This review contains spoilers.
1.7 Goodbye, Blue Sky
The theme of this week’s Defiance was things that come back from our past to haunt us, as represented by the storm of ‘razor rain’, falling on the town. This serves a dual purpose, to glue characters together so they can interact without others interrupting, and as an external force that reminds Irisa that she’s not human, like looking in the mirror isn’t a clue. The messengers for that are pieces of an Arc spacecraft infused with nanites and Sukar, who was one of the more interesting alien characters the show has thrown up. After Revolution, nanites are becoming a direct replacement for explaining the inexplicable, but here they’re blended with a little Irathient mysticism for good measure.
In this subplot, where I became confused was in the chronological order of events, because only after Sukar is taken over by the nanites does he take control of the fragment and fly it down to Defiance, yet later exposition by Nolan tells us that the fragment was always on a collision course for the town. So which is it? I think I know the answer, but the inference by the doctor was that Sukar brought the fragment down, which was probably misleading. The effects of the fragment flying over Defiance and crashing were rather good compared with others that have been on the show, though we’ve already seen it before because it’s in the title sequence.
In the end I felt disappointed that they wrote Sukar out, though we didn’t see him take a second acid bath, so anything is possible. What this plot did do however, was possibly shed some light on why Quentin sees his brother, another alien tech infestation?
The arrival of Nicky at the McCawley’s house was a brassy one on her part, as I’d assumed she liked to work in the shadows. She certainly got in Rafe’s face, and discovered what happened to Birch, though I’m not really sure how this helps her. There was one odd line in this piece that made me wonder, and it was the one where Rafe mentioned a room upstairs, and that Nicky would ‘know where it is’. Eh? Did Nicky and Rafe have a relationship at some point? Maybe. An explanation of that, and what happened to Rafe’s wife will come later, along with Nicky outing the death of Birch to Nolan, one might assume.
I don’t want to talk about Alak and Christie, because if they’re not mature enough to have got things like the bathing ritual out of the way by now, they’re hardly ready to get married, are they?
More interesting, purely from a character development perspective, was the interaction between Kenya and Stahma, which started oddly and got much more peculiar by the end. Stahma was the first character in this show I really liked, because she’s clearly the power behind the Datak throne. I wanted her to be a formidable foe for Nicky, by having a greater degree of subtlety. But that’s not where the writers have taken her, unless they’re planning a massive character flip at some point. In this subplot she sells a whole new version of herself, where she’s the passive one who needs emancipation from her role in the Tarr household. Not sure I’m as keen on that as the Machiavellian version of Stahma we started with, if I’m honest. And, while I’ve got no issue with Jamie Murray and Mia Kirshner locking tongues, this only highlighted to me how tame Syfy is in respect of sex when compared with the more adult content that HBO is offering on Game of Thrones. If that’s the full extent of their titillation remit, then I just wish they’d not bother.
I’ve got one last minor complaint, and I put this down to the limited number of effects shots that the show can have per episode. In an early shot of the arch we see the gantry that Sukar ends up falling on at the end, but later we get another shot with the storm approaching where it was missing, before it reappears for his convenience. It’s sloppy, and should have been picked up by those responsible for continuity on the show.
From this point onwards I’ll be seeing Defiance without Revolution in close proximity, and it will be interesting to see if that colours my opinion of the show more positively or not. At the moment I’m still waiting to see the breakout story, but Defiance certainly isn’t as terminally dumb or irritating as others. I’m just wondering where I’ll get bored with the character positioning that’s going on, and want this to actually take us somewhere. I’m still interested to see the last five stories (only twelve are currently planned in total), to see if they can glue the reasonable character development to the larger plot elements successfully.
Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, Brothers In Arms, here.
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