The two-hour Season 3 premiere of Defiance while visually interesting, is a slow, confusing burn until approximately the 40 minute mark when the storylines begin to gel into a cohesive picture. Perhaps this discordant and disrupted feeling was purposely designed for the viewer to feel the way many of the characters themselves appear to feel. If so, the risk paid off. The disorientation melts away into one heavy act after another.
There are some distinctly top scenes. First, the moment Irisa and Nolan were cut from their “brainbilicus” life pod cord is among my favorite visuals. It effectively gives insight to how the life pods maintain a being and has a cool rebirth factor with the cord having to be severed before the being can re-enter conscious, active living. The cord also had the proper color and texture one would expect. Throughout the episode viewers are reminded of the re-birth with the left behind open wound. I think a cord clamp would’ve been a fun addition.
Up next in interest, the introduction of the purple skinned humanoids, the father, T’evgin and daughter, Kindzi. Their actions from the onset leave a deeply malevolent mark. Even a good deed like saving Nolan and Irisa from the dying life pod is not so straight forward and kind. Once clear of pod life support the daughter licks and sniffs Nolan because she wants to feed on him like a vampire. I imagine him to be quite ripe and not good eats after being in a pod for 7 months. Even though the father stops her, every step of the episode more evil disregard for all others is evident. Eventually it is discovered they are Omec, a species known to “Conquer. Kill. Devour.” Three scenes directly come to mind that express best who they are. One, Kindzi while in containment kills a boy with a metal rod through the cell window. Two, T’evgin demands skin from Doc Yewll to heal his injured daughter. Three, the showing of an asleep Omec army aboard their ship. When the Gulanite is harvested to power the ship, the army with be roused to attack the earth.
The most shocking part of this episode is the wholesale slaughter of the McCawley family while Christie and Alak’s baby is safely hidden in a closet. Quentin is the first to go at the hands of General Rahm Tak of the Votanis Collective because he wants to see Rafe suffer. Rafe is shot to death in front of his daughter Christie after he frees himself and starts shooting at The Collective over his son. Now this is where it completely table flips. Stahma kills her daughter-in-law Christie because General Tak orders it after she curses him in his native tongue while he has Datak at gunpoint. Definitely a WHAT JUST HAPPENED super shock. Rafe did live long enough after The Collective left for Pilar and Alak to come on scene and meet his grandbaby Luke. A tiny shred of sweet closure. When this happened it became clear this episode was taking no prisoners.
Pilar herself is somewhat shocking in her instability and rational. Her best line was to Alak, “I kill strangers to protect my family. Your parents kill family to protect themselves”. A character it would be easy to hate, but her type of crazy sometimes makes sense. Well until she stole away her grandchild while Alak slept. She is something special.
The emotional hits came in Doc Yewll being dissuaded by Amanda from leaving town, then her day gets even worse when she comes face to face with Kindzi and is expected to treat her. She comes slightly unhinged by seeing the Omec and demands her chained. She tells Amanda and Nolan to kill the Omec if they know what is good for everyone then curses the father when she sees him in the street. Her very bad day gets much worse when she is abused by Nolan, Amanda, and T’evgin. She is left despondent and hurting, all for the agreement to share the Gulanite.
Poor Irisa. She has been an inhabited killing en mass; a murderer, who then became heroine by conquering the inner machine to save the earth. So in trauma and guilt, when attacked she was unable to discharge her weapon. Berlin added to the damage by kicking the hell out of her upon return to Defiance for killing Tommy. To the three beat, she was approached as the Amazing Goddess of the Badlands. A book of the same name had even been written about her. She is a tragic folk hero. Her journey back is only begun. She must make sense of what has happened to her and what shas happened because of her.
The tragic character moments were in Nolan and Amanda so easily being taken in by the Omec and the horrific actions that they chose as a result. Yes, Defiance is in desperate need of fuel and is on the edge of extinction, but the promised ends do not justify the means.
All in all this episode successfully set the tone of Season 3, dark, desperate, and dangerous.
All photos belong to Syfy.
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Defiance airs on Syfy, Fridays at 8pm Eastern/7pm Central