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Earth Republic soldier Jessica "Berlin" Rainer. Berlin makes propaganda films for The E-Rep, but one doesn't need to twist her arm to make them. As a child of the Pale Wars, Berlin sees the Earth Republic as a valuable force that protects and unites people.[1]

Background[]

When Berlin was eight years old, a gang of V.C. deserters entered her home and killed her mother and her brother.[2] After their deaths, she lived on the streets, stealing food to survive while living in constant fear of both dying and not dying. Then, when she was 16 years old, she joined the Earth Republic where she found food, clothing, and people to look out for her for the first time since she was a child. They became her family. [3]

Because of her traumatic past, she felt safe living under the Earth Republic's intense security, and came to believe that "family has to be more than good intentions." She believes family has to be capable of protecting one another. Berlin never wanted anyone to feel as terrified as she felt as a child, so she rose to the position of Captain in the Earth Republic, hoping that other people would also feel safer walking the streets under the Earth Republic's flag and security cameras.

Before coming to Defiance, Berlin was engaged to Conrad Von Bach. His mother did not approve of the engagement and offered Berlin a briefcase full of scrip to break it off. She declined the offer, first shooting the briefcase and then shooting the lawyer in the foot. Unfortunately, Conrad's mother told him that Berlin had accepted the offer before she had even made it to Berlin, so when Berlin returned from her tour, she found their Redwood apartment empty. He even took the dog.

Season 2[]

The first episode of season 2 begins with Berlin filming provisional mayor Niles Pottinger's speech to the town. This speech reveals the extent of control the E-Rep has taken during the eight and a half months since season 1. As a captain in the Earth Republic, Berlin's primary duties involve town surveillance and creating propaganda films. She has the entire town under constant surveillance, per Pottinger's orders.

Since the E-Rep arrived in Defiance, Berlin has also formed a romantic relationship with Tommy Lasalle, Irisa Nolan's ex-boyfriend.

While Berlin is considered a rising star at the E-Rep headquarters in New York, not everyone in Defiance agrees she's doing the right thing. Joshua Nolan is particularly offended by the totalitarian nature of the Earth Republic and finds himself instantly at odds with Berlin. She thinks that while Nolan may enjoy living a Star Wars fantasy, most people want safety and security. To Berlin, the Earth Republic's heavy tactics are the price they have to pay to salvage what's left of civilization.

In Beasts of Burden, Berlin is kidnapped by a man named Josef who wants to make the public see how dangerous the Earth Republic really is. While Josef views the Earth Republic as a destructive government that needs to be destroyed, Berlin views the Earth Republic as regular people with lives and families to protect. She is incapable of seeing the Earth Republic through the eyes of its victims. Instead, she truly believes the citizens of Defiance would be able to speak against the Earth Republic as long as they told the truth.

Berlin also quickly develops an ongoing rivalry with Nolan's daughter, Irisa, who refuses to allow Berlin to inspect her diary upon arrival in Defiance. During this incident, Berlin roughs Irisa up for refusing arrest. Berlin later attempts to apologize to Irisa for roughing her up. She also attempts to relate to Irisa by saying, "Tommy's a great guy, and it must've been hard to lose him. And I'm sorry." Irisa, who is possessed by the Kaziri at the time, takes no interest in Berlin's apology, leading to a rivalry that lasts into season 3.

Throughout season 2, Berlin grows increasingly suspicious of Irisa's erratic behavior and the amount of time Tommy spends with her. Berlin wants to move to Texas with Tommy, but he wants to stay in Defiance to help Irisa. So, as his girlfriend, Berlin offers to help him help Irisa, but Tommy refuses to tell Berlin Irisa's secrets. He simply warns her that Irisa is a danger Berlin needs to avoid. Upset by his refusal to tell the whole truth, she dumps him and goes to the NeedWant. There, she finds Joshua Nolan who is also having "that kind of day" after his love interest, Amanda Rosewater, has taken an interest in Niles Pottinger.

Berlin and Nolan begin a strictly sexual relationship that lasts a few episodes. While Berlin has no problem continuing to sleep with Nolan despite his feelings for Amanda, Nolan ultimately decides that "he's a one woman kind of guy," and they mutually agree it's best to end their sexual relationship. In the following episode, Berlin works with Amanda to solve a murder. During the investigation, she informs Amanda that she is the reason why Berlin and Nolan are no longer sleeping together.

