Remember what I said about Defiance taking one step forward and one random step? This week is the perfect example. An unfortunate revisit to the Casti-cosplay club, Datak and Rafe get to live out some more Pulp Fiction fantasies, a ton of eye gore, and the Hellbugs are back. They aren’t the only things returning, however… read on for more.
So the episode opens with more sex scenes, this time between Datak and his former servant girl. But it serves a more significant purpose, this time, and that purpose is making Datak look guilty. As if he needs help with that. The girl turns up dead, eyes missing, in the morning. Creepy. It’s obviously set up to make it look like Datak did this while drunk, but it’s far outside even his usual behavior. Doc reveals that she was actually left in a dumpster and managed to crawl all the way back to Datak’s door in the night, only to fail to get his attention due to the copious amounts of alcohol they enjoyed earlier. That pretty much clears him of guilt, but Datak knows that Nolan would never believe that. No, he’s going to have to take care of this himself.
Well, maybe with Rafe’s help. They drag the body out into the wastes outside town, both lamenting the poor girl’s unfortunate demise, and then leaving her to be eaten by a Hellbug. That’s certainly one way to take care of the evidence. But they’re both interested in vengeance, so that’s something to bond over, right?
Irisa’s hanging out in town, sketching a picture of the man from her visions aboard the Kaziri and sharpening her knives, looking almost entirely unlike a stalker. She cuts herself, but just to check if her Wolverine powers are still working. She’s not emo or anything, at least not today. Apparently this helps to trigger her visions, though, and so she uses that quick glimpse to get a few more details for her sketch. That’s when Rynn walks up. Rynn was a character from season 1, who seemed to have been set up specifically to cross over to the game. That still seems to be the case, because she’s here to be victim of the week and get a coolness upgrade. She’s looking for Sukar, who’s gone missing and is presumably puking nanobot wires down someone’s throat at this very moment. However, while peaking at Irisa’s diary, she recognizes the face sketch as a friend of hers. So Rynn introduces her to Mordecai (above), a particularly human-like Irathient. I actually really liked this, as it helps to draw a clear distinction between the Votans who came aboard the arks, and those that were born and grew up on Earth. There’s very much a second-generation immigrant thing going on here and it proves that it’s not just Alak. It almost makes all the discussion of assimilation last week understandable. At any rate, Irisa dogs him about visions and spaceships and he wants nothing more than to get away from her. Don’t worry, you’re far from the only one.
The focus shifts to Stahma, who’s come to tell Nolan about her missing servant. Nolan assumes it’s Irisa, which is a completely reasonable assumption given what he knows, but it’s not her, either. Next we’re back to Alak, Christie, and DJ Booth Babe (her actual name is “Treasure Doll”, which is only slightly worse), who hands Christie the red gem that Mercado gave her last week. Alak recognizes it as a proposal stone, which came all the way from Casti and is incredibly rare as a result, and wants to know what the hell that’s about. Don’t worry, Alak; we’re still wondering that, too. It’s immediately clear that this has all been a strange plot to split them up on DJ Booth Babe’s part, and as we’re going to find out in the rest of the episode, it’s working. Christie apparently enjoyed her Casti-cosplay last week, and miss DJ drops some backstory on us that’s hard to tell if it’s true, given the sheer amount of manipulation going on. Hopefully it won’t matter because this is honestly the least interesting plot of the season by a long shot. And too bad for us, it’s the main focus this week.
Amanda walks into the Mayor’s office and finds Mercado sitting there, who proceeds to snap at her and tell her about sending Pottinger off to the Dakotas. Not the best thing to do to someone who knows your creepy secrets. Amanda demonstrates her loyalty to Pottinger, which is a little surprising. Mercado tries to entice her with promises of returning to office, but she doesn’t bite.
