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"History Rhymes" is the 5th episode of Season Three of Defiance and the 30th episode overall. It aired on July 3, 2015 on Syfy.


While Nolan & Irisa fall into an unexpected and potentially fatal tour of their own past, Amanda & Doc Yewll enlist Kindzi to help rescue them. Datak & Stahma prepare a decisive move against Votanis Collective general Rahm Tak.

Syfy's Fun Facts[1][]

  • "Sutso" means blasphemer or infidel in Castithan. "Death to the Sutso!" became a popular battle cry during the Pale Wars among all the Votan races.
  • Very little is known of Omec physiology, even among the best Indogene scientists. For thousands of years the Omec kept to themselves, only leaving their homeworld once every 76 years when its orbit brought it into close proximity with the core planets. The Omec would conduct raids, called "Dread Harvests," in which they captured thousands of Votans to be used for food and as slave labor. The Omec took great pains never to leave their wounded comrades behind on the battlefield, fearing their enemies might discover some weakness they could exploit.
  • Von Bach Industries has been referenced many times over the course of the series. Niles Pottinger procured an EGO device from VBI back in Season 2, Episode 4, which he had implanted in Amanda in order to steal her memories and create a clone of Amanda's sister, Kenya. Datak used his Votanis Collective connections to procure Von Bach weaponry to aid in Rafe's quest to fight the Earth Republic in Season 2, Episode 6. Players of the Defiance video game know that Karl Von Bach, CEO of Von Bach Industries, is identifiable for his bald head. The VBI representative with Tak must be a different member of the Von Bach family. But who? Stay tuned!
  • "Nolan and Irisa's vision quest involved the reconstruction of The Shaming Rack bar and derelict trailer from the Season 2 webisodes. We constructed Nolan's childhood St. Louis home in the McCawley house then subsequently turned that set around again back into the McCawley house. We then designed and built a new set, a wartime bunker scene during the Pale Wars where Nolan's sister is killed in combat. These were all special environments as the revelations of these scenes illuminate the hidden motivations and previously unrevealed connections between our two principal characters and their past together." - Steve Geaghan, Production Designer
  • The Shaming Rack (the bar) was first established in the Defiance webisodes. It's a remote watering hole near Denver, Colorado run by a man named Lenny, one of Nolan's old war buddies. Nolan drove out to The Shaming Rack following Irisa's disappearance at the end of Season One in the hopes of finding some clue to her whereabouts.
  • The man Nolan is talking to is J-Turk, a member of the Iron Demons and one of Nolan's old war buddies. Other members of the Iron Demons included Jon Cooper (currently the lawkeeper in Marin and a star of the Defiance video game) and Eddie Braddock, who covered for Nolan when he went AWOL from the Earth Military Coalition in order to save Irisa's life (as seen in the Defiance webisodes). During the war, J-Turk suffered horrible burns from chemo-tracts, a nasty chemical weapon designed by Pol Madis. Nolan got revenge by putting a bullet in Pol Madis in Season 1, Episode 6.
  • Rahm Tak's "I'm going to find out if the carnivorous plant eats Audrey" is a reference to the 1982 stage musical Little Shop of Horrors, which was adapted for film by director Frank Oz in 1986. Executive Producer Kevin Murphy is a huge fan of musicals, having written several himself, including musical adaptations of Reefer Madness and Heathers.
  • This isn't the first time Yewll has been forced to improvise a solution to a problem through cobbled-together technology. In Season One, Yewll rigged the terrasphere that wiped out the Volge army. In Season Two, she created a clone of Amanda's sister Kenya using a hodgepodge of Indogene technology. Yewll even cobbled together the numerous medical devices in her office from repurposed ark salvage (which Sukar managed to convert into an ark-brain interface back in Season 1, Episode 7).
  • "My most challenging scene was a flashback that also included our present day characters observing. The logistical problem was writing it in a way that readers knew which Nolan (present day or flashback) was speaking. We actually came up with the term 'Scrooge Nolan and Scrooge Irisa' to make it clear the present day observers were speaking." - Anupam Nigam, Writer
  • Stahma mentions "Pow Vindaloo," which is a delicacy you won't find in the year 2015. Pow are strange little animals, a genetically-wuzzled combination of pigs and cows created by the terraforming. Though not much to look at, most agree they're quite delicious.
  • A "cerebral source print" is an exact duplicate of an Indogene brain, which includes everything from their genetic code to their stored memories. What Kindzi intends to do with it is anyone's guess.
  • Nolan and Irisa's mental connection was inspired by a real world condition called a thalamic bridge. It's been observed in a few rare cases that conjoined twins who have been surgically separated continue to exhibit shared brain patterns. This is believed to be caused by an interdependence in their thalamus, the part of the brain that relays sensory and motor skills. Like it or not, Nolan and Irisa are now permanently tethered, giving a whole new meaning to their catchphrase, "Live together, die together."

Votan Translations[]

David J. Peterson, the creator of the Votan languages, has made translations available on his Archive of Our Own page.

Translations for the Votan spoken in this episode can be found at Conlang Dialogue: Defiance, Episode 305.

Highlighted Quote[]

Grandma Stahma loves purple-enchanter penis so much she's forgotten all about your daddy Alak.
Inayéna Stama re guni nefkitso hucha do deta je ksa, vavo tata Alaka do jugupsa yo.


  • The original pitch for episode 305 History Rhymes was Nolan wakes up in a reality where Irisa is human and about to marry Tommy - Writer, Anupam Nigam[2]
  • This is Nichole Galicia's first episode as a series regular
  • The end credits state that Nolan was 18 in the flashback to Rebecca's death
  • The end credits state that young Irisa was 9 years old her flashbacks. This is consistent with her birth year of 2023 and the official end of the war in 2032.
  • This episode features the earliest chronological usage of the Nolan family motto ("Live or Die Together") in a flashback between Nolan and his sister, Rebecca