Defiance: Put The Damage On Review

Defiance returns to conspiracy in Put The Damage On. Here's our review.

It’s been awhile since we had an honest-to-god conspiracy in Defiance, and the ulterior motives are as enticingly murky as ever! I have to say, packaging the fallout of Pottinger’s plan with some insightful character moments as well as a clever game tie-in was a master stroke. It’s hard to fathom how they fit all this into one episode, but “Put the Damage On” provided plenty of food for thought.

Amanda’s adreno addiction has been stewing for awhile now, and I’m glad they didn’t go with the cliche of having her push everyone away or self-destruct. Instead, the audience was led to believe the drug was causing her hallucinations, obscuring its true purpose, which was to provide Pottinger with the means to mine Amanda’s memories: a fabulously underhanded twist! Presumably, the E-Rep is still tasked with finding out about the Votan ship hidden in the gulanite mines, and Pottinger is gathering intel in any way he can.

It’s poetic justice, then, that Pottinger falls victim to the same EGO corruption that he inflicted upon Amanda. And, as a side note, players of Defiance, the game, will recognize the EGO military implant (basically the game’s HUD, map, and skills interface) as well as its manufacturer, Von Bach Industries; always great to see a crossover element like that! But who expected Pottinger’s dirty little secret to include a childhood crush on Amanda’s ex-beau, Connor Lang? Wow!

And he’s not the only one being visited by past traumas. Yewll was also infected with whatever corrupt nano-tech was causing Amanda to hallucinate the rapist from her past and imagine Nolan as her abuser. Yewll (or Meh, her given name) remembers a long-dead lover named Lev but is able to avoid the psychological impact visited upon the other two because, you know, programmed Indogene brain – duh! Calling Doc Yewll by her first name and giving her a guilt-ridden past somewhat softens her continuing betrayal of the people she’s supposedly administering to as “penance.” That’s one complex lady!

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The Tarr family drama continues to unfold alongside the main plot this week as Datak gains the right of visitation by enacting a mystifying (to humans anyway) blood ritual. Defiance hasn’t gone a week without a Castithan bath scene, but including the recently evicted Rafe McCawley in the mix was extremely entertaining. The idea of Datak and Rafe working together by necessity and joining forces with the Votan Collective to overthrow the E-Rep occupation of Defiance is cause for cautious optimism. It remains to be seen, however, how Christie will work through her differences with her in-laws by “playing” with Alak’s seductive, record-spinning “employee.”

A favorite moment of mine this week was the self-healing bullet wound just after Irisa was mistakenly shot by Amanda. The writers are reminding us of the Irzu story arc, which is on hold but not forgotten, and it’s attention to details like this that give this episode another perfect score in my book. Amanda’s mention of her New York rape last week similarly led to the initial action in this episode, pulling the season together into a tightly-woven and compelling serial story.

If you had told me last season that I would be looking forward this much to the next episode of Defiance each week, I wouldn’t have believed you. As the show nears the halfway point of its summer run, it’s exciting to see where things are headed. Share your thoughts on the new direction this season in the comments area below!

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5 out of 5