After all the crazy adventures at the start of the season, you'd think going to visit the family would be less...weird and traumatic. Not so in Killjoys land! Spoilers ahead for episode (S0205)!
Johnny goes with Pawter in an official capacity as a RAC representative (and as moral support) to talk to her mom, leader of their branch of the Nine Families about the whole Wall Off Westerly issue. It seems as if the families are matriarchal, which is cool, but Lady of the Land Seyah Simms is not nice. Pawter has to get the exile lifted on her before she can do anything about Old Town and etc, but even though she does everything right and Johnny tries to do what a guest is meant to do right, too, Mamma Simms shoots her down before she can even really ask.
Which is harsh.
In the meantime, their family servant Castor and her commoner father (he was a carpenter before marrying WAY UP, and is actually pretty sweet) are the only ones really nice to Pawter, but Castor has no say in anything and her father is not the boss of that house--he's at a lower social standing, and he's not the matriarch, and so he's able to suggest things and broach the subject, but Seyah won't listen to him, either. He loves her more than he loves Pawter, it seems, even though Pawter needs it more.
Thankfully for our heroes, there's a crisis only they can really handle almost immediately, so they get a chance to prove themselves.
Castor goes out to get Louella, Pawter's sister, a boat so she can go deep sea diving after their failed dinner, but while he's there, he gets exposed to a creepy mist that freezes him solid in just a few minutes, and he shatters into thankfully-not-gross shards right in the middle of the foyer. Shards that don't melt.
Pawter goes to help her mom, a scientist, study the problem, and does a good job even though her mom won't stop harassing her about her bad life choices--all of which she's been working for years to get beyond, and she feels she's proven the worth of her skills by doing things like reattaching legs to four year olds. But her mom wanted her to lead the family, not "cure tummy aches", and since she won't lead, she's still exiled. Even though now she actually does want to take her rightful place, and her mom is the one keeping her from leading.
Her mom doesn't make a lot of sense.
While they're working on that, Louella gets infected and Pawter has to chop off her hand to stop it from spreading up her arm and killing her, too, Pawter's ex who is now her sister's fiancee bails, and Johnny figures out that the mist is coming for them because it's trapped inside a medical forcefield--one that is used specifically for keeping pathogens inside, not for keeping enemies out. The fact that it's up means someone knew it was coming--
And Mamma Simms admits that she created the infection. It's supposed to literally make the planet uninhabitable, but something went wrong--though, really, since it's freezing everything the way she said it was meant to, it doesn't really look like it went wrong. She says she can't let anyone take the planet, but doesn't elaborate at all on who might be doing that or why. And she's already infected herself and connected her body to a med-scanner so that Pawter will have a full record of what happens so she can cure it.
And then she dies without ever officially lifting the exile or telling her traumatized daughters that she loves them, instead spouting some mess about how to lead you have to become what you hate--which seems like a really awful leadership method and maybe that's why they're in whatever mess they're in now. Hopefully that's not a lesson the next generation will take to heart.
Johnny wanted to blow up the field's power source, but when Seyah says that would kill the whole planet, he stops it. Even though it was her plan to kill the planet anyway? Once they figure out what it is, though, he changes his plan to blow up the pathogen before it kills all of them...except that the weenie fiancee shows up again and tries to stop him from doing it, meaning the detonator has to be set off by someone standing right there because it's damaged in the scuffle. Right where the explosion will be. Johnny is going to do it--it's his plan--but Pappa Simms takes over: he wants Johnny to take care of his daughter, and he actually loved his hard-hearted wife so he's ready for a grand sacrifice.
They burn off the creepy mist, but the Simms family is now only two people, one of whom lost her arm as well as both parents AND their lifelong servant at once, and it's gonna be a strange road for the Simms sisters soon. Pawter has been living rough and dealing with strange events for a while now, but Louella barely even knew any of this was a thing; she's probably going to have the harder time of it. If we're lucky, we'll get to see it as Pawter goes about learning how to lead a family of grabby cousins and hangers on.
Pawter takes the oath to be the new Lady of the Land, as the elder daughter. It'll be rough probably, but if she and the braver-than-she-seemed Louella are all that's left of the family, they should be on a fairly progressive path now. And she's now going to be one of the most powerful people in the Quad, so she should be able to do some good...or at least she thinks she can. She's a bit idealistic, so who wants to bet it won't be that easy?
