a palate-cleanser amid the sordidness of interplanetary and campus shenanigans.
Her concerns about passing tests and staying in courses might seem mundane, but, seriously, it makes way more sense than anything else that goes on on this show.
And the sheer happy relief on her face when Jett admits to being a janitor is just a lovely accepting sentiment, bad puns and all.
Zazie: That's what you were doing in Professor Shral's office? Cleaning it.
Zazie: My god, that is so great! That's so great!
Jett: What's great about it?
Zazie: I thought you were a thief and a liar and a cheat.
Jett: K, maybe you missed what I said. I'm a JANITOR.
Zazie: So what? It's honest, hard work. I know what you're going through. SCREW these rich, privileged kids. You and I, we got to stick together. Come on, let's JET to class.
Jett: JET to class? Really?
While I'm sure Zazie will eventually be enfolded into the Earth Com Scooby Gang, I'll miss this little corner of pleasantness when it's gone.
The final little Earth-based plotline is the aforementioned Harlan Fried and his multi-purpose sciency guy, who not only helps him drain victims for youth force but monitors the surveillance on Lucas.
When it comes to unrepentant villainy, Harlan Fried's not been written with much subtlety. That being said, it's nice to have one character who flies his (evil) colors so proudly.
Xander: Your doppelganger was wrong, Jax. When we see something that's broken, then we fix it. That's what makes us human.
Jax: No, Xander. Not everything that is broken can be fixed.
While you watch Pandora online, it's hard not to side with the Ancients and the Pandora (R.I.P.) but we're supposed to cheer for the home team, so I'm going to advocate that Zazie gets to be our rep when the Final Judgement comes down.
Or Matta. She's cool.
Over to y'all now: Will they find a way to save Zatar?
Can they stop the wave?
Will Jax manifest some new power now that the Pandora's been eliminated?
Or, better yet, since the Pandora has the ability to open portals, maybe she HASN'T been eliminated?
Hit the comments with your predictions!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.