'Killjoys' and the Problem with Pathogens

Pawter and Johnny take out an icy threat on Qresh, while Dutch and Johnny go 'Freaky Friday,' but with less Jamie Lee Curtis.

Steve Wilkie/Syfy/Killjoys II Productions Limited

This week on Killjoys, the gang divides and conquers as Johnny and Pawter give diplomacy a chance on Qresh, while Dutch and D’avin track down a couple of warrants. But, because this is still the Quad, things get weird. Fast.

On Qresh, Pawter’s trying and failing to convince her mother to cool it with the whole kick-Old-Town-while-it’s-down thing when a pathogen that turns humans into ice sculptures complicates matters.

A weaponized version of a virus created by Pawter’s mother, the pathogen is spreading quickly around the Simms Estate and threatening Pawter, Johnny and everyone inside the Simms’s alpha shield. After Pawter’s mother infects herself and subsequently turns as icy literally as she is figuratively, the survivors are left with something of a complicated solution: more or less torching the place to kill the virus.

Steve Wilkie/Syfy/Killjoys II Productions Limited

Meanwhile aboard Lucy, things go awry when Khlyen taps into D’avin’s brain to get some information on his parents so that he can figure out why he’s immune to the Level 6 green goop.

When D’av pushes back, they pull a body switch that lands D’av in Khlyen’s super strong Level 6 body on Telen with Fancy Lee and D’avs useless ass-bag of a dad, while Khlyen takes up residence in D’av’s body on Lucy with Dutch. Dutch gets an answer or two from Khlyen/D’avin about Red 17 and Arkyn, but mostly Khlyen’s his typical infuriating/unnerving self.

In one of the best scenes of the episode, Dutch and Johnny pull a little Quad FaceTime action to ask some “hypothetical” questions about shocking the shit out of a brain and blowing up a bunch of gas lines. They then proceed to do what they do best: save the day with some good old fashioned killjoy ingenuity.

Eventually, D’av and Khlyen are returned to their own bodies (with a few new dents and scratches, in D’av’s case), and the Simms family is dramatically altered after Pawter’s mother and father fall victim to the pathogen. Pawter then steps up and takes her place as the Lady of the Land.

Steve Wilkie/Syfy/Killjoys II Productions Limited

“Pretty, pretty princess” Pawter is in full effect post-coronation as she and Johnny have a heart-to-heart about what this means for them, the Nine, and the Quad. The through line? If Johnny wants to be in this with Pawter, to “give a shit,” there are going to be things he can’t tell anyone. Even Dutch.

Johnny makes it clear: he’s in. But later, Dutch gets real with Johnny.

Everything’s been changing around them — the RAC, Level 6, Khlyen, Old Town, Pawter, Alvis — but Johnny’s been a constant. “Youre my gravity, Johnny Jaqobis,” she says.

Johnny has a deer-in-the-headlights moment, but recovers, brave-facing it as he assures Dutch that nothing’s changed, even though it has. Pawter’s bonafide royalty now, and Johnny’s keeping more secrets from Dutch than ever.

In “Meet the Parents,” we see Pawter in an entirely new element. Old Town Pawter and Qreshi princess Pawter are wildly different, and just about every week, this season’s given us the gift of new insight into her. Getting to see her hero up in new and unexpected ways is proof that for all of its fantastic world building and deep mythology, the real strength of Killjoys has always been its ability to keep characters fresh and compelling in new places, whether it’s underground in a mine or in a house Liberace saw in a fever dream.

Steve Wilkie/Syfy/Killjoys II Productions Limited

Everything has changed on Killjoys. No longer is Pawter just an Old Town doctor she has real responsibilities and a real title on Qresh, and within the Nine. Johnny’s caught between the purported neutrality of being an RAC agent and his loyalty to Pawter. Dutch is still baffled by the transmission sent from Red 17, but they’re closer now, and Khlyens promised answers. Davin’s suddenly having trouble talking to pretty girls at bars.

We’re at the mid-point of the season, and we should totally expect to see shit hitting the fan with increasing frequency in its back half. Can’t wait.

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