This review contains spoilers.
2.7 If You Could See Her Through My Eyes
Is it me, or did Defiance flirt this week with being somewhat soap-opera at times? Possibly. But that didn’t stop it being both entertaining and divisive in equal measure.
What was slightly jarring was that plots that have run at full steam since the start of the season were put on hold, with no Pottinger, Tommy or Berlin this week. With them out of the picture there was plenty of room to run what was essentially a parallel Tarr story, with both Datak and Alak presented with their own challenges.
Datak’s world gets tuned upside down when Jalina, a ‘hand maiden’ in the Tarr household dies in the doorway of his swanky shipping container. The immediate problem is to direct suspicion elsewhere, and it was cleverly played that at least for a moment Datak wasn’t even sure he hadn’t killed her. What worked brilliantly here was the rapid-fire dialogue between Datak and Meh. The good doctor gets some of the best lines in this show, and she gets a bunch right here. I especially loved ‘There are two types of friends in this world. Those that help you hide a dead whore. And me’. And, ‘You’re a professional criminal. I have faith’. I think I could happily have Doc Yewll become the main character in this show, as she’s smart and sassy. Later on, she gets the wonderfully irreverent, ‘Stop! You’re making me blush’.
That part is a basic detective story, and between that and Alak’s challenges, we also have a continuation of the Irisa/Irzu arc which links to the death of Jalina, quite cleverly. What we were shown this week didn’t really expend on what we already know; that a previous version of Irisa took control of a ship 2,000 years ago, and crashed it into earth. What we do get is that she did this with another Irathian, Cai, who is reincarnated as a Hebrew speaking salesman, no less. What Defiance does so well is characters, because Cai was instantly memorable. Quite how this previous life experiences story will ever be properly explained, I’ve no idea, but at least she’s not hunting people down to Irzu them back to life, this week.
The plot connection comes in the form of Rynn’s reappearance (isn’t she a fugitive?), and her abduction for surgical spare-parts. There aren’t many shocks in this series of events, other than perhaps that Irisa doesn’t Irzu Rynn to put her eye back. No, all the crazy stuff here is packaged in the continued whacky human/casti subculture, and how Christie runs into Alak in full Casti mode after been primed by Deirdre. Having set this up at the end of the last story, I thought they’d let this plotline run a little before detonating the charge, but the confrontation scene was no less explosive.
What became apparent early on was the duplicity of Deirdre in all of this, and how she’s playing both sides. In her first appearance in the show Alak told her that if she caused trouble he’d ‘throw her skinny ass off the arch’, and I’ll now be disappointed if he doesn’t do exactly that at some point this year.
The show often ends musically, but it outdid itself in this respect this episode. Who knew that William Atherton could hold a tune so well? This sequence entirely altered my perception of Viceroy Berto Mercado, who seems a marvellously convoluted puppet master, and a flame burning brightest before it is extinguished. I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that he’s terminally ill at some point. His haunting ballad about how humanity is being overtaken by evolution played well over both the simple ceremony of remembrance for Jamila, Alak’s revenge on Christie, and Nolan’s discovery that Irisa can’t be hurt.
It might seem early to cook up an end-of-season storm, but those behind Defiance are obviously planning something big to start so early. This season of defiance just gets better, and I can’t wait to see what crazy places it will take us next.
Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, This Woman’s Work, here.
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