Defiance season 3 episode 10 review: When Twilight Dims The Sky

Defiance habitually screws up its season endings. Is it about to make that mistake a third time?

This review contains spoilers.

3.10 When Twilight Dims The Sky

I’m not sure why writers like such hackneyed concepts as ’12 hours earlier’ starts to shows. This week’s episode of Defiance rolled it out for another tired outing while managing to miss the whole point of the trick, which generally requires that you present a situation that couldn’t normally happen, thus confusing the viewer with how this may have come about. Except in this case, Nolan and Irisa being chased through the town and shot at isn’t anything but wholly predictable.

This was the start of a story that didn’t really work from the outset, and turned out to be more of a junction between the events of Rahm’s demise and the Omec conclusion we’re rapidly approaching.

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The arrival of the Voltanis Collective in town in the form of schmoozer Voske (Wendy Crewson) also sees the return of Datak Tarr, much to everyone’s surprise. This, unsurprisingly causes much unrest among the townspeople, which is already less-than thrilled to discover Stahma is back in their midst. In fact, this whole episode is a veritable concerto of discord, because none of its characters get on at pretty much any point. This makes for a tough watch, because if it’s not Nolan and Irisa it’s Stahma and Datak, or T’evgin snarling at a few people.

Tony Curran (Datak) was great in his scenes, but the narrative flitted around like it couldn’t find a comfortable place to sit. That they didn’t take away Nolan’s gun when he started talking to his imaginary younger self seemed silly, and resulted in the death of Voske while the viewers were still trying to work out if she was good or bad. Whatever she was, she was brief and a minor plot point.

Given how much time they gave the character to interact with others, it seemed odd that she’d be dead so fast and be generally so irrelevant. But what really annoyed me were the gaping plot holes appearing in the Omec storyline.

Last week T’evgin banished Kindzi to the ship, but I’d assumed her body was still on earth and she was there ‘virtually’, as she’d done with Stahma. Except it now appears that she was on the ship, with no actual explanation how she got there, or got back. If I’ve got this wrong then it’s because they’ve failed to explain any of this at all. And, if she was on the ship and awakened by Yewll, why didn’t she wake all the other Omec?

To compound this problem a little we’re told that the ship is almost refuelled, but how? What happens to T’evgin seemed really obviously coming to everyone but him, because knowing that Yewll was under Kindzi’s control, he then proceeded to totally ignore her.

I’m coming to the conclusion that he’s either not very bright, or very good at appearing stupid. Thankfully there is one smart character, even if she’s somewhat derailed at this point. I think the good Doc will turn the tables, once she works out how to get that device out of her neck, but that’s a finale plot device I’m sure.

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The final insult was the way that, having been captured, they choose to extradite Nolan (and Irisa by definition), and the music pushes the idea that they’re leaving the show. And then in the credits showing clips from the next episode, they’re quite clearly not gone or even removed from centre-stage. Creating an emotional moment and then trashing it three seconds later is dumb, and makes the audience seem obviously duped.

Even by Defiance standards, this was a mess. There are three episodes left for the season to be pulled back, and its creators need to start making characters smarter than they’ve been of late, and cut out such obvious tropes as starting with the end.

When Defiance works, it’s great, but as with season one and two, the best parts seem to come in the middle of the season, and the end is always something of an anti-climax.

I just hope they can contradict me on this, because otherwise they’ll have blown yet another interesting season of this show.

Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, Ostinato In White, here.