Since the first episode of SyFy’s Defiance we knew there was something going on with a strange artifact that was found in the McCawley mines. We know that the town’s old mayor, Nicky Riordan, has an interest in finding it. And we know that it contains some unknown power. But it isn’t until last night’s episode, “Brothers in Arms”, that we have seen it used as the driving force behind any part of the plot. Even then, it was only used to drive a small subplot.

The majority of the episode focuses on Nolan who, after an incident in the town’s market district, runs into an old war buddy. His friend, Eddie, is a bounty hunter that has been tracking a mass murderer and finally runs him down in Defiance. However, after an explosion during the chase injures several of the town’s citizens Nolan and Mayor Rosewater are not so keen on giving him up. Instead, they want to prosecute him there and then turn him over. When the killer, Pol Madis escapes his cell with outside help though it leads to Nolan having to team up with Eddie to track him down. But we find that the organization Nolan’s war buddy wants to turn Madis in to does not want to try him for his crimes, but employ him to develop weapons. It brings Nolan to a moral decision that he solves with a well placed bullet to Pol Madis’ face.

Also during this episode, as mentioned, we have a small subplot involving the strange artifact that the McCawlys have had since the pilot. Luke, it turns out, was the one to find the artifact in the family’s mines and it was the reason he was killed in the first episode. Rafe McCawley found it in Luke’s room and held onto it, giving it to his other son Quentin last episode. This week, Nicky Riordan becomes aware that Quentin has the artifact and sends her unusually quiet crony with the post apocalyptic Lennon glasses to retrieve it. It proves a fatal mistake though as Quentin manages to kill the intruder and dump his body in the mines.

Other points explored in this episode include the relationship between Irisa and Tommy. Last week they hooked up and Tommy wants to continue their relationship. Irisa though does not seem interested. Nolan also struggles in his involvement with the town’s whorehouse owner and Mayor Rosewater’s sister, Kenya Rosewater. As it turns out, Kenya is falling in love with Nolan and is scared by that. Despite her sister urging her to pursue the relationship, Kenya opts to end it. And, again, Defiance adds another point of intrigue to it’s back story. The town’s doctor, Doc Yewll, may not be the woman she claims to be – but a scientist that ran inhumane experiments during the Voltan wars. In usual fashion for this show, this is only a passing comment and, I am sure, we will see this become the subject of a plot in future episodes.

Originality: 5/5 – Although the concept is not completely new, the show does a great job of making it it’s own.
Plot: 5/5 – There is a lot going on, but the episode manages to work it all out so as to not be confusing of slow.
Performances: 5/5 – Very high quality, especially for SyFy, and better even than some movies I’ve seen recently.
Special Effects: 4/5 – Great for television effects, though sometimes they feel a little less than polished.
Repeat Viewing: 4/5 – I could see myself doing a geek out viewing party marathon of this show for some friends.

Score: 

Watch Defiance on Amazon Instant Video