It spins out in the form of a murder investigation that gets solved by accident, but there are so many flashbacks and crazy reveals that I don't know I would be able to reproduce it for you, so here are the facts: Nicolette Riordan is an Indogene in disguise, meaning that her whole alliance with Yewll and Ben Daris and Birch was never about humans. (It was, however, apparently about genocide in some way.) It's one of the more mind-blowing reveals the show's done, just because Nicky's been the heart of so much of the good of Defiance and of Amanda, and to find out she's Votan... It doesn't change anything, it just makes it more cynical in some ways, given the Indogene way.
The previous owner of the Need/Want, Hunter Bell, was Kenya's abusive husband -- but was killed for witnessing Nicky's Indogene biology. Jared the Liberata bartender saw Nicky kill him, and helped her and Yewll bury him in the walls of the bar, which was willed to Kenya. When the body is discovered -- during Alak's typically Castithan, which is to say disgusting, bachelor party -- Nicky gets nervous and murders Jared. At this point, and given the Volge attack, Yewll determines that Nicky is out of her mind and isn't coming back, so she kills Nicky, faking a suicide.
The wrinkle in this investigation is that Hunter Bell was somewhat responsible for Deputy Tommy's salvation, back in the day, as well as being responsible for some of the more shadowy agreements between Datak and Rafe -- not to mention a problem in Kenya's relationship with her sister -- so basically everybody is a suspect in this cold case, and Tommy's obsessed with finding the answers. Which he does, with Nolan's help nominally, but mostly because Yewll engineers the whole thing to be resolved so that she can hide the key to the Kaziri and stop everybody from trying to do whatever the evil plan is -- and now that she's the only living member of the Old Gang, it seems like she has.
The other plotline involves the Tarr-McCawley wedding, which is maximum drama. First there's the bachelor party, which is so gross I don't even want to talk about it, and then there's the bridal stuff, which... Casti brides wear a metal mask over their face that blinds them. That kind of shit. Christie isn't feeling that, but once Rafe tells Datak he's taking her out of the will and remanding the gulanite mines back to the Irath, that's when the real shtako hits the fan. Everybody yells at everybody else, Alak goes off on his dad while they're taking a bath together, it's a whole thing. Eventually Rafe and Stahma go ahead with the wedding anyway, and Datak knuckles under, but I'm sure Stahma has some trick to get the mines back -- and in the meantime, her affection for Christie rears up again when she puts together an Old World human-style veil for her to wear. This thing of Datak's family defying him in little ways is satisfying in the short term, but you gotta wonder if it's the best protocol moving forward. Him being a crazy, and all.
The wedding is beautiful, in a postapocalyptic Ikea way. Beautiful music, lots of gender-coded symbolism and little trees. It's great. Oh, and Irisa shows up looking like a crazy homeless person, prompting a sweet reconciliation with Tommy, whose hand she holds throughout the ceremony. Kenya, Amanda, Stahma and Nolan all get to share little moments of their complex love octagon they've got going on, but it's low-key and pretty sweet altogether. (And doesn't linger "special episode"-style on the domestic violence stuff, thankfully: Just presents it in an accurate, human way that diminishes nobody.) Mostly I just hope somebody's watching out for Amanda, who has taken more than her share of hits lately and is probably set to blow any time now.
In the end, there's not a lot of surface change -- the wedding doesn't apparently change anything, Nicky the secret adversary is dead with no one the wiser -- but under the surface there's a lot going on: If the Kelevar is out of commission and Irisa's feeling good about life, then the only storm on the horizon at this point is the Mayoral race. Which for some reason makes me a lot more nervous now that Nicky's gone. (Still wrapping my head around the whole Indogene reveal. That was legitimately shocking.) Definitely an act-break episode, paving the way toward the finale, but with so many major players sidelined or taken out altogether I'm at a loss as to what is actually going to happen next. Which is just how I like it.
Next Week: Nolan screws up his reputation with Defiance somehow, which reflects poorly on Amanda's campaign. (That sounds just wretched! So sad!) The only thing less surprising than Earth Republic's interest in the election is Datak's willingness to play them against the VC to secure his victory... Unless it's his plan to assassinate Amanda, from what I can tell. Good thing his wife's close with somebody in the Rosewater camp, huh?
Stahma has gone to great lengths to secure a marriage between the Tarrs and the McCawleys, ostensibly as part of a larger coup; Christie McCawley's father Rafe has been acclimating slowly to the idea, but may balk now that he's lost both his sons. Tommy helped -- and covered for -- Irisa when she took vengeance on the Casti snakehandler that destroyed her childhood; they banged, but she's been cold ever since.
We learned Doc Yewll was part of Nicky Riordan's cabal at some point and Nicky finally got ahold of the Golden Knot that operates the mysterious (genocidal?) Kaziri, beneath the town. We also learned about some painful past romances for both Rosewater sisters: Kenya's the abusive businessman Hunter Bell and Amanda's an E-Rep Ambassador named Connor Lang, the latter of whom died last week at the hands of Datak Tarr, who's now also making a move on Amanda's job.
Castithan bachelor parties: How gross? Very. The most interesting part is that prostitute Tirra, wearing a bridal gown, sits in a cage waiting for the groom to fake-fuck ("pony-mount") her in front of all his friends, once he's done beating them all up one by one. ("Male Casti... put their women in cages and fuck them to impress each other," he wrote, thinking it was a metaphor.) But it's not just gross, it's the whole thing: These first-generation kids playing out the traditions for the simple fact that they're traditions. You don't have to be involved in an immigrant narrative to watch the meaning drain out of a tradition. It happens all the time, every generation, but this is poignant. The desultory way they do the steps.
"On the eve of your wedding, you've defeated your savage brothers. Now it's time to taste the fruits of your victory. Rembu! Rembu! Rembu!"I'm presuming "Rembu" is Casti for "no homo," because boys? You are doing this way wrong. Whatever you think you're accomplishing, it makes no sense from over here.
Alak: "Ritual coitus is so old-school. It's 2046."
Tirra: "Shiro ksa yu re ya, Alak. Are you saying no to your bride?"
Alak: "Uh, obviously Christie would throw a fit about this. Also, it's gross."
Casti: "We're threatened by this flouting of convention! Especially when we all risked marusha coming to your miscegenetic wedding in the first place! Time to get racist!"