Ostinato is a short melody or rhythm that is repeated by the same voice or instrument during a musical composition.
Instead of music we have….
Death. Mourning. Turmoil. These the repetitive themes woven throughout the dark hour in Defiance.
“Too many dead people.” Nolan
Episode 8 begins with an unexpected kick in the gut. Doc Yewll is hunted, killed, and devoured by an unseen beastly creature. The Defiance writing team knows how to keep viewers on their toes with clever turns and twists. In this very season, law keeping fixture Berlin unceremoniously skips town with her weapons dealing ex, the entire McCawley family is slaughtered by Rahm Tak, and even T’evgin turns his bloodlust filled Omec heart toward peace. While it’s quickly revealed the dead Indogene is a clone, the twist comes into play finding out the increasingly dangerous and rebellious Omec daughter Kindzi is making the clones of Doc Yewll for her own hunting purpose. A delicious shock is felt.
The dance of the moral juxtaposition between daddy T’evgin who desires an age of enlightenment for his people and Kindzi, who desires to bring back the old ways of blood and feasting, creates a boiling point forcing his hand against her. Having always given her leeway when she’s behaved badly before, this time she pushed too far. This time, he cannot simply chastise her and choose her over the humans and Votans. He serves up the sentence of stasis sleep, safely removing her from Defiance back to their ship. He chooses a path of purpose and new mission, over his family, history, and Omec culture. He mourns this loss as if she were dead. The sorrow of a father rings true.
The next mournful citizen is Joshua Nolan. The memorial service for the 27 dead stirs his guilt and trauma. He and Irisa switch positions of strong and weak. She’s rapidly recovered from her own PTSD, as Nolan slides into the psychological devastation of bearing the burden of those deaths. He’s especially affected by the death of Zero, the sharpshooter. The emotional outlay when he visits the boy’s father, Inter, to return the gun is a powerful demonstration by both men of grief, pain, and unimaginable loss. Beautiful acting and well directed we are steeped in these dark, raw feelings. Nolan’s spiral continues into the bottle. He is unable to manage his emotions. There are times not to work through it. He seems not to have a choice in the matter regardless of his frailty. Amanda having no idea what shape he is in tells him to sleep it off. This scene felt a little contrived to give her some dialogue. Back on track, utter heartbreak for exudes for all involved when he goes back to Inder’s house finding him dead in an apparent suicide, hanging from his ceiling. Hearing voices now we know Nolan is not in good shape. I predict a full psychotic break. Seeing the softer,vulnerable side of Nolan is building new dimension and growth to his character. His journey will be a painful and worthy watch.
Moving to the third beat of mourning is Stahma Tarr. Though pardoned by Mayor Amanda Rosewater for her crimes and able to return home, she believes her husband, Datak is dead, not from the shaming rack, but from his suicide mission act of blowing up Rahm Tak and his army. Her husband a traitor and a hero. She is still a traitor and now a widow. The towns people are not easy to forgive. Her home has been tagged. A shop keeper will not sell to her. As strong and smart as Stahma is, she will eventually find a solution for redemption, though absolutely not in the cards today. Her only agenda today is to properly mourn her loss. She is taking to the traditional ways with grieving marks upon her body with a black pencil. Exquisite imagery of spirit and passing. She speaks sacred, holy words as she draws. Her scene is back dropped by haunting music and simultaneous mourning by T’evgin for Kindzi. The two of them having each other to grieve with somehow is feel good TV. I smell a more serious relationship being established. I had shivers when she blew out the candle to close the episode. Poignant.
Lastly, these pieces do not fit into the death theme of this episode but are worth mentioning. One to pin in memory for future development is the control stem that Kindzi placed in Doc Yewll’s neck prior to her return to sleep. Did he not realize it was placed? If so, why did dear daddy T’evgin leave it in? Who is controlling the shifty Doc now? Kindzi gave very few orders of control before Yewll left. Cliffhanger. Two, is the weirdly repulsive scene going to Kindzi for seducing Nolan and almost getting it on in his office before her father’s menacing growl disrupted them. She is the holder of the creeper predator award this week. I, for one, am glad she is sleeping in the sky.
This season is building to a climax I look forward to figuring out. The threat of Rahm Tak is gone. What could possibly be next? I’ll be watching, hope you are too.
All photos belong to Syfy.
Defiance airs on Syfy, Fridays at 8pm Eastern/7pm Central