Rafe: "He was a decent kid."
Nolan: "Yeah, I thought he deserved burial. Maybe send somebody down for the body..."
Rafe: "You'll never find it. Too far down, never drifted back up."
Nolan: "Making you the last person to see him alive and the only witness to his death."
Rafe: "I guess so."
They clink glasses and drink. Nolan's never liked him more. And if Rafe's too tender to give the kid his death, well, we'll see where that leads. But in lieu of a burial, Nolan heads to see Doc Yewll, looking for the whole story. He reaches back.
Nolan: "I want to know what you were doing during the Pale Wars."
Yewll: "The whole thing? It was a war, you try and win those. You were a soldier, you slaughtered Votans..."
Nolan: "I will have no problem doing it again. You were up to your neck in whatever happened to that kid, and I need to know what else we should be looking for."
Charlie Rivers, the girl from California, shows up then. They think she's being dorky, looking for the astronaut, looking for oral history, but it's a lot more immediate than that: She knows her symptoms, from when her brother left her stranded. Yewll recognizes the plague before the girl hits the floor.
But that's just a tag on the episode, a little cliffhanger for last week. What really matters is this: This defiant romance, this tender mercy, this possible terrible idea, about to take place somewhere far away, in Alabama or wherever Rafe told him to go.
Beautiful, strong, young Gordon McClintock, knocking on some door somewhere, about to sweep a little old lady off her feet. And when she sees him he won't be a dead body with a stolen soul or a dead man's soul in a stolen body. She won't be scared at all, she'll simply touch him, run her hands over his face. And then, tenderly, Grace will lead him home.
The plague drops Amanda and Christie immediately, putting Connor and Nolan on the same side once the Republic (outside the quarantine) and the Tarrs (inside Defiance) decide to use the situation for their own purposes. Oh, and Irisa threatens to bite Skevur at one point: Is this plague maybe the same one that got the Irath so screwed in the first place? Because that would be just about horrible.
JACOB CLIFTON is a freelance writer and critic based in Austin, Texas. He currently recaps The Killing, Pretty Little Liars, Mistresses, and Defiance for TWoP. Jacob can be found online at jacobclifton.com, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as a regular column for Tor.com, Geek Love. A new short story, "This Is Why We Jump," appeared in this month's Clarkesworld Magazine.