Johnny decides that he wants to care about things as much as Pawter does, and he wants to take her side in the coming conflict--even though that's a direct breach of his Killjoy oath of absolute nutrality. They kiss, finally, for real and good, and they're looking like they're shaping up to be a cool power couple in the Quad.
Meanwhile, other reunions are happening!
Dav has been feeling weird in the head again, because Khlyen happens to have access to his brain--despite him being immune to the goo. Is there nothing that stuff can't do? He gets the location of the Jacobis dad in his first intrusion, and goes to their home planet to see if he's also immune. He's not, but he is old and broken down and probably still a drunk, and them injecting his spine directly with green goo doesn't agree with him much.
Khlyen decides to see if it's their mother that gave Dav the immunity, and contacts Dav's brain again, but that time, Dutch is paying attention and Dav knows what's going on, and he fights back...which results in a Freaky Friday body-swap! Because why not. And because this show is bonkers and it's fun. The best part is that it's weird, but no one is all that disturbed by the idea, which implies that body-swapping is a known thing that can happen and isn't all that unusual.
This is probably the best part of the episode, to be honest: actors playing each other's characters is always so much fun, and Dav inhabited by Khlyne is chilling, while Khlyne inhabited by Dav is kind of hilarious. The two actors do such a good job of talking and moving like each other! And maybe the characters will come to understand each other a little better after literally walking in each others' shoes some.
While Khlyne is in Dav's body and spending time with Dutch, he helps her take down an uprising from their two current warrants--a pair of cyborgs who are sort of gross and vicious and manage to slice up Dav's side before they knock them out. The trauma weakens the body, and makes the side effect of the mind-switch worse: he gets sicker and weaker and his body starts shutting down. Dutch tells him that she doesn't hate him anymore, but it was easier when she did. He tells her that he had plans for her and Dav messed them up--and that it wasn't her on Arkyn in Dav's memory. So, what was it then? She's a clone? A reincarnation? The same body but a different mind--though she remembers being a kid, so that would have to be explained.
Dav gets to see his dad and tell him he left because he was afraid he'd kill the abusive jerk if he didn't, and then gets to save him from Fancy Lee, who knows immediately that it's Dav in the body of his boss and tries to clean house. Papa Jacobis gets away, and Dav learns that his dad isn't this big scary thing--he's actually small and pathetic.
Dutch and Khlyen figure out that a big enough shock should send them back to their own bodies, and they use the cyborg zapper-hand to do it, sending Khlyen back to Fancy, and Dav back to Duch, but Khlyen now knows what made Dav special: the military operated on his brain when he was with them, and it changed something fundamental in the structure. He wants to do the same thing to other people and see if they're made immune too. Which, ew. Also, I'm hoping that he's still somehow intrinsically immune and that the brain surgery is some other thing, or only part of the immunity--because surgery doesn't explain why the mossipedes wouldn't touch him.
It was a neat episode, and it feels like it quietly opened up the world while we were distracted by the characters--we now know at least one other planet, we know Khlyen can do long-distance communication both through mental manipulation AND that he has FTL comms that Dutch didn't even know existed, and we know a little more about the Nine. Someone is coming for them--it ties into Delle Seyah's "living human seed bank" idea from last episode, but we still don't know what they need to protect their culture from--except that it's something bad enough that Seyah Simms wanted to kill the whole planet to avoid it. And now Johnny is dating practically a princess, someone one-nineth in charge of the whole Quad, if not beyond! We also know a little about the highly ritualized Qreshi culture that they're all coming up against, and only Pawter so far has successfully navigated both that and the lowerclass Old Town life. And she likes Old Town better!
We also know that Dav is trying to hit it off with Sabine in Pree's bar and that it's not going all that great. Dutch seems more amused than anything else, and Dav isn't happy that she saw him pass out from Khlyen's interferance, but there's an edge there: if it works, will Dutch still be amused? And if he gets Sabine the peaches she's been craving, will he win her over?
And then, right at the end, a rattled and confused Dutch asks Johnny if he'd tell her if anything changed--because he's her gravity, the thing that keeps her anchored--and he says he would...but doesn't tell her about either making out with Pawter OR choosing sides in the coming conflict. He's doing it because he's worried about her and trying to protect her when she's already upset, but it's the wrong thing to do when she literally just asked if everything was the same, and it's going to come back to bite them. Please don't wind up on different sides, Johnny and Dutch!
More notes on Killjoys 2.5 "Meet the Parents":