“Things Have Changed” in Pandora Season 2, but a lot has stayed the same as a hopefully more focused follow-up begins.
This recap of Pandora season 2, episode 1, “Things Have Changed”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous season finale by clicking these words.
You’ll have to forgive me. After covering all of Pandora‘s first season and finding it lacking, to put things mildly, I’d obviously purged most of it from my memory as a kind of defense mechanism. But I’d forgotten something important — it’s a CW show. They never end! And thus, Pandora Season 2 begins with “Things Have Changed”, and things have indeed changed; as I watched the episode’s opening, in which a space-suited man retrieves some kind of plasma energy specimen from a shipwreck on a moon, I realized I couldn’t remember at all if this was anything to do with the first season or not.
As we shifted to a mining colony on Ipcress 5, an Outer Rim territory, I had the same feeling. Have we been here before? All the citizens have their mouths and noses covered, so it could just as easily be Earth right now, but I definitely remembered Jax and Xander, who were there having flirty on-mission banter. You don’t easily forget a show’s best-looking leads. Jax is surveilling a courier (J.R. Esposito) who looks like a young John Malkovich and is meeting with Tierney. He’s trying to flog the green plasma thing that was recovered in the opening. Jax gatecrashes the meeting and gives it big licks about having armed associates in the crowd, but she also thinks she spots her mother, which leads to a bit of a kerfuffle. Xander chases Tierney while Jax pursues the courier into an ore processing plant, where she thinks she sees her mother again, allowing the courier and his goons to get the drop on her. Xander eventually arrives having lost Tierney, who escaped through a portal, and it all kicks off. This show’s action choreography is… not bad, actually. They’re ambushed on the way out by a load of incensed workers, but Ralen arrives in the nick of time.
Back on the ship, we get some bits and bobs about how things have changed, as per the title. Xander and co. are attempting to track down Tierney and the other Pandora. Jax’s mother has been dead for a year, and Greg, her back-from-the-dead ex-boyfriend, won’t talk to her. Jax and Xander are properly together now, living a jet-setting life of covert Earth-Com missions. Another Jax is running around the galaxy — that’s the other Pandora — but that’s a bit of a secret. I think that brings us up to speed.
Either way, Jax is struggling with this. She’s having weird nightmares and speaking almost entirely in exposition, just in case we needed a reminder that she’s not human but a hybrid lifeform comprised of DNA from the five lifeforms sent here to judge the universe, which in all honesty I did need to be reminded about.
Jax and Xander — now a captain, by the way — are summoned back to Earth to meet with Earth-Com’s new tea-enthusiast bigwig, Admiral Lucas (Shani Erez), who handily explains that the frontier worlds have a bee in their bonnet about Earth-Com being spread thin and unable to provide proper resources. She wants Xander to find out exactly what the courier was trying to sell Tierney and wants Jax to stop dating him — for the sake of the mission, obviously. With a new Admiral, that means Osborn has been left out in the cold, his security clearance revoked, and he’s fretting about Jax’s safety and Meredith Lucas’s judgment. Looks like we have some new dynamics emerging here in Pandora season 2, episode 1.
Admiral Lucas, it turns out, is cushy with Harlan Fried, which explains why Osborn is so suspicious. Harlan is fronting like he wants to see Tierney pay for her crimes, but nobody in their right mind would believe that. Anyway, Jax has a new roommate in Zazie (Nicole Castillo-Mavromatis), who has a friend from her study group who also happens to be Professor Shral’s recommendation for Ralen’s new roommate — it’s Jett from the first season. He’d very much like to make things right after the whole nude leak fiasco. Ralen reluctantly agrees.
Xander, meanwhile, interrogates the courier, who claims not to know Tierney at all. She contracted him via an encrypted message since he was usefully situated in a salvage company and could access an alien Protector ship to retrieve a potentially dangerous object — hence why Tierney didn’t want to risk using a portal. Xander puts on his big boy take-it-or-leave-it pants to turn up the location of the hand-off to Tierney, which Xander will handle since Admiral Lucas is clearly prohibiting Jax from working with him because of their continuing relationship.
Speaking of continuing relationships, Ralen and Matta are still going strong, though it’s difficult to carry on as normal since Jett is swanning around with men and women on his arm. This is clearly intended to be the comic relief subplot, but we’ll see about that, frankly. Later, Zazie catches Jett in her room, clearly looking for something, and she seems distressingly unbothered about this, even when he suggests they keep it between themselves. Apparently, she’s just eager to make friends — and get laid.
Anyway, Xander and a special forces team head on-mission while Jax and Admiral Lucas watch via a direct feed. They’re able to turn up a case full of the glowing canisters from the opening, but they’re ambushed by… Jax’s mother and some goons. There’s a bit of a disagreement and one of the canisters ends up dropping on the floor, leaking bad visual effects everywhere! The stuff works a bit like acid, really, flooding the corridors and swallowing the remains of Xander’s team as he’s just able to flee to an airlock. From outside, we see Xander get launched into space as the entire shop disintegrates behind him. Xander is left floating alone in space, believed to be dead by both Jax and Admiral Lucas. It’s like Mass Effect 2!
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