This review contains spoilers.
1.10 The Bride Wore Black
To say that Defiance has been a slow burn is probably a major understatement, because what this show desperately needed was this type of story about five episodes back. In The Bride Wore Black we learned more about the history of Defiance, the major characters, and their motivations than we’ve been given all season. And, not a minute too soon for this reviewer.
The story was a basic whodunit, for the murder of Kenya’s husband seven years previously. Though it was pretty obvious early on who was the most likely candidate, even if the writers very noticeably avoiding giving her a motive, while spreading them about to other characters so generously. The upside of this was that we got to see very different versions of Datak, Kenya and Tommy, long before Nolan turned up.
As a character, Tommy has not been well served by the show so far, but here he became more interesting for once. His interest in forensics might yet see him discover disturbing truths, even if this time it was actually Irisa who sleuthed and put the late Hunter Bell in a wall cavity of the NeedWant.
The wedding aspects were mostly a distraction from the haunting past narrative, but they did generate a series of excellent character interactions, all involving the increasingly enraged Datak. His scene with Rafe, where the Mine slips from his potential grasp was great, along with his dealing with the angry Alak. But as ever, the one between Stahma and Datak was the highlight. The way that Jaime Murray switched gear at one point, moving effortlessly from being aggressive to passive was just marvellous, and worth the cost of admission alone.
Frankly, I’m just thrilled we finally got the wedding out of the way, though I’m sure the cultural differences of Alak and Christie will come back to bore us more in the future.
But, by the point in the show in which that transpired, I’d been brilliantly sidetracked by the revelation scene between Doc Yewell and Nicky. It reminded me so well of the very best Colombo episodes, a show that was based on the idea that you knew who was the murdered from the outset, it was all about how they’d be caught. In this it was pretty obvious that Nicky was behind the death of Hunter Bell quite early on, though her motivation and the actually course of events wasn’t.
Doc Yewell’s been an ambiguous figure at best, and Bell’s death was one of those things that Nicky had alluded to previously about them working together. Her involvement and why Nicky killed him wasn’t easily guessable, and neither was how the good doctor reacted to having innocent people die to maintain that secret was really great character development. And, if Nicky isn’t human, can we assume that anyone else is who they say they are?
I’ll miss Fionnula Flanagan as Nicky, because she had the ability to say one thing while you knew her character was thinking the complete opposite, a great performance gift.
What this episode left me with was hope for this series, where characters are presented with choices and can go against their instinctive path. Can Datak learn to not hate humans, can Rafe learn to not hate Datak personally, can Irisa develop better dress sense? It’s all up for grabs.
The Doc has the golden pretzel, but is she the best person to control its power, or will ghosts from her past come to occupy her mind? Maybe. My only concern is that I know many people have given up on the show before now, and therefore can’t appreciate it’s now getting better. That’s not to say it can’t improve even more, but it’s got at least another season to do so after the two more stories in this set.
Next week, the truth about Stahma and Kenya relationship becomes a convertible commodity, as election fever grips Defiance in the penultimate episode.
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