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Joshua Nolan is the protagonist of the Defiance television series on Syfy and is an introductory character in the game.

He was formerly a lieutenant who fought in the Earth Military Coalition as a member of The Ninth Mechanized Infantry Division, known also as “Iron Demons” or "The Defiant Few" after whom the town of Defiance is named. Approximately 15 years after leaving the military, Nolan arrives in Defiance with his adopted daughter where he becomes the Lawkeeper.


Early Life[]

Nolan was approximately 10 years old when the Votanis Collective first arrived on Earth. As the arks arrived in the sky over St. Louis, Nolan was enjoying a picnic with his parents. Some time later, Nolan was in his house with his older sister, Rebecca Nolan. He received a bloody nose after losing a fight to a bigger kid. He decided it was easier to just fall down than to fight back, but Rebecca encouraged him to fight back next time. She said, "I didn't raise you to be a doormat." The house began to shake as more arks arrived. Watching the arks from the window, Nolan told his frightened sister, “It's okay. Jon Stewart says they're friendly.”

When Nolan was 11, he first saw the movie The Bravery Nine based on Gordon McClintock's life. That movie made him want to be an astronaut, and he and his brothers acted out scenes from the movie for weeks after they saw it.

Although Nolan was initially inspired by the arrival of aliens on Earth, his parents were killed by Votans, and instead of going to high school, Nolan joined the military. Nolan had a romantic notion that the military would make him a man, and his sister, Rebecca Nolan, followed to protect him. At first Nolan was reluctant to fight or hurt anyone, but he wanted to impress his sister. During the Battle of St. Louis, Rebecca was killed by an Irathient who Nolan let enter the ammo depot they were both guarding. She died because he hadn’t been able to kill. This left him profoundly scarred and turned him into a ruthless soldier.

Military Career[]

In 2024, Nolan was a Private First Class in Delta Company during the Battle of Oklahoma City. During this battle, he was promoted to Corporal for his actions on the battlefield. His commander said of his promotion, "In all likelihood, Delta Company won’t last the night. If he lives, he’ll have earned it. If not? Well, at least he’ll have something nice to think about before the end comes.”[1] Nolan did survive, but half his unit died. He then joined the 9th Mechanized Division, or Iron Demons, where he was promoted to Lieutenant, and met Jon Cooper.

While in Oklahoma, an interviewer asked Nolan what happened to his family. He murmured, “Lots of things," and refused to elaborate. All he said was that he was never going back to St. Louis. Ever. [2]Nolan rarely spoke of his family after their deaths. He would never even tell his daughter about his sister until many years after he adopted her.

Nolan quickly earned a ruthless reputation. His friend and fellow member of the Iron Demons, Eddie Braddock, described Nolan's reputation during the war as, "Corporal Joshua "no-man" Nolan, leave no man standing on the battlefield! Kill 'em all! Let God sort it out!"

In 2029, at the Yosemite massacre, a mixed commune of pacifist humans and aliens were caught in the crossfire of EMC and VC forces. Both sides assumed the town was giving aid to the enemy, and over 98 humans and 112 Votan civilians were killed. This would haunt Nolan for the rest of his life, and earned him the nickname, "The Butcher of Yosemite." General Rahm Tak fought on the opposite side of this battle, and would hold a grudge against Nolan for the rest of his life.

Battle of Defiance & The Aftermath[]

During the year after Yosemite, the world changed and so did Nolan. In December of 2030, Nolan participated in a vicious battle in San Francisco. Casualties were high. Human and Votan soldiers, including Nolan, disgusted by years of bloodshed, disobeyed orders and put down their weapons, banding together to pull civilians from the rubble.

The pivotal moment of this battle occurred when people on the EMC side spotted a Castithan woman and a baby in the midst. Nolan and Jon Cooper held up their weapons, entering the battlefield for the woman. Soon, members of the Votanis Collective entered the battlefield as well, putting down their own weapons. Nolan picked up the woman, Cooper picked up the baby, and they moved them to safety. The Iron Demons and a few members of the Votanis Collective later gathered around a campfire. Nolan sat quietly, his hands shaking as he tried to load his gun. Then he began to cry. The next morning, there was an attack. Much of San Francisco was destroyed, but the Palace of Fine Arts, where the group of human and Votan soldiers were bunkered down with civilians, survived. After the damage was done humans and Votans began pulling civilians from the rubble of the attack.

This came to be known as the Battle of Defiance and helped to end the war. A woman named Renee Kirby was at this battle and set out to let the world know of their courageous actions. [3]

Nolan and his entire unit were set to be court-marshalled for disobeying orders, but civilians began calling them “The Defiant Few” and lauding them as heroes. So, to keep them out of the limelight, a demoted Nolan and his unit were sent to a location just outside Denver. [4] There, they raided a temple and interrupted a cultist ritual, killing several Votan members, including the parents of Irisa Nyira. The cult was torturing young girls in hopes of finding their savior who would lead a Votan rapture. Irisa was chained up and being subjugated to a process those other young girls had already died from.

First Year with Irisa[]

After rescuing Irisa, he took her to a military hospital where he promised her she would be safe from the cult. He offered her a chocolate bar which she spit out, and when she threatened to bite Eddie Braddock, he laughed and quickly bonded with her. Nolan realized that she was headed for certain death in a refugee camp, so he deserted the military to save her and take her traveling with him. Eddie stole the roller that allowed them to escape, but he was captured and spent six years in prison. Nolan was on the run for taking Irisa, and the EMC nearly caught him, but Irisa picked up a knife and killed the soldier who was threatening to take Nolan in.

At first, Nolan did not consider Irisa to be his daughter. She was simply a kid in need of help which he provided. In turn, Irisa was frightened of Nolan, a human soldier who had shown little respect for Irathients. Even though Nolan was past his worst days, the first year he spent with Irisa had some rough moments. Nolan made an effort to bond with Irisa, doing things like singing her to sleep and trying to sooth her fears, but he hadn't fully shaken the violent worldview of a wartime soldier, and many of the life lessons he taught Irisa during their first year together were brutal.

Nolan's sister died because he couldn't pick up a weapon, so he made sure that Irisa would be able to defend herself. He taught her how to use knives, how to kill, and how and to never let anyone get the upper hand on her. He thought he was doing what was best, but Irisa struggled with the most violent of his lessons. Looking back, Nolan realized he could have handled things better, but did not regret teaching her how to survive in a lawless post-apocolyptic world where too many people who could not fight or fend for themselves died.

Life as an Ark hunter with a Daughter[]

While their relationship started off rocky, over time, they came to see each other as father and daughter. They both learned how to open up to another person as their relationship developed. Irisa changed her last name to Nolan[5], and they lived by the Nolan family motto of “live or die together," a motto Nolan shared with his sister. After the war ended, Nolan became an Ark Hunter. With Irisa at his side, they spent years living in the badlands and searching for Arktech in hopes of funding a trip to Antarctica, rumored to be paradise after terraforming.

Game (Before Season 1)[]

After joining Karl Von Bach’s Bay Area Expedition, Nolan and Irisa travel to San Francisco on board the EMS New Freedom, a former EMC Stratocarrier recommissioned under the E-Rep. The ship is attacked by Raiders, but they are able to eject via escape pods. Extricating themselves in short order, they appropriate a roller and attempt to obtain enough Arkfall to finance a move to Antarctica. Eventually, Nolan and Irisa are hired by Varus Soleptor to retreive the Libera Nova Gem from the North Point Mine. The Libera Nova Gem is a crucial component in acquiring a Terrasphere. Realizing the value of the gem, they steal it for themselves. Then they leave the Bay Area to escape Varus' wrath. In the game you may notice many AIs such as in Top Notch Toolworks, talk about his bounty a lot.

Season 1[]

Arrival in Defiance & Volge Attack[]

Fleeing Varus, Nolan and Irisa travel toward St. Louis, where they use the Gem to retrieve a Terrasphere from a recently crashed Indogene ship. This is what they have been searching so long for. It should earn them enough to pay off Varus and travel to Antarctica, but before they have time to celebrate, they are ambushed by Raiders who seek to claim their bounty for themselves. The ensuing battle leaves Irisa injured, and they are forced to take refuge in the woods, where they are attacked by Saberwolves. The two are rescued by Garret Clancy and taken to the town of Defiance.

Nolan is quickly charmed by the unusual town where both humans and Votans live together. He becomes intrigued by the town’s mayor, Amanda Rosewater, spends a night with her sister, a local sex worker (or night porter), Kenya Rosewater, and steps in to help clear the name of a Castithan teenager, Alak Tarr. While he originally plans to earn some fast money to buy a new roller and leave town with Irisa, as a Volge army approaches, Nolan changes his mind. After listening to Amanda’s speech to the town and noticing how many children live there, Nolan decides to stay and fight in the battle that becomes known as The Second Battle of Defiance. Due to his heroic efforts, Amanda offers him a badge and names him her Chief Lawkeeper.

New Job & New Friends[]

New to the town and to the job, Nolan and Irisa attempt to stop a Castithan shaming ritual where a man is tied up and tortured. Datak Tarr steps forward to explain that this man threw down arms and ran from the Volge, reflecting poorly on the other Castithan men of his Liro. Therefore, he has taken the honor of every Castithan in Defiance. Nolan, on the other hand, thinks this man was brave to pick up arms in the first place, and rationalizes that "plenty of men lose their nerve the first time in combat." He doesn't understand how one man could bring dishonor on everyone else, and moves to shut it down.

Amanda arrives and forces Nolan to let the ritual go forward. She takes Nolan aside to explain that when Defiance was first founded, there was a deadly altercation between Defiance and its Irathient citizens after Mayor Nicky tried to vaccinate Iratient children (who do not believe in vaccinations). After that altercation, the town council informally decided to allow the eight races to honor the traditional values of their own people. Nolan asks Amanda to look him in the eyes and tell him this is right. She simply responds that "it's necessary." Irisa is still upset, but Nolan asks her to give Amanda a chance to do the right thing.

After learning of an explosion in the mines, Rafe McCawley and Nolan head underground to Old St. Louis to find Ben Daris who was instrumental in the volge attack and killed Rafe's son. While there, they reminisce about growing up in St. Louis. Nolan remembers that Rafe's family was locally famous for their dog food and teases Rafe by singing their old jingle. After they bond, they capture Ben, and Nolan tries to talk Rafe out of killing Ben. They need Ben alive to find out who was behind the Volge attack. Nolan tells Rafe, "you can do the right thing by your dead child or you can do the right thing by the two living ones, but you cannot do both." Rafe puts down the gun. Nolan gives him a smile and a nod of appreciation, but then Ben takes the gun and shoots himself.

