This review contains spoilers.
3.6 Where The Apples Fell
The upturn in quality and narrative pace seen last week in Defiance continues unabated, in what is undoubtedly the strongest story yet. Though if I’m going to be critical, there isn’t so much a complete story, but significant character development that drives it forward here.
It starts with probably the two best actors, Tony Curran (Datak) and Jaime Murray (Stahma) dealing with the fallout from Alak’s return. It’s a brilliant scene that takes one situation, flips it to another and then ends with a domino event that changes everything.
Up until this point, with a few exceptions, Alak hasn’t been a character I’ve especially warmed to, but here his real character is born, and in the same moment Stahma’s and Datak’s respective fates are sealed.
Once everyone knows that they blew up the arch all hell breaks loose, and it has an impact on every character in Defiance by the end of this episode.
The title Where The Apples Fell I assume is a reference to the notion that children are rarely too different from their parents, unless that ‘apple’ falls a long way from the tree. Except in Defiance they flip that notion on its head, with Alak not prepared to lie and kill his way like his parents before him.
This is certainly a seminal moment, though the part where it becomes entirely irretrievable is when Stahma stabs the deputy to death who attempts to capture her.
It’s easy to forget the number of people that Stahma has been either directly responsible for or a contributory factor in killing, but the body count is now at a level where her own life will undoubtedly be forfeit, probably this season.
If there is a weakness in Defiance, it’s the ability to create an engaging scenario and then whisk you away to something decidedly less compelling. This week they do that with a character back-filling exercise with General Rahm Tak, whose partner turns up mostly to prove how much of a lunatic he’s become.
The one thing I got from this was that the Votanis Collective is clearly looking for a more peaceful co-existence with humans, where Rahm Tak has other plans. It’s all going to end badly for him, as he’s really lost whatever connections to reality he previously possessed.
The fulcrum on which this all pivots is undoubtedly the Omec, who are playing a very cagey game in terms of staying out of human affairs. The scene where Nolan goes looking for help and gets none was interesting for what it also revealed about the Omec, in respect of their incestuous family bonds. It’s unclear how this works in terms of DNA diversity, but that T’evgin had sex with Stahma obviously didn’t go down well with Kyeritso.
I’m expecting a big shift in their passive political stance if their ship ever becomes operational, though that they can’t easily get back up to it might yet prove an unsurmountable problem.
Meanwhile the ‘new’ Alak is doing all sorts of things that the old one wouldn’t have been involved in, not least playing his father for information and subtly bonding with Irisa, amazingly. Where’s the real Alak, and what did they do to him?
It ends with the potentially mortally injured Stahma returning to her Omec lover after her predictably one-sided fight with Amanda. Has Amanda ever won a fight when she wasn’t holding a firearm? I think she’s the weakest character, and the resolution of her Pottinger issues have actually made her even less interesting.
From the title, The Beauty Of Our Weapons, I’ll take a stab and assume that Berlin is going to get some screen-time in the next story. Assuming her gun-selling ex comes to town. While largely a sympathetic character in season two, she’s been largely a jerk in the third run, so I’m curious how they’re going to turn that scenario around.
And, with Stahma now with the Omec, I can’t see that going smoothly either.
In just two stories, Defiance has gone from being so-so to rather entertaining. May this trend continue, I say.
Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, History Rhymes, here.
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