Defiance: The Devil In The Dark, Review

Continuing to thrill and impress, the third episode keeps us wanting more.

Newly appointed lawkeeper Joshua Nolan and Mayor Amanda Rosewater have both been asserting their authority, but are they going to be able to keep the residents of Defiance in line and keep the town safe?  Let’s see.

Going jogging in the woods alone is apparently not such a good idea, as we see when a human male gets dragged away by something unseen following him in the tall grasses. (Should’ve worn Nike’s instead of Adidas, apparently)  Before anyone can figure out what it is, a new threat emerges when Irisa’s new friends, a roving band of Irathients called the Spirit Riders, arrive in town to make some trades.  The relationship between Iraths and humans has never been a great one, and some residual racism of sorts still exists among some members of the town.  Irisa is invited to join them, but she’s now wearing the lawkeeper badge as a symbol of her loyalty to Nolan.When the jogger’s body is found, there isn’t much left, but he is identified by deputy Tommy.  No one knows what happened, except that the guy’s bones have all been cracked open and the marrow sucked out, which indicates it’s probably not one of the individual alien residents, but then…what is it?  While scouring the scene and collecting evidence, Irisa starts having a vision…not clear what’s happening in it, but Nolan is concerned.  When Irisa tells him later that her visions have been getting stronger since arriving in Defiance, surprisingly, Nolan says that they’re not real, a product of her post traumatic stress disorder.  Nolan raised Irisa, and has always supported and taken care of her, so his dismissal of her visions was a little surprising to me.  Then again, he can be kind of an ass sometimes.A second “attack” occurs at the Need Want, while owner Kenya is, um, “servicing” a client who has a penchant for having hot grease poured over him.  Doc Yewll finds attack pheromones, present at both sites, which shows that the attacks are being coordinated by someone, the weapon of choice being Hellbugs.  They come in various sizes, but spew acids that can eat through everything (hence the one guy’s exploding chest cavity).  We don’t get to see an actual Hellbug until one rather large one (about the size of a rhinoceros) attacks the Tarr household.  The question is, who is it after this time?  Christie, who’s staying there until she reconciles with her father, Rafe?  Or are the Tarrs themselves a target?Datak manages to fight off not just one, but two Hellbugs, and he and his family return Christie to Rafe, who is happy to have her back home…that is, until Nolan arrives with news of the attack pheromones, which is detected on Datak, Stahma, Alak, and Christie.  Nolan and Rafe then spend most of the night looking through piles and piles of records related to the mines and various shady land deals Rafe made with some Irathients a dozen or so years earlier.  As they slog though boxes of pictues and documents, Irisa finds one picture that spurs the beginning of a vision that explodes full force when she goes to find the actual location in the photograph.  Tommy is sent to look after her, but comes back a few minutes later with a cut on his head.  “Where’s Irisa?”  Nolan asks.  “She threw me off the Roller,” Tommy sheepishly explains.  As Irisa’s vision continues, and Nolan catches up with her, she sees an Irathient family and human attackers, but what happens and who exactly is involved is uncertain.  Irisa is distraught, holding onto a broken piece of mirror so tightly that she cuts up her hand.  By the end of the vision, she’s broken down, crying in Nolan’s arms, but knows what the next step is in finding their killer.The lead Spirit Rider conducts a ritual with Irisa at the center, hoping to channel her abilities to find out where his companion Rynn is.  Irisa thinks Rynn is behind the killings.  I’m not really sure why Irisa is having visions that relate to another person.  Usually, flashbacks and the like are usually employed to reveal the past of the person who is experiencing them, but that’s not the case here.  For Irathients, it means the person has been touched by the god Irzu’s shadow.  The ritual (minus subtitles, which makes it more mysterious) looks like pretty much any of those drug-induced seer rituals you see that take place in certain cultures, where they pass the pipe around and the person in the center starts to see some pretty weird stuff.  Irisa is taken first to Rynn’s farm, where she witnesses the murder of Rynn’s parents by the first two men who were killed by the Hellbugs.  When Irisa switches to the present, she sees Rynn down in the mines, where the biggest hellbug nest in existence is situated.Some hellbugs fly, some crawl around and have large circular mouths with a lot of teeth, and the giant queen (think elephant sized) looks like a beefed-up version of the creature from the Alien movies.  Nolan seems intent on blowing up the nest without much regard for Rynn, who shows up only to throw a bunch of attack pheromones down, hoping to kill the whole group even though they had nothing to do with any wrongs she was subjected to in the past.  Nolan throws the pheromones onto the queen, so that the babies will attack her instead of anyone else, and he is amazingly able to shoot up their explosive device from a speeding elevator as they ascend back to the earth’s surface.The last few minutes of the show has a series of tender moments between fathers and daughters.  Having gotten to know more about the Castithans and Irathients, I find that they’re really not all that different from humans.  They look like us, and have belief systems and cultures that still resemble those of different civilizations all over the globe.  These are not the balloon headed aliens we expected would revisit Earth, with their skinny bodies and big black eyes.  The aliens of Defiance are actually somewhat human, meaning that they’re not completely good or bad, right or wrong.  Just…different.Final review:  Although the show hits the subject of cultural differences pretty heavily, believe it or not, it still manages to be funny and make you smile.  This episode had some great one liners:  Datak suggesting they all go out to dinner after theirs was interrupted by the Hellbug attack.  During the same dinner, Datak manages to insult Christie, who has been studying the Casti language (unbeknownst to him…whoops!).  And the leader of the Spirit Riders tells Nolan, “You cannot make an Irathient child do anything“.  Yeah, we kind of already figured that one out.  Unfortunately, Datak’s killing of Elah at the end of the last episode goes completely unaddressed, and Christie seems blind to the danger she’s walking into by getting involved with the Tarr family.  There’s not much action between her and Alak; we know far more about his parents than we do about him, so his relationship with Christie seems a bit one dimensional.  Why does she love him?  Who knows… but the Tarr family is definitely fascinating and I can’t wait to see what they try to pull off next.