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Series / Pandora

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Pandora is a Science Fiction television show on The CW created by Mark A. Altman which began airing in the United States in July of 2019.

It follows the adventures of Jacqueline "Jax" Zhou (Priscilla Quintana), a young woman in the year 2199 who loses both her parents to a mysterious surprise attack on their space colony home in the first scene of the premiere episode.

Taken under the care of her somewhat-estranged uncle, she enrolls in Earth's Space Academy, where her uncle is a senior professor. She and her new friends must uncover the mystery of who killed her parents and why, while her Uncle and many others in authority simultaneously try to uncover the mystery of who exactly Jax is, and why she has alien DNA mixed in with her own.


Pandora provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Jax is a talented marksman and soldier-in-training.
  • The Alternet: The successor of the Internet is called "the datastream".
  • Amazonian Beauty: The beautiful Tierney is shown to have defined arms and stomach as well as being incredibly acrobatic.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Hypatia Syndicate is an all-female crime organization. They even wear some futuristic amazon armor and weapons.
  • Artificial Human:
    • The Adaran clones, who are used as slaves. Because of their status, Adaran religion declares they are soulless and lack any rights.
    • Jax is later also revealed to have been artificially produced by splicing DNA together from five different species, with many doubles of herself existing.
  • Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: When the Seeker is getting ready for bed, he has a few of his clone slave girls bathe him, paying special attention to all his "hard-to-reach places".
  • Advertisement:
  • Beta Couple: A significant amount of the plot early on resolves around Tom and Atria getting together.
  • Big Bad: Harlan Fried, the CEO of Parallax who's planning to use portals to dominate the galaxy. Tierney / Odessa take over from him in the season finale.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Admiral Marcus. At first, she seemed friendly to Jax and giving her advice, but soon turned hostile toward her and Xander for their relationship with Osbourne. The final episodes revealed that she is a mole for the Zatarians.
    • Zazie is a zig-zagged example. She is a mole for Tierney and Eve. But she does care for everyone else. It still doesn't stop her from impregnating Jax and then kidnapping her baby as soon as it is born to run experiments.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Season 2. Everyone is successful in saving the universe, but Jax has to stay behind with Matta and the Ancients. Also, Admiral Marcus and the Zatarians are hunting them down.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Zatarians are constantly reminding Humans that "you do not understand my people" when Humans try to judge them by Human moral standards or predict how Zatarians will react to a given situation.
  • Boobs of Steel: Jax is by far the most skilled female fighter (at least on the good guys' side), and also has the largest breasts.
  • Born into Slavery: The Adaran clones are manufactured to be slaves, so their status as this begins at "birth", with them being sold shortly thereafter. Atria recounts the ceremonies where this happens to Tom, and just how horrifying it was for them.
  • Brain Uploading: Harlan and Odessa Fried have uploaded their consciousnesses multiple times into new clone bodies of themselves to live past when they'd have otherwise died.
  • But Not Too Bi: Jax is revealed to have dated Cordelia, and Atria's been in a threesome with another woman. Both however show only attraction toward men otherwise, and the relationships presently each has are with them.
  • The Caper: Episode 5 has Jax and Tom help Tom's father Billy run a heist in the academy's museum to save his life.
  • Clones Are People, Too: Atria is a clone who rebelled and helped kill her master (actually, she helped to fake his death so he could escape Adar and marry one of the clones he fell in love with) to win her freedom and later decides to fight so all the clones on her planet can be free.
  • Cloning Blues:
    • Some planets keep clones as slaves with no human rights.
    • Harlan and Odessa Fried have kept themselves alive past their natural lifespan by cloning new bodies and uploading their memories to them.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The entire Freed family who runs Parallax, a Mega-Corp with many secret weapons-related research projects.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Almost every episode ends with Professor Osborn having about a vague cryptic conversation with someone, usually Regan or Xander, about Jax and Pandora.
  • Cyborg: Pilar has implants which let her enter into the datastream by thought alone. Unfortunately, the implants are hacked at one point, with her body being taken over remotely.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Both of Harlan Fried's daughters are just as evil and as ambitious as him. Even Tierney, who's revealed to be his third daughter "Odessa" in the season one finale. And unlike Regan and Cordelia, she's actually loyal to him.
  • Danger Room Cold Open: One of the first Commercial Break Cliffhanger instances involves this as a fake-out to make the viewers think two characters just got themselves into unexpected space combat.
  • Dark Action Girl: Tierney, whose good with both guns and unarmed combat, while being part of the criminal Hypatia Syndicate. She's basically Jax's evil counterpart.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Pilar's entire situation in Episode 6, as someone hacks her data implants to Mind Screw and humiliate her, is treated like rape, with her even admitting afterwards that she feels violated.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Pilar dislikes being called by her first name, Delaney, and requests that everyone use her last name instead.