When they return to the surface, Nolan learns that Irisa freed Elah Bandik from the shaming rack, and Amanda stepped forward to help by pardoning him of all violations of Castithan law. Nolan tells Irisa that she did the right thing and is happy to learn that they were right to trust Amanda, but Irisa still wants to go to Antarctica. Nolan says, "Antarctica's not real, kid... but this town is." He has no intention of leaving.

The Spirit Riders & Irisa's Visions[]

The Spirit Riders arrive in Defiance as Irisa's visions are getting worse. Nolan, Irisa, and Tommy have been looking into the death of a jogger who had the bone marrow sucked out of him when another death is discovered. Irisa visibly struggles with both murders, and she is starting to have visions again. Nolan thinks this is a side effect of the PTSD she suffers from as a result of her traumatic childhood. Although he thought her visions had stopped, they've actually been getting stronger while she's been in Defiance (for a reason that will take a while to be revealed).

Nolan uncovers a shady land deal involving Rafe McCawley and the Spirit Riders. Meanwhile, Irisa bonds with a Spirit Rider named Sukar who offers to get to the bottom of her visions through a spiritual ritual. Nolan is skeptical, but doesn't stop Irisa. The visions reveal a key to solving the case, and Nolan tries to apologize for not realizing the visions were real. Irisa shouts, "I'm an alien. And you made me afraid of that!" Nolan continues trying to reason with her. He wants to help her "get to the bottom of this gift or this curse or whatever the hell this is," but Irisa isn't listening.

After the case is solved and resolution is found between Defiance and the Spirit Riders, Irisa is sitting alone in the NeedWant. Nolan moves towards her, but Sukar gets there first. Nolan's disappointment is palpable as he walks away. Later, as Irisa thrashes in her sleep, Nolan holds her hand for comfort.

Bonding with the Rosewaters[]

Kenya decides that she doesn't want Nolan to pay for their sessions together anymore. This doesn't mean they're dating. Kenya is strictly not about labels, but she thinks that they "should be fun together." As Nolan and Kenya are getting dressed, Amanda comes looking for Nolan because he's been stopping Datak Tarr from importing weapons from the VC (which the town council has been secretly condoning behind Amanda's back). Amanda's distracted and upset to learn that her sister is sleeping with Nolan during an already bad day. Amanda thinks Nolan should have told her he was going to stop Datak Tarr, but Nolan thinks she should have told him about the town's deal with Datak. Of course, Amanda is only pretending to have known about the town's dealings with Datak Tarr. Nolan says there are far safer ways to build an armory than working with the VC, but Kenya arrives and gets into an altercation with her sister, ending his part in this conversation.

Later, Kenya gets kidnapped, leaving Amanda and Nolan to search for her. A drug dealer is using Kenya to create Adreno, a dangerous drug developed by the EMC that Amanda hasn't heard of yet but will become very familiar with in the future. Nolan and Amanda are forced to go to Datak for help because his Bioman was involved in Kenya's disappearance, but Datak has no desire to work with them. He and Nolan fight, but Amanda tries to reason with him. She fails, but his wife, Stahma, blackmails Amanda into giving Datak a seat on the town council in exchange for help saving Kenya's life. They rescue Kenya, and Nolan realizes that Datak isn't the Tarr he needs to worry about. Stahma is. He says, "you know, I've had my eye on the wrong snake. You're the dangerous one."

With Kenya safe, Nolan and Amanda board a transport vehicle with the money Defiance saved to finance a railroad into town. Also on the landcoach is Olfin Tennety, Amanda's rival who she has known since she worked at the Earth Republic headquarters. Along the journey, Amanda and Nolan talk about their views on romance before falling asleep, but they soon run into trouble. Nolan and Amanda are forced to come up with a dangerous plan to escape. Rynn, a prisoner aboard the landcoach, tells Nolan she thought he would have had more sense than to engage in such a risky plan, but then she realizes he's doing it for Amanda. Nolan tells Amanda not to get a big head about it.

Through some twists and turns, they learn that Olfin wasn't an innocent bystander. She planned to steal the railroad money from Defiance, which would force them to borrow from the Earth Republic, bringing them one step closer to controlling the town. Despite what sounded like a criticism earlier, Rynn saves Nolan and Amanda from Olfin because her cultural laws dictate that a man who risks his life for others cannot be left to die. Amanda decides to let Rynn off with time served. They don't know if she has that power, but she does it anyway. This leaves Nolan and Amanda to decide what to do with Olfin. Nolan suggests they kill her, and while Amanda agrees she deserves it, they have laws. They take her back to Defiance to face justice, and Nolan and Amanda go to the NeedWant to celebrate their victory with flirtatious smiles and a bottle of scotch.

Brothers in Arms[]

Nolan's former comrade Eddie Braddock arrives in Defiance seeking a Castithan fugitive named Pol Madis. He's an inventor who created the weapon that wiped out half their unit during the Pale Wars. Since Eddie was released from prison, he's been earning his living as a bounty hunter and is hoping to cash in on a big reward by handing him over to the Earth Republic. Nolan is hesitant to hand Pol Madis over because he thinks he should answer for the six people he injured in Defiance.

When Eddie sees Irisa for the first time since she was a child, he's impressed that Nolan didn't drop her off with Irathients, instead choosing to raise her as his daughter. Eddie is envious that Nolan got to live a real life and be a father. Meanwhile, Nolan feels indebted to Eddie for helping save Irisa, and therefore is bending over backwards to help him - doing everything from giving him all the money in his wallet to asking Amanda to let Eddie take Pol Madis, even though Nolan doesn’t want to give him to the E-Rep either.

He also does not protest when Eddie decides to pay for time with Kenya Rosewater. Eddie notices there's something between Nolan and Kenya, so he says, "I would never get between you and a woman, unless you're in a sharing mood." Nolan replies, "And I would never get between a woman and her work," leaving it up to Kenya to choose if she wants to go with Eddie. She goes upstairs with him, but in the end, she doesn't go through with it. Eddie later tells Nolan that Kenya turned him down because, even though she didn't say it, she is clearly into Nolan.

After they capture Pol Madis, Nolan plans to hand him over to Eddie, but Pol Madis reveals that the Earth Republic and the Votanis Collective are fighting over him, not to bring him to justice, but to have him build WMDs for them. Everyone is certain another war is going to break out. Eddie figures there's nothing they can do, but Nolan knows they can at least prevent his WMDs from being part of the next war. Eddie reminds Nolan that he used to say "we're not politicians. we're soldiers." Nolan takes a different meaning from this than Eddie intended. He shoots Pol Madis so that neither the E-Rep or VC can use him in war. Nolan tries to offer Eddie a job in Defiance, working as deputy, but Eddie pulls his gun on Nolan. If he can't collect on Pol Madis, he'll collect on the bounty out for Nolan. Nolan surrenders to Eddie, finally finding a way to repay Eddie for helping save Irisa from dying in a refugee camp. His only request is that Eddie tell Varus Irisa is dead because all that matters to him is that she is safe.

When the E-Rep arrives, Eddie surprises Nolan by confessing to killing Pol Madis, and he lets them take him into custody. Later, Nolan goes to the NeedWant and asks Kenya when she gets off work. She tells him he’s not her type and breaks up with him. Unbeknownst to Nolan, Kenya was shaken by letting her feelings come between her and her work. Nolan then decides to sit down with Irisa and tell her stories about her uncle Eddie.

Razor Rain & A Resurrected Sukar[]

One of Irisa's visions reveals that Sukar is in danger, so she plans to go to the badlands to help him. Nolan thinks she wants to go on her own and hangs back, but she surprises him by asking him to come along. When they arrive, they learn that Sukar died after "the sky opened and took him." Nolan hugs Irisa to his side as the Irathients invite Irisa to join in a funeral ritual for Sukar (called a sinking ritual). Before answering the invitation, Irisa notices a piece of debris on the ground, revealing that razor rain killed Sukar. Nolan then heads back to Defiance to warn everyone to get inside before it kills anyone else.

Nolan and Amanda patrol the streets, looking for any stragglers who haven't heard about the storm. They find an inured Tommy and take him to Doc Yewll who informs Nolan that Irisa is running around Defiance with a revived Sukar who attacked Doc Yewll. He also stole an ark brain interface from her which he plans to use to communicate with an ark fragment that's heading straight for Defiance. Nolan assumes Sukar is controlling the ark fragment and goes to the arch to stop Sukar. Sukar himself doesn't even know whether the plan he set in motion will destroy Defiance or save it. He has put total faith in his god, Irzu, to guide him. He does not care if Irzu is asking him to destroy Defiance or save it. He will do as instructed. Nolan doesn't take this as a reason to believe Sukar is doing the right thing, so he shoots him several times, and Sukar falls from the arch, leaving one final message for Irisa. "It flows through both of us." Irisa convinces Nolan to have faith and let Sukar's mission play out. Defiance is saved from the falling ark fragment.

Doc Yewll figures out that Sukar wasn't being controlled by Irzu at all, but rather nanites. The razor rain fragment that impaled Sukar was a piece of ark-brain that could see a chunk of the ark was on a collision course with Defiance. It acted on its primary mandate: to preserve Votan life, and the only tool that it had available was Sukar's body, so the ark brain sent out the nanites to repair the tissue damage to use Sukar to save the town. The nanites went dormant once the town was saved, and Sukar was left in a coma that he wasn't expected to recover from.

Irisa wants to find a spiritual reason for her visions, and she hasn't yet realized that an ark brain is also influencing her, so she lashes out at Doc Yewll and Nolan for not even considering an Irathient god as the source behind the strange things that have been happening. Her anger is heightened by the loss of her friend, Sukar. Nolan tries to tell her to let Sukar go so he can follow Irzu's path, but Irisa lashes out, saying, "You don't believe in his God. You don't believe in anything."

An Astronaut from 2013?[]

As Nolan and Tommy are exploring the remains of a fallen ark, they discover a living human astronaut. This astronaut asks if Nolan and Tommy are Americans, to which Nolan replies, "I was, once." The astronaut reveals that he is Gordon McClintock of NASA, commander of the International Space Station Bravery. There's just one problem: he died in 2013 when the space station blew up. Nolan and Tommy bring him back to Defiance where he is shocked to see all the aliens living in what used to be St. Louis, including Doc Yewll who examines him.

