Go behind-the-scenes and into the mythology of "Bottom of the World."
Look closely at the wall behind Irisa and you'll see a wanted poster for Doc Yewll. Pottinger threw Yewll under the bus last episode, blaming her for the creation of fake Kenya. Yewll only agreed to do Pottinger's bidding to get herself out of Camp Reverie. She's currently in hiding out in Old St. Louis, deep below the McCawley mines.
Uh oh... that's Olfin Tennety, the Earth Republic ambassador who caused so much trouble for Defiance last year. Tennety engineered a plot to hijack a land coach. She was hoping to steal the town's maglev fund, forcing Defiance to go begging to the Earth Republic for help. Luckily, Nolan and Amanda managed to foil her plot. Tennety returned when an outbreak of the Irath flu swept through town. She confronted Nolan at the edge of Earth Republic's quarantine zone, hoping to prevent him from getting to the cure so that the town would be wiped out. In that instance, Colonel Marsh overruled her.
Polygamy is fairly common in the new frontier. Many survivors of the Pale Wars put a premium on comfort and security... something that multi-partner marriages provide. When Tennety first came to Defiance, she brought along her former husbands, Kaspar and Ziggy. Kaspar was shot and killed during the land coach heist. Ziggy ran off with the Irathient Rynn. His whereabouts are currently unknown.
The chilly history between Tennety and Amanda extends all the way back to the formation of the Earth Republic. Shortly after the war ended, Amanda returned home to Manhattan. She took an administrative job with the newly formed E-Rep, which is where she met her former lover, Connor Lang. Tennety was instantly jealous of Amanda, and the two women developed a mutual loathing from the moment they met.
Irisa's wearing the same outfit she wore in AngelArc in the season premiere. She fashioned that poncho out of an old California state flag. The state of California, along with the rest of the United States, ceased to exist shortly after the Pale Wars began, when Earth's governments united under the banner of the Earth Military Coalition.
Back in episode #16, Rafe's godson Josef convinced Rafe to take a stand against the Earth Republic. Ever since then, Rafe has been buying weapons from the Votanis Collective through a secret deal brokered by Datak. The Collective has been giving him a steep discount -- they don't want Defiance in Earth Republic hands any more than he does.
Meet Pilar McCawley. Pilar married Rafe shortly after the Votans' arrival. Rafe was often away during the war, which meant Pilar was forced to raise their three children alone. She did her best to keep her bipolar disorder in check with limited medicine. When the war ended, the McCawleys moved back to St. Louis, and Rafe founded his mines. Unfortunately, Pilar's condition worsened, since the medicine she needed was no longer being manufactured. One morning, Rafe came downstairs to find Pilar buttering the children's bread with rat poison. He sent her to a Votan monastery in Mendocino, where he hoped she would get the treatment she needed. Which begs the question... did that treatment work, or is Pilar still mentally ill?
This glowing blue ball is a terrasphere, an alien device responsible for the terraforming that transformed the planet. In the year 2030, thousands of Votan ships mysteriously crashed to Earth, releasing their terraspheres across the planet. This event was known as Arkfall. In the first episode, Nolan used the terrasphere he'd stolen from a crashed ark to wipe out a Volge army. This particular terrasphere was smuggled into town by an Echelon operative. It was only through the brave actions of Cass Ducar (a star of the Defiance video game) that their plot failed.
Votan tremblers are designed to emit seismic blasts. They were employed to great effect during the Pale Wars, when Votan special forces used them to breach the Earth Republic's subterranean bunkers. The object inside the briefcase that Datak showed Rafe in episode #18 was probably a trembler (Datak warned Rafe, "Careful, or they'll be finding your molars on top of the arch.") That briefcase bore the logo of Von Bach Industries, a prominent weapons dealer in the Defiance video game.
Irisa's followers aren't the only ones behaving strangely. In the Defiance video game, the Bay Area has been flooded by a group of mysterious pilgrims. Over the past few days, these pilgrims have suddenly turned violent, driven by some strange force. What's the connection between these two mysteries?
"In the beginning, it was not originally scripted that Irisa would be discovered hiding under the dining car, but when we were planning the scene that was the only spot where she could actually be hidden and not spotted outside the Earth Republic headquarters. Luckily, Stephanie [Irisa] could squeeze herself into that tiny little opening." - Andy Wolk, Director
(In the Lawkeeper's Office) "A special tabletop had to be constructed for Irisa to slam her knives into." - Andy Wolk, Director
"We filmed the mine collapse on green screen. Anytime you work on green screen you have to put complete faith in your director and the special effects department. It's hard not to feel a bit silly reacting to things that don't actually exist, like the ground shaking so hard that it knocks you down and giant rocks falling on top of you. Especially when Jim Murray [Pottinger] is standing right off camera making jokes!!!! (Don't worry, I did the same thing to him when it was time for his coverage!)" - Julie Benz (Amanda)
"In the collapsed tunnel where we find Amanda and Pottinger, all the lighting is from their lanterns and the lights on their helmets. No artificial movie lighting at all." - Andy Wolk, Director
"In the mine collapse episode, I wrote a scene where Amanda basically loses it. She’s lost her sister. She’s suffocating to death. She thinks the universe has had her in its bullseye all her life. Sadly, we had to cut it for time." - Anupam Nigam, Writer
"Datak's gambling game is "4-card Monte" a Casti version of "3-card Monte" that we invented for the show. It was not scripted that Stahma would win, but on the day when we were shooting we discovered that as a terrific way to punctuate her power at the end of the scene." - Andy Wolk, Director