After learning of Tommy's death in episode 12, Berlin begins drinking heavily, only stopping when the Earth Republic sets up a command center in Defiance to stop Irisa/The Kaziri from destroying the planet. Later, Berlin discovers the Earth Republic lining up and shooting a group of prisoners. During this incident, she finally sees that the Earth Republic doesn't always seek rightful justice. As she orders the soldiers to stop, one of them knocks her out and adds her to the group of victims. Fortunately, she and the remaining prisoners are saved by Datak and Stahma Tarr who shoot the soldiers.

Berlin ends the season giving a toast in Tommy's memory.

Season 3[]

Season 3 picks up seven months after season 2 left off. At the end of season 2, The Earth Republic was completely destroyed, and Amanda was reinstated as Mayor of Defiance. Under her leadership, Berlin and another former member of the Earth Republic, Frei Poole, have become lawkeeper and deputy in Nolan and Irisa's absence. During this time, Berlin also formed a friendship with Amanda who gave her the badge and treated her like a sister after the death of her own sister, Kenya Rosewater.

In the season 3 premiere, Berlin is first seen exiting the second floor of the NeedWant after she hears a robbery in progress by a desperate gulanite miner who lost work when the mines shut down. Berlin stops the robbery by hitting one thief with a chair. Then, Amanda shoots the other in the knees. While at Meh Yewll's office getting treated for a minor injury she received during the robbery, Berlin learns that Doc Yewll is planning to leave Defiance, and Amanda reveals that the stasis nets are down. Defiance has already lost anyone with a skill marketable to the outside world, and the only people who remain are those who cannot leave and cannot survive in the badlands. Berlin helps Amanda to persuade Yewll to stay by telling her that the people who remain in Defiance "are depending on people like us to keep it all together."

Echoing the previous season, Nolan and Irisa once again return to Defiance, and Berlin gets into another fight with Irisa. Berlin beats up Irisa, but Irisa (who is a skilled fighter) makes no effort to defend herself. Irisa has become a celebrity since escaping the Kaziri's control, but Berlin doesn't care. She still blames Irisa for Tommy's death. Although Irisa was being controlled by a machine (the Kaziri) when she killed Tommy, Berlin believes that Irisa is a dangerous person and her actions lead to his death, so Irisa is still at fault.

As the season goes on, Berlin is forced to work with Irisa at their job. In the episode Dead Air, tension rises between them as they investigate the destruction of the arch. At the end of the episode, Irisa tries to find common ground with Berlin by saying, "I miss him, too. I loved Tommy," which offends Berlin who says, "you don't kill what you love." This pushes Irisa over the edge, causing her to hold a knife to Berlin's throat. Irisa insists that it was the machine who killed Tommy, but her violent response only further convinces Berlin that Irisa is dangerous. Then, suddenly, the arktech in Irisa's brain malfunctions, and Irisa wanders into the street clutching her head. She falls to the ground, but Berlin simply walks away, doing nothing to help her. In the next episode, Berlin guiltily helps Amanda recover Irisa, but does not admit to how she knew where Irisa was or make any effort to apologize for her actions.

Discovering that Rahm Tak destroyed the arch, Nolan and Berlin help train a scrappy army to fight back until Berlin's ex, Conrad Von Bach, arrives in Defiance. He offers the town free weapons in an exchange for a date with Berlin. She reluctantly accepts, but as their conversation progresses, they realize that their relationship ended as a result of his mother's meddling, and the spark between them is rekindled. He tells her that there's nothing left for her in Defiance without the Earth Republic or Tommy, and they spend a romantic night together.

Missing the safety she felt under the Earth Republic and believing that Amanda cannot protect Defiance from Rahm Tak, Berlin decides to leave Defiance to be with Conrad. As she prepares to leave, Amanda calls her a coward and Nolan refuses to discuss her reasons for leaving as she surrenders her lawkeeper badge to him. In her final scene before leaving, she watches with a suitcase in hand as Nolan looks directly at her during an address to the town. He says that they must fight for everyone, including those who "can't be be bothered or just won't do it." He continues, "the strong defend the weak. It's not fair, but it is right. It's our responsibility, and it's our privilege." She looks teary eyed and conflicted, but ultimately still decides to leave rather than risk her life.

