This review contains spoilers for the most recent episode.
I’ve noticed that Defiance is quite skillful at handing viewers small victories even when the foreboding sense of defeat is at its peak. As the Dread Harvest begins in admirably quick fashion after last week’s change of Omec leadership, it’s easy to feel as overwhelmed as Amanda did in her moment of weakness. How can Earth overcome such an enemy? But then there are characters like Datak and Doc Yewll achieving minor success against all expectations, and it brings hope to a hopeless situation. Although there wasn’t much resolution, I don’t expect it from a penultimate episode, and the glimmer of a win this week promises a rousing triumph in the season finale.
I will say, the Omec indulged in quite a bit of feeding, which makes sense given their long sleep, but it did slightly change the tenor of the invasion. It felt more like an animal attack albeit a scary one, and the sheer numbers soaring through the sky did compensate somewhat from the bestial nature of the initial infiltration into Defiance.
Likewise, the pre-caged prisoners gave a static feel to the incursion, at least at first. I imagine Kindzi being impatient to strengthen her army quickly so they can get on with the true conquest. However, it creates a nice contrast to the imagined rule of T’evgin, who presumably would have handled things differently, perhaps in a more civilized manner.
He certainly wouldn’t have resorted to an Indogene control stem. One of the greatest revelations of this season has been the Omec’s creation of the Indogenes as a slave race, and Yewll does an excellent job of following orders without losing her personality. For example, she tries to protect Datak yet again by standing in front of his cage, revealing her strange attachment to the Castithan weasel. But the highlight of the episode by far was having Amanda remove the implant and hearing the relief in Yewll’s voice as she proclaims, “Looks like mama got her groove back.” Classic!
The same can’t be said for Stahma, who has been at her weakest for much of this season. However, this vulnerability plays wonderfully with the audience’s sympathies even as they agree with Alak that his mother has always been a narcissistic control freak. She’s extremely concerned at Datak’s disappearance; no one will believe her; and her son refuses to follow her to safety because of his mistrust. Stammer is one character that is practically begging for redemption, and I think the audience genuinely wants it for her.
After all, Datak got some by taking out an Omec with his cybernetic arm. Irisa earned some by urging Berlin to seek a peaceful way forward. Even Nolan seemed back to normal and perhaps more noble as he sprung to Samir’s rescue, just as the young veterinarian had hoped. I was saddened that Andina, the young Castithan girl in the Tarr household, did not achieve her goal of wooing Alak, though. Oh well, at least there was the Nolan and Amanda kiss!
Such was the success of “The Awakening” with its sprinklings of joy amongst the death and destruction raining from above. The Omec invasion wasn’t adrenaline-pumping action, but it was adequately frightening, and I’m anxious to see how the season wraps up. A fourth summer series seems assured, and I wouldn’t mind a nice juicy cliffhanger. Defiance rarely disappoints.