Nolan and Amanda start to come up with theories for how he could still be alive. Nolan speculates that the Votans abducted him and scuttled the space station to cover their tracks. Nolan guesses that despite their initial claims of arriving in peace back in 2013, the Votans were actually kidnapping and studying humans. Despite lacking the whole story, he's on the right track with much of this speculation. But, with no answers yet, Nolan and Amanda take Gordon to Rafe McCawley's house where the four of them drink and reminisce about the world before Votans arrived. Nolan reveals that he and his brothers used to act out a scene from the movie made about Gordon McClintok's life. As children, both Nolan and Amanda wanted to be astronauts after watching that movie. As they drink, Nolan and Amanda reveal the state of the world to Gordon - no airplanes, no USA, no space travel. Everyone is smiling, Amanda starts falling asleep on Nolan's shoulder, and Rafe is making plans for the next day. All seems perfect, but after they go to bed, Gordon attacks Amanda in her sleep and, despite Rafe's protests, Nolan is forced to arrest him.

Nolan is in Doc Yewll's office when Amanda's ex, Connor Lang, shows up looking for Amanda. Nolan pushes him out of the room, saying they should give Doc Yewll some space to run tests to confirm Amanda's ok. Connor accuses Nolan of not properly protecting Amanda, but Nolan replies that he's not her bodyguard. Nolan doesn't like Connor Lang because he doesn't like anyone who works for the E-Rep, and he still doesn't know who was behind the Volge attack. As far as he's concerned, it could have been the Earth Republic. Connor insists he cares about Amanda, and Nolan says, "Well, looky here, you and I just found some common ground."

Doc Yewll reveals to everyone that Gordon was a prototype in an alien assassin program. Back when the Votans were studying humans, Indogene volunteers would be surgically altered to infiltrate, collect information, and even kill. Gordon McClintock was a perfect candidate because he would have access to the highest level of Human leadership - president, prime minister, defense secretary, or anyone else important. Gordon doesn't remember his life as an Indogene. His brain is filled with memories taken from the real Gordon McClintok, so he struggles with this news. With Rafe's help, Gordon escapes, and Rafe tells everyone he died in the mines. Nolan sees right through Rafe's story, but doesn't press the issue. He shares a drink with Rafe in honor of Gordon Mclintok, "wherever he may be."

The Irath Flu[]

After an outbreak of viral haemorrhagic fever, commonly known as the Irath flu, the town council votes to round up all Irathients in Defiance and lock them up until the flu passes. Irathients can carry the disease and spread it but do not get sick themselves. Amanda objects to the idea, fearing an uprising, but she's overruled. She wanted to tell Nolan before they started rounding up Irathients, but Rafe McCawley didn't care. Nolan finds out about the order when they come to collect Irisa. He aims his gun at the people holding Irisa and demands her freedom, but Amanda manages to convince Irisa to tell Nolan to put his gun down. Nolan plans to free Irisa from captivity, but Amanda stands in his way. Before anything can come of their faceoff, Doc Yewll arrives with news of a cure that Nolan and Connor head off to retrieve. Nolan and Amanda are both showing signs of sickness, but push forward.

While driving through the badlands, Nolan wants to know more about Connor's past with Amanda. At first, Connor tells Nolan to ask Amanda these questions if he's so interested in hooking up with her, but after Nolan assumes Connor cheated on her, he decides to tell his side of the story. Connor reveals that Amanda was pregnant, and while he wanted to raise the baby, Amanda didn't. She had an abortion without telling Connor. To this day, he is unaware that the baby wasn't his (the audience doesn't know that yet either).

Nolan and Connor arrive at the border where the Earth Republic, including Olfin Tennety and Colonel Marsh, are blocking anyone from exiting Defiance. In fear that the illness will spread beyond Defiance, the Earth Republic refuses to let Nolan and Connor past the barricade to retrieve the cure. Nolan manages to convince them to let him through by telling them that he will make it known that the Earth Republic was responsible for withholding the cure from the victims, and make sure they are held responsible.

Nolan drives back to Defiance with the cure. He's on the verge of passing out himself, but refuses to stop for an injection while people are dying. He's forced to stop when a group of Irathients pop his tires, take the cure, and tie him and Connor up. Speaking Irathient, they explain they are enraged by the town locking up Irathients and won't release the cure until Nolan hails the mayor to release the Irathients. Nolan, responding in English, tries to tell them that he didn't want this to happen either, but people are dying, and they need the cure. When he fails to convince them to let him deliver the cure, he attempts to hail Amanda, but finds she has fallen ill, and Datak Tarr has assumed the role of mayor during her Illness. Nolan passes out, but Connor is awake to see Datak arrive for the cure. Datak pretends to side with the Irathients, but then kills them all. He even brutally murders and beats one woman after she's down. Datak then kills Connor because that display of rage doesn't fit the heroic narrative he is trying to spin, but he lets Nolan live because he was passed out.

After Nolan recovers enough to be up and moving, Irisa runs into him in the streets. She tells him he should be resting, but he responds, "I'll sleep when I'm dead." She tells him he's an idiot, and he pulls her into a hug.

An Old Murder Case[]

When the body of Kenya's Rosewater's husband is discovered in the walls of the NeedWant, Nolan and Tommy investigate his death. After questioning Kenya and Amanda, Tommy and Nolan both come to the conclusion that there were two likely possibilities. The first: Kenya killed her husband because he was abusive towards her, and Amanda helped her cover it up. The second: Amanda killed Kenya's husband because he was abusing her sister. Tommy wants to investigate further and find justice for Hunter, but after learning that Hunter abused Kenya, Nolan figures that a bad man died a long time ago, and he has no desire to "run around like Sherlock Holmes chasing old ghosts." Nolan often makes law keeping decisions based on what he thinks is the right thing to do, which has created an ongoing conflict with Tommy who wants to follow the law in all cases. Nolan currently has more interest in the recent murder of a liberata, Jered Kikema, whose body was discovered during the investigation.

Nolan takes a break from investigating to attend Alak and Christie's wedding. Kenya and Nolan sit together, watching as Amanda officiates. During the ceremony, Nolan comes to the realization that Jared died of oxygen poisoning, and after the ceremony, he discovers Mayor Nicky's body and her suicide note/confession. In the note, Nicky confesses to killing Hunter Bell many years ago, and after his body was found, she killed Jared because he witnessed Hunter's murder. Both those things are true, but unbeknownst to Nolan, Doc Yewll killed Nicky for her crimes and wrote the suicide note. Yewll tells Nolan, "She used to be good people." Nolan replies, "Sometimes good people do bad things."

The Past comes back to Haunt Nolan & Irisa[]

At Nicky's wake, Datak Tarr arrives, sharing his plans to follow up on Nicky's legacy by accepting the help of the Earth Republic (of course, Nicky's number one piece of advice to Amanda was to never take help from the Earth Republic). Nolan watches, his negative views on both the Earth Republic and Datak Tarr are obvious in his expressions. Later, Amanda comes to Nolan complaining that she just wants to kick Datak in the tungaz. Nolan tells her to "kick his ass in the debate tomorrow. Couple of shots to the gut, and they'll hear the hot air rushing out all over town." Nolan gets a call and heads out. Tommy had summoned Nolan to report that Irisa is suffering from a mysterious ailment where she temporarily lost use of her legs, but she seems to be fine now. She isn't, but neither Doc Yewll or Irisa are sharing much about her condition yet.

After Kenya informs Nolan and Amanda that a trustworthy client told her that Datak plans to kill Amanda at the debate, Nolan tries to get Amanda to move the debate inside, but she refuses to look like she's scared of Datak. She tells Nolan that she trusts him with her life, so Nolan sets out to protect her from the threat. He warns Datak that if anything happens to Amanda, he will kill him. Datak scoffs, but Nolan doesn't know this is all part of Datak and Stahma's plan to take down Amanda. Stahma was the mysterious client who warned Kenya of the threat, and Datak asked Alak to find a friend to shoot a paintball gun at Amanda. When Nolan sees the realistic looking gun aimed at Amanda, he kills Alak's friend, setting off Datak's plan to take him and Amanda down.

Datak uses Nolan's actions as a jumping point to destroy his character. He then goes on the radio to read an absolutely devastating quote Nolan had given many years ago. "[I will] protect you from the Haints of the Irath death squads, from every greasy alien piece of trash that came down in the arks and tried to wipe us off the face of our own planet. So, yeah, if some 12-year-old furball with a cold fire blaster comes at me or one of my buddies, I'm not gonna waste time worrying if he's just some poor kid..." Datak then quotes Amanda who said, "I stand behind lawkeeper Nolan 100%." Nolan gives a pained expression as he listens to the words from the man he used to be. He knows what he has to do.

Nolan hands Amanda his badge and resigns. Amanda tries to change his mind because she truly believes people can change and Nolan is a different person now. She says, "this town was built on new beginnings." She wants to go on the radio to defend Nolan, but Nolan knows this is all part of Datak's plan now. His military file was sealed, and so Datak could only get those old quotes if the Earth Republic was backing him. Amanda's ready to throw away the election to stand up for Nolan, but he won't let her do that. With the Earth Republic supporting Datak Tarr, it's more important than ever that she win so she can keep them out of Defiance. He says, "I care about this town. I'm not gonna be the thing that kills it."

Before leaving town, Nolan and Datak get into an extended fight in the streets, It's the middle of a thunderstorm, and Nolan has Datak on the ground when he picks up a gun. Irisa silently places her hand over Nolan's arm, encouraging him not to shoot. He says, "I'm done with this town" as he and Irisa walk away. Datak taunts him for not finishing the job, and Irisa turns back to kick him in the face.

Before they can leave town, Irisa collapses in pain as a result of the experiments Doc Yewll has been doing to access the Kaziri (the snake cult already implanted one of the keys to the Kaziri into Irisa when she was a child, and it's been responding to Yewll's calls). Nolan brings her to Doc who lies to Nolan about Irisa having a Votan parasite. She sends Nolan outside to perform a surgery that allows both keys to the Kaziri to unite. The surgery quickly gets out of hand, and Yewll doesn't seem to understand what's happening. Nolan is pacing outside when he hears crashing from inside Yewll's office. He breaks in to find Yewll on the floor and Irisa gone.

