Defiance season 3 episode 4 review: Dead Air

A third of the way into season three, has Defiance justified its return to Syfy? Bill is doubtful, despite some great SFX this week...

This review contains spoilers. 

3.4 Dead Air

Well, I said in my previous review that they’d need a new title sequence if the arch was blown up, and guess what? There’s a new title sequence. 

However, I’d back with hard cash that by the end of the season, by whatever means, the arch will be back and whole again. That said, it’s been half-fixed for more than two seasons, so it needed some serious corrective work or maybe a complete reconstruction. How any of it remains standing is a mystery, because the engineering of an arch doesn’t allow for the middle to be missing.

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As a Defiance episode goes, this is yet another mixed bag, combining things I really liked with parts that seemed oddly out of place or character. It doesn’t help that the majority of the story is allocated to what was essentially back-fill to the Season 2 narrative, and the conclusion of the Pottinger arc.

A secret stash of weapons close by, it all seemed far too good to be true. And, when they arrived to find Niles and four Bio-men that he’s named after the Beatles holed up there, the situation rapidly goes from bad to worse.

Perhaps I’m missing something, but I thought that it was obvious to everyone but Amanda that he was her rapist. The really creepy side of this character was finally revealed to her. She’s an awful judge of people, though a not half decent shot.

The special effects on this show range from being quite decent to average, but the sequence where the singularity bomb went off was really exceptionally good. They may have blown the effects budget for the whole season, just on that.

The only issue was it seemed implausible given how close they were, how they’d escape the blast. Which was surely the point of that weapon, a bomb that once triggered you couldn’t escape?

Those loose ends now tied up, I can only presume that the VC assault on Defiance will take centre stage from this point onwards. Though, they’ve brought a new character back, someone I think that’s designed to ruffle Doc Yewll’s feathers I suspect.

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In Defiance there are other two threads running, one to do with the ever-creative Stahma and the other the very fraught relationship between Berlin and Irisa. Of these, the Tarrs have my true interest, because as characters they’ve always delivered on this show, so much in fact that without them I can’t see that it would have been renewed twice.

Stahma’s master plan to seduce and then kill T’evgin revealed numerous things about both her and him, a singularly more complicated character than was originally presented. It could be that the Omecs have the potential to be Defiance’s greatest allies, and not the threat that everyone seems to think them.

After failing to poison him, there seemed little point in portraying otherwise to T’evgin, so Stahma revealed why, and in doing so probably condemns Datak at some future point. Quite how the Voltanis Collective will react to her failure seems predictable, and only some subterfuge can save Alak or any of the Tarrs for that matter.

It’s a game of deceit, and Stahma will play everyone, including her husband.

What I’m less enthusiastic about is the whole Berlin/Irisa spat, which has reached a new level of vitriol. With both Irisa and Nolan incapacitated by the technology that was linked to their brains, Berlin takes the opportunity to leave Irisa convulsing in the street. This is somewhat out of character for her, because in season 2 she was very much about what was ‘right’ on occasion.

My guess is that she’ll try and frame Irisa for the arch bombing, by way of a retribution for the death of her beloved Tommy. I’m not feeling this, and the sooner it concludes and they can all play nice, the better. How Berlin got elevated to being a main character, over the excellent Doc Yewll who is still officially ‘recurring’, I’ve no idea.

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Again, no sign of Kindzi. She needs to get union affiliated to the Gulanite Miners Guild, or something.

So far Defiance hasn’t really justified coming back for a third outing, annoyingly, and we’re nearly a third of the way into the season. Historically the mid-season has been where the strongest episodes have been, so I’ve not given up hope yet.

Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, The Broken Bough, here.

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