This review contains spoilers.
3.3 The Broken Bough
After the recent incident-packed couple of episodes, I was expecting things to progress at pace in The Broken Bough. But, and this is being somewhat kind, this was a mess of a story that didn’t really take us anywhere original.
It starts after some teasing by Nolan of Irisa about her comic persona, with the return of the Tarrs to Defiance. Given that Datak’s injuries seem largely superficial, I was rather disappointed that nobody questioned their arrival, and the subsequent destruction of the weapons stockpile, given their respective track record.
Armed with the limited information that Datak provides about their adversary, he wanders off into the snow with Irisa where they bump into Pila and the baby. I had numerous issues with this part of the story, not least how the baby was so quiet without any obvious means of sustenance.
That was odd, and the placement of a rather ham-fisted dialogue reference to Terminator, the week that the new movie opens, was equally clumsy. As I recall, Linda Hamilton’s version of Sarah Connors never actually says ‘come with me if you want to live’, though the Emilia Clarke one does, so I’m not sure what thinking was going on when they inserted that.
How this progresses to the scene at Rham Tak’s encampment is rather vague, and by the point at which Nolan shoots Pilar, it was at least overdue by some considerable way. Is she dead? I don’t believe it. This is now a prerequisite aspect of Defiance – to sell the idea that someone is dead, and then bring them back when the audience has hopefully forgotten about them.
Conveniently, before she’s shot she doesn’t tell Nolan about the Tarrs, or that would muck that subplot up entirely. She’ll be back, and I’m not 100% convinced Christie is dead either, because I suspect Stahma is not as good with a blade as she thinks. What seems to be the rule here is if they die and you see them dead with their eyes open then they’re generally really dead. If you don’t see that then there is some question over the fatality.
The baby is handed back to the Tarrs, and that is what paraded as a plot this week, which was pretty thin in terms of character motivation and narrative development. To sum up; Nolan was angry, Pilar confused, the Tarrs scheming (as ever), and General Rham Tak was trying to be witty. I’m not sure why they brought Berlin back, because she’s not contributed anything so far, and Doc Yewll was purely on hand as a medical orderly. The Tarrs are great, but they can’t carry the whole show without some interesting people to scheme around.
Of the other new characters, T’evgin is the latest romantic interest of Stahma, and his daughter was nowhere to be seen. Presumably, it’s her turn to mine Gulenite this week. They both better become interesting fast. Otherwise, there is a void in this show, and one that arguments in the snowy woods just won’t fill.
The positive light here is the character interactions which still have that natural yet quirky edge, especially between those that have been in this from the outset. But the show can’t really expect people to keep watching just for Nolan quips or Berlin’s pouting. Instead, it needs a really good story to tell. That’s the bit that seems to have wandered off into the woods, along with half the characters, at this moment.
Hopefully a good story will find its way back to Defiance soon, in time to stop the Tarrs blowing up the arch and ruining the title sequence.
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