Defiance: Slouching Towards Bethlehem


By: Ashley Binion

Defiance started out its season quite strong with hints of a resistance movement brewing down in the mines, but sadly that has been all but forgotten as the series throws all of its eggs in Irisa’s basket.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

I’m going to be upfront: I still have no idea what’s really going on with Irisa’s situation. For a series that wants to lean heavily on its mythology, it isn’t giving the viewers any insight on that mythology. To an extent it looks like reincarnation, especially with flashbacks to the Arc. At other times it looks like the plot straight from Helix, where they infect each other via oral contact and try to take over. It certainly looked like they were gathering for some purpose at the end of this episode, but I’m sure that purpose won’t be revealed until the season’s penultimate episode. (Side note: Irisa’s army reminded me so much of “The Returned.” It must have been the way they appeared on the hill and the lighting.)

The parts that have been enjoyable about Irisa’s plot are her interactions with Nolan and Tommy. Not only does it bring out the softer side of Irisa, it sheds a better light on Nolan as a father and gives Tommy some type of purpose.

The Earth Republic’s occupation of the city of Defiance has been a stalled storyline ever since the second or third episode of the season. Instead of focusing on Irisa’s Irzu problem, the E-Rep resistance movement should be front and center.

Both Berlin and Pottinger were solid additions to the ensemble and gave the E-Rep a human face, but now Pottinger is completely off canvas somewhere in the Dakotas and Berlin has been reduced to Nolan’s bed buddy and one side of Tommy’s love triangle.

One of my favorite things on every series is when characters interact with others they don’t normally share scenes with so I was thrilled when Tommy and Stahma shared a scene during this episode. The stark contrast of Stahma, who is so entrenched with the city’s dirty dealings and manipulations and Tommy, who is mostly blind to everything going on with the town, was startling. Also, the contrast of the white room with the E-rep uniforms of Berlin and Tommy made the costumes pop.

Defiance has taken a much different approach to its formula as compared to season one and it’s been a positive change. Instead of the “case of the week” being the “a” plot of the episode, it has been diminished quite significantly to either the “b” or sometimes the “c” plot.

That was one of the main qualms I had about the series through the first season: too much “case of the week” and not enough characters. Now, the cases are used as a tool to drive the focus onto the characters and inner workings of the town. As a result, almost all of the characters have become more interesting; Doc Ywell has especially had more to do than just being stuck in the medical facility treating everyone’s wounds.

More and more, the Votanis Collective terrorist bombing of NYC has been of little importance (except to randomly insert the Votanis Collective into a plot line) but in this episode was instead the driving force behind finding out Kenya is indeed alive. If there’s no dead body or public burial, the person in question is never 100% dead. So when Stahma just left Kenya out in the woods to die, it was always a possibility for her to return at a later date.

Consequently, Kenya was not missed. In the first season she was the source of Stahma’s major angst, but now Stahma is entrenched in Defiance’s underground Castithan mob business which puts her at odds with her own people and family. Kenya is no longer needed on the canvas, as Amanda has apparently moved past her death, but her reappearance can only bring more trouble for Stahma.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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