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"The Cord and the Ax" is the 3rd episode of Season Two of Defiance and the 15th episode overall. It aired on July 3rd, 2014 on Syfy.


Irisa's terrifying black-outs escalate, driving a wedge of secrecy between her and a worried Nolan. Meanwhile, the Tarr family business thrives under Stahma's self-appointed direction while an increasingly suspicious Datak remains in jail.

Syfy's Fun Facts[2][]

The official information from Syfy about this episode.

  • Amanda and Kenya's mother abandoned them during the Pale Wars, when Votan troops stormed the island of Manhattan. The Rosewater sisters managed to escape and from that time on, Amanda raised Kenya the best she could. Despite her efforts, Kenya rebelled, often selling herself for travelling money. This is what eventually led Kenya to the job at the NeedWant, much to her sister's chagrin.
  • Doc Yewll has been trying to atone for her sins ever since she came to Defiance. It's been hunted at that she was complicit in a series of atrocities during the Pale Wars. What kind of deal with the devil did Yewll make with Pottinger - and what is he after?
  • Those Russian nesting dolls (the ones Amanda's hiding her Adreno stash in) once sat on her desk in the mayor's office. Also in Amanda's room at the NeedWant is a poster for the band "Hole."
  • Adreno is a mood enhancer that was popular during the Pale Wars. Its side effects can be dangerous and unpredictable. When used in battle, it can incite a killing frenzy (as seen by Amanda's outburst in this episode). In other forms, it can function as an opiate. The wide range of effects is one of the reasons Adreno has been outlawed.
  • What were those tendrils that came out of Irisa's mouth? They look similar to the tendrils created by the gold and silver artifacts that were implanted inside her last season. Those artifacts are the keys to accessing the Kaziri, a fabeled lost Votan ship. But what significance to these tendrils have and what's happening to Irisa?
  • The song that Irzu sings to the mortally wounded Irisa is "Dream of a Casti Bird." Like the Elvis Presley song "Love Me Tender," it's derived from an old Civil War tune called "Aura Lea," with lyrics written during the Pale Wars. Nolan used to sing this song to Irisa when she was just a child (as seen in our minisodes). It was one of the few things that calmed the tormented Irisa.
  • Jessica Nicols, who plays Bertie, also played Jered the Liberata bartender last year. Jered met a bad end when he was murdered by former mayor Nicky Riordon.
  • "One of my favorite scenes is when Amanda flies into a rage and beats up a patron at the NeedWant. It was exciting and challenging to learn a fight sequence. And there is something very therapeutic in letting out all the rage we are conditioned as humans to supress....I was exhilirated and exhausted after filming that scene." - Julie Benz (Amanda).
  • Earlier this year, Stahma traveled to the Bay Area (and the Defiance game) to broker a deal with Varus Soleptor, the warlord we saw in the season opener. Now, players in the Defiance game can run missions for the Tarr family.
  • "For one episode, I had to learn a song in Irathient to sing to Irisa. I learned the whole song in an alien language. I was so proud of myself but then the show called and said they changed the song and I had to relearn it in English. I was walking around for months at my school singing this creepy song in a different language that I could not get out of my head. My friends thought I had totally lost it!"  - Katie Douglas (Irzu/Young Irisa).
  • The tendrils attacks that Irisa instills on her victims - and they later instill on others - are very similar to a phenomenon that's happening in the Defiance video game, where possessed individuals have been attacking settlers. Collectively, they're known as "The Grid." Has Irzu's curse spread to the Bay Area as well?
  • Alak's sense of remorse is unusual for a Castithan. Most Casti criminals go out of their way to publicize their killing, slitting their victim's throats with charge blades and dumping their bodies in public for everyone to see.
  • Irisa seemingly blew up Berlin's surveillance system with her mind. Up until now, one could argue that Irzu was just a figment of Irisa's imagination. Does Irzu have the power to manipulate the physical world, or did Irisa's subconsciously do something to make this happen?
  • For many years, cross-species breeding was considered impossible. When the first mixed-species baby appeared, a great debate erupted among the world's scientists. Did these children suggest some common genetic ancestor or were they the product of genetic engineering? For more on the subject, check out the "Cradle to Grave" storyline in the Defiance video game.
  • Space was limited aboard the Arks that brought the Votans to Earth. Even wealthy Castithans like Stahma were only allowed to bring three personal items with them. Stahma chose to bring her family gem, her diary and the telo (a bridal mask) which caused so much trouble on the eve of Christie's wedding.

Votan Translation[]

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

Translations for the Votan spoken in this episode can be found at Conlang Dialogue: Defiance, Episode 203.

Highlighted Quote[]

the devil woken
Hagrombi haminggagba