This review contains spoilers.
3.9 Ostinato In White
After the wild ride of episode eight, one might reasonably assume that Ostinato In White might be less frenetic. However, with the VC sub-plot neutralised, the Omec take centre stage in what turned out to be a rather messy diversion.
From the outset, this story is all over the place, trying to make you think that darling Doc Yewll has been ripped to pieces by some feral creature. Except this Yewll just doesn’t react like the one we’re used to, because she always has a plan.
That’s soon explained, linking back to earlier in the season when Kindzi took the Doc’s DNA, which she then failed to destroy when instructed to do so.
Sadly, much of this narrative doesn’t make a great deal of sense, because if you were going to make creatures worth hunting, surely you’d give them more formidable weapons than acerbic wit?
That’s a shame, because Trenna Keating makes the good Doc great to watch, even under that massively restrictive makeup. How is she still only credited as a ‘guest star’? Last week, she played two characters, for Pete’s sake. Not only was she Doc Yewll, but she was also the mother with two children that T’evgin saved, for those who’ve not yet had their fun facts quota.
The Yin to the Doc’s Yang in this episode are the excessively sentimental parts where Nolan tries to cope with what happened in the caves, and the casualties of war that weren’t there.
While this element deserved inclusion, the point was laboured and some scenes were just too long. Next to the more interesting creature hunt and other threads, it simply took up too much time, and it was obvious from the outset that Nolan wasn’t handling his failure well.
Of course what Nolan needs to snap out of it is some huge threat, which the Omec seem to be cooking up nicely.
Before I get back to them, the scenes with Stahma this week were rather touching in a totally unexpected way. Without Datak, she’s a somewhat fragile and disconnected person, and the way her insecurity bubbles to the surface is charming. She’s so far chosen not to give the Omec up as a bargaining chip, but that’s something she has tucked away for when the time is right. Because of that, I was rather glad that they didn’t show Datak at all, but I’m sure he’ll be back from the artificial arms wholesaler soon.
One person I hope will be back is poor Samir, the Doc’s temporary sidekick, whose current condition is unknown after the Doc attacks him. He did ask too many questions so perhaps if he survives he’ll ask fewer.
Rather than picking through it, I’ve tried to step back from what happened to the Doc and Kindzi and see it in a wider perspective. The Doc is under her control, but Kindzi is now in virtual hyper-sleep on the ship. I say virtual, because we’ve been told the Omec have no physical way of getting themselves up there at this time. So like the state that Kindzi put Stahma in, her mind is there, but her body is still down on Earth. Her hidden ace is the gizmo that she put in the Yewll’s neck, which one assumes she can operate from within the sleep state.
Now, it’s all about what we don’t know. The Doc wouldn’t have let her use that device if she didn’t have a plan, and Kindzi would have assumed that once she’s killed some people, her father would banish her to the ship. Someone has a winning hand in this game, and at this point the populace of Defiance are just bystanders.
I’ll make a guess about where this is going now, as I can’t see the ship remaining in orbit by the end of the season. Either it will be destroyed, or T’evgin will send it to a distant part of the galaxy with his daughter onboard. And he’ll set up a tailoring shop in Defiance to popularise the ‘Omec look’. Okay, perhaps some of that is more likely to happen than the rest.
In the bigger story arc, things feel finely balanced, as if this could either get great or just disintegrate. It might all balance on at what point Datak is reintroduced, and how.
On the whole though, a few oddly balanced episodes this year don’t dissuade me from watching what is certainly one of SyFy’s stronger shows.
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