Defiance S2E9 Review: Painted From Memory

InterrogationWe find out how Kenya came back, some of my theories from last week are confirmed, and a thorough mix of grayness fading to black and some darker characters showing a few shades of gray. Also, even more returning characters, because everyone from season 1 should get to come back!

The cold open shows Nolan interrogating Kenya, because he can’t even wait for Doc to finish looking her over before grilling her on the identity of their captors. Kenya can’t remember much, and the things that she can remember are really random, and at this point all she really wants is to go to sleep. She’s so shaken up that when Nolan finally does leave her alone, she asks to sleep with Amanda in her bed. And no, there’s no innuendo there. Even Defiance won’t go that far. It’s kind of a sweet moment.

She's got quite the crowd of victims already, and there are more coming!

She’s got quite the crowd of victims already, and there are more coming!

Stahma sees Kenya and freaks out. It’s interesting to see the typically poised and composed Stahma lose it, and that ends up being the bright side of the episode. She flees the scene and tries to get a grip. Irisa gives Nolan a call to let him know she’s okay (I thought her hailer got smashed last week?) and they talk briefly before showing the accumulated crowd of victims behind her. They’re standing watch on a hill, looking over a lot of activity, but that’s all we get for this episode. Nolan hangs up and goes over to piss off Tommy until he gets punched in the face. I’m surprised that doesn’t happen more often, and it’s totally justified in this scene. He’s just being a dick for no clear reason. I suspect he may dislike Tommy for hurting Irisa’s feelings, and is using Berlin as a way to get back, but that’s not explained.

Upon spotting Kenya out in the market, Stahma takes a chance and approaches her. As it becomes apparent that Kenya doesn’t remember their time together, she’s far from relieved. Because if Kenya did manage to remember at some point, then that’d be it for the Tarr family mafia. Guess that means she’s gotta kill her again. And really, with how fast people come back to life around here, Stahma probably ought to have had a contingency plan for this scenario ahead of time. But before that, she wants some confirmation first.

How could anyone think she didn't actually kill Kenya?

How could anyone think she lacked the will to kill?

Nolan tests Kenya’s memory in the lawkeeper office, and specifically describes his relationship with Amanda as “nothing serious.” That’s gotta hurt, shippers. Of course, he has Berlin now, so he doesn’t want to go back. It’s time to get down to business, though, so Nolan has her look over some of the evidence collected from where she was found. It triggers a flashback where she’s in a tube of water, then freed by the masked man (speaking a Votan language). They nearly execute her alongside other captive humans, but he changes his mind upon recognizing her. Unable to handle reliving it, she does manage to recall an image: a tattoo of a screaming eagle. Nolan takes Kenya to Berlin and gets her to show a similar tattoo. After discussing their names and Nolan’s apparent preference for geography themes, Kenya recognizes it, but says the one she saw had three heads (seems like that might be a little more noticeable than the fact it was screaming). Berlin says that tattoo signifies E-Rep special forces. Hmmm…

Datak and Stahma wander through the woods, which seem to be the body dumping grounds for the whole town. Datak doesn’t believe her when she swears she killed Kenya, assuming that she just took her out of town and told her to run away. And it seems like that’s actually what he would have preferred, as all he cared about was getting her out of his hair. And for some reason, this really upsets Stahma. So despite Datak’s doubts, they keep looking for Kenya’s grave. Stahma marked it with flowers–except there’s a huge field of the same kind of flowers there now. Better get busy digging!

"Remember me? No? Oh, well... that's okay..."

“Remember me? No? Oh, well… that’s okay…”

Meanwhile, Pottinger returns to town and the truth is revealed. Apparently, he and Doc were responsible for Kenya, who was being held at an E-Rep facility that was attacked by the Votanis Collective. They assumed she was dead, but she’s not, and we can’t have that. Defiance is the kind of town where a missing persons report is essentially the same as a wanted poster. Lovely place, really. Doc suggests a chemical lobotomy to ensure that Kenya can’t reveal their involvement, something which is extreme enough to rattle Pottinger. But no, Doc’s serious. She drops in on Kenya and Amanda having lunch to tell her about a procedure to “regain her memories,” while ominous music plays.

Rafe buys a cigar and someone calls to him–it’s his son Quentin, who left in search of his mother last season. He’s back, and he’s found her, and he’s not happy with dear old Dad after what he’s learned. Rafe defends his decision by saying it was her or the kids, and he chose them. Since we already know Linda Hamilton will be playing Pilar in the next few weeks, we can only assume she’s followed Quentin back to town.

