‘Defiance’ 2.01 Episode Recap and Review: The Opposite of Hallelujah


Just a quick reminder of the salient events of last season’s finale so we all know what’s been going down: Nolan got shot trying to rescue Irisa from the E-Reps. Irisa turned herself into an avatar of Irzu in order to save him, then disappeared. Stahma slept with Kenya, then tried to convince her that they should flee Defiance together to escape Datak’s wrath. Kenya doesn’t fall for it, but ends up alone in the woods with Stahma, anyway. Stahma poisons and kills her as a way of earning Datak’s forgiveness. Datak beat Amanda in the mayoral race, then discovered he was an easily-discarded pawn of the Earth Republic. He killed General Marsh in a fit of rage, bringing down the E-Rep and martial law in Defiance.

All caught up? Good.

Fast forward nine months, and here’s where we stand now. Amanda is running the Need/Want until Kenya “comes back.” Rafe no longer owns the mines, since they were “nationalized” by the E-Rep. Datak is in Camp Reverie, a prison camp about six miles away from Defiance, and Nolan has been out tracking the Irath cult that was so into Irisa last season in hopes of finding his daughter again.

Everyone kind of has their own thing going on this episode, so we can break it down by plot line. Let’s start with the Tarr family (because frankly, they’re my favorite part of the show). Alak is “running” the family business, but he’s young and stupid and therefore a little too soft to be the head of a crime family just yet. Skeever, his Adreno supplier, is late on his delivery (and a little too flippant about it), so Alak gives him a few more days to work it out. Even we can tell that it’s a bad call, as it makes Alak look weak in front of his cronies. Back at home, Stahma lays out his error for him, but Alak gets all “I’m the man in this household!!” and storms out.

Stahma uses her spare time to visit Datak at Camp Reverie and give him a rather sugar-coated update on how his business ventures are faring. (She also tries to take care of some of OTHER business for Datak, but a prison guard puts the kibosh on that pretty quickly.) Later on, Datak runs into Doc Yewll when she saves him from a beatdown during suppertime. She has a plan for escape, but it takes two, and Datak is her best bet.

Back in town, Alak is approached by a visibly beaten Skeever, who gives him both the Adreno and his money back. Alak isn’t exactly an idiot (not EXACTLY) and heads home to confront Stahma about her machinations behind the scenes. What follows is the most awesomely quiet-voiced verbal smackdown that I’ve ever heard. God bless you, Jaime Murray. She quite firmly tells Alak that the family business now belongs to her, and that he’s going to be the figurehead who delivers her orders. No kidding, this was the best scene in the entire episode.

Down in the now government-owned mines, the workers are pulling down better paychecks, but at the cost of their health and safety. A piece of equipment collapses on one of the workers, taking first his arm and eventually his life. His death becomes a polarizing issue for the miners, especially for his two sons. They start spreading rebellion down in the mines and are arrested for defacing E-Rep banners and spitting on the E-Rep Viceroy. The boys are transported to Camp Reverie, but manage to “escape” along the way. Of course, they escape in hellbug territory and one of them is almost immediately eaten.

The whole incident convinces Amanda that it’d be best for Defiance if she took the Mayor up on his offer of the Chief of Staff position. It looks like he’d also really love for her to be the chief of a different “staff,” as he spends no small amount of time perving on her via a couple of cameras hidden in her bedroom. It’s also how he knows about her new, quiet addiction to Adreno.

Beyond the walls of Defiance, Nolan is still trying to find Irisa by tracking members of that cult. He finally finds the guy who actually implanted the keys in her and gets a lead that she’s near a “stone wall covered in handprints.” That turns out to be the ruins of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in what’s left of Los Angeles. Nolan finds a blademaker who’s seen Irisa. He gets a location out of the vendor, who turns around and alerts someone else that Nolan is in town. Our former lawkeeper gets jumped by a bunch of goons and fortunately rescued by none other than the very girl that he’s been trying to find.

Irisa tells Nolan that the E-Reps put her in a prison caravan heading west. It got hit by hellbugs, and she was the only survivor. She’s spent the last nine months scrounging up enough to buy blades and a roller to get back. She totally denies Nolan’s crazy story from last season, telling him it must be PTSD from when he got shot. Now that they’re reunited, Nolan wants to hop on his boat and head to Antarctica, but Irisa says they have to return to Defiance. That desire may or may not be fueled by the exceedingly creepy vision of Irzu that seems to be following her around and telling her to kill at random (which we see her do at least once).

Finally on the road to Defiance, Irisa has a vivid vision of killing Nolan. She shakes herself out of it in time to see Irzu in the back seat, motioning for her to be quiet and not tell Nolan of her presence.

I can definitely see what Executive Producer Kevin Murphy meant when he said that this season of Defiance is darker. It’s obviously been an extremely rough nine months for just about every character in the show with the exception of Stahma. All of our main characters are involved in more machinations with higher stakes than ever before. I think this is going to be a fantastic season!


Things to Ponder:

  • What’s going to happen when Amanda realizes that Kenya is dead?
  • What’s Irzu’s real plan here? For that matter, what is Irzu?
  • So… in what capacity has Amanda taken over the Need/Want? She’s obviously running the bar and such, but it’s left pretty vague as to whether or not she’s just the owner/madam, or if she’s putting in hours working the seedier side of things herself.


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