Rescuing Irisa[]

Nolan finds Irisa and apologizes for not taking her visions seriously. He tries to reassure Irisa that the keys inside her don't determine who she is. She does. He insists that when he found her, she was a little girl in a bad situation, not the angel of death or the devouring mother (as the cult called her). Nolan and Irisa soon discover that the E-Rep is shooting prisoners until they turn Irisa over. They have Tommy. Irisa decides to turn herself in. She tells Nolan to run, but Nolan follows her because they have one rule, live or die together. The Earth Republic arrests Irisa for "stealing" and knocks Nolan to the ground. Most of the E-rep leaves, believing Nolan to be unconscious on the ground, but he's faking it. Nolan kills the guard that the E-Rep left to "clean up" the situation.

Nolan teams up with Tommy, Rynn, and Rafe, and they follow Irisa to the tent where she's being held captive and experimented on. Nolan frees Irisa, but as they're fleeing, he gets shot. Irisa pleads with him to get up, reminding him of their one rule - live or die together - but he can't get up. He dies as Irisa hovers over him. She closes his eyes and tells him she loves him. She then goes to Irzu/The Kaziri and offers to become the Devouring Mother in exchange for Nolan's life.

Irisa gives herself to The Kaziri, and Nolan wakes up, confused and shouting for Irisa as the Earth Republic announces they have taken over the town.

Post Season 1 (TV)[]

Soon after Nolan wakes up, he sneaks back into Defiance as the E-Rep is storming the streets. Tommy finds Nolan hiding beneath a staircase. Neither Tommy or Nolan know why the E-Rep is invading, but Tommy has heard rumors that while they were rescuing Irisa, Datak won then election and sold the town out. This is exactly what Nolan predicted would happen if Amanda lost the election, so he's not surprised. He apologizes to Tommy because he needs to take off to find Irisa and will have to leave him behind with the E-Rep. Tommy understands that Nolan has to do this for Irisa. He even gives Nolan a wad of cash to find and protect Irisa.

Before Nolan leaves, Tommy tells Nolan he's going to miss him. Nolan chuckles, they share a smile, and then Nolan picks up his things and heads out of Defiance in search of Irisa.

Post Season 1 (Game)[]

Nolan travels to the Bay Area in search of Irisa. He gets into a fight with some raiders who he had been tracking, but they don't have her. He suspected those raiders may have taken Irisa because they've been nabbing Irathients in the Great Lakes area. After his confrontation with a few of them, Nolan no longer thinks the raiders have Irisa, but he joins Jon Cooper and an ark hunter on a mission to take them down anyway.

Nolan and the ark hunter discover that the raiders are working for a pocket of the snake cult that tortured Irisa. This branch of the cult is lead by a Castithan woman named Kihako, otherwise known as The Predator of Serpents. When they reach Kahiko, she calls Nolan the false father to the true shepherd. Unlike the branch of the snake cult that captured Irisa, Kihako is only kidnapping male Irathients to find a companion for the devouring mother, Irisa, but she hasn't found one yet.

Nolan and the ark hunter free the captured Irathients, and Jon Cooper asks Nolan to come back to his ranch and have a drink, but Nolan won't give up a day in his search as long as Irisa's missing. Jon Cooper remarks that the frontier might have gotten a whole lot more dangerous if Nolan has fallen into his old ways during his search for Irisa.

Season 2[]

Finding Daigo[]

Nolan's search for Irisa has taken him to New Chicago, a city stuck in permanent winter. Nolan finds Daigo, the cult leader who tortured Irisa when she was a child. As Daigo did when Irisa discovered him in Defiance, Daigo insists Nolan got the wrong person until he finally relents and confesses. Nolan holds him at gun point for torturing children, including Irisa. Nolan informs Daigo that the keys to the Kaziri have activated, and when Nolan threatens his wife, Daigo doesn't care. He calls her "livestock" that no longer matters. His work is finally paying off, and he believes Irisa will soon be his. He says, "I will know the beauty of her sweet skin, the hot flush of her divine and terrible love." Irisa once said she suspected he was turned on by torturing her, and this seems to confirm that suspicion. Nolan shoots him.

Return to Defiance & New Romance[]

Nolan finally finds Irisa in Angel Arc and greets her with a giant bear hug. Although he encourages her to talk to him, she keeps her secrets. Upon Irisa's request, Nolan reluctantly returns to Defiance. He dreads what people will think of him after what happened at the end of season 1, and he's disgusted by the prospect of living under the Earth Republic's control, but to his surprise, he is welcomed back like a hero after he catches a bomber. The warm welcome doesn't make living with the Earth Republic any easier, but Amanda convinces him to pick up his badge again. As soon as he returns, the two begin flirting, and in the end of the second episode of the season, she invites him to her room, where they sleep together. Unknown to both of them, the new mayor, Niles Pottinger, has hidden a camera in Amanda's bedroom and is watching them.

Not long after this, Pottinger and Nolan are walking down the street when Pottinger tells Nolan that he noticed how close Nolan and Amanda seemed to be at the NeedWant (certainly implying he saw them on the first floor, not via a hidden camera in her bedroom). Getting right to the point, Pottinger says, "I fancy Amanda. I just wanted to make sure you didn't have a problem with that." Nolan quickly shuts him down by replying, "Never got a chance to experience high school. But this conversation right here... this is how I imagined it."

Insecurities & the Difficulty of Fatherhood[]

After his conversation with Pottinger, Nolan goes to the NeedWant to meet Amanda and discuss how he feels like a bad father. Irisa is acting unusually aloof while Nolan's trying to track down a missing Liberata named Bertie. He's beginning to correctly suspect Irisa's involved. Amanda tells him a story about a terrifying night when Kenya almost died. Amanda gave herself 20 minutes to cry and then pushed forward. She adds, "sometimes just not giving up is enough." Nolan then searches Irisa's room for clues about her involvement. Tommy criticizes Nolan for flipping through her diary, but Nolan sheds a few tears when he finds Liberata blood on Irisa's cuffs. Tommy tries to say that Irisa wouldn't do it, but Nolan doesn't feel like he knows anymore (given she's possessed by the Kaziri, it's true that she isn't acting like herself). All he knows is that he taught her how to use knives and is feeling like a bad parent.

Later, when Irisa emerges from the woods with Bertie, who has no memory of what happened to her, Nolan confronts Irisa, but she doesn't give him any answers. That night, he sits at the desk in Irisa's room as she is curled up in her bed. With tears running down her face, she says, "I'd tell you the truth if I could." Nolan remains at her desk, drinking whiskey until after she's asleep. He then kisses her on the cheek before taking his whiskey to Amanda's room for comfort.

Loyalty to Rafe Over the E-Rep[]

In the next episode, Nolan is in bed with Amanda, ready for a second round of morning sex when Irisa walks in without knocking. She informs them that Pottinger is looking for Nolan after he was attacked by raiders. Nolan and Irisa go to his office, and Amanda follows shortly after. Pottinger wants Nolan to leave immediately and do whatever it takes to find the raiders, but Nolan tells Pottinger that he's a good tracker because he knows better than to run around the badlands with no leads to follow. Things get heated between them, so Amanda steps in to agree with Nolan. She thinks they should keep their eyes on the black market for any sign of the stolen tech, which would lead them to the raiders. Pottinger dismissively tells Amanda to know her place and sends all three of them out of his office.

Out of loyalty to Rafe, Nolan brushes away a gulanite footprint that indicates a miner was involved in the raid. Nolan may have protected Rafe from the E-Rep, but he storms off to Rafe McCawley's house, looking for the truth. As Nolan asks Rafe to come clean, Rafe's godson, Josef, holds a gun to his head. Rafe knows Josef is no match for Nolan, so he asks Nolan to go easy on him. Josef asks why Rafe would tell Nolan to go easy on him when he's the one with the gun, but Nolan answers his question by instantly disarming him. Nolan tries to arrest Josef, but Rafe reminds Nolan that he fought to save Irisa from the E-Rep because it was the right thing to do. Nolan returns the favor and tells Rafe to put Josef on a landcoach and disappear before Jessica "Berlin" Rainer discovers his involvement.

Instead of leaving town, Josef kidnaps Berlin because the Earth Republic is murdering people, including members of his family. This forces Nolan to hunt him down and Rafe to betray his godson's trust by telling Nolan where Josef would have taken her. Josef shoots Nolan, but Rafe sets Josef free before he can be arrested. Berlin thanks Nolan for taking a bullet for her. She "won't ever forget that."

Pottinger, Amanda, Adreno & EGOs[]

After Amanda reports being attacked in her bedroom, Nolan vows to find her attacker and hand him over to her. Amanda thinks the person who attacked her may have been the man who attacked and raped her in New York, so Nolan searches Amanda's room from top to bottom for signs of the attacker, but he doesn't find anything. He only finds the equipment Amanda uses to take adreno. She tells him that hallucinating isn't a known side effect of adreno, but it's the only theory he has. When he tries to comfort her, she pulls away, and he leaves Irisa and Tommy to watch over her. Believing she's being stalked, Amanda shoots Irisa and takes off.

Nolan puts out an emergency bulletin for her and confronts Pottinger because he suspects Pottinger is spiking Amanda's adreno to get into her pants. Pottinger tries to fire him for the accusation, but Nolan replies, "you messed with Amanda, so if you want the badge back, you're gonna have to take it off my dead body." Nolan soon finds Amanda and realizes that a malfunctioning EGO implant is causing her hallucinations. This distracts him from Pottinger's trail. EGO implants fuse with the body to provide intel, and neither Nolan or Amanda know why someone would infect her with an EGO device without her knowledge. The audience learns Pottinger infected her, but Nolan and Amanda remain in the dark.

An Unlikely Duo[]

Viceroy Mercado orders Pottinger to take Nolan ark hunting. Pottinger initially refuses, but Mercado insists Nolan is an expert ark hunter and won't take no for an answer, so Nolan and Pottinger head out into the woods together. Pottinger lies to Nolan by telling him that they're looking for a caeruleum core which served as a refueling station for the entire Votan fleet - an endless energy source that could change the world.

Irisa and Tommy were supposed to assist on the mission, but Nolan dismisses Tommy for bringing Berlin instead of Irisa. Berlin wants to record the mission to make a propaganda film in service of the Earth Republic, which Nolan believes is useless to the actual mission. Irisa, unlike Berlin, spent years working as an ark hunter and would be more beneficial to them. He makes some valid points, but with the existing tension between him and Tommy, Nolan's an ass about it. So, Tommy quits his job as deputy to join the Earth Republic, increasing the existing divide between Tommy and Nolan (who despises the Earth Republic).

