“Brothers in Arms” opens on the busy Defiance marketplace, focusing on a Castithan man who is looking at the wares. My closed caption actually said [INTENSE MUSIC] when a human man spots the Castithan and gives chase. When he is cornered, the Castithan pulls his necklace off and throws it on the ground. It explodes and he tries to make his escape, but it is foiled when Nolan is conveniently in the right place at the right time to tackle and arrest him. During his arrest, I’m about 83% positive that a plastic mannequin boob fell across the screen. I laughed like the immature twelve year old boy I secretly am.
The man who had been chasing the Castithan puts a gun to the back of Nolan’s head to get his bounty back, but when Nolan turns to say something to him, they recognize each other. It’s his old friend from the Pale Wars, Eddie Braddock, and all three of them take a stroll back to the Lawkeeper building. While there, Nolan has to take all of Eddie’s weapons off of him despite their friendship. Meh Yewll is seen fixing up the prisoner, who informs her that he recognizes her face. He claims she has made great scientific achievements and wonders if the town knows about her and what she’s done in the past. She insists he has the wrong person, but he promises he never forgets a face. In a last bit of taunting, he asks her to free him as a professional courtesy. As it turns out, the unknown Castithan is Pol Madis, THE weapons designer, internationally known for his weapons during the war and current war criminal wanted by the Earth Republic. Eddie knew this and tells Nolan that he wants to turn Madis over so that he can be prosecuted and hung for his crimes.
Eddie and Nolan catch up at the NeedWant. He mentions Varus, last heard about in the pilot when Irisa and Nolan had the terrasphere and thought they could pay this mysterious Varus back, and asks what happened to his Libera Nova Gem that Nolan stole from him, laughing when Nolan admits that the Spirit Riders stole it off of him. Irisa shows up and Eddie is excited to see her, reminding her that he was once Uncle Eddie when she was much younger. She doesn’t remember him, doesn’t like him, and leaves quickly. After she’s gone, Nolan and Eddie discuss Madis more. Eddie needs to be the one to turn Madis in because he needs the scrip, going so far as to accept some from Nolan when he explains that they have to keep Madis in Defiance for now.
Kenya magically exists again this episode and when Eddie goes looking for a whore to spend the night with, he calls her over. At first, he’s hesitant to get between whatever is going on between Kenya and Nolan. When Nolan doesn’t tell them not to sleep together, she takes him upstairs. Once out of his sight, she “remembers” that she had a client already and gives Eddie two other girls instead.
Meanwhile, Nolan is meeting with Amanda to discuss what to do with Pol Madis. He is trying to talk Amanda into letting Eddie turn him in. When Amanda asks him how much of the reward he is getting out of it, Nolan swears it is nothing and that he just owes Eddie. Unfortunately, Amanda sees Pol Madis as the bargaining chip she needs to negotiate with the Earth Republic and guarantee that Defiance has the railroad. Elsewhere, Quentin is having lunch and Mayor Nicky also exists for this episode because she says hello to him and takes a look at the book he is reading. In a not-at-all subtle move, she tells him that the markings in that book are like the markings on one of the walls she saw down in the mines. She returns to her table with Mr. Birch, her assistant, and they decide that Quentin must have found the artifact in Luke’s room after his death. They conclude that he has the artifact “for the time being.”
Irisa is seen sharpening a knife at the jail when Tommy asks her if she wants to come over to his place for drinks. She makes no attempt to say yes or no and he tells her to forget he even asked. Then, he forgets that he told her to forget and tells her that humans usually indicate yes or no. No she says, no, thank you. While they’re distracted, someone drops a little packet through the ventilation to Madis. He goes on to ask for water and salt from Tommy for his dinner.
Kenya and Amanda are seen having a little heart to heart about Kenya’s relationship with Nolan. Amanda tells her she’s just falling in love for the first time since her last boyfriend and they have some sisterly bonding talk. Apparently, they’re just going to pass him back and forth, depending on the episode, seeing as Amanda and Nolan were getting pretty chummy last episode and Kenya was nowhere to be found.
At the McCawley household, Quentin is telling his father about his run-in with ex-Mayor Nicky. Rafe correctly assumes that the artifact he found in Luke’s room is what they’re interested in. He orders Quentin to throw it deep in the mines where it would melt because Luke died over that trinket. Quentin argues and it’s blatantly obvious that Quentin isn’t going to give up that link to his brother.
Nolan wakes up on Irisa’s floor to her staring at him. She asks if Kenya was busy, so he must be sleeping there a lot, and then asks about why Eddie calls him “No-Man.” He explains it’s because he was once caught behind enemy lines, in no-man’s land. Irisa continues to insist that she doesn’t like him, but Nolan tells her he’s been good to them. At that point, they hear a loud explosion and take off for the jail. Nolan finds an empty shell and a familiar looking packet at the scene. Like that little packet was going to survive a blast, okay. He confronts Eddie about the packet, recognizing it as Strafing Powder, something he has used before during the Pale Wars. Eddie insists that it wasn’t him, who gave the powder to Madis, but Nolan pulls a gun off of him and it doesn’t look very good. They reach a tense truce and go about setting up a perimeter around Defiance to capture Madis again.
Pol Madis is shown walking through the market once more. When he finds his brief case, someone has already laid claim to it. In order to “prove” to them that it is his, he opens it and has the man take out a coin-like object. The coin zaps the man and Madis claims the effects will make it look like he had a heart condition, killing him and leaving Madis free to go.
