Defiance 208, “Slouching Toward Bethlehem”
[photos: Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy]
At the lead-in, Nolan and Irisa finally have that long delayed father-daughter talk they’ve needed since they reunited in Angelarc at the beginning of the season. She tells him about Irzu and what she’s done. He goes Papa Bear and loudly threatens Irzu to no great effect.
Meanwhile, the E-Rep, along with Nolan’s help, raid the Need-Want to arrest Mahsuvus Gorath, an Irathien night porter/male prostitute (who famously made out with Datak Tarr earlier in the season) and resident spy for the Votanis Collective. Apparently the Collective has a nuclear dirty bomb they have planted in New York City that they are planning to detonate.
Mere seconds after the raid, Amanda Rosewater receives a phone call from a man with an electronically distorted voice, demanding that she free Mahsuvus from E-Rep custody, but she can’t tell anyone or, the voice threatens, her sister Kenya (who was presumably killed by Stahma Tarr at the end of last season) will be killed. We then get a glimpse of Kenya, alive in his custody. (Insert melodramatic “Duh-duh-dunnnnnnn!” here).
Amanda gets after it, trying to insert herself into the interrogation of Mahsuvus as his loyal boss to get him to talk while she wears a wire. Viceroy Mercado rebuffs her offer (the E-Rep has never really seemed to like anything other than the most direct and/or violent approach).
E-Rep members interview other locals that may have a connection to Mahsuvus, including Stahma Tarr (but oddly, not Datak and he’s insulted by that). Nolan is in charge of Mahsuvus’ interrogation. Mahsuvus mentions that he and the other members of the VC are “at war” and mentions an “Arkrise”. Nolan disagrees with him, saying that no one won the Pale Wars and that in Defiance, they laid down arms for peace. Of course, at the same time, Nolan also tortures him with shrill bugs that burrow bloodily through Mahsuvus’ arms.
Frustrated, Amanda reaches back out to the person holding Kenya, trying to find out how the VC smuggled a bomb through E-Rep security. Kenya antagonizes him, resulting in a premature end to their call. Mercado chooses to implant an EGO device, just like the one implanted in Amanda a few episodes back, to suck what he knows out of Mahsuvus’ mind and possibly killing him in the process.
Stahma visits Datak in his shipping container apartment after her interrogation, discussing the threat to their mutual survival because of his past associations with the VC. They end up making sweet love, banging on the side of the container. Who knew dysfunction could be that hot? She also brings him a rifle hidden in a basket of flowers to get to Mahsuvus before he can give up what he knows about the Tarrs.
Amanda comes clean with Nolan about Kenya to ask for his help. He rebuffs her, but then tells Irisa what’s going on. She volunteers to track down the blackmailers because she’s bored and can’t be killed. While driving out of Defiance to triangulate a signal on the mystery person calling Amanda, she has a vision, almost wrecks her roller, and stumbles on a camp in the woods occupied by the Castithan woman with the weird hair that she “killed” back in the season premiere. Irisa is captured in a snare by the woman, who complains of suffering from the same kind of visions Irisa has been experiencing. Irisa tells the crazy-haired woman that she is the one responsible for her condition. Later that night, Sukar finds them both and a small group of people join them out of the darkness (presumably those that have been “saved” by Irzu).
Back in captivity, Kenya sets about getting herself free. She manages to free her chain and then attacks her captor, choking him with her chain (our perp is masked so we don’t know who he is or what he looks like; he could be Irathien, but we don’t know and frankly, that’s too easy of an assumption; he also mentions previous events that occurred in the series so he’s probably someone we’ve already met before). She manages to call Amanda before being recaptured. Nolan moves to prevent Amanda from doing anything rash, so she knocks him unconscious and handcuffs him to one of the cells in his office.
Amanda is caught raiding Doc Yewll’s office. Doc thinks she’s looking for drugs for personal use, but she’s trying to steal two syringes, one with a drug that causes cardiac arrest and the other that stabilizes it, so she can help Mahsuvus escape. As they are trying to escape, Nolan stops them. Mahsuvus grabs a gun from Amanda and we get ourselves a Mexican standoff. But before it can shake out, Datak shoots Mahsuvus, killing him. But before he dies, he gives them the location of the dirty bomb so the E-Rep can disarm it before it goes off. However, with Mahsuvus dead, this throws an obvious wrench into the plan to get Kenya back alive.
Amanda and Nolan come up with a new plan to get Kenya back, disguising him vaguely as the now-deceased Mahsuvus so they can rendezvous with the kidnappers. Nolan shoots the main kidnapper, who happens to be wearing body armor. The kidnapper and a heretofore unseen minion escape on motorbikes. However, there is good news as Kenya is found alive.
Meanwhile, out in the woods, Irisa and Irzu commune together while the rest of the gathered multitude sits around a campfire. Irzu says that this is where “Arkrise” will begin…
Great Googly Moogly, this episode has so many moving parts!
First, I am glad Mia Kirschner is back and I’m interested to learn where Kenya has been. That being said, the script of this episode gives many of the characters good bits to work with, from Amanda to Nolan to the Tarrs. Sure, we don’t get any of the McCawleys or much of Doc Yewll, but it feels like a solid group effort. Also, with Kenya back, there are sure to be interesting, awkward exchanges in the future because she was ostensibly murdered with poison last season.
This is the first episode this season where things feel like they are happening. It has a dynamic energy to it and more happened in the first 30 minutes than happens in the full hour some weeks. If only every week could be that energetic.
Obviously, the identity of the main kidnapper is the big mystery this week. He wears a full mask, uses voice distortion, but has some familiarity with the parties involved. So who isn’t in this episode that seems a likely choice? I hope this has a good payoff. Syfy is about to start doubling up episodes week until the end of the season.
Woodchuck sez, “Check it out.”