When Pottinger and Nolan arrive at the wreckage, Nolan realizes it is actually a Gulanee transport ark that crashed into Earth. One of the gulanee escaped and is on a killing spree. Pottinger then reveals the truth to Nolan. Although he knew what was on the ark, he thought the gulanee would be dormant in their canisters, not suited up for battle. Now, Pottiner and Nolan must kill the gulanee before it can do any more damage. When they run out of options, Pottinger is forced to sacrifice his bodyguard, a bioman named Churchill, in order to save the day. Although biomen are constructed beings Nolan does not consider people, earlier in the episode, Pottinger compared the bioman he rescued during the war to the daughter Nolan rescued during the war, so he is giving up someone he loves. In Churchill's honor, Pottinger strikes the killing blow against the gulanee, but Nolan gets a final kick in. Ultimately, 43 men died in the fight.

When they return to Defiance, Nolan and Amanda are having a drink together as Pottinger walks in and reveals Mercado is sending him off on a fool's errand as punishment for failing to capture the gulanee for the Earth Republic to use as a weapon. Pottinger quotes poetry to Amanda, and she walks off with him. Nolan takes the hint and turns his attention to Berlin who is also having "that kind of day" after ending her relationship with Tommy. They drink and engage in some flirtatious banter before going to her place where they sleep together. This begins a strictly sexual relationship between the two of them.

A Turning Point with Irisa[]

After Stahma Tarr's handmaiden goes missing, Nolan searches for her and a few others who have also gone missing. He discovers that a doctor is capturing Votans to take their eyes which he sells as contacts to humans who want to dress up like Votans since no one has been producing actual contacts since the war. During the investigation, Irisa gets injured but shows no sign of it, and Nolan is reminded of the time Amanda shot Irisa, and she also showed no sign of injury. Because Irisa still refuses to give him answers, he holds her down at cuts her hand, which miraculously heals in front of him. Irisa reveals Irzu vowed to kill Nolan if Irisa told him the truth, but Nolan dares her to try. One rule. They live or die together.

Irisa finally reveals the entire story to Nolan - that she made a deal with a being that she thought was a god in order to save Nolan's life at the end of season one. Since then, it's been making her do terrible things, and now she's not sure if it's really a god. Irisa thinks she deserves to die for what she's done, but Irzu won't let her. Nolan does not believe that Irisa's Irzu is actually a god. He believes it's science, and it can be fixed with science. Irisa isn't convinced, and Nolan playfully admits that while he's occasionally wrong, his heart is always in the right place. Then, he speaks directly to Irzu, saying, "Irzu or the Kaziri or Robby the Robot, whatever you wanna call yourself, you leave my little girl alone. Now. Or I will come in there, I will force you out, and I will take you apart." This makes Irisa feel a little better.

Kenya Rosewater Returns?[]

After Nolan arrests a night porter named Mahsuvus Gorath who was secretly working as a Votanis Collective spy, Amanda gets a call from someone demanding she free Mahsuvus or else he'll kill her sister, Kenya. Unfortunately for Amanda, The Collective has planted a bomb somewhere in New York City that's going to detonate in the next 12 hours, and Nolan's interrogating Mahsuvus for information on how to stop it. Nolan and Irisa have their doubts about Kenya truly being alive, but after all the strange things Nolan has seen lately, he figures anything's possible.

They hatch a plan to find Kenya, but Irisa goes MIA, and the plan fails. Amanda knocks Nolan out, steals some drugs from Doc Yewll, dresses up like an E-Rep soldier and frees Mahsuvus. Nolan catches her in the act and won't let her make the trade because if she does, 46,000 people in New York will die. She pounds against his chest, shouting, "She needed me!" All hope is not lost because Nolan hatches a plan to dress up like Mahsuvus and have Amanda pretend to trade him for Kenya. Miraculously, they succeed, and Amanda finds Kenya. Nolan smiles as the two sisters reunite.

After his initial happiness wears off, Nolan interrogates Kenya who can't answer any of his questions. While talking to her, Nolan confesses that since they ended their fling, he started seeing Amanda. Although his relationship with Amanda is "over for now," he still thought Kenya should know. Kenya isn't upset by the news at all. She seems happy, but then they start digging into her missing memories to figure out where she's been. She picks up a hammer and has a flashback to her kidnappers freeing her from a tank where she was floating in water. She remembers one of her captors had a tattoo, so Nolan takes her to Berlin to compare Kenya's memory to Berlin's tattoo. He asks Berlin to take off her shirt. Seeing Kenya, Berlin introduces herself and jokes that if they're going to have a three-way, they should know each other's names. Kenya confirms that Berlin has a similar tattoo as her captor - revealing that she was taken by Earth Republic Special Forces.

As they continue trying to piece together what happened to Kenya, Nolan realizes that Kenya's scars are gone and that she only remembers things Amanda knew about. At first, Amanda doesn't want to believe the truth, but Nolan explains that whoever implanted Amanda with the EGO device a few weeks earlier stole her memories to create a clone of Kenya from an Indogene. Because they don't know Pottinger implanted her EGO device, they don't realize it was him. Indogene Kenya gets on a landcoach, leaving Defiance as Amanda holds a memorial for her sister which Nolan attends.

A Mine Collapse & A Realization[]

One night, Nolan catches Irisa stealing a terrasphere from the Earth Republic. He gives the weapon back to the Earth Republic and takes Irisa's badge and knives away from her for crossing the line. He asks her where she disappeared to when she was supposed to be helping them with Kenya and what she could possibly want with a terrasphere. She says it's to help Sukar, but Nolan doesn't know how a devastating weapon could help him. He handcuffs Irisa because he can't trust her and takes her along with him on an Earth Republic tour of the mines.

A portion of the mines collapse during the tour, trapping Amanda and Pottinger. Nolan starts a rescue mission which Irisa uses as an opportunity to escape. Nolan chases after her as she drives off, but then he gets a call from Amanda. He chooses to save Amanda, leaving Irisa to steal the terrasphere.

As Nolan and Berlin enter the mines to save Amanda and Pottinger, Nolan hails Amanda. Even though he knows she probably can't hear him, he encourages her with statements like, "You're the strongest person I know. Don't give up on me." Berlin, who he is still in a strictly sexual relationship with, listens as he talks to Amanda. She tells Nolan that she doesn't care if he has feelings for Amanda. This catches Nolan off guard. At first he tries to deny he has feelings for Amanda, and insists that even if he did, it wouldn't matter because she pushed him away. Ultimately, he realizes he actually does have feelings for her, and Nolan and Berlin decide to break things off because even though this is not a problem for Berlin, it is a problem for Nolan.

Nolan and Berlin rescue Amanda and Pottinger, but Amanda had a meaningful conversation with Pottinger while they were trapped together, so she goes off with him and leaves Nolan behind once again. Later, Berlin informs Amanda that she is the reason Nolan and Berlin split up. Although Nolan doesn't know it, the audience sees Amanda telling Deirdre that she regrets not telling Nolan she had feelings for him.

A Reunion & A Confrontation[]

Nolan has no time to process his romantic revelation or even complete his usual lawkeeping duties because his daughter just stole a weapon of mass destruction. So, when Amanda asks him to give her a deputy badge to solve Deirdre "Treasure Doll" Lamb's, murder, he gives it to her while he goes in search of Irisa.

While Nolan searches for Irisa, he runs into Tommy, who also has superhealing powers, and he realizes that Irisa has infected him. Tommy holds a gun to Nolan, who goads him on. "You've always pretended like you're better than me. Prove to me you're exactly the same kind of animal I am." Tommy can't do it, and his body spits out the technology that is possessing him. Nolan explains to Tommy that what Irisa thinks is a god is actually the Kaziri, the brain of an ancient spaceship buried under Old St. Louis. It's an artificial intelligence pretending to be a God. Tommy then informs Nolan that Irisa/The Kaziri wants to terraform the planet and start fresh with its chosen few. A Votan rapture. They team up to stop (and save) Irisa before she can destroy the world.

Nolan finds Irisa/The Kaziri in a tent, where they get into a heated argument. Irisa/the Kaziri accuses him of raising her to enjoy hurting people. She yells at him for murdering so many Votans. Irisa/The Kaziri claims he can't become one of her chosen few because he's a monster and a predator. Nolan tries to argue that he loved her, went on the run for her, lost his commission for her, and took her as his own daughter. Irisa/the Kaziri soon gives up all pretense of being Irisa. The Kaziri was buried on Earth for thousands of years and now thinks that "this world is an abomination. And not because of Arkfall or terraforming. It's because of you, humans. You spent thousands of years ruining this beautiful world." Nolan grabs Irisa/The Kaziri, demanding to get his daughter back, but Sukar pulls him away.

Tommy uses a device to knock out Irisa/The Kiziri and her chosen few, so Nolan and Tommy can grab Irisa/the Kaziri. With Irisa/the Kaziri passed out in the back seat of their car, Nolan and Tommy confront their issues. The way Tommy insists on sticking to the rules bugs Nolan, but he admits that Tommy's way isn't inherently bad. Nolan promises Tommy that he would be happy to have Tommy at his side again if they get out of this situation. Tommy tries to get Nolan to directly admit what he's saying, but Nolan deflects. "I'm saying you're a good man, and I respect you, is all. Don't go making a big thing of it."

Irisa/The Kaziri then wakes up and knocks Nolan out. Tommy tries to plead with Irisa to come back to him, but Irisa/The Kaziri stabs him and reveals that the Irisa he knew is gone.

Memories of Tommy[]

Nolan wakes up and begins the arduous process of dragging Tommy back to Defiance. As Nolan attempts to rescue Tommy, he remembers a series of events that defined their relationship during season 1 - from the first time they met and clashed over their different lawkeeping styles to the time when Tommy helped Nolan escape Defiance after the E-Rep occupation. Nolan promises Tommy that as "soon as we get this whole' end of the world' thing sorted out, we get Irisa back to normal, not only am I gonna pay you back with interest, I'm going to take you out, get you good and drunk."

Unfortunately, Tommy dies before Nolan can get him back to Defiance. Nolan cries over his body but gets up and pushes forward until he reaches Defiance. Berlin asks Nolan if Irisa did this and Nolan does not lie for his daughter. He admits she did.

