Nine months have passed since last we saw the fine folk of Defiance. And a lot has changed. You'll remember when last we left off, the Earth Republic had come to town and announced they were taking over. Well, they have. And installed a new mayor - one Niles Pottinger - who's officious and sort of a tight ass and he enjoys wearing capes. His boss - Viceroy Mercado, a bigwig in the Earth Republic - openly dislikes him. Pottinger does have a loyal soldier in Jessica "Berlin" Rainer, his videographer, but that's about it. You see, most citizens of Defiance are REALLY unhappy the Earth Republic is in town. Two of Rafe's miners are caught painting anti-Earth Republic graffiti, so Pottinger has them arrested (Tommy is now the lawkeeper, BTW) - and promptly dumped into the woods, where one of them is eaten by a Hellbug.
Amanda - who has taken to wearing veils and Countess LuAnn de Lesseps type statement jewelry - storms into Pottinger's office and accuses him of purposefully trying to kill them. Pottinger has plausible deniability, but what's undeniable is his attraction to Amanda. She wants him to pardon the other brother. He agrees, and tells her he wants her as a special advisor. She accepts.
Amanda, you see, has been running the NeedWant in Kenya's absence. We should say "absence" because Kenya is very much dead, but Amanda doesn't know that, or believe it, as she tells Stahma (Interesting given that Stahma's the one that offed her). Amanda also has become a recreational drug user! She gets high at night, meaning she didn't take D.A.R.E. as a kid. What's more twisted - Pottinger has installed hidden cameras in Amanda's place, so he watches her while she smokes up and falls asleep.
Pottinger has also made an enemy of Rafe. Rafe's back working in the mines, the Earth Republic having seized control of them. All the miners are being offered extra money to produce gulanite at a faster rate, but the extended hours are leading to sloppiness and people are getting hurt. Rafe doesn't like it. Really, he doesn't like the Earth Republic being in his town at all.
A few miles away from Defiance, in the prison Camp Reverie, Datak is miserable (he also could use a hot oil conditioner). Reminder: Datak killed the Earth Republic official, Colonel Marsh back in the season finale. Also in the clink is Doc Yewll, thanks to the Earth Republic busting her for human experiments she did back in the day. Stahma comes to visit Datak, who is worried his criminal empire is falling apart. She assures her husband Alak is in control. Then Datak makes Stahma user her hands topleasure his naughty bits, but they are busted by a guard. Later Datak, showing his desperation, tries to get Doc Yewll to do the same but she tells him to buzz off.
Datak's aforementioned empire isn't in great hands with Alak. He's not very take charge and certainly doesn't have the cruelty and hardness to run the show, as evidenced when he refuses to punish Skeuver for skimming some money. Stahma, however, isn't so kind and has Skeuver beaten up. When Alak confronts her about it, Stahma -in a kick ass monologue - tells Alak SHE'S taking control. He warns her the lackeys won't listen to a woman. Stahma informs him that Alak will be giving the orders - which she'll give to him.
But what about Nolan? Well, off the lead he got in The Lost Ones minisodes, he's in New Chicago on the trail of Irisa. There he finds Thresho, the creepy religious cultist guy from Episode #5 who tortured Irisa as a child. Thesho hints he's had visions of Irisa being near a "wall of stone, covered in handprints." Thesho says that Irisa is "lost" to Nolan and that she "has become." Nolan gets too pissed off so he shoots Thesho. But clearly he listened to Thesho's vision, because next we see him he's in AngelArc - the town formerly known as Los Angeles. The first thing he sees? The upturned remnants of the handprints from outside Mann's Chinese Theater (wall of stone, covered in handprints). No sooner has he started the search than Nolan is nabbed by the thugs of Varus Soleptor, the video game character (who appears in the flesh!) from whom Nolan stole prior to the events of Season 1. He's saved by a hooded stranger and some throwing blades. Yep, it's Irisa! She and Nolan escape Varus and his goons.
Irisa tells Nolan that the Earth Republic caught her after he saved her from the operating table last season, but she escaped and settled in AngelArc. She insists on going back to Defiance. Does it have anything to do with the visions she keeps seeing of Irzu, the "God" that made Irisa its "weapon" (which has a TBD meaning) last season. What's creepier is only Irisa can see Irzu, and it takes the shape of Irisa as a little girl. Anyway, Nolan agrees to go back to Defiance and they pack up, but not before Irisa secretly offs a fishmonger (who sort of looks like a cross between Jane Child and Boy George). Yes, she committed murder. But why?
As Nolan and Irisa drive back to Defiance, Irisa has a vision of slashing Nolan's throat. It terrifies her. She turns to her backseat and sees Irzu, issuing her a silent warning to keep quiet - the explicit threat being that Nolan will die if Irisa reveals what's really going on with her.