Defiance S2 Ep03 – The Cord and the Ax

Defiance S2 Ep03 - The Cord and the Ax (4)

There is a lot going on in this week’s “The Cord and the Ax”. Alak still struggles with trying to follow in Datak’s footsteps, while Datak rots away in Camp Reverie. Irisa is still seeing visions from the goddess Irzu leading her to kill. Amanda still mourns the loss of her supposedly missing sister her while her drug addiction grows. For the most part all of what goes on in “The Cord and the Ax” meshes together effectively, while some arcs may seem a little forced.

Defiance S2 Ep03 - The Cord and the Ax

Alak visits Datak at Camp Reverie

First, let’s talk about the Tarrs. The Tarr family continue to be some of the most interesting characters on Defiance. The episode kicks off with Alak realizing that the news of what he did to Skevur in last week’s episode has been spreading around Defiance. He doesn’t seem happy to be looked at as a murder, and on top of that he now has a baby on the way. After a heart-to-heart with his father-in-law Rafe McCawley, Alak decides that this “gangster” lifestyle of his is not one he wants to live. Alak’s refusal to continue this lifestyle isn’t surprising, and I’d like to think that even if he hadn’t spoken with Rafe he would have still dropped it for his future child.

Of course, Alak’s change of direction doesn’t sit well with his father. In a conversation between Alak and Datak at Camp Reverie, Datak isn’t shy about telling him how he feels. By the end of their conversation turned argument, Alak practically verbally disowns his father, while Datak comes to the realization that his wife Stahma has been controlling his business from the background and keeping him locked up in prison on purpose.

Meanwhile, Birdie, servant of the McCauley house, goes missing. She was last seen in the market shopping for a family dinner with the Tarrs. Rafe goes straight to Nolan in an effort to find his missing family member, but of course we know Irisa killed her. Irisa has been seemingly killing people since this season’s start. In the season premiere she killed a woman back in New Hollywood before she and Nolan left for Defiance. Each time Irisa gets these urges she sees visions of Irzu, a divine being of the Irathient religion. This time we are given more of a glimpse into her visions, as Irisa begins to sees the inside of an Irathient ship with a two crewmembers discussing mutiny and how the terraforming of Earth is wrong. This is most definitely a glimpse into the past before the world of Defiance became what it is now. This final vision comes after she kills her old Irathient friend Sukar and attempts suicide. But did she actually kill him?

Defiance S2 Ep03 - The Cord and the Ax (2)

Irisa struggles with her curse

In her previous murders we only got to see the aftermath of her victims laying unconscious on the floor, but this time we see that when she attacks Sukar she spews part of what’s inside her into his mouth. Last season she got this weird thing inside her after the gold and silver Votan artifacts were fused with her body, and she additionally made a deal with the goddess Irzu in exchange for Nolan’s life. We are meant to think Sukar is dead, but by the end of the episode Birdie returns alive and well. Could the rest of Irisa’s victims, including Sukar, also be alive?

The answer to that question is “yes”. In one of the best uses of the show’s ending musical montages, we see the woman that Irisa supposedly murdered is alive, and doing to a child what Irisa did to Sukar. It seems whatever Irzu is using Irisa for is spreading to other hosts, and as of right now as far as we know five people have become afflicted.

In addition, the montage also featured Datak’s return to his family. Previously, Yewll had a made a deal with Mayor Pottinger to be released from Camp Reverie to work with him back in Defiance. She took Datak with her. The Tarr family reunion seems okay at first as Datak joins Stahma and Alak in the family bath tub, but he suddenly attempts to drown Stahma in the tub as Alak fights back. The episode ends with nobody actually dying, but some tension still hanging in the air.

Overall, “The Cord and the Ax” was this season’s best episode yet. I thought the two main story arcs involving the Tarr family and Irisa were sewn together effectively. I also enjoyed the scenes in which Nolan struggles with the idea that his daughter possibly killed Birdie, and the scenes where he questions whether or not he’s a even a good father. Those scenes were thrown into the episode nicely, but I feel the scenes involving Amanda’s drug abuse weren’t. They only served to remind us once again that she has a drug problem and she still doesn’t know Stahma killed her sister.

As stated previously, the scenes involving the Tarrs are always interesting, and after what happened in the family bath tub I’m looking forward to seeing how the family changes in the next episode.

Lastly, I really enjoyed Rafe McCauley’s screen time in this episode. Rafe has always been one of my least favorite characters, but seeing the way he talked to Alak about giving up his “gangster” lifestyle was refreshing. You can tell just how much Rafe cares about his family and doesn’t want any of the Tarr’s troubled ways to interfere with his daughter or unborn grandchild.

Defiance returns next week with “Beasts of Burden”. It seems E-Rep officer Berlin will be taken by raiders, while Datak attempts to re-assume some control in Defiance. Check out the full preview below and let us know what you thought about “The Cord and the Ax” in the comments.

Tags: ,