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Defiance 1.08 "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" Review: Hidden Agendas

    This week’s episode of Defiance, “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times,” was written by Clark Perry and directed by Allan Kroeker. Kroeker has a long history in sci fi, and his credits include Dollhouse, Supernatural, Battlestar Gallactica, Star Trek: Enterprise, Firefly, Dark Angel, Roswell, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – and that’s just a selection! Interestingly, Perry has no other credits to date. I like the way the show relies both on experience in the genre and new blood to bring something different to the table. Overall, I found the episode did a good job of filling out some of the backstory and history that has only been obliquely alluded to up until now. It was also great to see Brian J Smith (McClintock) guest starring. I was a big fan of his work on Stargate: Universe, and I was sorry to see that show get cancelled.
    The episode opens with Tommy (Dewshane Williams) and Nolan (Grant Bowler) going to check out the ark that crashed in the last episode. The banter between these two as Tommy reluctantly admits that there may be something going on between him and Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas) and Nolan warning him not to hurt his daughter was hilarious. I’m consistently impressed with how much chemistry there is between the entire cast. This was really evident in the scene at Rafe’s (Graham Greene) house when Amanda (Julie Benz), Nolan and McClintock are all getting drunk and reminiscing.
    The story this week plays out on three main fronts. The main action centers around the discovery of McClintock and the assumption that the Votans had been capturing and studying humans prior to attacking. As the story unfolds, we learn that the Votans’ intentions were even more sinister. Doc Yewll (Trenna Keating) clearly realized what McClintock was when she first examined him. Yewll, as an Indogene, remains coolly clinical as she explains the process of surgical alteration and that it ultimately kills the brain of the subject. The only real emotion she shows is fear of Nolan. I thought it interesting that Nolan was really the only one who was seriously upset about the revelation of Yewll’s past. Perhaps it’s because she has lived in Defiance for so long and everyone has already come to accept her. She’s had a chance to prove herself to the community and earn their trust and respect. Nolan, however, who’s seen more of the world, but who has an “alien” daughter, may be less willing to forgive and forget the past. I’m interested to see how this may play forward. It’s unrealistic to expect that only Votans committed war atrocities. We’ve already learned of the ill-treatment of the Irathients at the hands of the human population. I hope that they will keep this balanced approach going forward. It will also be interesting to see where Yewll’s loyalties lie. Up until this point, she seems firmly allied to Defiance, but that could be a factor of her fear of being discovered to have committed war atrocities.
    It was terrific to see Graham Greene really get some great scenes in this episode. Rafe is the character most tied to the human past of the area, and I hope that they will make a stronger use of the Native American legacy. Greene’s scene with Smith was a highlight of the episode. Rafe’s acceptance of the human/indogene hybrid was somewhat surprising to me, but I liked that he was able to reunite McClintock with his wife. I like Smith, and the character is interesting, but with such short seasons, it’s unlikely we’ll see him again.
    The other major storyline this week centered around Amanda and Connor Lang (Gale Harold). It seems clear that while Lang is out for himself and is working for the Earth Repiblic, he does seem to genuinely care for Amanda. We learn that there was at one time something between them that ended badly. Lang’s use of “Mandy” and Amanda’s objection to it would seem to indicate that she was likely the subordinate in their relationship. We’ve already seen her grow in her role as mayor and become stronger. Even the offer of a Governorship isn’t enough to get her to abandon Defiance. The episode ends with an outbreak of viral hemorrhagic fever just after Lang warns Amanda that the E-Republic don’t care who they hurt, so it would seem that he may have known it was coming and was at least trying to get her out of harm’s way.
    The third storyline this week centered on the growing triangle between Datak (Tony Curran), Kenya (Mia Kirshner), and Stahma (Jaime Murray). Kenya seems to be applying human rules to the relationship that is growing between herself and Stahma, and in fact, Kenya seems to be falling for Stahma. For her part, Stahma seems to be enjoying “the game.” Stahma warns Kenya that she needs “to play the game better” and to be smarter about it. When Datak returns from the Need/Want after having been rebuffed by Kenya, Stahma does seem genuinely afraid but is quickly able to diffuse the situation by seducing Datak herself. For all that Kenya is a “service provider,” she seem to lack a very deep understanding of her clientele. Stahma keeps telling Kenya that she isn’t unhappy or dissatisfied with Datak – as a Castithan woman, she accepts her place in society and I suspect these mechanizations are just a way for her to blow off a little steam and get back at Datak a little in the process. However, I don’t doubt that it is a dangerous game, and it will be interesting to see who gets hurt in the process. In the meantime, those scenes with Jaime Murray in the bath? Steamy...  Both Murray and Curran continue to be a delight to watch week in and week out.
    I had the opportunity to attend a conference on video games and digital media in Los Angeles this past week. During the one day conference, I had the opportunity to speak with Beth Roberts of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment who has been involved with the development of the series and game. Now that season two has been announced, she said to expect a deeper connection between the two worlds. It won’t mean that if you don’t play the game you won’t know what’s happening on the show or vice versa, but it will mean that if you do follow both, you should benefit from that closer connection.
    I’m looking forward to next week to see how the plague will play out and what it will mean for the tenuous alliances within Defiance. What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below.

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