“Defiance” Recap 1.03: S&M Shenanigans

OK, so that’s the main story this week, but it contains three parallel father-daughter stories inside of it. (Four if you count Mama Hellbug and her criminal gaggle of creepy-crawlies.)

“You’re being such a Byron Montgomery right now, Dad!”

Father/Daughter Pairing #1: One thing that Irisa has been struggling with for a long time, it seems, is that she is sometimes overcome by horrific fragmented visions. Even though they’re worse than ever — like, she keeps seeing this beautiful Irathient family getting hacked to bits on a sunny summer afternoon — she hides it from Nolan because every time she brings it up, he’s like, “Are you having PTSD again? I told you to stop having PTSD!” Steampunk Sukar (the giant Irathient) tells Irisa (the Little Wolf) that she’s not a nutter, but has instead been touched by the gods with the gift of Sight. He performs a hookah-infused ritual with her that grants her full access to the visions that have been haunting her. What she sees is the answer to the question of who’s slinging Hellbug pheromones all around town.

“I’m not like a regular dad; I’m a cool dad.”

Father/Daughter Pairing #2: Who is slinging Hellbug pheromones all around town is Rynn, Steampunk Sukar’s adopted Irathient daughter. See, because when she was just a little kid, some humans from Defiance stalked her and her family out on their ranch and slaughtered them while they were lounging around in the meadow working on their insect collection. It was brutal and it was traumatizing. The humans murdered the Irathient family so they could steal their land and sell it to the McCrawleys for a pretty penny because it was close to the mines. The two dudes that were killed by Hellbugs at the beginning of the episode were the two dudes that murdered Rynn’s parents years ago. (It sounds pretty straightforward, but there’s some really nuanced race relations tension building here. Shades of atrocities committed against Native Americans, for one thing.)

Father/Daughter Pairing #3: Rafe McCrawley still isn’t feeling this whole Romeo and Juliet thing going down with Christine and Alak. It’s not just that the McCrawleys and the Tarrs are in competition for riches and political favor; it’s also that their cultures are so different. Humans, for example, like to bathe alone. (Which: Ha ha ha! I guess you guys haven’t seen the one zillion lesbians offering to do literally anything to get some bathtime with Stahma Tarr.) But Christine storms into his house in the middle of dinner to tell him Datak saved her ass from the Hellbugs even though she’s a lowly human. Also, Rafe discovers the land he bought from the dead human guys was land that was stolen from the Irathients, and so he thinks maybe he doesn’t truly have the measure of these aliens the way he thought he did.

“Mayor Rosewater says sometimes a cute hat can make all the difference.”

All of this leads to Irisa and Nolan and Tommy and Sukar dropping 50 stories down an elevator shaft and fighting the Mama Hellbug. It’s straight up video game stuff. Levels, levels, levels, take down the Big Bad. They roll around in Hellbug shit for a while and then realize if they toss the pheromones at Mama Hellbug, her Hellbug babies will eat her alive. Easy enough!

After the town is saved again, Mayor Amanda Rosewater is awesome some more. She gives the Irathients the West Valley as compensation for the land that was taken from them. Rynn has to go to jail for a little while, even though everyone empathizes with why she did what she did, but it was the part where she started attacking innocent citizens out of anger instead of attacking her parents’ murderers out of vengeance that sealed the prison deal. (S’OK, Rynn, you’re halfway to Batman. Just keep plugging along.) And even though Irisa (rightfully) yells at Nolan for making her fear who she really is by confusing her god-given gifts with PTSD, he’s the one who holds her hand in the night when the terror of her real life memories haunt her sleep.

Next week: Syfy tells me it’s a Kirshner-heavy episode, so hopefully that means more sexual shenanigans, more flawless line delivery, and more batshit crazy outfits.

What did you think of this week’s Defiance? Have any of you guys picked up the Defiance video game yet?