Sometimes the ring of Ark technology that orbits Earth will drop a larger piece, which splits up meteorite-style into something they call "razor rain." In this case, it takes place during intermittent squalls of what we call "actual rain," so nobody really understands at first, but once it starts they catch on pretty quick.
Irisa dreams that Sukar's been taken out by the storm, which is of course exactly what has happened, so she -- dragging Nolan, touchingly enough, along -- heads out to the Badlands to check on him. Sadly, he is dead. Not-so-sadly, he is not in fact dead, and rises up like a messiah during his (typically beautiful) Irathient funeral.
Shortly, Sukar's leading Irisa on a mysterious journey through the town to build a mysterious device, knocking out people and generally acting very Sukar and grunty about the whole thing. Tommy gets injured during the rain, but Irisa's too busy robbing random people with Sukar to notice, and they end up in the Arch, where he starts transmitting a signal to a broken piece of Ark that's headed for town.
Nolan shows up and -- after knocking some heads, including Irisa's -- seemingly kills him. Of course, as it turns out his religiously motivated mystery tour was actually intended to stop the giant Ark piece from ripping Defiance up, so when Irisa completes their mission Nolan gets to feel terrible in lots of different ways simultaneously.
But he's not the only one: Sukar's now in a coma from which he won't wake, which gives Doc Yewll the chance to explain to Irisa that this wasn't a religious thing at all. In fact, Sukar's first death was the result of a bit of Ark that contained nanomachines and were piloting his body around to save the Votans in town. She takes his comatose body back to the Badlands tribe, and I guess deals with the fact that what little guidance she had for dealing with her coming godhood is now gone, which has to suck. But then too, she seems to understand that miracles never look like miracles -- that just because it was nanomachines doesn't mean it wasn't also a miracle -- so that's comforting.
Meanwhile: Alak and Christie have a dumb fight about the Castithan Bathing Ritual, which gets solved easily enough, and Nicky Riordan visits the McCawley house to figure out whether Rafe and/or Luke murdered Mr. Birch. Luke comes clean to his dad about Birch, but fails to mention he's still got the Kaziri artifact or that it's urging him to murder people all the time; Rafe and Nicky have a huge faceoff and she mentions something about the circumstances of Mrs. McCawley's death, which is intriguing.
Stahma Tarr shows up at the Need/Want to procure Kenya's services for Alak, like a sex tutor for human girls, and -- true to her rep for knowing instinctually about both needs and wants -- Kenya correctly explains that A) That is gross and B) Actually Stahma is there to be lesbians with her.
Afterwards, Stahma explains that Datak will murder both of them just brutally when this inevitably comes to light, but Kenya prefers to make light of the situation, which is also her way. In all, what started out looking like a bottle episode ends up feeling like it was one, but there's a burgeoning sense of momentum that makes me think all this Irisa-Kaziri-Volge stuff will be coming to head sometime in the next month.
So you've got Irisa and Nolan at continued loggerheads w/r/t Sukar and in need of some serious reconciliation, Stahma (a former poet!) continuing to be fascinating, the second-best Irathient gone forever, nanomachines are now on the table, Tommy's in dire straits, we still don't know exactly how weird Yewll is going to get, and the Kaziri is just fucking up the McCawleys every which way.
Next Week: The iceman cometh.
Quentin McCawley came into possession of the Kaziri, and vice versa. When former Mayor Nicky Riordan's steampunk henchnerd Mr. Birch came to retrieve it, the Kaziri -- in the guise of dead brother Luke -- made sure the problem was solved. Now Nicky's on the lookout for both the artifact and her former lieutenant. Stahma Tarr's claim of admiration for and connection with Kenya Rosewater helped pave the way to greater power for her husband Datak. Amanda's taken great strides to reintegrate displaced Irathients into Defiance, starting with Sukar's Spirit Riders; Sukar himself took an interest in helping Irisa reconcile her Irath spirituality with her human upbringing, much to the chagrin and eventual acceptance of her human father.
Of all the different kinds of fusion that Defiance, the town and the show, represents, it's easier to think about the future: That the past is something dead and that it's just a ghost that everybody should learn to ignore. That when the Casti kids dance to Van Morrison, that's the world and that's the future and everything else is stupid and dumb and shtako, you know. We all keep fucking until we're the same color; that the lives of Datak Tarr and everyone in Datak's orbit would be so much better off if he could just let go of feeling so trapped in his liro.
But then over the break I started thinking about Irisa, how she was born at the center of this very ugly confluence of factors: The Casti snakehandler, and her stupid Irath parents, and then Nolan (and Braddock), and that's where she came from, this crossfire hurricane of war shadows and postapocalyptic hysteria and a broken world to play with. Exactly what I want, for us and for Defiance: She is a native of Earth, we're all natives of Earth, there are no natives on Earth.
And of course it was horrible. It fucked her right up. She walked around the Badlands all day thinking she was a white girl, until she looked in the mirror and remembered, every morning, who and what she really was, which is nothing in particular. Maybe God, maybe the Angel of Death, a deputy but certainly not a white girl. Certainly not her father. And I really responded originally to the earlier Sukar stuff on that level, but not consciously and not really all that verbally: You can reach back without going back.
Stahma Tarr's going to explain something very central to Castithan thought later, shiro ksa yu re ya, which is this concept that seeming is being, which is actually an idea I value very highly. First because your reputation is your behavior, not your intentions, and the only thing people who are not you can know about you is what you do -- not even really what you tell them, just what you do. And then that Vonnegut thing from Mother Night, "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Two very positive, very tough but ultimately rewarding implications of the idea at its best: Being an adult means understanding and taking ownership of the effect you have on the world and the people around you, because your intentions don't mean shit.