This review contains spoilers.
2.5 Put The Damage On
There were lots of things to like in this episode, not least the major part played by Doc Yewll, one of Defiance‘s more interesting characters.
So far I’ve not been a big fan of the subplot where Amanda becomes a drug addict, but here it found a place to thrive, when she started to imagine that the man who raped her had come back to terrorise her. This coincides with the reappearance of an old flame of the Doc’s, and while these two things seem at the time entirely unrelated, they’re actually importantly connected.
In retrospect, you’re given a number of important clues about the reality of Amanda’s encounter with the past in that sequence. She hears a noise, gets out of the bath in a towel, and then instantly she’s dry and dressed in a nightgown. Initially I put that down to lazy editing, but actually it’s not. I also thought that it was Niles play-acting in an attempt to destabilise her, though the next meeting with Nolan convinced me that it was probably the drug use that was making her hallucinate. More delusional experiences result in her shooting Tommy. I was sort of disappointed she didn’t kill him, because I’ve grown to really dislike Tommy this season, and he was stupid enough to arm her.
From here it’s a short journey to realise that she’s not the only one seeing things and people that don’t exist, and it’s a nice enough flip. They even went to the trouble of getting Gale Harold back to play the late Connor Lang to add some gravitas to events, and eventually closes the circle with more backstory elements to Doc Yewll’s past. This was pretty well constructed, and not telegraphed strongly in advance.
The complete explanation about the ‘Ego’ devices that the Doc and Yewll were using on Amanda to extract her memories, and the side effects on them it caused was at least plausible when it finally came. Though what Amanda might have had in her head that Niles so desperately wants is unknown at this point.This served well to develop both the characters of Yewll and Niles, presenting them as much more delicate creatures than they like to present publically. I enjoyed this, particularly in respect of Niles, who just can’t be the bad person 100% of the time if he’s to be believable.
Threaded through this main plot were the Starr family adventures, which I found somewhat less compelling this week. There was a level of incredulity as to how Datak got back into his family that was well expressed by Christie McCawley, as if nobody expected him to come out with that piece of Hail Mary scripture. Stahma has been portrayed as being the smartest of the Tarrs, so how did she not see this coming?
More interesting was how having solved his immediate problems, Datak immediately set about generating some new ones, by trying to convince Rafe that they should work together for an e-Rep free Defiance. As allies go, they don’t get any more unlikely than those two, I’d suggest. Mix the Votanis Collective into this mix, and there could be fireworks.
What Christie is doing hanging out with the sex-crazed DJ I’ve no idea, but I’ll assert now it won’t end well, for either of them. This whole sequence undermined her outburst in the Star household, swinging her from being streetwise to naïve in a matter of moments.
While those behind Defiance haven’t hit a narrative home run yet this season, there have been many new subtle layers laid down inviting the possibility of delivering one. This was a strong story, and so far none of the episodes has been a complete fiasco. With thirteen episodes planned for this season we’ll soon be reaching the half way marker, and that’s the point at which most show seasons either bloom or wither.
Next week I’m told Nolan encounters aliens that he’s never met before, Stahma gets on the wrong side of religious Castithans and Irisa tell Tommy things she probably shouldn’t. And, I think that Viceroy Berto Mercado (William Atherton) will be back, presumably to distract Niles from whatever personal scheme he’s fermenting. One can’t complain that there isn’t plenty going on in Defiance.
Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, Beasts Of Burden, here.
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