Watch the episode online here. Below, some highlights from the episode. [WARNING: SPOILERS, SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!]
Votan terraforming, stage one: take the urban out of urban jungle
“Do you know how many people I’ve killed?” “Do you know how many people you can still save?” That statement from Irisa, and the response from her father-by-adoption Nolan, perfectly encapsulates the finale of Defiance S02. Episode 13, “Almost Prayed” (titled after the song by The Weather Prophets) sees all of the major characters take steps to save their community, city, indeed their entire world; it’s a great title, because this is an episode about action to effect change, versus praying for help from a higher power. And of course, there is a power at work: the ship Kaziri’s Arkbrain, which has taken over Irisa in order to execute a long-dormant software program that will terraform the planet. Some characters make small sacrifices in this episode, some of them risk their very lives, but everyone focusses on the future. Hard not to, of course, with the aforementioned community/city/world crumbling before their eyes in the wake of the Votan “rapture.”
Pilar and Stahma: the art of the matriarch
Easily the most selfish of these sacrifices involves the Tarr and McCawley families, the former reunited after a season of inter-family warring, the latter reunited (albeit with Rafe behind bars) after years of separation now that matriarch Pilar has returned to rule the roost. Alak and Christie, children of both families, married and expecting a child, agree to go to a commune with Pilar in order to spare their child the disdain of everyday world, which frowns on non-human/human mixed races. It’s difficult for everyone involved to let the couple leave, but the big picture involves the long-term welfare of their respective lineages. It’s impressive seeing the depth of love in the characters of the usually cruel Castithans, Stahma and Data. With the ultimate revelation this episode that Pilar’s commune does not exist and that she has kidnapped Alak and Christie on behalf of a yet-to-be-revealed agency, it will surely be impressive watching the Tarrs bring down their wrath next season.
Doc Yewll: hands up, with a hands-on solution for the Irisa problem
There’s a little bit of good in everyone (well, except Pilar) in this episode. Doc Yewll returns from exile with a solution guaranteed to solve the Irisa crisis and restore the planet; granted, that solution involves killing Irisa, but… As the relationship between Amanda and Niles continues to flourish, they make the difficult decision to assist Doc Yewll. In death, Tommy’s character is manipulated by the Votan program in order to trick Irisa into fulfilling its goals, but Tommy’s moral fibre is so strong that Irisa refuses to believe the false face being presented to him. Berlin, down but not out, celebrates Tommy’s life (albeit in a bar) and makes sure that none of their compadres forgets him.
Irisa: juggling for the jugular
And then there’s Nolan… Arrested by Pottinger over the legitimate concern that he will interfere with the plot to assassinate Irisa, he does what Nolan does best: refuse to take “no” for an answer. In the name of pure love, driven by the conviction that Irisa is a good person deep down inside, he escapes custody, prevents Doc Yewll and Amanda from killing his daughter, takes Irisa inside the Kiziri and manages to stop the terraformer. Too late? The ship crumbles around them and there is no time to escape. The final shot sees the two of them not so much trapped as they are wrapped in one of the ship’s hundreds of cocoons. They look peaceful, arguably happy. Do they know that they are alive? Are they alive? What are the cocoons? We’ll have to wait for S03 to know for sure. With the way Defiance spins its stories, you can bet that the answer will be worth the wait.
Nolan and Irisa: cocooned, not killed — though their final fate remains to be seen.
See you next season on the Defiance blog!!