“Masters of War” managed to highlight everything wrong with the CW’s sci-fi show in another go-nowhere episode.
This recap of Pandora Season 1, Episode 3, “Masters of War”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Thus far, I’ve cut The CW’s Pandora some slack. Sure, it was terrible in a lot of ways, but it also felt like it had its heart in the right place; like it was taking these well-worn genre tropes and trying to sneak in a few good ideas without anyone noticing. Now, though, I’m not so sure. Pandora Episode 3, “Masters of War”, highlighted almost everything wrong with the series, and didn’t give much suggestion that it’d be improving any time soon, either.
Once again we’re concerned about a ship. This time it’s the Seahawk, apparently destroyed in an act of military bravery. The backstory behind this involves humanity’s conflict with the Zatarians, and its current state ties into both a subplot involving wacky performance-enhancing drugs and also, though it’s a bit of a leap, the fate of Jax’s parents. It’s almost as if Pandora is contractually obligated to hit a certain number of bases — that’s the only way I can imagine we’d get an episode like “Masters of War”.
I can’t say Pandora Episode 3 was objectively any worse than usual, but I found myself being bothered by it much more right from the beginning, getting particularly annoyed at a conversation about “old-fashioned” photobooths that was just awful; the worst kind of look-how-far-we’ve-come claptrap designed to convey the idea that the show’s setting is far removed from such terrestrial mundanities — all the hip colloquialisms apparently survived the passage of time, but whatever. Details.
“Masters of War” also includes easily the most ridiculous villain thus far; an absurdly over-the-top soldier hyped up on PEDs that was playing his role as a parody despite it being written entirely straight. We also had our first major death of this first season in the heroic self-sacrifice of *checks notes* Greg, which I’m sure will deeply affect Jax considering they had some kind of romantic entanglement that was blithely introduced and never fleshed out at all.
Pandora Episode 3 was, I think, the third in a row to end with Professor Osborn professing secret knowledge of the episode’s shenanigans, and that’s getting a bit tedious if I’m honest. We get it — he’s shady. Now can we do something with that before this debut season whimpers to a conclusion, never to be heard from again? Cheers.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.