Nolan & Cai vs Everyone Else[]

As Irisa/The Kaziri begins destroying New York, Nolan goes in search of Mordecai Haipern. Like Irisa, Cai is the ancestor of one of the Irathients who initially stopped the Kaziri from terraforming Earth. The Kaziri is controlled by two keys and cannot function if they are separated. So, Nolan decides to follow the same plan as Cai and Irisa's ancestors. Put one key inside each of them so that the Kaziri can no longer function. (It has to be Irisa and Cai because their DNA has been modified, allowing them to contain the keys. This is why all the other little girls tortured by the snake cult died, but Irisa survived).

First, Nolan must convince the Earth Republic to let him execute his plan. Nolan asks them to find the classified file on Irisa because it will back up everything he's saying, but classified files are stored in New York, which is currently under attack and cannot be reached. Still, Mercado believes Nolan because Votan controlled Belize has also gone dark, and the Votans would never attack their own people.

Unfortunately for Nolan, Doc Yewll shows up with an alternate plan. She wants to introduce a virus that will order the arkbrain fragments inside of Irisa to self-detonate, killing both Irisa and The Kaziri. With no one backing him up, not even Amanda, the E-Rep tries to throw Nolan in jail to keep him from saving Irisa, but he escapes. Then, with Cai in tow, he races off to find Irisa.

Amanda, who is now working for the Earth Republic, has a gun in hand, hesitating to shoot Irisa, but Nolan arrives and stops her before she has a chance. He and Cai successfully get the Kaziri out of Irisa. As she comes back to her senses, Irisa realizes how much damage she has done and wants Nolan to kill her. However, Nolan brings her out of her grief by reminding her that they still have to stop the Kaziri. It already destroyed New York, but it still has terraspheres in orbit, ready to destroy the entire planet.

Nolan, Irisa, and Cai then head underground to find the Kaziri. The trio makes it to the arkbrain where Irisa and Cai use their keys to override the Kaziri's system. The Kaziri, appearing as young Irisa for the last time, flickers out of existence, and Irisa and Cai destroy the terraspheres. As they explode, they destroy the ark debris in orbit.

The mines begin to collapse. Cai escapes, but Irisa and Nolan are trapped, and a Votan sleeper pod engulfs them. Mercado informs Amanda that old St. Louis is gone and that Nolan likely died with it, but the audience sees Nolan and Irisa are still alive in the Votan sleeper pods.

Season 3[]

"The strong defend the weak. It's not fair, but it is right. It's our responsibility, and it's our privilege."

Waking Up to a Changed Defiance[]

T'evgin and Kindzi, two Omec, have recently arrived in Defiance, and are exploring the mines in search of gulanite. While exploring, they find Nolan and Irisa in the sleeper pod. Kindzi opens it, and Nolan and Irisa tumble to the ground, unconscious with their heads tethered together. Kindzi cuts the tether, and sniffs Nolan. She looks like she's about to bite him, but T'evgin stops her. Kindzi unstraps Nolan's gun from his side, and he wakes up. He asks them where his daughter is, first in English and then in Irathient, but they don't answer. Kindzi knocks him out, and Nolan and Irisa wake up in the snow. Thankfully, they see the arch in the distance and know they aren't too far from home.

Nolan and Irisa make their way to an abandoned shelter where they realize they have matching wounds on their foreheads from the tether. Nolan wants to start heading towards Defiance, but Irisa fears the town will lynch her for destroying New York and killing Tommy. Nolan reassures her that it wasn't her fault, and that she was a victim of the ark brain (the Kaziri) just like everyone else. It used her, but she fought it, she beat it, and she saved everyone. He says he "could not be prouder" of her.

While standing in the snow, Nolan and Irisa spot a wormhole flair in the sky - a communication method used by the Votanis Collective, which is unusual because the VC doesn't normally come this far north. It's the first of many changes to the world Nolan notices after waking up. As he drives into town, he sees that the statis nets are down, the streets are empty, and the E-Rep banners are gone. He heads straight for the mayors office, looking for Amanda. Later he describes this moment: "I didn't know what had happened, but when I was climbing those stairs, I was praying one thing, one thing only, that you were still behind that desk because I knew that if you were still in charge, that Defiance had a pulse."

When he enters Amanda's office, she stares at him in shock and informs him that he's been gone for 7 months, during which time Pottinger abandoned Defiance, and Amanda became mayor again. Shocked by the news, Nolan pours himself a glass of scotch. Amanda dips a cloth in the scotch and uses to clean the wound on his forehead. He still doesn't know what that wound is or where it came from, but he's entirely focused on the fact that the Votanis Collective is coming for Defiance. Without the stasis nets, the town is vulnerable, but Amanda explains that when the mines collapses at the end of season 2, the town lost access to their gulinite. Of course, Nolan managed to get out of the mines, so there must be a way in. He tosses Amanda's jacket to her, and brings her on a mission to figure it out. Finally some hope for Amanda who has been hanging on by her fingernails, trying to keep the town alive after everyone with a marketable skill left town with the closure of the mines and the fall of the E-Rep.

Meeting Kindzi & T'evgin[]

Nolan, Irisa, and Amanda enter the mines where they find someone has moved in. Amanda gets separated from Nolan and Irisa when she gets stunned by a flying electric orb, but Nolan and Irisa continue deeper into the mines where they find Kindzi. She attacks them and licks Nolan's face. Amanda shows up just in time to save them. She shoots Kindzi, and Nolan sends Irisa to grab their roller so they can get Kindzi to a doctor and save her.

Doc Yewll refuses to help Kindzi, but Amanda threatens to kill her if she doesn't and signals for Nolan to pull out his gun to show she's serious. He does as instructed, and Yewll gives in. She tells Nolan to chain Kindzi up. Nolan once again looks to Amanda who gives him the signal to do what Yewll asks. Yewll then explains that Kindzi is an Omec, a member of the race who called the shots over Votans for a very long time.

Later, Nolan goes to Kindzi, trying to speak to her in English, Irathient, and Castithan, but she doesn't respond. He compliments her on her right hook, and offers her a jacket to keep her warm. They introduce themselves, and he asks, "you weren't going to eat me were you?" She playfully snaps at him, and he realizes she understands him.

T'evgin then comes to town looking for his daughter, Kindzi, and meets with Nolan and Amanda to find her. The three of them begin talking, and T'evgin informs them that he released Nolan and Irisa from the sleeper pod because it was losing power and would soon fail, killing Nolan and Irisa. Amanda then tries to negotiate with T'evgin. He needs fuel to repair his ship, and Defiance needs fuel to get the stasis nets running. She wants a 50/50 agreement with him. Defiance can use his equipment to access their mines, and they can share the gulinite. "Everybody wins." T'evgin smashes the bar with his fist, threatening to kill everyone in town rather than negotiate, but Amanda doesn't give in. She confesses to shooting Kindzi, and promises to return her to him when they reach an agreement about the gulinite.

Meanwhile, Kindzi breaks out of the lawkeeper's office and kills a young teenage boy. Nolan and T'evgin work together to track her down. He empathizes with T'evgin as a fellow father. They find her surrounded by townspeople, including the father of the boy she killed. He has gathered a mob and is trying to hang Kindzi. Nolan shoots his gun into the air, ordering the mob to get away from her. He then stops T'evgin from taking revenge on the boy's father for cornering kindzi, and tells him to focus on his daughter instead of revenge. The violence is halted for now.

Nolan and T'evgin get Kindzi back to Doc Yewll's office where Nolan tries to keep Kindzi awake, reassuring her that they will get her through this. T'evgin explains that he needs to use Yewll's skin to help save Kindzi. Yewll is terrified, and Nolan initially protects her from T'evgin, but when T'evgin tells Amanda that he won't agree to the gulinite trade without Yewll's cooperation, Amanda orders Nolan to hold Yewll down. Nolan, Berlin, Irisa, and Amanda then give her a sedative to numb the pain and take a skin sample from her.

Later, T'evgin and Kindzi have made peace with Amanda and are about to leave Yewll's office when the father of the boy Kindzi killed begins shooting at all of them. Nolan orders him to put down his weapon, but he hesitates. Irisa attempts to convince him he's not a killer, and she seems to have been succeeding, but from Nolan's view point, he sees the man step forward with his gun still in hand, so Nolan shoots him. Irisa tells Nolan that this wasn't necessary, but Nolan thinks the man would have killed Irisa. Nolan says, "Nobody forced this man to pick up a gun and start shooting at innocent people."

The Amazing Goddess of the Badlands[]

Nolan gets his hands on a copy of "The Amazing Goddess of the Badlands," the book that Kai wrote about their adventures in season 2. It's not entirely accurate, but it has made Irisa famous, and Nolan finds it incredibly amusing. He laughs as he reads passages from the text.

"The ship began crumbling around them in a violent monsoon of terra-rock. The Kaziri was in self-destruct mode. Wounded, bleeding, there was no way Nolan could make it out on his own. So Irisa hoisted him over her shoulders. As his hot, human blood mingled with hers, she pulled the man she called Father to safety. To freedom. To Defiance." -Amazing Goddess of the Badlands

Pilar McCawley and Rahm Tak[]

After learning that Rafe McCawley has been killed by the VC, Nolan storms off, grieving his friend. Amanda follows him. She tells him not to get himself killed trying to seek vengeance for Rafe. She says, "we can't make this about him," and orders Nolan to gather intel about the VC and get his ass back in one piece. He doesn't exactly agree to her terms.

Nolan's not sure Irisa is up for such a dangerous mission and asks Irisa if he can count on her, but she just says, "Don't be stupid," and goes with him on the mission. After leaving Defiance, they encounter Pilar McCawley hiding out with Luke Tarr, Alak's baby son. Pilar claims she found the baby abandoned after the VC wiped out a town and left him behind, but Nolan and Irisa quickly realize her true identity. He gives her a gun as a show of solidarity, but when she aims the gun at Nolan, he reveals the gun didn't have an actuator. He ties her up, planning to come back for her after completing his original mission of investigating the VC.

Because the VC has a machine that can cut through stasis nets, Nolan decides they need to blow up the camp before the VC breaks into Defiance. Irisa heads into the VC camp with a sack of grenades claiming that Nolan will stand out too much as a human to do it himself, and he's a better shot anyway, so he can cover her. Nolan knows it's actually because she doesn't want to be the one to hold the gun.

