You know, for a show with umpteen alien races, crazy metal tentacle gods and psychotic albinos, I still feel like I know where Defiance is going most of the time. But I did not have this problem in last night's episode.
Let's begin with the boring announcement that Alak has managed to impregnate Christie McCawley, of which the prime benefit is that Graham Greene's Rafe gets another fun scene where he threatens to kill Alak if he doesn't knock off all the gangstering. Alak would be fine with that; his terrible record business is somehow succeeding, he's hiring prostitutes as DJs, his mom's handling the gang stuff, but unfortunately, even from jail, Datak won't let him give it up.
I mention this mostly because this scene introduces us to the McCawley's servant Bertie, who is so excited that her mistress is pregnant that I almost cheered when Irisa beat her to death. See, the crazy little girl in Irisa' head is still extremely into having Irisa beat people to death; even when Irisa handcuffs herself somewhere, the girl merely snaps her fingers and Irisa wakes up over Bertie's body covered in blood.
Irisa flees Defiance and finds Sukar, a.k.a. Klingon Space Jesus, and they have a touching reunion until Crazy Head Girl forces Irisa to kill him as well — where we finally learn that Irisa isn't beating these people up. Instead, she's vomiting some of the filaments that sprouted from her in the season one finale into her victims' mouths. We don't know what the deal is, but we do know that Irisa is not happy with this situation, so she tucks a rifle under her chin and pulls the trigger.
Yes, in one of Defiance's most harrowing scenes, Irisa kills herself — and while she's dead, Irisa has a vision of the past: the Votan spaceship, apparently on its way to Earth, where someone who looks just like Irisia in some kind of uniform tellg a co-conspirator they have to take over the ship to prevent the Votan colelctive from terraforming the Earth and wiping out humanity. Then Irisa comes to with a significant portion of her face missing. She begins to slowly, painfully regenerate, while Crazy Head Girl mockingly sings her a song. Defiance has never exactly been a light-hearted romp, but this scene is extremely dark, and incredibly effective because of it.
Crazy Head Girl also tells Irisa she isn't killing these people, but saving them — which sounds preposterous until Bertie pops up, apparently completely okay. Elsewhere, Sukar wakes up as well. A cut to LA shows the Mohawk Irathient lady Irisa had purportedly beat to death in the premiere doing just fine, other than chasing down a kid to vomit some of filiaments into his mouth. And thus it spreads… whatever "it" is.
And suddenly, the mystery of what the hell is happening to Irisa has gotten a lot more interesting. What is inside her? What is it doing? What the hell is the deal with the flashback? And there's another potential complication because Pottinger has used Doc's severed finger to get into her safe, where she has… something, which may have to do with the experiments she was doing on Irisa in the season one finale. Pottinger frees her to continue her work on the E-Rep's behalf, and I'll be shocked if this "work" doesn't directly involve Irisa and the craziness inside her.
And speaking of Doc: Pottinger has allowed her an assistant, and Doc has chosen Datak, so he too gets his release. It's an objectively terrible decision, because Doc has picked him to protect her, but 1) he's a uncontrollable psychopath, which he proves in this very episode when he tries to beat up his son through his prison wall when he finally figures out Stahma has not been trying to free him, and 2) the chances of him putting his job for Doc ahead of his criminal enterprises is basically nil.
But it gives us "The Cord and the Ax's" other great scene, when Datak, filthy from the six-mile walk from Camp Reverie back to Defiance, enters his home and joins his family in the bath. As he enters the pristine bath, the dirt and mud radiate off him polluting the water his wife and son share. It's not at all subtle, but it's really, really well done, and Tony Curran has exactly the right look of smug, vicious rage on his face. And then he flips the fuck out because he's still a psychopath, and beats up Alak and half-drowns Stahma. But even this is almost worth it, because the episode ends with Stahma hanging onto the edge of the bath, gasping for air, but with a smoldering rage in her eyes — a rage she immediately buries, and will obviously release at the right moment. It's a lesson Datak could stand to learn.
• Seriously, Defiance, I could not give less of a shit about Alak's record label. It just makes me mad whenever you mention it.
• While hunting for Irisa, Nolan snoops through Irisa's diary. We'll see if that has any consequences.
• Tommy really fucking hates Nolan right now. I would love an episode devoted to Tommy and Berlin doing nothing but calling Nolan on all his bullshit.
• I am really sad that Datak has turned into a simple monster; I miss the cunning he displayed in season one. Smart evil is always more fascinating than dumb evil. But still, the scene where he returns home was pretty great.
• Amanda is now doing Space Heroin with Pottinger, but still having sex with Nolan. Which is a lovely tie-in to the line of the night, via Nolan to Pottinger: "I didn't go to high school, but I imagine this is what it was like."