Princes Bride reference! That’s got to be worth an extra fang already
We start with a flashback – to the Votan worlds when Datak was a child on Daribo the Castithan (and Indogene) home world. Child Datak postures in front of a mirror before his dad stops his kid playing with knives (though it seems less “hey kid you’ll hurt yourself” and more “you are not worthy of lethal weapons!”)
In the present and in Defiance, the Indogene spy Bebe (now disguised as a human) and his Irathient cohort see Datak being executed on the rack – they don’t intervene. He has a whole lot of men he hands out guns to.
In the Need Want, Amanda reminds us all she’s a nice person by finding kind things to say about Datak, while Nolan is less sympathetic. They’re also not impressed by Berlin leaving.
Which is when Bebe’s men attack the Need Want, in body armour and better armed they quickly take over, capturing Nolan and Amanda and separating the humans and Votans. Using a projector they pass on a deal from Rahm – drop the stasis net and the humans get to leave (while Amanda doubts his motives, there is some logic to it: Rahm doesn’t want to lose forces and wants to use Defiance as a base since it’s so defensible, which means he doesn’t want it destroyed). When Amanda refuses, Rahm orders the hostages be killed and Nolan, Amanda and Bebe kill them. Yes, Bebe is now ingratiated into Defiance.
Many hostages are, however, dead.
Bebe calls himself Chris Vackna and a mercenary passing through – and is happily recruited.
Nolan goes to Irisa who is now preparing to fight and feeling guilty about not killing Rahm even as Nolan apologises for being so harsh to her about not doing so before. He admits to dropping the fatherhood ball. Irisa joins the militia and Nolan says how proud he is of her – she doesn’t seem that impressed by this.
Amanda has one of her reassuring speeches for the town – which they place on lockdown to try and figure out how Rahm’s forces got in – that all civilians must stay inside while the militia hunts the streets, chasing sounds of gunfire as Rahm’s forces slaughter humans they find. T’evgin disapproves of this and hunts them – with his teeth. The humans he saves ask if he will kill them, referring to the stories, but he calls them “just stories.” Nolan and “Chris” arrive and the Indogene looks properly terrified. Nolan again tries to recruit T’evgin who still holds that it is not his fight.
Bebe/Chris conveniently finds a map showing that Rahm’s troops tunnelled in. Nolan wants to use the tunnel to sneak up on Rahm and attack while Amanda wants to seal the tunnel and make Defiance safe, for now. Alak scouts it, after volunteering. Nolan convinces Amanda that they need to take the risk.
Nolan and his troops set of – and Chris/Bebe decides to take the chance to attack to kill Irisa and Nolan – shooting Alak, stabbing Irisa and blowing up the tunnel that the militia is hiding in. Bebe then attacks Nolan – and Irisa saves him, stabbing Bebe eleventy billion times.
But the militia squad is dead – including the Irathient sharpshooter kid who had red-shirt all over him. Nolan and Irisa and Alak go to Yewl for treatment and Nolan beats himself about getting the squad killed – while Irisa hits back with the same thing he’s been telling her about Tommy; he didn’t kill them. Nolan, however, sees it’s not the same thing – a commander making a bad decision isn’t the same as being mind controlled into murder.
Amanda arrives to warn them about Rahm camping right outside the net and Yewl has a plan. A suicide mission. She awesomely, snarkily (damn I love her) lays out her plan to use the stasis net as a bomb to kill Rahm and his men. But it has to be delivered by a suicide agent. Nolan and Amanda both argue over who gets to nobly sacrifice themselves (Yewl should have eye-rolled there). Alak interrupts their argument to point out neither of them have a chance of entering Rahm’s camp – only one person does. Datak
More flashbacks of Datak – with his dad, surprisingly, telling him off for defending family honour with violence: “honour does not require defence. It cannot be won in the eyes of men, only lost in the eyes of god.” Well that’s a very different philosophy from what Datak has held to – and a lot of what Casti belief we’ve seen. Perhaps the believe of the lower liro? Seeing Datak refusing to listen, he brutalises him instead
Later we see young Datak excitedly tell his father he has won passage on the Arc (with the sky now an ominous yellow as the sun is about to destroy this dying world). He won two seats and wants to bring his dad – who refuses, insisting on staying for the sake of scrolls. He also gives his son his precious charge blade. And warns him against greed, pride and ambition (oh that lesson didn’t stick).
And Amanda arrives to offer Datak a chance at redemption – and a pardon for him (irrelevant since it will kill him) and Stahma (much more important). Datak agrees to help and has his own goodbye scene with Alak and his respect for Alak’s honour and example.
Datak goes to Rahm’s camp- and Alak was right, anyone else would have been shot in the head. He is taken into the camp to be mocked and to present Rahm with supposed surrender terms which would obviously be ignored. When Rahm sends him away, Datak begs to stay, humbling himself. As the timer counts down before the explosion, Datak asks for a blade and cuts off his left arm to prove his loyalty to Rahm
Even his followers are aghast and horrified by this. It does impress Rahm though. And Datak wins a moment alone given his obvious agony. Datak runs like hell – leaving his arm and the explosion tracker inside it behind with everyone all gathered around it.
Datak escapes – the camp is destroyed along with Rahm and his forces.
Thanks to Kindzi’s device, Stahma now appears to be on the Omec ship. The ship seems to be full of… statues of Omec? She also sees the rows of stasis pods with Omec inside. Kindzi appears to tell her of their plan to wake them all up and enslave and eat Earth. By revealing all this to Stahma, she forces T’evgin to silence her
T’evgin arrives home and breaks the technology showing the ship and learns that Stahma now knows all. T’evgin is annoyed, Stahma is outraged – having already fled Daribo, losing another homeworld is intolerable. T’evgin admits it was the plan – but he likes what he’s seen in Defiance and now aims for inclusion. Kindzi is not a fan of this plan and spits in his face.
In light of this conflict, Stahma is quick to step in and tell him, for the sake of peace, Kindzi must be stopped. But T’evgin draws a line – don’t threaten his daughter. She plays demure and humble and he calls out that bullshit as well. So she drops it, claiming they should “aim higher.”
T’evgin really fascinates me. Why would he want to fight Rahm’s forces? Maybe to ingratiate himself – but to decide they have no honour for attacking civilians when it has, by all accounts, been Omec practice to attack, enslave and eat civilians. Is this a sign that he truly does regret those aspects of his people’s culture and history? We clearly have some character growth here, T’evgin (because of Stahma or because of Defiance) is now faced with a desperate and potentially interesting conflict –what does that mean for his plan to awaken his people and conquer Earth? Of course I worry because this deep and fascinating conflict could easily be solved by the story having T’evgin die.
It says a lot about the world building of Defiance that I was really happy to see Daribo and the Castithan there – and I really want to know more about how Datak’s father viewed honour (and was this common back on Daribo before the Castithan came to Earth and had a resurgence of their culture?)
As to Datak – ruthless, even to himself, ready to take a chance however small or what it costs and apparently trying to embrace the honour he lost sight of. And Stahma now truly fencing with T’evgin and weaving him into her net. Both pardoned, both setting themselves up for power and influence.
The Tarrs never stay down for long