With no one to watch Luke, Nolan stakes out the VC with Luke bundled up at his side. Unfortunately for Nolan, Pilar has escaped captivity and attacks him, so he shoots her, alerting the camp to his presence. Irisa gets captured and has a chance to kill Rahm Tak, the leader of the VC, but she doesn't take it. They do manage to blow up the net cutter, and escape back to Defiance where they return Luke to Datak and Stahma, his grandparents. After leaving the Tarrs, Nolan and Irisa speculate that Pilar might not actually be dead, but then their conversation turns to what happened at the camp. Nolan is upset. He had asked Irisa if she was up to this mission before they left, and she said she was. And yet, she couldn't follow through with the plan. He says, "We're at war, kiddo, and you've become an unreliable partner."

Deleted Scene[]

In a deleted scene from Broken Bough, Rahm Tak briefly manages to capture Nolan where he explains that he was also as at the battle of Yosemite, fighting against Nolan. It was a bloody battle, and many people died. Like Nolan, Rahm has earned a brutal nickname from the battle. He is known as "the beast" and has come for "the butcher."

The Demise of the Arch & Niles Pottinger[]

Nolan and the rest of the Lawkeeper's office break into the old E-Rep files where Nolan finds information about Station Arrowhead, an EMC black site that has been closed since the 2020s. As he rushes to tell Amanda about his findings, the arch blows up behind them, He shields her as debris falls around them. A hologram of Rahm Tak soon shows up to take credit for the explosion. He explains, "Votans of Defiance, I make you this promise: your life will be spared if you surrender, but for those of you who side with the humans, there will be no mercy."

Needing weapons to fight Rahm Tak, Amanda and Nolan leave Defiance in search of Station Arrowhead. Upon arrival they are cornered by two biomen who take them into the bunker to see their leader, Niles Pottinger. Nolan utters, "Oh, nuts" as soon as he sees Pottinger. They sit down to dinner where Pottinger explains that Station Arrowhead "was built as a refuge for the government elite in case the world went to hell. There's a fully stocked seed vault, functional rain chamber. There's even DNA samples of old-world animals."

After an awkward dinner together, Amanda reveals that she and Nolan are in search of weapons. He tells them they can take as many weapons as they can fit in their roller, but he takes Amanda aside for a "word in private" instead of allowing her to follow Nolan to the weapons. Nolan is hesitant to leave her alone with Pottinger, but she insists it will be fine, so the biomen take Nolan away alone. They then knock him out and lock him up with a man named Samir Pandey who reveals that Pottinger "went nuts." He killed Viceroy Mercado and forced Samir to wire a singularity bomb to his chest. This way, if anyone tried to kill Pottinger, everyone around him would also die. Eventually, Pottinger killed every except Samir.

Nolan realizes they have to get Amanda out before she kills him. He has good instincts because Amanda has discovered that Pottinger has a creepy room dedicated to her and her ex-boyfriend, Connor Lang. In this room he keeps the secret recordings he made of Amanda in season 2, including the sex tape of her and Nolan. She also realizes that Pottinger raped her, so she shoots him. Pottinger and Samir manage to get to Amanda in time to escape Station Arrowhead before the singularity bomb detonates and the building is completely destroyed. Nothing remains but a crater in the ground.

Later, as they stop to refuel by the side of the road, Amanda regrets shooting Pottinger in the heat of the moment. She says, "if I hadn't killed Pottinger, we would have those weapons to fight the V.C." To which Nolan responds, "Yeah, possible. Also possible that killing Pottinger saved us from being murdered by Biomen or, in your case, something much worse." She kisses him on the cheek, thanking him for being one of the good guys. As he smiles, his eyes roll back, and he collapses on the ground, seizing.

An Unconscious Journey[]

Both Nolan and Irisa have fallen unconscious. While Amanda races to rescue them, Nolan and Irisa go on a journey through some of their darkest memories together. Nolan reveals to Irisa that he had a sister who he idolized, but she died because he couldn't bring himself to kill. This lead Nolan to teach Irisa some fairly brutal lessons in survival as a child. As they walk through these dark scenes, Nolan realizes how traumatizing these lessons were for Irisa. He starts to see things from her perspective, and understands that he scared her, something he was clueless about at the time. Nolan apologizes for not being more sensitive with her, but not for the lessons in survival. Without those, she would have died in the brutal post-apocalyptic world.

Meanwhile, Amanda and Doc take Nolan and Irisa to Kindzi because she has the necessary tech to save them. Amanda pleads with Kindzi for help. She says, "I can't lose him" and reminds Kindzi that Nolan saved her life. Kindzi agrees to help Yewll save Nolan and Irisa. She does not do it for Amanda, but to repay the debt she owes Nolan for saving her life after Amanda shot her.

When they wake up, Nolan and Irisa decide that they need to go their separate ways. Irisa understands that Nolan has to fight to protect Defiance, but she can't be a part of it. She needs to get away from the violence. She plans to board a land coach in the morning, and Nolan says, "Live together, die together. Works when you have to keep on fighting. It totally sucks in real life." This quote echoes what he said to her in season 1, episode 2. "Antarctica's not real, kid... But this town is." Although Nolan suggests he might come find her once the battle is over, they both seem to know this is unlikely. Nolan's desire to stay in Defiance has conflicted with Irisa's desire to leave since the first episode, and there's always a new battle Defiance needs Nolan's help with. Nolan's real life is in Defiance, and Irisa is still searching.

They then go to Doc Yewll's office where she explains what happened to them. The sleeper pod that saved their lives at the end of season 2 wasn't designed for humans, so it had to tether Nolan and Irisa's brains together for him to survive. When Nolan and Amanda left town without Irisa, the connection between them was broken, and the ark tech in their heads started to scramble their brains. Unfortunately, Yewll wasn't able to remove the tech from their brains, so she repaired it. They will be fine as long as they stay within a mile of each other. This, of course, ruins Irisa's plans to leave Defiance.

Alak Sides with Nolan Against his Parents[]

The Tarr handmaiden, Andina, rushes to Nolan to alert him that Alak has returned home and is attempting to kill Stahma. When Nolan arrives at the Tarr house, Datak and Stahma claim Andina was confused. They say everything is fine, but Alak won't go along with his parents' lies. He tells Nolan everything he knows. Datak and Stahma are working as spies for the VC, and they blew up the arch.

Datak and Stahma evade capture, but Defiance Valley is extremely difficult to escape undetected, so Alak teams up with Nolan to help track his parents down. Alak doesn't understand why Nolan needs to actually bring him along on the hunt, but Nolan explains that he doesn't want to let Alak out of his sight in case his parents try to kill him for betraying them.

Nolan begins by bringing Alak to visit T'evgin. The town is in grave danger, so Nolan wants T'evgin's help getting satellite images to track the Tarrs and see what's happening in the VC camp. T'evgin refuses to take part in the war between the Humans and Votans, but Alak recognizes his mother's scent and realizes she has already been there. T'evgin claims Stahma's visit was purely about sex. Nothing political. But Nolan warns T'evgin not to help her. She has become a wanted terrorist.

As Nolan and Alak leave T'evgin's place, Berlin reports that she has spotted Datak, so Berlin, Nolan, and Alak team up to capture him. Nolan and Berlin impress Alak by effectively locating and capturing Datak. Then then lock Datak in the jail cell, and Nolan and Alak put on a very convincing show to force Datak to talk. Nolan holds a gun to Alak's head, pretending to threaten Alak's life. He's so convincing that Datak desperately pleads with Nolan to let Alak go. Datak explains that he "spied for the Collective under extreme duress" and that he has "no love or loyalty for Rahm Tak." Nolan lowers his gun, and the charade is over. Datak bursts out laughing, realizing he's been played. Nolan and Alak share a satisfied look.

Later, Alak buys Nolan a drink at the NeedWant to thank him for saving Luke. They soon begin talking about parenting. Datak and Stahma have repeatedly told Alak that he is weak, and Alak has taken this message to heart. Alak wishes he were as tough as Nolan so that he could protect his own son, but Nolan won't let Alak speak so poorly of himself. Nolan tells Alak, "you survived seven months of captivity in the wild with a madwoman who kept your son alive. You escaped from Rahm Tak's camp, helped us ferret out a couple of spies. In my book, that makes you one smart, capable, strong young man." Alak then tells Nolan that he misses Christie, so Nolan rests his hand on Alak's upper back to comfort him.

After his drink with Alak, Nolan goes to the Lawkeeper's office to give Datak his dinner. Nolan asks Datak if he witnessed Rafe's death. He did, so Datak paints a positive final picture for Nolan. "The man died on his feet, trying to save Christie. He took down three V.C. soldiers and wounded Rahm Tak himself." They share a moment of appreciation for their fallen friend before Datak asks Nolan to confirm that Amanda's going to have him killed. Nolan admits that it's "not fair to put it all on her shoulders, but, yeah, she's gonna hang you."

Inspiring a Militia[]

Berlin's ex-fiance, Conrad Von Bach, arrives in town looking to win her over. He does so by offering the town a truckload of much-needed weapons in exchange for a drink with Berlin. She accepts his offer, and Nolan and Berlin begin training townspeople to form a militia. A young Irathient man (nicknamed Zero) joins the militia, but his father (Indur) is angry that Nolan's child isn't doing the same. Irisa, after all, is the Amazing Goddess of the badlands, and they want to know why she isn't helping. Indur convinces the militia that if Nolan won't risk his child, they shouldn't risk their own. Many Votans are also wondering if the Votanis Collective is a human problem. No one's really convinced of this, but they don't want to die, and if Nolan's family won't fight, they won't either. Several of the townspeople walk, leaving Nolan and Berlin standing in the rain. Notably, Alak is in the group that stays to train with Berlin and Nolan.

Berlin continues to lead the militia that day, but she soon comes to believe that the town isn't going to win this war, and she doesn't believe Amanda is capable of leading the town. She returns her lawkeeper's badge to Nolan. Although she attempts to explain herself, Nolan can barely look her in the eyes. While she has decided to give up, Irisa has decided to fight even though she's deeply traumatized by the events of season 2 and can barely hold a weapon, much less fire one. Nolan admits to Irisa that he's scared all the time, and he doesn't know why the world is so violent either, but that's just the way it is. Although she is not happy that Nolan's asking her to fight, she seems to take comfort in knowing that he's scared too, and she hugs him.

When Irisa attempts to join the militia in target practice, she collapses on the ground, crying over Tommy. Nolan and Amanda pick her up, and Amanda takes her aside as Nolan gives a speech to the town. His speech is as follows,

I screwed up. I dragged my daughter down here when I knew she was in no condition to fight because Indur made a good point. A fair point. How can we ask of you that you risk your own lives and the lives of your children defending Defiance unless we're prepared to do the same? Fair point.

