Defiance: In My Secret Life

Defiance is off to a fine start this season, and is already improving on what came before. Here's our review.

I was worried at first that this episode was going to be a “crime of the week,” a narrative technique that was used extensively as exposition in Defiance’s first season. However, the show has now hit its stride and uses the investigation of a bombing to further the political maneuvering amongst its many characters. This new approach is much more interesting than the overwrought post-apocalyptic cultural explorations Defiance previously indulged in.

What a joy it was to see Datak attempt to stage the assassination of Mayor Pottinger using a religious fanatic as his patsy. I can’t decide which I liked more: the transparent convenience of Datak’s supposed heroism or the ease with which Pottinger dismisses his underhanded ploy. As much as I dislike the interim mayor, it’s very refreshing to discover that he’s not an idiot. It will take more than a haphazard Castithan scheme to bring him down.

The new E-Rep character, Berlin, piques my interest. Although she appears to be filming E-Rep propaganda, on the surface she does not seem to be playing games. She expertly pegs Nolan as a “happy cowboy” and calls Irisa his “hot Chewbacca.” Spot on! Combined with her high-tech surveillance skills, I think I’m going to like this geek chick! Except that she seems to have a thing for Tommy, and that simply won’t do.

His true love, Irisa, was about to show him everything! As Tommy points out, she has to tell somebody the secret she’s been keeping from Nolan: that Irzu is using her as an instrument of death. Her insistence that she and Nolan return to Defiance, in fact, was a command from her pet god. I can’t help but wonder what her mission will be moving forward.

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All of the characters have been able to reinvent themselves this season on Defiance, and it didn’t seem fair that Nolan should be sucked back into his role as Lawkeeper. Hunting down the town’s bomber was absurdly easy, but it served several purposes. First, Nolan caught up with Amanda, Rafe, and others on the state of things since his departure, including the worrying absence of Kenya Rosewater. Also, Skeever’s involvement underscores the potential mistakes being made by Stahma in playing a hard line with Alak and the family business. And lastly, it allows the townspeople to forgive Nolan for his past mistakes and endears him, however superficially, with the acting mayor.

I find myself wondering where a couple of small details in particular are headed. Before Doc Yewll gets her finger cut off, Pottinger asks her about the hidden Votan ship and the secrets inside Irisa. I can’t wait to see that mythology unfold! Likewise Amanda’s Blue Devil addiction and the mayor’s takeover of the drug business from the Tarrs can lead to nothing but trouble. Hooray for trouble!

This season is off to a great start! They even snuck in a Castithan bath scene with Stahma AND Christie. Hoo boy! Defiance knows its audience, that’s for sure.

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4.5 out of 5