Three episodes later, after learning that the arktech in Nolan's brain malfunctioned and caused him to kill the Vice Chancellor of the Votanis Collective, Berlin decides to conquer her fear and step up to help Amanda and Defiance.

On her way back to Defiance, Berlin finds Irisa trapped in an overturned vehicle. Berlin rescues Irisa, and although she makes a final jab at Irisa's expense, Irisa thanks Berlin for not walking away. Berlin adds "for not walking away again, you mean," confronting what happened between them earlier in the season. They choose to put the past behind them, and this scene marks the end of Berlin and Irisa's long rivalry. They finally begin working together as a team and conspire to save Nolan from Kindzi.

After helping Irisa search for Nolan, Berlin returns to Defiance to help Amanda execute her plan to fake Nolan and Irisa's deaths in order to hide them from the Votanis Collective. While Amanda initially refuses Berlin's help, Berlin and Amanda ultimately admit that they missed each other after their fight. Berlin then resumes her role as Lawkeeper, working to help save Defiance from Kindzi.

Berlin is last seen looking up at the newly repaired arch with the rest of the town in the final episode of the series.

Personality & Interests[]

Berlin has a harsh, no-nonsense personality, usually prioritizing survival and safety above all else, including personal freedom and personal relationships.

She enjoys both creating and watching films. Season 3 reveals that she loves the classic film "All That Heaven Allows" and its director Douglas Sirk. In a deleted line from In My Secret Life, Berlin says she wishes she had gotten to see The Godfather Part Two on a big screen.[4]

Trivia[]

  • Throughout season 2, Berlin's last name is both spelled and pronounced "Rainier" on screen, but due to legal issues, she officially became "Rainer" on all promotional materials before season 2 was released. She was also occasionally referred to as Jessica “Berlin” Rai in early interviews before they settled on Rainer. Her last name is not spoken in season 3. [5]
  • Berlin carries Tommy's gun throughout season 3 as a reminder of her duty to him. She begins to carry it less often as she begins to forgive Irisa. [6]
  • Berlin and Conrad's "Redwood" apartment is a nod to the makers of the Defiance video game, headquartered in Redwood City, California. [7]
  • Berlin and Amanda's friendship is a reflection of the real life friendship between Julie Benz and Anna Hopkins.
  • Berlin was initially described as "a militarized Holly Hunter in Broadcast news.” [8]
  • Anna Hopkins was a guest star in season 2 and became a regular in season 3. She was originally only meant to have a recurring role, but the showrunners liked her so much that they expanded her role into season 3. [9]
  • Berlin is combat-certified for jump rigs.
  • During season 2, Berlin can frequently be seen using a Panasonic WA03 hand held camcorder.

Quotes[]

Irisa is a real pretty name. It'll look good on the arrest report. -In My Secret Life

You're not trying to paper over your nasty wartime past. We all have that. You're trying to hide the fact that you like where it dumped you out. Driving around in that busted-ass roller with your hot Chewbacca, chupping whores. -In My Secret Life

When I was eight, a gang of VC deserters came into my home and killed my mother and my brother. There was nothing I could do and no one I could call. Now when people see the E-Rep flag and my cameras, they know that they can walk the streets and feel safe. If this is the price to pay for civilization or salvaging whatever's left of it, then, yeah, I'm down with it. -In My Secret Life

Why don't you get me a drink and explain to me what a Barbie Doll is and whether or not I ought to punch you for calling me one? -This Woman's Work

Rafe: So many ways to die in this new world. Hellbugs, wulokot fever. A firing squad feels...
Berlin: Quaint? -I Almost Prayed

Berlin: You don't kill what you love!
Irisa: It wasn't me. It was the machine!
Berlin: Is it a machine holding a knife to my neck right now? -Dead Air

For me, family has to be more than good intentions. -The Beauty of Our Weapons

There was this guy, Tommy, and he was gentle and kind and had a great ass. -The Beauty of Our Weapons


References[]

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