008 Pilot episode still of Amanda Rosewater, Rafe McCawley and Joshua Nolan 250px
Episode number Season 1
Episode 1
Setting 2046
Directed by Scott Stewart
Written by Rockne S. O'Bannon (Part 1)
Kevin Murphy and Michael Taylor (Part 2)
Advisories Coarse language, sexual situations, violence
Air date April 15, 2013
Running time 86 minutes
Episode chronology
Next Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go

The pilot is the first episode of season 1, and the series' first episode overall. It was written by Rockne S. O'Bannon (Part 1) and Kevin Murphy and Michael Taylor (Part 2), and directed by Scott Stewart. It premiered on April 15, 2013.


Plot synopsisEdit

Set in the near future, Defiance introduces an exotically transformed planet Earth, its landscapes permanently altered following the sudden – and tumultuous – arrival of seven unique alien races.[1]

Plot summaryEdit

Joshua Nolan and Irisa are driving through the terraformed landscape of Earth when an Arkfall event happens. While they are searching the wreckage they recover a powerful power source, but they are ambushed by Irathient Spirit Riders. Despite the fact, they still manage to escape with the sphere but Irisa gets shot and collapses. Nolan hides the sphere in the woods while he and Irisa are attacked by huge spider creatures. They are rescued by a lawkeeper who escort them to Defiance, a town that is built on the ruins of St. Louis, Missouri, and is populated by Humans and Votans survivors.[2]

The people of Defiance are celebrating the anniversary of the end of the Pale Wars. Irisa is carried to Doc Yewll's office to get treated. Irisa gets well and she and Nolan are free to leave the town again.[2]

Amanda seems to be losing faith in her ability to lead the people of the town, but when a party of armed Volge is approaching Defiance with the intent of destroying the town, she manages to rally the people of Defiance and construct a defense plan to save their home.[2]

Meanwhile, there seems to be some tensions between Datak Tarr, a wealthy and influential Castithan, and Rafe McCawley), owner of the mines that fuel much of the local economy. The two of them unaware that their children, Datak's son Alak and Rafe's daughter Christie, are in love. Luke, Christie's oldest brother, though knows and he disapproves this relationship. He and Alak get into a fight before Luke excuses himself and disappears. When later Luke was found murdered, his father Rafe believes that Alak killed him due to finding out about their fight and that Alak threatened his son.[2]

In the meantime, Nolan decides to take part on a prizefighting, since he and Irisa have no money and no equipment to continue their trip. When Nolan wins against all odds, Datak, who runs the prizefighting ring, confiscates most of his winnings leaving them with not enough money to leave town.[2]

Rafe, notified of Luke's death, pursues Alak in a rage with the intent of lynching him. Nolan intervenes and in the ensuing fight the town lawkeeper is accidentally shot and killed. After that, Nolan persuades Amanda to let him track down Luke's killer. During the investigation, Nolan discovers that Luke was killed by a Votan "coldfire" weapon. Tracking the killer they discover that it's Amanda's Indogene assistant, Ben.[2]

Ben destroys the generator that powers the shield which protects Defiance. With no protection from the shield, the Volge who are approaching Defiance won't have any problem to get enter the town, but Amanda convinces everyone to fight. Nolan and Irisa collect their reward for finding Luke's killer and they leave town before the Volge come. Before they go, Nolan retrieves the sphere he had hidden earlier. Having second thoughts, he returns to Defiance to help defend the town and its people. Irisa doesn't agree with his decision and furious, she leaves alone leaving him behind.[2]

The people of Defiance attack the Volge in a narrow canyon outside Defiance. During the battle Datak Tarr is infuriated by another Castithan, Elah Bandik, who displays cowardice and flees. Irisa returns, leading the Irathient Spirit Riders to attack the Volge on the ground. Then Yewll uses the sphere Nolan gave her, to completely destroy the Volge. Nolan and Irisa reunite after the battle is over and decide to remain in Defiance. Amanda persuades Nolan to become the new lawkeeper and Irisa to become one of his deputies.[2]

At the end of the episode, it is revealed that former mayor Nicky Riordan and a man named Mr. Birch were behind Ben's treachery. They wanted the Volge to attack and destroy Defiance, for unknown reasons.[2]


Grant Bowler as Joshua Nolan
Julie Benz as Amanda Rosewater
Stephanie Leonidas as Irisa
Tony Curran as Datak Tarr
Jaime Murray as Stahma Tarr
Graham Greene as Rafe McCawley
Mia Kirshner as Kenya Rosewater
Peter MacNeill as Garret Clancy
Dewshane Williams as Tommy LaSalle
Trenna Keating as Doc Yewll
Justin Rain as Quentin McCawley
Jesse Rath as Alak Tarr
Nicole Muñoz as Christie McCawley
Fionnula Flanagan as Nicolette Riordan
Noah Danby as Sukar
Douglas Nyback as Ben Daris
Wesley French as Luke McCawley
Kaniehtiio Horn as Rynn
Carl Bauer as Rupert
Steven McCarthy as Mr. Birch
Robert Clarke as Elah Bandik
Ilena Wolfe as Band Singer
Jessica Nichols as Bertie
Tim Post as Fight Promoter
Kevin Shand as Dog Walker
Marty Moreau as Paul
Rob Archer as Ulysses
Kieran McNally-Kennedy as Young Nolan
John Maillet as Mr. Nolan
Jessica Embro as Mrs. Nolan


  • Jackson by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash is playing in the roller with Joshua Nolan and Irisa in the opening scene.
  • If I Didn't Care by The Ink Spots is playing at the restaurant with Nicolette Riordan and Mr. Birch in the last scene.
  • Terraform My Heart (feat. Brendan McCreary) by Bear McCreary is playing when Nolan gives Kenya Rosewater a flower and they have sex.



  1. Episode 1: "Pilot" | Defiance on Showcase. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 "Pilot (Defiance)." Wikipedia. Retrieved July 8, 2013.