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Defiance 1.05 "The Serpent's Egg" Review: A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

    This week’s episode of Defiance, “The Serpent’s Egg,” was a bit disappointing. The story seemed a little too obvious, and it was pretty easy to see who the bad guy was in each case. The episode was written by David Weddle and Bradley Thompson and was directed by Omar Madha. Quite frankly, I found the direction distracting, especially in the early scene in which Amanda (Julie Benz) is facing off against Olfin Tennety (Jane McLean). Extras kept walking in front of the characters and I kept trying to see around them and I was distracted from the main action. I realize the idea was for us to realize how busy and crowded the Hollows marketplace is, but it was simply distracting.
    I was also a bit baffled at the title of the episode at first, but on reflection, it does actually refer to both plot threads. There is a traitor or serpent in each storyline, and there is also a plot egg that we will see hatch in the future.
    The “stagecoach” storyline was really much too predictable to be effective. I did enjoy the banter we got between Amanda and Nolan (Grant Bowler), however. I suspect it’s impossible not to have chemistry with Benz, but I’m growing to really enjoy Bowler’s Nolan. Of course the prisoner, Rynn (Tiio Horn), has to escape and save the day, proving that her outlaw code of honor is more worthy than that of civilization as personified by Tennety. Horn’s portrayal of Rynn is definitely worth watching, however, and I do hope we haven’t seen the last of her. It wasn’t hard to suspect both the “man of God,” Sy Preston (Andrew Musselman) or Tennety as being up to no good. Tennety is both the serpent and the egg in that we will, no doubt, see her again as she vows to go after Amanda at the end of the episode.
    It was interesting to get to see more of the outside world – without really having to leave Defiance. The mention of the railroad and the controlling outside political interests of the E-Republic started to paint a picture of a larger world and define Defiance as a bit of an oasis even with its internal politics.
    For me, the most interesting storyline was Irisa’s (Stephanie Leonidas). The flashbacks fill in how she was saved by Nolan and help to explain the bond between the two. Irisa’s more animalistic nature comes to the fore in this episode. I will give credit to Ben Cotton for a terrific performance as the Castithan who tortured Irisa- I didn’t quite catch his name, but I believe it was Dayo. While it seemed obvious that he was going to turn out to be the one because Irisa remembered his smell, his performance really did have me guessing right up until he finally confessed. Dewshane Williams as Tommy was also terrific in this episode. Tommy is both respectful of Irisa and protective of her. Once Dayo confesses, we learn that he was trying to awaken her gift and he calls her the chosen one, possessor of both womb and grave. He wants Irisa to kill him so that his sacrifice will complete the ritual that he started. Irisa stops Tommy from beating him to death to prevent becoming the “Destroyer.” She is clearly afraid of her “gift” and what it may mean, but Tommy sees that she isn’t a destroyer – the proof is that she wouldn’t let him take a life. Tommy accepts her for who she is and proves it by making love to her. I’ll be curious to see what Nolan makes of all this if he finds out – which he most surely will!
    I did really like the addition of Alak Tarr’s (Jesse Rath) radio station. It’s actually an interesting way to bookend the episode, and I hope they make use of this technique going forward. Alak has the unique ability to comment on what’s happening in town in a nicely “growing” way. The “old” vinyl music is also a nice touch – easy for licensing and easy on the production budget! What I really didn’t like about this episode is that we didn’t see the rest of the Tarr family! Though Alak’s dedication to Christie (Nicole Munoz) was a sweet touch too.
    What did you think of the episode? What do you make of Irisa’s gift? Do you think Tennety will be able to make trouble for Amanda? Let me know in the comments below.

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