  • Doomed Hometown: Jax's colony planet home called "New Portland" is destroyed in the first episode.
  • The Dragon: Regan is a Dragon with an Agenda to Harlan for most of the story, but in the season finale it turns out Tierney / Odessa was the real Dragon to him. Unfortunately to him, she's just as traitorous as his other daughters.
  • Dragon Ascendant:
    • Regan Fried spends most of the story plotting to depose her father Harlan as CEO of Parallax, which she finally succeeds in episode 10. But it doesn't last long as a young, clone version of her father returns.
    • Tierney / Odessa takes over as Big Bad for Harlan in the season finale.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: On Hypatia, the female members of the team dress as slave owners and the men portray slaves in local garb (imitating the custom there).
  • Driving Question: Who destroyed New Portland, and why?
  • Dude Magnet: Pilar is inundated with offers and flowers for the Armistice Day Ball.
  • The Empath: Thomas, one of Jax's friends and fellow students, inherited some telepathic abilities, but he is quick to clarify that he can only sense feelings and emotions, not read thoughts directly. This begins to change in Episode 6, when his powers grow to full telepathy and even telekinesis.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: On Adar both men and women treat clones as sub-humans, laughing and drinking and going to fancy balls where clones are violated and sold off to the highest bidder.
  • Everyone Can See It: Almost every characters comments on the obvious attraction between Xander and Jax.
  • Faking the Dead: Atria's former master is not as dead as we are first led to believe.
  • Fan Disservice: Episode 6 where Pilar is made to go streaking into the Black Hole. The situation is intentionally played to resemble rape, especially when her creepy Abhorrent Admirer starts ogling her.
  • Fantastic Drug: Rydine is a performance-enhancing drug the military secretly used on soldiers on the Zatarian war that makes them very hot-headed and is very addictive.
  • Fantastic Racism: Ralen suffers this at the academy for being a Zatarian, an alien race best known for fighting a war with Humanity to a standstill.
  • Fantastic Slurs: "Zit" is an anti-Zatarian racial slur.
  • The Federation: Much of the Human diaspora has united as a state called the Earth Confederacy. However, there are independent Human states outside it too, like Adar.
  • First Day of School Episode: The first episode of the series has Jax attending her first day of classes, complete with going to the wrong classroom at first and getting chewed out by a professor for showing up late to his class.
  • Girl in a Box: Xander and Jax find a woman who looks identical to her inside the Pandora Box.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Jax considers abortion after getting unexpectedly pregnant, although her roommate urges taking her time, stating she'd make a great mother. The issue is avoided as the pregnancy progresses unnaturally fast and she gives birth in around a day.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Sarika becomes so jealous of Pilar being the top of the class she hacks her implants and tries to drive Pilar into suicide. She gets even more furious when she's exposed and Pilar doesn't even know who she is.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Greg sacrifices himself to let Jax escape the exploding Seahawk. The season 1 finale ends with her finding out he's still alive on Hypatia Prime somehow.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Pilar's implants let her hack stuff with her mind while still "typing" in the air.
  • Honor Before Reason: Zatarian culture seems to have shades of this, offering help to a Seeker's son even though they knew it would cost them the war just because he asked for their help.
  • Humans Are Special: Matta says this exact phrase while speaking with Ralen, saying it's because no matter how bad things are they still have hope.
  • I Am Spartacus: All of the Atria clones (along with those from other lines) proclaim "I am Atria 6" when the Seeker demands that she be turned over. They are all killed for this.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode of the first season is named after a Bob Dylan song.
  • Immune to Mind Control: Tierney trained her mind to become resistant to Billy and Tom's telepathic powers while Jax is simply naturally immune to them.
  • Insufferable Genius: Jax's roommate Pilar is incredibly intelligent and can be an arrogant know-it-all at times, since she views her superiority to her peers as a simple empirical fact and doesn't why they would be offended by the attitude.
  • Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: Pilar's involuntary Streaking into the Black Hole is made more humiliating when the video gets sent to everyone on the academy.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Greg and Jax are getting intimate in her room when Pilar walks in on them. When Greg complains about her not knocking she simply points out that it's her room too.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Pilar is just barely stopped when she's about to jump off the roof after being driven into depression through an abusive simulation Sarika trapped her in.
  • Lady Land: Hypatia is ruled by women, with all men either their slaves or interlopers.
  • Last-Name Basis: Delaney Pilar is usually called "Pilar" at her request.
  • Late for School: Jax gets into her teacher's bad side on her first day when she arrives late for class due to getting lost.
