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Call it a didactic streak, but I’ll respond pretty favorably to a show if it delivers what I deem to be a relevant and pointed message. To clarify, I don’t think the protagonist necessarily has to be a positive role model for this to work (to the contrary, it usually works better when the lead is a cautionary example), nor do I find it that appealing if the moral is just a trite platitude. Indeed, the latter is actually a real turn-off, because it always smells like something the crew just parroted from another show (or worse yet, a bumper sticker), instead of extrapolating it from real, applicable experiences.
This pilot maybe just boils down to that familiar axiom - - “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” However, I think it takes it a few steps ahead of that with some key choices.
For one, maybe our lead is the archetypal Holy Fool at the start - - a country bumpkin venturing into the big city - - but he’s not exactly naïve. When he realizes he’s dealing with a bad guy, especially some silver-tongued ingénue who’s intentionally manipulated him, his mean streak flares but good.
There’s also a bit of nuance to when the cat girl shows her true colors - - stressing the point that there are degrees of morality. Just like you might be not like an abrasive jerk, but you’d still prefer dealing with him instead of a two-faced liar, so too does her switcheroo emphasize how, in the scope of things, you’d rather deal with somebody trying to rip you off than somebody to kill you.
And there’s the third point, where these first two meet…
How our hero is so eager to be a white knight, protecting whom sees as a damsel as distress - - only to find out that she’s actually the aggressor. That turns one of the most fundamental sword and sorcery set-up’s right on its head. Not too bad for a pilot, no?
Watch "Kill the Darkness" and decide for yourself.