Defiance – The Awakening 3×11 Review

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T’evgin is dead.

Kindzi is the new Omec leader.

Dread Harvest meat is being collected and caged.

Omec sleepers are being awakened with the purpose of conquest.

Can they be stopped?

A brief recap of the episode opening as it continues the tension where the last episode left off.  All hell is about to break loose as Kindzi begins waking the sleeping Omec. Life pods a few at a time, touch down outside of Defiance. The Enchanters are in a weakened state from the stasis sleep. They must feast to regain full strength. These would be “meals” are drugged, rounded up, and caged by the unwilling yet mind controlled Doc Yewll.  The Doc is highly efficient in carrying out Kindzi’s orders by using her trustworthy status in the town.  Stahma then learns of T’evgin’s death while reporting Datak missing to the Lawkeepers. Highly emotional, she shares with Amanda about the thousands of sleeping Omec that are going to be awakened to conquer Earth.  Per their usual verbal dance, Amanda blames Stahma for not disclosing what is waiting on the ship, who then blames Amanda for giving the Omec the means to power their ship in the first place. Claws in ladies. You both have responsibility here. Nolan and Irisa boogie out of the office with speed on an Omec hunt to avenge T’evgin’s murder. They’re not sure what else Kindzi has up her mad sleeve, but they know it’s more than simple bad news. The feeling is appropriately frenzied.

After the quick intro segment, there’s no slow burn in this well paced hour. Very few lulls take the viewer out of the story. An enjoyable buildup toward the season finale.

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In my estimation, there are two heroes and one evil that rise to the top for discussion. A classic three beat setting.

The evil is Kindzi. Opening with the disturbing meal of captured Votan in the woods by “All Mother” Kindzi and the two awakened males is fairly gory and effective in showing the predatory side of the Omec. Fear us. We are dangerous. Kindzi is claiming and demanding her role as the new leader since her father’s murder. Of course, she cleverly leaves out the tidbit about her being the one who killed him before partaking on his vital organs.  The effects of the Gapoliraaz funeral ritual is soon evident. They are discovered by Nolan and Irisa. She is shot several times, though instead of dying, she angrily runs up the hill toward them.  Oh hell no! She’s the freaking Terminator since eating T’evgin’s heart. This scene delivers shock and terror. Is she stoppable? Her eventual sadistic murder of Andina and capture of Stahma, Alak, and baby Luke is hair raising. The way she sniffs the baby causes shudders. It is compelling and impactful storytelling.  Actress Nichole Galicia is beautifully menacing and believable. On a side note, I  hope she stops licking everyone by the end of the finale. I imagine she has some heinously bad breath after the feasting.

Hero One, Datak. After Kindzi threatens tells him she is going after Stahma, he hatches a plan from the cage.  Playing on their friendship, he mocks Doc Yewll. He baits her with bitter words calling her nothing but cells, soulless, a golem.  Ouch. He wants out of the cage to save his wife knowing the Omec will try and eat him first. She gets his message. Guiding him into the courtyard, he prepares to fight. As soon as his glove comes off I squeal, “The BIONIC arm!” to my husband. Datak has a weapon in that new fancy arm of his. He taunts the hungry Omec who come closer, then SCHWING like Wolverine, he has a long blade appear out of his mechanical hand. Datak 1, Omec 0. He injures the Omec and flees successfully. This is undoubtedly a set-up for him to shine in the season finale to come. Tony Curran is shameless and charming to the core brilliantly giving us Datak.

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Hero Two, Doc Yewll. Even under mind control, she helps Datak by giving him the avenue to escape and help his family. Later on the road with the injured Omec in the back of her vehicle, Amanda and Nolan catch up with her on the road and Amanda removes the Omec control stem from her neck, Doc is returned to her own full faculties. “Looks like mama got her groove back.” Damn fine to have you back Doc. Her first choice made is to kill the injured Omec with extreme prejudice, effectively unloading Amanda’s gun clip into him. She is angry and on a mission. Up next is her leading Nolan, Irisa, Berlin, and Amanda to the warehouse of caged people and feasting Enchanters. None of the Omec are left alive, except for escaped Kindzi. All the people are freed into the Defiance night. Her conscience is clearly troubled and a plan is forming. Her face is easily readable. This is more setup for the season finale. She is a complicated, self-serving character with a heart. Her struggles to do the right thing and overcome her past, are in your face. She is non-apologetic and wickedly humorous. There is little option but to love and hate similar to the Tarr’s.  Trenna Keating has impeccable timing and piercing eye acting.

Flawed characters gaining favor, falling from grace, and being propelled back into favor is a running theme this season. Characters easy to despise and nearly impossible not to root for have been the standouts since episode 1.  The trio of Stahma, Datak, and Doc Yewll is intriguing and a bit naughty.  It’s been a delight to see them win and lose but always showing guts and commitment to their purposes. Well done.

Of course, all is not love and light, worth a mention are the two scenes that felt flat for me. First with Nolan and Amanda being overly sentimental and kissy face in the clinic when she is feeling guilty about trusting the Omec. Gag me with a spoon. It felt too dramatic and lacking chemistry between the actors. It was neither sexy or endearing. Second, Andina vying for Alak’s attention and raising her position in the family by telling him to forget about his mother before kissing him was awkward filler. He not only tells her it is too soon for him, but moments later she is unceremoniously killed by Kindzi. It did nothing to add to the overall story or character development. Andina has always been weird while lacking good timing, but this took the cake. I’m not sad to see her character go. Ultimately the episode did not suffer for these low spots. Plenty of wonderful moments kept me enthralled.

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All photos are property of Syfy.

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Defiance airs on Syfy, Fridays at 8pm Eastern/7pm Central

@DefianceWorld, Defiance Website

 

Des Andrews