Defiance: The Opposite of Hallelujah-Review


By Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

After last year’s confusing and mythology-driven finale, Defiance returns to try to build on its strong politically-driven foundation.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Defiance has made some solid steps forward since season one. Its debut season was riddled with identity problems, like character development and the major mythology blunder in the finale. But, it seems as if Defiance has moved on from these problems with a giant leap forward in time when the story resumed. Instead of starting the second season right after the cliffhanger ended, where Nolan “died” and Irisa might have become a deity (?) (looking back, I’m still not sure what was going on with that), the series took a nine-month time jump.

Really, in the long run, that was the best move for the series: not getting bogged down in coming straight back to season one characters and mythology. This way, Defiance is able to start with a clean slate, with the characters in different places emotionally, physically, and geographically. However, this was a detriment to this particular episode. It really felt more like a prologue or exposition to the season. Having to get reacquainted with these characters and the world made it a throwaway episode. On a series like Arrow where there are 21 episodes in a season, it’s acceptable to take that time, but when a series like Defiance only has 13 episodes in a season, it’s a waste of time.

To Defiance’s credit, every character is in a more interesting place now then they were a year ago: Alak is now in charge of his father’s business, Stahma is subtly controlling Alak, there is a new mayor, Irisa is battling violent visions, Amanda is taking over for Kenya, Datak and Doc Yewll are in a prison camp, and Nolan is traveling around the US trying to find Irisa.

Speaking of geography, it was bold and refreshing to see the series step out and finally expand this world on TV. Throughout the first season, you heard throwaway lines about what was going on in different cities, and the video game is primarily set in San Francisco, but it was never shown onscreen. The premiere took time to show Nolan on his quest to find Irisa, which took him to New Chicago and Angels Arc. I noticed Angels Arc had water where it shouldn’t be; the Pacific Ocean has overtaken much of Los Angeles. It was noted in season one that there was terraforming when the Voltans arrived and it looks like no large city was spared. (Irisa wearing the California flag as a jacket was a clever costume. It’s the little things that entertain me.)

By far Alak and Stahma were the most intriguing part of the episode. Over the nine months, Alak has changed the most, from a timid boy who was a DJ on top of the St. Louis Arch to a young adult who has taken over the family business from his incarcerated father. Even though he has taken over for his father, he still struggles with toughness. Stahma sees his leniency as weakness, but it shows he’s not his father and growing up with humans has made him empathetic. Anyone could have guessed that Stahma’s the brains behind the operation, but it was riveting watching her come right out and tell Alak that from now on he’s only a puppet in her master plan.

I really like the subtlety of Kiera and Brad’s relationship. It’s almost all left to the imagination.

In “3 Minutes to Midnight,” Jason noticed Kiera took off her wedding ring and in this episode

they hold hands. It’s uncommon that a series leaves a romantic relationship up to each

viewer’s individual interpretation.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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