It’s getting tougher and tougher to recap Defiance, and I love it. This is because the show is getting continually better at using the plot to develop its characters, making it hard to summarize, but really, really good to watch.
Let’s start with the plot, though — a bounty hunter has tracked a Pale War war criminal named Pol Madis (a Castithan) into Defiance; when he confronts him, Pol sets off a small blue crystal bomb that hurts several Defiancians, but Nolan manages to cuff him. The bounty tells Nolan not to leech his target — and Nolan turns around to discover it’s his old war buddy Eddie.
Eddie is one of those characters tailor-made to betray the hero — a cliché so omnipresent that I honestly wouldn’t have faulted Defiance for using it, but it doesn’t, not really (I’ll explain in a minute). Eddie wants to take Pol into the Earth Republic to get the massive reward, while Nolan, who feels responsible for getting justice for the wounded constituents, wants to have his trial in Defiance. They argue, but their friendship and past are stroinger than their differences, and they make up pretty quick.
Of course, Pol escapes his cell for a while, and Nolan and Eddie have to hunt him down; Pol actually hides out at Datak’s place, forcing his fellow Castithan to take him out of the city before Nolan manages to catch him (the way Nolan knows that Pol is at Datak’s and is holding him against is will? Datak is nice to Nolan when Nolan does his door-to-door search).
But here’s all the stuff we learn about the main characters and the world of Defiance while this story is playing out:
• Kenya is falling in love with Nolan, and this deeply disturbs her. Like, shuts off the free sex the very next day-type disturbed.
• Doc Yewll seems to have had a very shady part in the war, as Pol says he’s a “fan” of her work while she’s treating him in his cell, and en threatens to reveal her past to the others before she claims he’s mistaken and walks away.
• Nolan used to be nicknamed “No-Man” when he was a soldier. He tells Irisa that it’s because he was once stuck in a “No Man’s Land” for a while, but as Eddie eventually reveals its actually short for “Leave No Man Standing.”
• After Nolan and his squad found Irisa, he was ordered to give her to an internment camp. “Uncle Eddie” stole a roller for them and created a diversion so they could escape, although Eddie spent several years in prison.
• The various aliens, collectively called the Votan, are trying to create their own nation in South America, and Datak is funding it because he feels he should, but he’s much more interesting in the opportunities Defiance provides him. Pol points out Datak’s hypocrisy, and Datak is clearly disturbed.
• Mayor Amanda apparently once had a thing with Connor, the envoy the Earth Republic sends to get Pol.
• Rafe McCawley might be the only person who realized the Evil Ex-Mayor is Evil, telling Quentin she’s “A dangerous woman.”
• Speaking of Quentin, not only hs he been studying the Artifact Luke had found and the caves he found them in, but the Artifact is talking to him in the guise of his brother Luke. The Artifact even gets him to kill Evil Ex-Mayor’s minion Birch, who he finds snooping in his house for said Artifact, and then has him dispose of the body in the mines.
• Even the episode’s new supporting characters get fleshed out; Eddie still clearly cares about Irisa, even though she barely knew him when she was little and doesn’t remember him now. He doesn’t regret going to prison for Nolan and Irisa, although he does feel Nolan owes him a bit (understandably so).
• Meanwhile, Pol is a weapons manufacturer (who was once an engineer for Karl Von Bach, one of the characters in the Defiance videogame). As it turns out the Earth Republic want Pol not to make him answer for his crimes, but to make new weapons for them, and the only reason Pol is running is because he think he can get a better deal from the Votanis Collective in South America (although they’ve disavowed him since the armistace).
• When Nolan discovers Eddie has been trying to bring Pol to the E-Rep, not to make him pay for his crimes, Nolan clearly doesn’t feel betrayed as much as angry at his friend; also, he shoots Pol in the head himself. Eddie is delightfully shocked at Nolan’s casual murder, and angry that his friend has cost him a great deal of money, and, in the heat of the moment, decides to turn Nolan in for his bounty. He pretty quickly cools down, and then takes the fall for Nolan's killing of Pol with the E-Rep guys when they show up, again because Nolan has a family.
• It would have been so, so easy to make Eddie the bad guy, but he isn't. He isn;'t the smartest guy, and he can clearly get a bit emotional, but he's a genuinely good guy at heart, his dual-sacrifice — which he does pretty happily on both occasions — makes him a wonderful sketched out character, and one that I hope we haven't seen the last of.
• The Votanis Collective and the Earth Republic are clearly getting ready for a new war with each other, which is likely one of the main reasons Mayor Amanda wants to make sure Defiance stays out of the Earth Republic’s debt — and hands).
That’s good stuff, people. I don’t think Game of Thrones needs to worry or anything, but Defiance has had three very solid episodes in a row. What makes me even more excited is the preview they ran at the end of the episode, which I have to assume includes the entire rest of the season and not just the next episode because it’s absolutely packed with insanity. I'm actually kind of sad that Defiance is off next week for Memorial Day.
• Nolan takes Eddie to the NeedWant, where he tries to hire Kenya and backs down when he realizes she and Nolan have a thing. Nolan, while not thrilled, knows it’s Kenya’s job and Kenya’s choice, and leaves it to her. Kenya heads upstairs with the dude... although she has second thoughts and gives him a free threesome for his troubles. Sorry, the failure of everybody to get hung-up about sex in this show continues to amaze me, obviously.
• Speaking of, sorry about your luck, Tommy.
• Interesting development with the Artifact (I’m sure Defiance is capitalizing it) telling Quentin to kill than dude and hide the body. Does that mean Luke was actually a decent kid before he found it?
• In the future, “vibrators” are called “vibras” because THE FUTURE
• “Six-legged monkey crawl”? I bet Tommy could do that. I bet Podrick Payne could do it better and twice as long.
• Again, Defiance is off next week because of Memorial Day, so I’ll see you guys in two. There is going to be a Defiance marathon if you want to sit through the rocky early episodes and the very good last few episodes, though.