This Defiance review contains spoilers.
I’m tempted to begin my review by jumping up and down and shouting, “YES! That’s what I’m jekking talking about!” I haven’t felt this excited by a Defiance episode since the early part of season two. This episode, aptly but cumbersomely titled “My Name is Datak Tarr and I Have Come to Kill You,” had everything! Flashbacks to Casti (which the show has surprisingly never employed), redemption for Irisa, a simultaneously heroic and self-serving moment for Datak, a change of heart for T’evgin, and an explosive end to the conflict with Rahm Tahk. What more could you want?
It was a brilliant move to let the audience in on the VC plan to infiltrate the town’s militia. Every moment that Bebe, the Indogene spy, remained in his Beckman disguise was filled with tension and the certainty of imminent betrayal. As soon as the young Irathient sniper told his father he’d be careful, I knew he was a goner. The sabotage in the tunnels was expertly and tragically executed despite an early end to the massacre in town thanks to the Omec’s intervention.
Speaking of the Omec, T’evgin surprised me by being merciful in the end, especially after seeing his horrific, unhinged-jaw attack on the VC soldier. I’m not sure what he has been able to see and admire during his time in Defiance, but his decision to pursue a path of “inclusion” creates an intriguing dilemma with his daughter. Kindzi’s strategy of showing Stahma the plans for the Dread Harvest in order to force her father to kill his Castithan mistress was masterful. Likewise, Stahma turning the table on her by encouraging T’evgin to remove his dangerous daughter from the equation promises some delightful conflict in the show’s future.
Meanwhile, another daughter of sorts sprung to her father’s defense as Irisa was finally able to find her inner warrior to save Nolan’s head from ending up in General Tahk’s collection. Although I have enjoyed Irisa’s struggle with her violent past, it’s good to see her use her strength in defeating the enemy. Now she sees Nolan struggling with the same guilt over being indirectly responsible for the death of others, perhaps assuaging some of her own, and it has brought them back together in a fulfilling way.
I thought Datak might be headed down a similar path of redemption, and the flashbacks to his troubled childhood seemed to portend his eventual martyrdom. I’m amazed that Defiance has waited this long to show examples of daily life in the Votan’s original system, but they used it to great effect here. As Doc Yewll hatches her plan to use the stasis net to destroy the enemy camp, I felt certain Datak would either die a hero, thus honoring the memories of his father, or betray the town. Imagine my surprise when he did neither!
Datak’s self-amputation was quite simply the most magnificent trick this show has ever played on me. Up until the moment he ran from the tent, I thought the removal of his arm would mean the explosion couldn’t happen – Datak betrays the town again! But no! Datak was able to fulfill his promise, save the town, and save himself! Amazing, and so true to character, not to mention the astoundingly realistic and almost humorous reactions of General Tahk and his men. This scene was definitely one of the highlights of the season and perhaps even the series at large.
Well done, Defiance! It took awhile to get to this point (perhaps a little too long), but the payoff was tremendous! Hopefully, the show can use this momentum to carry through with the hidden Omec mission, the presumably inevitable reunion for the Tarrs, and perhaps even the return of Berlin at a crucial moment. With the season on the downhill slope of its second half, it’s anyone’s guess as to how this summer’s chapter will end, but so far, it’s looking promising.