Defiance's Nolan Investigates The Case Of The Terrorist's Pinata

Illustration for article titled ​emDefiance/ems Nolan Investigates The Case Of The Terrorists Pinata

Nolan and Irisa have returned to Defiance, so the show needs not only to catch them up with what's happening, but to get Nolan back in his role as Lawkeeper. The solution? An exploding piñata full of flesh-eating bugs, obviously.

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After a run-in with the E-Rep at the newly rebuilt stasis net force-wall-thingie, Irisa is thrown in jail for inexplicably trying to subdue a hardass young officer named Berlin. Luckily — for the show, at least — a terrorist takes that moment to strike, leaving the aforementioned deadly piñata in the market square, which covers its victims in flesh-eating bugs named shrill. After a scene where Ex-Mayor Amanda basically tells new sheriff Tommy he's incapable of handling the situation and embarrassing him publicly, Amanda convinces Mayor Pottinger to give Nolan a chance to solve the crime; if he manages it in 24 hours, Irisa can go free.

The "mystery," such as it is, is pretty perfunctoriy; the bugs come from the mine, so Nolan goes to the mine where someone standing next to him randomly announces "Boy, it sure is weird that Steve took a bunch of these bugs the other day" (his name isn't Steve, but you get the point). Nolan chases Steve, runs into Berlin who just so happens to have access to the E-Rep's NSA-style network of cameras around town, and Nolan discovers the guy who really made the bomb was Skeever, the Castithan whom Stahma had beat up in the season 2 premiere.

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Skeever was trying to get revenge by killing Stahma at the market earlier — she was meeting the Mayor to deliver a payoff — and now he's put a second bomb underneath Stahma's car. Nolan manages to catch Stahma before she drives off and defuses the bomb, everyone in Defiance is really excited, the Mayor offers him the Lawkeeper job, Nolan turns him down, Amanda convinces him to take it, and then Nolan and Amanda have sex. Yay?

It's pretty simple, but it puts Nolan back in the action, and it does further a few other matters: Wile in jail, Irisa kisses Tommy, only to learn later when she's freed that he's locking lips with E-Rep kool-aid drinker Berlin; Stahma reveals she has no desire for Datak to be released from prison, as she'd rather take charge of everything for herself; this includes forcing her son Alak to murder Skeever while he's in the hospital. So really, Alak has the biggest event in this episode; we'll see how it affects his feelings about his dad's criminal enterprise and his relationship with his mom going forward.

So not a ton of advancement in the second eoisode of the second season, but now Nolan's back and has a gun, and Irisa's back to do whatever the hell the crazy possibly non-existent Irathient god-child living in her head wants her to do, so that bears some further study. But feel free to pick things up in episode 3, okay, Defiance?

Illustration for article titled ​emDefiance/ems Nolan Investigates The Case Of The Terrorists Pinata
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Assorted Musings:

• Although completely separate from the rest of the action, the episode does check in with Datak and Doc in prison. Datak and Doc stage an elaborate plan where Doc gets an electro-knife and Datak gives it to some religious guy who tries to stab the Mayor when he's inexplicably wandering through the prison at some point. Datak stops the assassination attempt and kills the guy.

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• Awesomely, Mayor Pottinger immediately sees through Datak's pitiful ruse, although Datak tries to spin it as he's a guy willing to do anything but still knows his place. Pottinger doesn't bite. Although he does take Doc to question her about her safe and previous experiments with Irisa, cutting off a finger when Doc doesn't answer.

• After making fun of Christie McCawley last recap, I feel bad because the only thing the actress has to do in this episode is basically sit in the Tarr family bath and expose an immense amount of cleavage.

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• And speaking of the McCawleys, I hope Defiance has something from Rafe to do soon, because actor Graham Greene has been wasted so far.

• Berlin, however, is an interesting new character. Although a hardass, she also loves the E-Rep because of the stability and lack of murder it brings (or so she believes). again, if the show weren't trying so, so hard to make the E-Rep look like Nazis, this dichotomy would be a touch more powerful.

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• That said, Berlin's rant about Nolan loving the lawlessness of the new world order while basically calling him a Han Solo wanna-be was pretty awesome.

• Nolan trying and failing to leapfrog Berlin while he's chasing not-Steve through the alleys of Defiance made me laugh so hard I watched it like nine times.

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• Amanda is still doing Space Heroin, which I bring up mostly because I love saying Space Heroin.

• Both of Skeever's bombs were set to timers. How did Skeever know 1) when Stahma would be in the market and 2) when Stahma would be in her car? Obviously, he didn't know when she would be in the market, since she was long gone when the piñata exploded, and it seems like it was dumb luck she was in her car for the second bomb. Skeever was never the brightest electroblade in the arsenal, but that's an incredibly inefficient plan.

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• Also, why did Nolan bother to defuse the bomb instead of just shooing the spectators away? The bomb only killed three people when it was in the crowded marketplace; it seems like just making people keep their distance from the car would have been much, much easier for everybody.

• Line of the night goes to Nolan. "Did you just call me a happy cowboy?"

• Line of the night, runner-up — the asshole who runs in with the crowd after Nolan disables the bomb and yells, "Drinks are on the house!" Even if this random person works at the NeedWant, which isn't established at all, there's no way she has any authority to offer free drinks because Amanda is the one who runs the place. This chick literally ran in and yelled "Drinks are on the house!" hoping to confuse the bartenders and score some free booze. I admire that.

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DISCUSSION

Have to take my cap off for something Rob merely glossed over in his end of article musings. Taking a moment to have Berlin point out Nolan's "space cowboy" image was brilliant in that it was the show's way of subtly poking fun at itself as well as those who looked down upon the series and overly criticized it during season 1 (looking at you, Rob) for supposedly leaning too heavily on well worn "tropes" in Science Fiction.

With every critique I read there were seemingly always references and comparisons to Firefly or Star Wars, essentially criticizing the show for not being original or being one dimensional. However Nolan counters Berlin's mockery by pointing out that she doesn't really know him and couldn't from just a glance over his record and a first meeting, e.g. a quick look.

Those Defiance naysayers previously mentioned were (and are) almost always guilty of the same thing, believing the show is unequivocally a certain kind of show or one dimensional after merely watching one or two episodes without giving the series or characters time to evolve. Even Rob continues to lean towards the later by suggesting the series needs to "pick things up" despite the fact that, within the first two episodes, we've been introduced to more than six separate plot lines, main and secondary, running almost in tandem.

Nolan and Irisa, Irisa and her child form Death God spectre, Stahma's rise to power and growing ferocity to hold onto it, E-Rep Mayer Pottinger's multi-layered agenda, Alec's slow transformation from ignorance to brutal realization, Datak and Doc Yewell (by the by, poor Yewell and her fingers. If you're a brilliant Scientist and Surgeon, that has to be like basically losing an arm) and, what is certainly the over arching plot of the second season, the birth of a resistance against the Earth Republic in the heart of Defiance, i.e. a new Defiant Few (SyFy has a mobile game/ARG running in tandem with the show that is building this plot up).

Back to my original point, Defiance is always deeper, more than just another "Space Western", and my guess is everything we've seen of these characters thus far this season is only, once more, scratching the surface.

Oh and on a purely superficial note, my personal thanks to the Defiance writing team for, hopefully, ending the Irisa + Tommy "romance." Please don't turn it into a love triangle. Let it go and find Irisa a romance interest (if you have to...) that isn't a whiney man child 85% of the time. Would seem she might be getting down with her fellow Irathients in the next episode...