This review contains spoilers.
The Tarrs have had it coming for a long time. Although the attack on Defiance was delayed for yet another week, it was satisfying to see the the Castithan crime family get their just deserts in “Where the Apples Fell.” Together with further character development for some of the newer players on the scene, this episode felt complete if not altogether exciting. At least General Tahk finally delivered the rallying cry to his troops! An invasion is imminent at long last, and I can’t wait to see how Defiance will survive without weapons.
I know it was hinted at earlier in the season that Tahk’s thugs were a splinter group that didn’t necessarily represent the larger Votanis Collective, but clearly the VC has taken advantage of the power void left by the destruction of New York and the subsequent weakening of the Earth Republic. I was not aware, however, of the full extent of Tahk’s rogue mission to eradicate humanity wherever he found it. His fascination with decapitated heads was creepily emphasized in his amorous reunion with his Irathient wife, and clearly her warning to abandon the genocide went unheeded. This reveal is the perfect way to imply that if the townsfolk can defeat this one death squad, they might be at least temporarily safe from the larger political organization.
Perhaps Tahk is unaware that his escaped prisoner, Alak, has outed his traitorous parents as moles for the VC gang, or maybe he’s simply unconcerned, knowing they have no tactical knowledge. But the destruction of the arch and the sabotaging of the town’s weapons cannot go unpunished, and justice is swift. It was a tad strange that the Tarr couple could easily sneak about in hooded disguises, and I was particularly surprised by Doc Yewll’s assistance. But in the end, the show gave us some great moments, including an amazing fight between Stahma and Amanda and some intriguing discussions between Datak and Nolan.
I’m including Alak’s and Nolan’s bluff in that praise. Alak voices the audience’s own concern with his weakness of character, but he performs admirably here, from the moment he rats on his parents to the revelation of his complicity in the false threat Nolan uses to get Datak to talk. I also enjoyed Alak’s discussion with Irisa about the circumstances of his baby son’s rescue. When he thanked Nolan and Irisa separately, the audience got to see them each at their most vulnerable. Those moments, especially Irisa as caretaker, felt very natural and authentic.
The fact that Stahma killed a deputy during her attempted escape seems to be an act that she’ll never be able to weasel her way out of. Although I assume her wound isn’t fatal, her appeal to T’evgin at the end of the episode poses an interesting question. What will the Omec do, especially given his expressed desire to stay neutral in the coming conflict? Adding the spice of an incestuous relationship with his daughter (Votans are notoriously uninhibited, but wow!) makes this ending particularly impactful.
It’s still true, nonetheless, that the pacing this season has been slow. Whether it’s the Omec’s arduous harvesting of the town’s gulanite or the VC gang methodically planning their assault, the time between the set-up and the implementation has been difficult to endure. I’m a patient viewer, and I love many of my favorite shows for their great character-driven plots, of which this show has an abundance. Perhaps now that we’ve reached the halfway point in the season, I can expect a payoff very soon. Here’s hoping.