‘Defiance’ 2.04 Episode Recap and Review: Beasts of Burden


Pottinger and Berlin are part of a caravan bringing new, fancy mining equipment to Defiance. Not far from town, the caravan is attacked by masked raiders. Pretty much everyone except the named characters is killed, and the raiders make off with the mining equipment. The leader of the raiders wants to make sure that Pottinger knows he’s been beaten, so he forces the mayor to strip to his skivvies and submit to being urinated on. It’s a very special scene.

Almost as soon as he gets into town, Pottinger sends Nolan after the raiders. Nolan tries to explain that it’s going to be like finding a needle in a haystack, but evidently getting peed on makes this rather personal for Pottinger. Nolan starts by seeing if Doc Yewll has found any clues on the bodies of the dead eReps. As a matter of fact, she has. There’s a gulanite footprint on the back of one of the men, meaning whoever the raiders were, they’d been to the mines recently. Nolan, knowing what a tempest that information would kick up, casually destroys the footprint right in front of Tommy. Bad move.

Nolan heads out to the MacCauley compound to see if Rafe knows anything. Of course, the one surviving raider is hanging out there, seeing as how Yoseph is Rafe’s godson. Rafe has already expressed his extreme displeasure at Yoseph, but prevents Nolan from taking him in by calling in a hell of a favor. Nolan returns the stolen mining equipment to the eReps, saying that he found it in a cave out in the Badlands. Since Tommy already snitched about the gulanite dust, Pottinger isn’t exactly inclined believe Nolan’s tale.

Rather than get the heck out of Defiance, as Rafe and Nolan instructed him to, Yoseph has gone to see Berlin and retrieve the camera footage that would implicate him in the theft. It goes pear-shaped when she sees his face, so he kidnaps her and holds her hostage in a nearby cave. Nolan and Rafe find him before he’s able to hurt Berlin, but they’re only just in time. Nolan ends up taking a bullet to the leg and sends Rafe to deal with Yoseph. Rafe catches up to the man and tells him to run and keep running in order to save himself. When Yoseph finally complies, Rafe draws his weapon and shoots him dead.

When Amanda stops by Pottinger’s office for her Adreno hit, we find out why he’s so unwilling to let the incident go. When he was in boarding school, the Votans attacked and kept him and his classmates locked up for 11 days without food or access to facilities. They were subjected to various, unspecified humiliations, and it’s implied that the smell of urine reminds him of all of that. Amanda sympathizes, revealing that she was raped back when she and Kenya lived in New York. She became pregnant, aborted the baby, and lost her fiancé, so she packed everything up and headed west. This somewhat humanizing sharing of horrific tales doesn’t stop Pottinger from evicting Rafe the next day.

Over on the other side of town, the Tarr family is having its own drama. Now that Datak is back home, Stahma tells him of how she’s improved the business and suggests that he make her an equal partner in its running. Datak, being who he is, rather vehemently denies her. Instead, he takes Alak out to see what’s what. On their way to a “business meeting,” the two are detained by a pair of eReps who served under General Marsh. They harass Datak, but rather than fighting back, he turns the other cheek and offers them a formal apology for killing their leader. We come to find out later that Stahma hired the two eReps in an attempt to get Datak arrested for assaulting a military officer. No dice.

At the meeting, Datak tells his men that one of them must die for the shame of their having followed a woman. He makes Alak choose the man, but Alak refuses, telling his father to choose him, instead. Datak lashes out and kills a random minion, but tells his son that he’s impressed. So impressed, in fact, that he isn’t going to burn down Alak’s record pressing business, as he’d originally planned. Instead, he scars Alak’s hand in one of the presses and calls it even.

Christie is decidedly unamused as she tends her young husband’s wounds back at home. When Stahma discovers what Datak has done, she’s straight up enraged and definitely has something in mind. The next day, Datak heads to his business tent, only to find Stahma and Alak already there with the rest of his men. Stahma shows that she’s the one in control and has Datak beaten and thrown out. Before she walks away, she leans down and tells him, “you should have made me a partner.”

Okay, so I know Datak’s going to fight his way back up. What I don’t know is how and what that’s going to do to the rest of the Tarr family (all of whom I admittedly have a soft spot for). I know it’s not going to be pretty, and I’m willing to bet that Pottinger is going to be behind it. We’ll see how that goes down.

Also on the horizon is the inevitable uprising down in the mines. Things are getting hotter and hotter, and evicting Rafe isn’t going to win the eReps any friends. I’m guessing that things aren’t going to come to a real head before the end of the season, but with things this tense, it’s definitely going to start boiling over soon.


Things to Ponder:

  • Who wants to bet that Pottinger is going to use Amanda’s past against her? We already know he’s willing to manipulate the entire black market supply of Adreno, just to make sure he can watch her get high in private.
  • Speaking of which, has Amanda totally given up on finding out what happened to Kenya, or is that going to end up being part of what brings Stahma down a notch or two?
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  1. I liked the episode – particularly where Datak was beaten and thrown in the street. Tommy is nothing but a willing collaborator. Irisa deserves better than him. And Berlin is boring and a useless character and she’s made Tommy one too.

    I have no problem with Yosef killing the eReps who basicly are like Nazis. The Nazis had families too but that didn’t mean that they weren’t Nazis, who are imprisoning the people in Defiance.

    I don’t believe the story that Pottinger told Amanda. I think it was all a lie to get sympathy from her. He’s using her.

    It makes no sense that Datak wasn’t executed for killing the Colonel in cold blood and without provocation. And for him to be released from prison is even more ridiculous. I wonder if Stahma ever cared for Datak. From the story she told Christie in the first season it sounded like Datak murdered her fiance. Maybe Stahma felt that she didn’t have any choice but to marry him, plus she felt that he would protect the family. While Stahma is rulthless, I always got the impression that she cared for her son Alak and had some humanity. Even when she took over it benefitted Alak since he really didn’t want to be a gangster and he could just run his music business which is what he was really interested in. Datak, on the other hand, showed how little he cares for either Stahma or Alak and how abusive he is.

    I used to like Amanda last season but I can’t stand the character this season. Her running a brothel and being a drug addict is totally out of character.

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