There’s wedding bells in the air on this week’s episode of Defiance. We’re given a look into how the Castithans throw a bachelor party and it is milder than I was expecting. They sword fight a little bit, there’s a stripper pretending to be Christie, they tell him to “pony-mount your bride” when the stripper gets close to him. It is boys being boys in the NeedWant. When Alak gets upset by the Casti tradition, he fights with a friend of his and they end up putting a hole in the wall. Inside that hole in the wall is a really old corpse.
Elsewhere, the real Christie is trying on her wedding dress that Kenya made for her. Stahma comes to see her and give her a Telo, which Stahma wore at her own wedding and her mother before that. It’s a metal mask that blinds Christie until Alak takes it off of her at the end of the wedding, so he is the first thing that she sees. It’s a sweet sentiment. She also tells her that “daughter-in-law” is a cold term; she prefers to use “Hanya Tavo,” which means heart daughter in Casti. It would be a sweeter sentiment if I didn’t think Stahma was playing some angle.
Like Kenya popping back up without warning, Tommy’s also back in this episode! He’s talking to Irisa about her being his wedding date. He also shares the tiniest sliver of his backstory by telling her that people change, he used to be a card hustler and he worked his way up to being an assistant lawkeeper. As it turns out, when they go to see Doc Yewll do the autopsy on the John Doe, Tommy recognizes him as the man who helped him get the lawkeeper job.
In a neonoir flashback, the man, whose name is Hunter Bell, is shown as the old owner of the NeedWant – and Kenya’s husband. He took Tommy to the lawkeeper and got him the job. Three days as a lawkeeper and Tommy’s first case was Hunter Bell going missing. Tommy found one drop of blood and was convinced that it was murder, but no one else seemed to care. Nolan found it strange that, in the four months he and Irisa had been there, Kenya had never mentioned a husband. When they go to question her, the very scripted answer she gives is that he willed the NeedWant to her. It’s also revealed that he used to abuse Kenya, but she lies to Nolan and tells him that Hunter didn’t hit her.
Amanda reveals that she is officiating the wedding between Christie and Alak and feels a bit uncomfortable because Datak is now running against her in the mayoral election. Nicky explains to her that it’s just good politics to continue. Nolan interrupts their conversation to tell her about Hunter Bell’s death and the discovery of his body. There’s a flashback to Amanda and Kenya arguing about Hunter abusing her. Amanda makes a statement about doing whatever it takes to make sure he doesn’t hit her again. Amanda also lies to Nolan about the abuse when questioned. Tommy is upset that they’re going to bury Hunter Bell’s death because the things Nolan is finding out about him all seem to be negative.
Rafe and Datak sit down to have a discussion about the impending wedding. It is revealed that Rafe is footing the whole bill and they argue about the use of the Telo. Rafe reveals that the mines will go to a trust that benefits Irathients when he dies, and not Christie. This enrages Datak, who goes home and calls off the wedding. He says he will win the election for mayor and find a new way to take the mines from Rafe. Stahma tries to soothe his anger and attempts to reason with him for the sake of Alak’s happiness.
Irisa and Tommy are back at the NeedWant looking at the crime scene when they find a lock of Liberata hair. This leads them to Jered Kikema, the bartender of the NeedWant. When they go to question him, they find him dead – his throat slit by a Casti charge blade.
Datak is with Alak, explaining to him about his father and his culture. He claims that he would be dishonoring his father’s memory by allowing the wedding to continue. They fight, with Alak obviously being a new generation of Casti, having grown up on Earth. However, he still went to tell Christie that the wedding was off. Rafe comes home right after this occurs and bonds with Alak over his love for Christie.
Nolan loudly arrests Datak for the murder of Hunter Bell and Jered. In a flashback, it’s shown that Hunter Bell and Datak used to be business partners of sorts. Hunter tells him that “my money made you, Tarr” and they fight. In a twist, Rafe saves Datak because Hunter pulled a knife and it was not a “fair fight.” They seem friendly and Rafe reveals that Hunter is after his mines. At the end of the flashback, Nolan lets Datak go. He only riled him up so that he would go after who really killed Hunter Bell and Jered. Datak goes after Rafe, thinking he set him up after their fight. He did not, but he reveals that the wedding is still on, despite Datak’s command.
Ex-mayor Nicky visits Doc Yewll, who is sitting and waiting for her. She reveals that she knows Nicky killed Jered because he saw Nicky kill Hunter Bell seven years ago. He had known for so long without saying anything that Doc Yewll thinks it was unnecessary to kill him. In the final neonoir flashback, it is revealed that Hunter walked in on Doc Yewll doctoring Nicky. They go to see him at the NeedWant and he tries to blackmail them into keeping their secret. In a shocker, it’s revealed that Nicky is an Indogene, much like Gordon McClintock in an earlier episode. Instead of paying him off, Nicky kills him with her walking stick.
Doc Yewll takes matters into her own hands and stabs ex-mayor Nicky with a needle to paralyze her and numb the pain. She says it is “for the greater good” and that there is no way she could ever trust Nicky with a genocidal weapon.
Kenya is seen helping Christie get ready when Stahma interrupts. She understands Christie’s reluctance to wear the Telo and has made her an old world bridal veil. Datak does end up coming to the wedding, but asks Stahma quietly why she is not wearing the Telo. Tommy shows up to the wedding and soon after Irisa shows up dressed nicely. During the wedding, Nolan has a revelation when he realizes Nicky is not in attendance. He remembers that, during the war, Liberata were killed with oxygen because they breathe nitrogen. Their fingers looked like Jered’s fingers did.
The only person that has access to that kind of oxygen is apparently ex-mayor Nicky. In a voice over of “her” suicide note, Nicky takes responsibility for killing both Hunter Bell and Jered. She is seen being zipped up without checking, so her Indogene secret is safe. At the very end of the episode, Doc Yewll is seen putting the Golden Knot away in a safe place, rather than destroying it like she had urged Nicky to do.
I really liked this episode! Despite the shaking writing of characters that has been prevalent all season, it was an interesting little “whodunit” of an episode. I called the killer in the first ten minutes, but I liked the way a lot of people had motives. I also found Hunter Bell to be a very interesting character, a bit greyer than the other ones we’ve been introduced to. Yes, he did hurt Kenya, but he also seemed to bring up a lot of people in the town. He helped to build the blocks to get Datak where he is today. He also got Tommy his job, but whether that was altruistic or not, we’ll never know. I’m thinking he probably wanted a lawkeeper in his pocket. He was also the first (?) person to go after Rafe’s mines – and he obviously failed – is that foreshadowing for Datak’s plans? I want more characters like Hunter Bell.