Being a very perceptive chap, John also starts to realize that the trick to getting D’Argo might be to force him to relive that entire story. The reason D’Argo ends up revealing those last elements, about Lo’laan’s real identity and his “true” crime (which is, of course, that he was framed for Lo’laan’s murder, although there are even more layers to this, which aren’t revealed until the fourth season’s “Mental as Anything”) is because John pushes him, actively taking on the role of Macton and being borderline cruel in order for D’Argo to ultimately break through the illusion. Although it’s hard for John, this directness–as when he confronted D’Argo in “Back and Back and Back to the Future,” about the “true crime” before he actually knew what it was–was the right call for the big guy, and the whole group emerges stronger for this new honesty with one another. They now also know that D’Argo has a son out there who he managed to hide on another planet in order to save him from the Peacekeepers.
John helping to solve this mystery then, of course, also comes to parallel his eventually cracking the other one. All of the heightened emotions in D’Argo’s story are reflected in the turmoil going on with Moya, who has been behaving dangerously erratically. She shuts off Pilot’s nutrients, causing him to slip into a coma, and turns off the vital functions meant to keep the crew alive. And for the majority of the episode, they think that she might have been affected by the “virus” that attacked D’Argo, lashing out at them because she is similarly going mad. Even the DRDs–who are revealed to have an even stronger link with Moya than we may have realized before this episode–have begun turning on the crew, going so far as to threaten their lives when they get too close to what turns out to be where the baby is growing. That Hitchcockian horror scene in which John finds them swarming around him is terrifically creepy and darkly funny.
For most of the episode, this seems to be an entirely different story than what it actually is. It looks like the biomechonoid equivalent of one of those sci-fi episodes where the ship’s robot is infected with a virus that causes it to view its crew as a threat. Instead, they are simply the actions of a mother trying to protect her child. And is it any wonder she doesn’t initially trust them? They don’t fully trust one another.
It’s even possible that it partially springs from her having felt Pilot’s pain at their hands in “DNA Mad Scientist” and not knowing what to think of them, combined with her fierce maternal instincts. Meanwhile, since Pilot isn’t her original Pilot and isn’t naturally connected to her, it may explain why she doesn’t fully trust him yet either. Leave it to John to be the one to come up with a solution, which is to talk to Moya, through a DRD, in order to transmit to her how happy they all are for her and how much they love her baby, as well as to plead with her to allow them to remain with her as well, and Moya feels that love pouring from him–as I’ve said before, he’s a deeply empathetic character, particularly at this early point in the series–and subsequently restores life support, in one of the few genuinely, unqualified happy endings to a Farscape episode. This is the moment I believe John becomes a truly indispensable member of the team. He is the one who unites them as a family here for the first time. He is the connective tissue without which this band might have already split up by this point.
Other odds and ends:
–This episode establishes that Luxans can survive for about a quarter arn in the void of space, a fact that comes to factor into the season finale in a major way.
–As previously alluded to, this episode also establishes that, although Aeryn no longer has any exterior Pilot features, that she still has some of his DNA within her. Not only does she continue to feel a connection to Pilot but to Moya as well, and after Pilot falls unconscious, she finds herself intuitively knowing how to operate Moya’s controls. The importance of this link will recur throughout the series.
–John and Aeryn have even more physical closeness in this episode than a lot of the other early ones, starting off with her piggybacking on his shoulders in order to make repairs, and later when she ends up with her hand fused to the floor thanks to the DRD’s purple goo.
–Speaking of the two of them, they have a fascinating scene in which John opens up to Aeryn about all of the death, disease, and sadness on Earth, the first time he’s ever really discussed his planet’s negative qualities, which makes her even more bemused by his desire to go back. This is another indirect Wizard of Oz echo, as it’s like asking Dorothy why she’d ever want to return to gray, dusty Kansas after being exposed to the Technicolor fantasy land of Oz. And the reason, of course, is that, to John, it’s home–just like Aeryn’s cold, hostile Command Carriers are to her.
–I always found Lo’laan to be an excellent name for D’Argo’s wife, because unlike some of the other Peacekeeper names that sound like they could have almost been from Earth, Lo’laan sounds more alien (though not outrageously so), which helps throw us further off the Sebacean scent.