  • Local Hangout: The "Black Hole", a local bar where many of the academy students meet up.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Tierney it turns out is Jax's mother's birth daughter. Since Jax is adopted, her mother says they're therefore "kind of sisters".
  • Love Dodecahedron: Let's see. We've got Tom, who's in love with Atria, who's in love with Ralen, who's in love with Jax, who's in love with Duval who returns some form of feelings but is too deep in with his spy life. Ralen, as it turns out, is married, adding another twist to this already convoluted shape.
  • Mega-Corp: Parallax, a war profiteering corporation behind most of the shady stuff in the story.
  • The Medic: Greg is studying to be one and is the expert on the team whenever medical help is needed.
  • Military School: What Space Academy technically is, given that everyone there is studying to be a military officer, whether that be a spaceship captain or telepathic spy. However, no one wears uniforms to class, no evidence of military discipline is in evidence, and in all ways it generally appears to be a generic university that wouldn't be out of place in any other show on The CW.
  • Mind over Matter: Tom discovers that in addition to telepathy, he has mild telekinetic abilities.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Jax greets Xander while in his bed with the sheet around her chest. As he obviously saw her naked before and they're in private, this is clearly for the actress' sake.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Xander and Tom have their fair share of shirtless scenes, showing off their toned physiques.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Jax, Atreia and Pilar wear many revealing outfits and have several nude (albeit tastefully censored) scenes.
    • Tierney also wears many fanservicey outfits and has most of her interactions with other characters being very sexually charged. During the season 1 finale she wears an incredibly Stripperific dress that shows off her toned stomach.
  • Mystical Pregnancy: Jax finds she's pregnant in Season 2 to her surprise, since both she and her partner were using birth control. However, it turns out that she's pregnant with a clone of herself somehow, and the pregnancy continues far quicker than normal, so that she delivers that same day or the next.
  • Nanomachines: Pilar is a nanite enhanced human, giving her incredible intelligence and hacking abilities.
  • Nephewism: Jax is sent to live with her uncle Donovan Osborn after both her parents are killed.
  • New Transfer Student: What Jax effectively is in the first episode.
  • Never My Fault: Admiral Marcus hates Donovan Osbourne. Why? Because she tricked him into believing that her sister was a mole for the Zatarians, and that since he was married to her, he needed to step down from his position and she will take over instead. Osbourne decided to kill her in order to spare her a trial and to keep his job so that he can continue his work with the Pandora. Since then, Marcus has sworn revenge on him for taking her sister away, never mind that it was because of her that her sister ended in that situation in the first place.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: At the beginning of season one episode seven, there's an "industrialist and tech entrepreneur" Nelson Fisk being against a planetary evacuation of Earth to let the Earth eco system recover with him using the phrase "we can and we will make the Earth green again" in an interview (his plan with the CO2 scrubbers was 100% fake), which sounds like a rather transparent reference to Trump (with pieces of Elon Musk thrown into the mix).
  • No Social Skills:
    • Ralen is a Zatarian with very limited knowledge of Earth's social norms.
    • As a clone, Atria had a very sheltered upbringing by her master, who would not let her attend formal education, as is customary for the Adari masters. As a result she is hopelessly naive or clueless about many things on Earth (such as that casually having a threeway with a man and woman after she starts dating Tom would upset him).
  • Oblivious to Love: Ralen has to explain the fact that he has feelings for Jax at least three different times before she gets it. And she still thinks his brain is malfunctioning.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Jax is only rarely called "Jacqueline".
  • Only Sane Man: Pilar, who is the only one yet to let romantic or conspiracy-esque entanglements interfere with her life. She lampshades as much on a somewhat regular basis.
  • Our Showers Are Different: Jax has a Shower Scene in her room in the first episode, with the shower spraying mist against her body. It also has a door made of Hard Light that shows her Sexy Silhouette as she showers. She still appears wet after and uses a regular Modesty Towel when getting out.
  • Past-Life Memories: Jax starts having dreams of a woman that looks just like her from 150 years ago. Ralen, whose people firmly believe in past lives, thinks it's this and performs a ritual which helps retrieve more memories. However, it turns out to be something else.
  • Polyamory: Tom finds out Atria doesn't have an exclusive relationship with him when he finds her in a Shower of Love with two other classmates. He later convinces her to become an exclusive couple.
  • Population Control: A remote Human colony has everyone but its elders depart through a portal at age twenty five to somewhere else, which they claim is good, so the population doesn't grow too high. However, they admit to not actually knowing where this leads. Later it's learned they all die by doing so.