But here's the thing, people. Throughout history, the strong have been called upon to defend the weak. I know it's not fair. But those of you who serve, sweat, and bleed and push your bodies past their breaking point spend endless hours in combat training for those who cannot show up themselves, who are incapable, or who can't be bothered or just won't do it.

The strong defend the weak. It's not fair, but it is right. It's our responsibility, and it's our privilege.

Now let me make one thing clear. My daughter is not weak. She's saved my life more times than I can count. She's strong. She's possibly the strongest person I know. And I believe in her. I believe that when the time comes, she will stand with us, shoulder to shoulder defending Defiance, but it will be on her terms.

Through this speech he finally tells Berlin what he thinks of her leaving. He looks directly at her as he says they must fight for those who "can't be be bothered or just won't do it." The speech works on everyone except Berlin who still chooses to leave Defiance. The rest of the town is motivated to fight for Defiance. "We will We will face The Beast, and we will defeat him." Irisa is also inspired by the speech and the kind words Nolan says about her. She wants to turn back, but Amanda knows she's still not ready.

Failure & the Fall of Rahm Tak[]

As Nolan and Amanda are eating together, they discuss Berlin’s exit from Defiance. Amanda had treated Berlin like a sister, and they agree Kenya wouldn’t have run off like this. Soon, Rahm Tak's army attacks the NeedWant, and Nolan fights back. He takes one man hostage while Rahm's man takes Amanda hostage. They're at a standoff, so Amanda tells Nolan to shoot through her, but Nolan surrenders. Rahm's militia then lines up all the humans, including Nolan and Amanda. Rahm appears as a hologram, declaring victory in his war against the humans of Defiance. When Amanda refuses to lower the stasis nets and allow Rahm access to the town, Rahm orders the humans to be executed. His soldiers begin shooting. Some people escape, but Nolan and Amanda are left standing in a sizable group of bodies.

Unbeknownst to Nolan, the man who helped Nolan fight off Rahm Tak's men is actually an Indogene disguised as a human. He claims to be a smuggler passing through Defiance named Christopher Beckman. He claims to want to get justice against Rahm Tak for this attack. Irisa also wants to help fight. She heard about the attack and is feeling regret over not killing Rahm earlier in the season, so she has decided she needs to fight despite her anxieties and trauma. Nolan apologizes for being so hard on her. He didn’t realize how hard she had taken New York and tells her that he's proud of her for not giving up.

Nolan gathers the town's militia to discern how Rahm entered the town. Rahm's spy, Beckman, helps the town discover the tunnel that Rahm army used to access the town. Amanda thinks they should seal it up, but Nolan knows that the town is badly outnumbered and doesn't stand much of a chance against Rahm's army. If they don't use this to their advantage, they might have no way of defeating Rahm Tak. Unfortunately for Nolan, Rahm knows this is exactly what Nolan will do. Beckman attacks Nolan, Irisa, and Alak as they exit the tunnel. Then, he sets off a grenade in the tunnel, killing the remaining members of the militia. Nolan is devestated and begins screaming, "No!" Beckman nearly kills Nolan, but Irisa violently and repeatedly stabs him, ending her stint as a pacifist to save her father.

After they catch their breath, Nolan picks up a wounded Alak, and carries him back into Defiance through the tunnel which is now filled with the charred bodies of the fallen militia members. Between Rahm's attack on the NeedWant and his destruction of the Militia, it has been an especially brutal episode for Defiance.

Yewll comes up with a plan to destroy Rahm Tak's army by sending someone into his camp with a bomb implanted in their arm. Nolan volunteers, but Amanda refuses to let him throw his life away. Alak then reminds them that Datak has already been sentenced to death, making him the perfect sacrifice. So, Datak enters Rahm Tak's camp with the bomb in his arm. He shocks everyone by cutting off his arm and running before the bomb explodes. Datak is down one arm, but he's alive, and Rahm Tak is dead.

Later, people of Defiance gather in the NeedWant to celebrate victory, but Nolan and Yewll are stoic figures in the crowd. Yewll believes she lost a friend, and Nolan is feeling devastated because his actions lead to the death of his militia, including the young Irathient man, Zero.

Aftermath of Failure[]

When Amanda asks Nolan to speak at the memorial for the dead, Nolan attempts to give a somber speech about how things go wrong in war, but can't get the words out. Instead, he apologizes for his mistake. "I wish I could change that, but I can't." He can't bring himself to say any more, and Amanda leads him away from the podium.

Irisa attempts to dissuade Nolan from returning Zero's riffle to his father, Indur, but Nolan keeps imagining what it would feel like if Irisa had been the one to die. Irisa cuts him off with a hug, and Nolan goes to Indur. On the verge of tears, Indur holds a gun to Nolan, but decides to hand the gun over and allow Nolan into his home. They discuss Zero, and Nolan takes complete blame for what happened.

After leaving Indur, Nolan begins drinking. He visits the memorial before returning to the lawkeeper's office, too drunk to stand up straight. Kindzi attempts to seduce him in his stupor, but she runs off after she hears a noise, leading Nolan to believe she knows who is to blame for recent murders that have been blamed on animal attacks. Still drunk and grieving, Nolan asks Amanda how many people are going to die. It's not a question Amanda can answer, so she asks him to pull himself together for her.

The next day, Nolan and Amanda go to T'evgin. He assures Nolan that there will be "no more killings," but refuses to give more information about what actually happened. Nolan doesn't accept this vague answer as he wants to find justice for those who were murdered. Justice for the murder victims is especially important to Nolan because he can't get justice for those who died in the battle. They fight, but T'evgin doesn't budge.

When Nolan returns to town, he receives a message from Indur asking him to come to his home. When he arrives, Nolan finds Indur has killed himself. Nolan falls to his knees in front of Indur's body and begins hallucinating a voice telling him to get up and behave like a soldier.


Nolan is known for being quick witted, cunning, sarcastic, straightforward, intolerant of bullshit, and, in his own right, very wise. He astutely and accurately predicts many of the tactics and strategies of his enemies, such as Datak Tarr or Niles Pottinger, but like everyone, he makes mistakes. When he fails to accurately predict Rahm Tak's plan, leading to the deaths of his militia members in season 3, he takes their deaths incredibly personally, and struggles to deal with the guilt.

As a former military man, he has a personality that can be described as rather wolf-like; In that he is extremely loyal to his friends and comrades and merciless towards anyone who hurts those he cares about. Although the more ruthless aspects of his character have been tempered since adopting Irisa, he will threaten or kill anyone who hurts her or anyone else he cares about. He is loyal to Irisa above all else, and this has strained his relationships with humans and Castithans in Defiance because Irathients are somewhat shunned by humans and Votans alike. Although Nolan was a drifter for most of his life, by season 3, he has grown fiercely protective of the people of Defiance and has come to see it has his town and his home.

When the end of the world isn't looming over his head, Nolan tries to enjoy his life while also ensuring he does right by others. This sometimes ends up in awkward situations which Irisa often gets dragged into. In the pilot episode, Nolan has recently escaped an entanglement of some sort with a woman he didn't realize was married, and then, on his first night in Defiance, he fights a bioman and then sleeps with a night porter before jumping in to give Alak Tarr a fake alibi and volunteering to help solve a murder while hardly stopping to think. Despite his impulsive actions leading to unpredictable outcomes, he loves his daughter and does his best to provide a good life for them.

He is ashamed of and struggles greatly with the horrible actions he took in the past. During the war, he saw every person as a threat and viewed the Votans as animals. Now, he has an adopted Votan daughter and fights to protect the Votans who live in Defiance. Although his attitude on life has greatly changed, and he thinks he could have handled many things better in the past, he does not regret teaching Irisa brutal lessons on how to defend herself because it allowed her to survive in a lawless post-war world where so many others died.

He is fond of his custom pistol which he carries at all times.


  • Nolan’s first name, Joshua, is not used until the sixth episode of season 1.
  • Early versions of the script referred to Nolan as “Jeb.”
  • Grant Bowler revealed that in the first script he read, the show was essentially set seven years later than the aired pilot. Nolan had been living in Defiance for a long time and was already in a long term relationship with Amanda. The entire town was much more settled.[6] In early press, Nolan was also referred to as a “self appointed” lawkeeper rather than appointed by Amanda. Ultimately, Executive Producer Kevin Murphy decided he wanted Nolan to be new to town.[7]
  • Nolan is one of three characters to appear in every episode. The other two are Amanda and Irisa.
  • Nolan speaks Irathient and Castithan in addition to English.
  • In "Brothers in Arms", it is revealed that Nolan's nickname is "No Man." This is in reference to his "no one left standing" policy during the Pale Wars, and potentially his time during the war trapped in "No Man's Land."
  • Grant bowler described Nolan as, "I always like to think of Nolan as me with too much coffee and my impulse control removed."[8]


Nolan: Now, can I trust you to be good girl and behave yourself while I'm gone?
Irisa: Probably not.
Nolan: There's my girl -The Serpent's Egg

Sometimes good people do bad things. -The Bride Wore Black

I care about this town. I'm not gonna be the thing that kills it. -Past Is Prologue

Pottinger: I'm a direct man. I fancy Amanda. I just wanted to make sure you didn't have a problem with that.
Nolan: You know, I was pretty young when I enlisted. Never got a chance to experience high school. But this conversation right here... this is how I imagined it. The Cord and the Ax

Throughout history, the strong have been called upon to defend the weak. I know it's not fair. But those of you who serve, sweat, and bleed and push your bodies past their breaking point spend endless hours in combat training for those who cannot show up themselves, who are incapable, or who can't be bothered or just won't do it. The strong defend the weak. It's not fair, but it is right. It's our responsibility, and it's our privilege. -The Beauty of Our Weapons

Indur, we all lose people we care about. What's important in all of this is that you don't lose yourself, not to the anger, not to the ache in your gut, not to the anything. -Ostinato In White

Live together, die together, works when you have to keep on fighting. Totally sucks in real life. -History Rhymes

When Irisa and I got back to Defiance and I saw those stasis nets down and the streets were empty, I knew this town was on the brink, and I didn't know why. I didn't know what had happened, but when I was climbing those stairs, I was praying one thing, one thing only, that you were still behind that desk because I knew that if you were still in charge, that Defiance had a pulse. Now, if we're gonna beat the Omec, and we are gonna beat the Omec, then this town is gonna need our mayor. I'm gonna need her. -The Awakening