When you're aiming for that scavenged tech look, it's bound to be hit or miss.

When you’re aiming for that scavenged tech look, it’s bound to be hit or miss.

Back in Doc’s office, Kenya puts on a pair of ridiculous circuitboard goggles. They turn the device on, and as Doc gets ready to poison her, she starts to get visions from inside the tank again. A biosuited figure walks up and removes the hood, revealing a distinctly Indogene face before Kenya rips the goggles off. Amanda pulls the IV out right as the white substance (Indogene blood?) starts to enter her system, and they leave. Pottinger meets Amanda at the NeedWant afterward, familiar enough to kiss her on the cheek without any negative reactions. He mentions meeting Kenya, and tries to talk her into sending her sister off to be treated in New York. And he swears vengeance on the person responsible… so, himself.

Datak finally finds something after all his digging: Kenya’s skull, as identified by the few remaining strands of dark hair. He apologizes for doubting her murder skills, because if there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that Stahma knows how to kill them dead. But then, that leaves the mystery of exactly who or what is sitting back in town. Datak doesn’t care, he’s just sick of having to get rid of bodies and ready to go home. Stahma’s emotionally compromised, however, and it becomes clear that she really did care for her.

Finally, Stahma has what she needs to put on her one-woman version of Hamlet at the Defiance community theatre.

Finally, Stahma has what she needs to put on her one-woman version of Hamlet at the Defiance community theatre.

Stahma tries to explain to Amanda that Kenya is not who she appears to be, but Amanda isn’t interested in hearing it. She’s got what she wanted, and to endanger that fantasy is a deadly mistake. I’d never have guessed Amanda would be threatening Stahma, but here we are. Stahma lets it go and leaves. After all, it means she can’t be accused of killing Kenya, so her problem is solved.

Nolan keeps prodding Kenya’s memories, and as the holes grow more apparent, she tries to seduce him as a way of proving to herself that she is who she thinks she is. But Nolan notices the scars on her back are gone, and he’s catching on. She can only recall events that involve Amanda, and If Amanda didn’t know it, then this Kenya doesn’t know it. Nolan leaves to warn Amanda, and Kenya retreats to the bathroom, pulling out a clump of hair and revealing Indogene scales. Flashback time: Pottinger and Doc stand over Kenya in a vat, discussing her progress. She’s an Indogene doppelganger, much like the former mayor and astronaut guy last season. Called it. They’re using the memories they stole from Amanda with the EGO unit back in episode 5 to fill in the mind, whereas with the previous two doppelgangers, they had to copy memories from the human itself, killing it in the process. This is an unstable technology, however, so she won’t last long. None too happy about this realization, Kenya smashes the place up and runs off.

Kenya is beating up Doc Yewll, until she explains that she was an Indogene spy reprogrammed to be like Kenya, and the procedure was interrupted. Then Pottinger comes in and points a gun at Kenya, spouting a not-at-all subtle Frankenstein metaphor. It’s just not Defiance without heavy-handed metaphor. His plan, apparently, was to fake a rescue and reunite Kenya and Amanda to win the latter’s affections, then be there when she inevitably lost her sister again. And this the part I really didn’t like. It’s an extremely convoluted and unnecessary plan befitting a particularly dark Scooby Doo villain. He got Doc Yewll out of prison, implanted Amanda with an EGO, stole her memories, and cloned a fake sister? Who gave him all these things and why did they let him do it? Did he just come up with this on a whim after finding Doc’s notes, or was this all some kind of crazy plan from the beginning? It just makes no sense. Amanda finds Kenya at the NeedWant, and Kenya threatens her and runs off to MMOland, where she’ll appear in the game this week. Pottinger tries to pin the whole thing on Yewll. Yewll goes to Datak and gets him to help her escape town, with the aid of Rafe and a few miners, ending up in old St. Louis, underground. Lastly, we see the mask from last week being tossed into a fire, by Quentin. Dun dun dun…

So yeah, seems like I was at least half-right on the identity of the masked man, it being Rafe’s son. I think the train station where Yewll was taken is where the hoard of weapons is. It’s actually a pretty good episode, but I’m not excited with the direction this is taking Pottinger and Yewll. Looks like the rebellion against the E-Rep may be on soon, and since we’ve got two episodes back to back next week, we’ll find out quickly enough.

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