Datak confronts Stahma immediately after, asking if she’s responsible for the girl’s death, but Stahma does have some limits. And now they have a common cause: to find the party responsible and make them pay. Everyone’s getting in on the revenge this week. Up in the Arch, DJ lays the trap out for Alak, and then tells him about the club. Oh boy. More of that.
Irisa finds (Morde)Cai at the station, about to leave, but Rynn’s not there, and wouldn’t miss it intentionally. Then we see someone in glasses dragging her off. Guess we got a serial killer on our hands! Well, besides Irisa. They go get Nolan, and get on the trail pretty damn quick. He leaves Irisa and Cai to keep watch, while they awkwardly try to talk to each other in spite of her crazy behavior. Datak and Stahma’s investigation is going a little differently as they gather up money to spread out for the purposes of bribes. Datak tries to give the orders, but he’s lost all respect. Naturally, he deals with this rather poorly and whips out the ol’ charge blade again. You’d think he’d have learned by now that stabbing people in front of a large audience gets him nowhere. Raiga manages to restrain him and they resume their preparation.
Then we’re back to the Casti-cosplay club, where Alak catches Christie there with Mercado and is understandably horrified by the whole thing. He calls the whole place on its cultural appropriation and blah blah. This is entering serious “trapped by mountain lions” territory. Christie tries to explain by comparing herself in costume to Stahma, which only freaks Alak out more (and rightfully so). She refuses to go with him so he tells her to go to hell and leaves.
Weird guy shows up at Doc’s asking for eyedrops. She takes off his sunglasses to examine his eyes and sees that they’re Castithan eyes, surgically replaced. He bought them off of whoever dragged Rynn away so he could fit in better at the club. This is where the two plots collide, but it honestly adds almost nothing to the episode to have seen the clubs already. It also makes the kink community in real life look bad by comparing killing people and stealing their corneas to a little harmless bondage. Lovely. Yewll messages Datak the guy’s name and he and Rafe head over to intercept. They scare him into giving up the doctor that installed those eyes for him and take off again.
Crazy doctor is cutting Rynn’s eye out while she’s still alive. Why? Dead people can donate eyes today. And why her? She’s not Castithan. No one was dressed like an Irathient at the club, at least that I could see. But they aren’t ready to kill Rynn off yet, so she’s not dead. Meanwhile, Mercado in Casti-drag hits on Christie and explains his feelings on Votans. See how there’s a little disconnect between the importance and interest of these plot threads? Crazy Doctor gets ready to take out the other eye when Nolan and Irisa arrive, and she charges at the doctor, but gets a knife in the chest for her troubles. That’s gonna be hard to hide. He runs–right into Datak and Rafe. He’s gonna wish he’d given himself up to Nolan after what they do to him.
Alak is trying to relax at the needwant and DJ girl completes her plan by seducing him up to bed. Who cares? Not me. Rynn gets an eyepatch, in an attempt to make her seem more badass or something, and Irisa runs out to kiss Cai, which somehow gives them a communal flashback. He responds like any sane person would by fleeing town. In the vision, they kill some kind of metal-floaty-ghost-things that were apparently steering the ship, then lie down on a platform and both get pierced by the wires that Irisa spews from her mouth. What’s this mean? Nolan cuts open Irisa’s hand and watches it heal until finally she’s forced to explain, noting that she was told he’d die if he found out. What does this mean? No idea because the episode decides it’s more important to watch Mercado sing and play piano in costume for the rest of the episode. Ugh.
As you can probably guess I didn’t think this was a very good episode. The Casti-cosplay thing is a stupid plot thread and it’s so horrifically unimportant compared to everything else going on that I can’t be bothered to care about this soap opera bullshit. Given that the A plot about the murder hinges on the B plot’s existence to be solved, it just ends up bringing the whole episode down. Some interesting, important things happened this episode, but you’d never know it by what got the most screen time. This is probably the weakest episode of the season since the first, and it’s a step backwards for the level of storytelling that had been going the last few weeks. Let’s hope next week is back to dealing with more important stuff.