  • Power Incontinence: As Tom's psychic powers increase in scope, he rapidly loses control of them, being unable to shut out other people's thoughts, and unintentionally unleashing telekinetic pulses when the stress gets to be too much for him.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Sakira seems to be into Pilar, as she ogles her after using her hacked nanites to cause Pilar's nude walk in the bar, with her behavior generally coming off as that of an obsessed rapist/stalker, not only someone wanting revenge for getting shown up.
  • The Queenpin: Tierney's first appearance suggest she's only a handler to Billy, but it's later revealed she's actually the leader of the Hypatia Syndicate.
  • Really Gets Around: Atria sleeps with many of the academy students, no matter their gender, and relates some of her more exotic past encounters too (such as having sex with an intersex person from another species).
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • Harlan Fried was born over 150 years before the start of the series, but though appearing old he's still living. It's explained as being a result of multiple organ transplants from clones of his. He later "upgrades" himself into a young cloned body of himself. Odessa is revealed to have used this as well, and is also far older than she looks.
    • The elders on a remote planet have remained young for over a century with the energy of a portal, looking no older than in their thirties.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: The Zatarians have some minor forehead ridges and ridges around their eye sockets but are otherwise quite Human-looking.
  • Sex Goddess: According to Tom, Atria is a fantastic lover. Physically at least; emotionally he has trouble connecting with her.
  • Ship Sinking: Tom and Atria in episode 8 and 9, due to them both realizing she's in love with Ralen.
  • Shoulders-Up Nudity:
    • Jax is only seen from the shoulders up when stripping to take a shower in the first episode.
    • It happens again in episode 2 with the Atria clones coming out of their tanks nude but, since this is a CW show, only shot from the collarbone up or with Foot Focus.
    • Pilar is shown this way part of the time when she's made to parade around nude in the school.
  • Shoo the Dog: Tom's father has to spurn him away to keep Tierney from recruiting him into her organization. Played With in that he manages to give him a message via their telepathic connection, but they keep the ruse to fool Tierney.
  • Shout-Out
  • Showing Off the New Body: Harlan admires his new young body while shirtless in front of the mirror.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Zigzagged. Adaran society is clearly condemned over their enslavement of clones. However, Hypatia (although a slave society too), is not portrayed as quite so evil (while they're still bad guys), possibly since the slaves are all male and owned by women (with the protagonists even cracking jokes about this while having disguised themselves there as slaves/slave owners).
  • Space Cadet Academy: The Earth's Space Academy, which is the show's main setting.
  • Streaking: When Pilar is hacked, she's made to walk nude into the Black Hole, in front of a dozen students. Use of Scenery Censor, Shoulders-Up Nudity and Toplessness from the Back preserves her modesty to the viewer.
  • The Syndicate: The Hypatia Syndicate seems to be the main organized criminal group in Human space, with their hands in extortion and slave trafficking.
  • Take Off Your Clothes: Jax asks Ralen to give her his shirt (because of the blood on it she needs for a blood sample) he misunderstands and starts taking off the shirt he was currently wearing, but he's stopped.
  • Telepathy: Thomas has telepathic powers, which he inherited from his father, though they're limited to just being able to read emotional states. Until they start to grow more powerful.
  • The Theocracy: Adar is ruled by its religious leader, the Seeker. However, in an unusual example this is an elected position and Seekers run for office, so it's a kind of theocratic republic.
  • Theme Naming: Every episode of the first season is named after a Bob Dylan song.
  • Threeway Sex: Atria exits the showers with a man, then a woman to Tom's dismay. Later, he's seen lying in bed with two women as well. It's only implied in both cases.
  • Trapped by Gambling Debts: Billy, Tom's telepath father, is deep in debt with a dangerous crime syndicate who wants him to steal something from the academy for them.
  • Truly Single Parent: Jax gets pregnant mysteriously with a clone of herself in Season 2, and gives birth to a daughter who she names Bloom.
  • Undercover as Lovers: In episode 8, Jax and Xander pose as a bickering couple in order to spy on the Fried family.
  • The Vamp: Tierney, Billy's seductive fiancee, is actually a dangerous criminal who acts flirtatious to just about anyone she interacts with.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: Tierney takes an interest in Tom after seeing the potential of his telepathic abilities during the academy museum heist.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Atria, one of Jax's first friends at school, stands out due to her "natural purple". It's actually a wig she uses to hide her natural blonde hair which she shares with her fellow clones.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tom grows a grudge toward Jax when she uses him and his father in a dangerous situation solely to get information about the death of her parents.
  • Workout Fanservice: One conversation between Jax and Tierney just so happens to take place while they're going for a run, with both women wearing very tight revealing outfits that show their taut stomachs.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Sarika says to Ralen when she's caught that he won't hit her, being a woman, and he agrees it's true, but adds his wife has no such compunction (who promptly decks her).


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