This Defiance review contains spoilers.
When a show explores its darker side, it had better do it well lest it seem like wallowing. The people of Defiance have seen plenty of tragedy this season, and they deserve their period of mourning. Although there were some slow moments that felt a bit indulgent, the town needed its moment of silence before taking on its next set of troubles. Fortunately, some new seeds of conflict were planted that present some interesting possibilities leading into the final episodes.
Not that I have any idea where the Omec plot specifically is headed. The mystery in this episode was presented well with the shocking death of a beloved main character, Doc Yewll, only it wasn’t a death at all. Kindzi could be commended for coming up with a creative solution to her desire to hunt in cloning the Indogene doctor, but I guess she couldn’t help herself with those vagrant Votans around the trash can fire. She also appears to have a need to exercise her dominance over the real Yewll, though I’m not sure to what end.
Surely the compliance implant in Yewll’s neck will come into play in the future. She is keeping the Omec’s secret for the time being, but now there are two people who know too much, if you count Stahma, who is unable to convince T’evgin to contain his daughter. The elder Omec does eventually contain Kindzi – quite literally – in one of the stasis chambers on the ship apparently, but there might be some truth to Kindzi’s warning that the sleeping Omec might expect to continue the Dread Harvest once they awaken.
In fact, it was difficult to tell which Omec was responsible for the killings in town initially. There was a brilliant bit of misdirection that made it appear that first one then the other Omec was “the beast” that Nolan sought. And speaking of that investigation, I very much enjoyed seeing the role reversal between Irisa and Nolan as the latter feels a portion of the guilt the former felt when she unwittingly killed millions. Although Nolan’s drunkenness gives the episode its only clunky scenes, his guilt does motivate him to track down the beast and keep any more deaths from being added to the tally.
I appreciate the fact that Datak’s dramatic escape last week remains a secret shared only with the audience. One of the most moving parts of the episode was when Stahma was told of her husband’s sacrifice and the pardon he secured for her. As the widow Tarr experienced the pain of contempt from those around her, I felt my sympathy oddly coming much more easily for her than it did for Nolan. Particularly enjoyable was the mourning ritual with the ink on her skin as she prayed. These cultural touches are one of the strengths of Defiance.
The suicide of Hinder, the sedation of Samir, the quiet disdain of Amanda, and the fatherly discipline of T’evgin all place a dark cloud over this episode, but it feels right somehow. As Stahma prays, “And so we praise you, Rayetso, and wait for this darkness to pass. Though when it does, the skies will never be the same.” I have the feeling Defiance won’t be quite the same in the coming weeks either.