Back in Mayor Amanda’s office, the Earth Republic Envoy shows up. His name is Conner Lang and Amanda definitely knows him from her past, he even volunteered to make this envoy. There is a lot of friendly arguing and sexual tension between them. Amanda has clear terms she wants met in exchange for Pol Madis and Lang tells her he always loved her confidence. It turns out he’s just the good cop in the situation though and he lets her know that if she doesn’t deliver Madis soon, the Earth Republic will come in and rip the town apart in search of him.
In their door to door search – because that seems to be the most efficient way to do this with two guys on the case – they hassle Meh Yewll about her interactions with Madis earlier. It was completely uncalled for an annoyed me as a scene, she did nothing to indicate she’d been unprofessional earlier. Madis is at Datak Tarr’s home anyway, much to the chagrin of Datak. He thanks Datak for the “care package” and informs him that he is trying to go to Brazil to meet up with the Votanis Collective, of which Datak is a part. They share a meal that Madis had prepared, but then Datak pulls a gun on him and demands that he leave. He feels that he worked hard to build up his status and esteem in Defiance and assisting Pol Madis would harm that. Suddenly, he feels a great pain in his abdomen and Madis lets him know that he drugged Datak’s food with a nano tab. The result is that he releases energy into Data’s nerve endings, as little or as much as he pleases.
A quick scene shows Quentin alone down in the mines with the artifact. He considers destroying it like his father wished, but suddenly Luke materializes and tells him to keep the artifact with him. The hallucination is more convincing and he puts the artifact back into his pocket.
While Eddie and Nolan continue to look for Pol, they discuss the events of the night before regarding Kenya. Eddie explains to Nolan that she likes him because they didn’t “chup” (sleep together). When the two of them get to Datak’s house, he is still being controlled by Madis. Eddie’s bedside manner may just be a little rough, as he’s also very rude to Datak, who is extremely, uncharacteristically nice to the two of them. As soon as they leave, Madis emerges and they head to the checkpoint together, with Datak remarking that he has no idea how he’s going to smuggle Madis across the checkpoint. He’s promising to give more money to the Votanis Collective and to do more for the cause when Madis laughs at him and tells him he doesn’t care about the collective, he just enjoys killing people.
Suddenly, Nolan and Eddie appear and run Datak off the road, causing him to crash. When Datak asks how they knew Madis was with him, Nolan tells him that it’s because he was nice to them earlier. Nolan sends Tommy and Irisa to take Datak home, leaving only him and Eddie at the scene. They briefly celebrate and Nolan let’s Eddie take Pol Madis in for the reward. However, before he can be turned in, Madis laughs at Nolan and tells him that everyone wants him – but not to hang him. All of the governments are after him because they want to use him. When he gets turned in, he’ll get a big house, a swimming pool, whatever he wants. This upsets Nolan and it upsets him more that Eddie already knew this as well. He rants about “WMDs” and Eddie tells him they’re not politicians, they’re soldiers.
Nolan agrees that they aren’t politicians and shoots Pol Madis in the head. This sends Eddie into a rage because he needed the money. Nolan offers him a deputy position in Defiance, but Eddie declines. He decides that if he can’t get the scrip from Madis’ bounty, he’ll collect on Nolan’s bounty – Varus has a quarter million bounty out on Nolan. He tries to reason with Eddie, telling him this is “not him,” but Eddie says that it is. He spend six years in an EMC prison and he is now the type of guy to stab his own friend in the back. He’s ranting and raving to remind Nolan that he was doing time because he got caught while helping him save Irisa from a refugee camp.
When Nolan disarms him, he deflates and says just to kill him, that that’s what Nolan is good at. Instead, Nolan agrees to go with Eddie on one condition – they have to tell Varus that Irisa is dead; Nolan’s main concern is keeping her safe. The Earth Republic teams show up before they can make any final decisions and are upset to find Madis dead. Eddie takes the blame for killing Madis because he says Nolan has a daughter to raise. As he’s being arrested and taken away, he reminds Nolan that he would have done the same for him.
Mr. Birch is shown rifling through the McCawley home when Quentin arrives. He sneaks up behind Quentin and tasers him, searching his pockets and finding the artifact they’re after. Quentin comes to and a fight ensues, with a dead Luke urging Quentin to do what he has to do. Meanwhile, Nolan goes to see Kenya and tries to spend time with her. She tells him that she’s busy and when that fails, she tells him that he’s just not her type. Eddie is shown being taken away by the Earth Republic, Amanda got flowers from Conner Lang before he left and Datak is shown getting doctor’s assistance. Nolan sits down to toast Eddie with Irisa and tell her about what he did to help them. Eddie is seen pulling a similar packet to the one Madis used to escape jail out of his boot before asking for water and salt, which causes the explosion. And in the final shot, Quentin is seen disposing of Birch’s body in the mines.
I just find that the further we go with this show, the more uneven the writing is. We haven’t seen ex-Mayor Nicky since the second episode, but there she is apparently floating around town. Kenya was absent from the last episode and Amanda was moving in on Nolan. This episode, Amanda is flirting with another guy and Nolan is back to fawning over Kenya. Don’t ask me why, but this episode gave me a heavy, heavy Firefly vibe – specifically the episode The Message, where the crew receives the body of the young soldier and they reminisce about the war. I did like seeing some of Datak Tarr’s carefully crafted composure chipped away though. And I also like any kind of development of Meh Yewll because I find her fascinating. It certainly wasn’t the worst episode so far, but it was still heavy on the easily predicted plot points and the clichéd situations.