Defiance episode 3 review: The Devil In The Dark

Billy finds Defiance improved this week, though still somewhat repetitious. Here's his review of The Devil In The Dark...

This review contains spoilers.

1.3 The Devil in the Dark

The third instalment of Defiance had some elements I liked, and others I could have easily done without. The positive side of this mixed bag was occupied by some sterling character development, mostly for Irisa Nyira (Stephanie Leonidas) who is revealed to have a power that allows her to see into the past through Irathient ritual drug taking. It happens, more often that you might suspect.This is all woven into a basic detective story where people are being killed by giant alien bugs seemingly at random, directed by assassins unknown. This is a good way to introduce some bumpy interstellar race relations, and Noah Danby who plays Sukar was especially good in establishing the uneasy peace that currently exists in Defiance.

This was generally good until they all went underground for the ‘bug hunt’, where it all became heavily dictated by Syfy budget constraints. The bugs themselves seemed inspired by those in Starship Troopers, and the CGI of them wasn’t poor, what we saw of them. Except their ultimate demise was cut short, and so was an early action sequence with them and Datak Tarr.

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Where I got a distinct moment of deja vu was when Joshua Nolan declared that if the Hell bugs got loose they’d kill everyone in Defiance, marking the now third time that the entire population has been put at risk in as many stories. He also talked about hyperbaric charges, which entirely ignores the fact that once these were detonated there would be no oxygen to breath in the mine seeing as they were without breathing apparatus. But these are minor complaints, as at least the story was kept interesting throughout.

So where did it really fail? In two places, the first of those being the Christie McCawley and Alak Tarr relationship plot, which is becoming painful to watch. Perhaps it’s because I’m a mature adult, but star-crossed lovers are a massive yawn-fest for me, and I wish we could fast-forward to the wedding, or possibly even the third child.

The other issue here is that we’re only three episodes in, and those writing it have entirely forgotten what happened in the pilot story. In that, Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz) gave a speech where she said she’d only been the Mayor for three weeks, and in this one she’s reminded that she’d up for re-election soon. Err…so how long do they get to be Mayor, about a month? That’s sloppy considering how few episodes we’ve had, and doesn’t bode well for other ‘facts’ we’ve been presented with.

At the end we’re given a little ballad to avoid anyone having to write cheesy dialogue over the thematic message about children and parents, and how the latter must step away at some point for their children’s good.

Overall, it was better than the last episode, and some of the character work was half decent. But in the greater scheme of things I’d like to see a story where the entire town isn’t in immediate danger, and racial tension doesn’t play such a primary part. I’d also like to see what happened to poorly made prop that Rafe McCawley found hidden in his late son’s drawer.

Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go, here.

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