Review: Defiance, “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”

Things seem to be getting rather intense on this show all of a sudden.

A promotional image for Defiance“Slouching Towards Bethlehem” has several big reveals, all tied in with a race against the clock to stop a devastating terrorist attack.

The Earth Republic learns the Votanis Collective plans to activate a dirty bomb in New York, potentially killing thousands of civilians. Their only potential source of information on the attack is an Irathient prostitute from the Need/Want, who doubles as a Collective spy. The race is on to get the information from him before the attack can take place.

But of course, it’s not that simple. Amanda receives a call informing her that — perhaps not surprisingly — Kenya is alive after all, and the Collective is holding her hostage in an attempt to coerce Amanda into releasing the Irathient spy before he breaks.

The spy’s capture also has dire ramifications for Datak Tarr, who had been meeting with him in order to smuggle weapons from the Votanis Collective in the hopes of overthrowing the E-Rep.

At Nolan’s direction, Irisa ventures into the wilderness to search for Kenya and her captors, but she is once again overtaken by visions. They drive her deeper into the wilds, and closer to her mysterious destiny.

The town of DefianceI never really formed a strong opinion of Kenya, so just as her “death” provoked no strong reaction from me, neither does her return. I guess it will make Stahma squirm? That could be interesting.

There’s a lot more to “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” than Kenya’s return, though.

This represents the most aggressive action — really the only significant action — we have seen from the Votanis Collective to date. We knew the Collective and the Earth Republic weren’t exactly chums, and I always suspected the Collective wasn’t any more pleasant than the Republic, but planning to nuke New York… that’s ballsy, to put it mildly.

This could constitute an act of war. Even if it doesn’t lead to immediate aggression between the two sides, it certainly makes clear the Collective’s intentions going forward. They have clearly shown that the world is not big enough for both humans and Votans — at least in their opinion.

Frankly, it doesn’t seem entirely wise of the Collective. By making the first move, they invite attack by the Earth Republic. They potentially give the E-Rep an excuse to exercise their full military might against them, and it gives the E-Rep cause a lot more legitimacy.

I almost wonder if this was the action of the Collective leadership, or some rogue element within their ranks. It would hardly be the first time something like that has happened.

Battling a Dark Matter mech during a major Arkfall in DefianceSpeaking of which, it did strike me during the episode that Kenya’s captor sounded an awful lot like Nim Shondu.

Of course, it’s probably not him. For a lot of good reasons, not the least of which being the fact that he did die a while ago.

Then again, this would hardly be the first time Nim turned out to be less dead than was widely believed, and setting off a dirty bomb in the middle of a crowded human city is exactly the sort of plan he would concoct.

I am most likely barking up the wrong tree. But it’s an intriguing thought, and imagining the possibilities is the fun of tinfoil hat theories. In the end, it hardly matters if you’re right or not.

All musings on the identity of Kenya’s captor aside, though, I think Irisa’s story might just have been the most interesting part of the episode. Whatever plan “Irzu” has for her seems to be coming to fruition.

And finally we have gotten a hint as to what the true purpose behind her actions is. It may only be one word, but it’s a word with some pretty powerful implications.

Something big is coming. This much is clear.

It’s also interesting to note that it seems as though none of Irisa’s victims have been human. I’ve seen Irathients, Castithans, Indogenes, Liberata, and I think I even saw a Sensoth, but no humans.


Taken all in all, “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” does a great job of advancing several plots at once without feeling scattered, and I don’t think I can muster any complaints.

Overall rating: 8.1/10

2 thoughts on “Review: Defiance, “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”

  1. Looking forward to the reveal of just what it is that Irisa’s doing on Irzu’s behalf.

    Be interesting to see if Kenya sticks around for a while or decided Amanda’s got the Need/Want well in hand and takes off for new adventures.

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