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Defiance - The Beauty of Our Weapons - Review

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Defiance, “The Beauty of Our Weapons,” was written by the team of Manuel Figueroa and Jordan Heimer and was directed by Mairzee Almas. While Figueroa and Heimer are newcomers to the industry, Almas long list of credits include Beauty and the Beast, iZombie, The 100, and another of my favorite Canadian series, DaVinci’s Inquest. Tony Curran (Datak) is brilliant in this episode, and Jaime Murray (Stahma) is also a joy to watch.

If it was ever in doubt, this episode proves that no matter what else he may be, Datal is no coward. He is convicted – unanimously – of high treason by the council. Even Yewll (Trenna Keating) votes to convict because as she later explains, she has to continue living in the town. Datak essentially forgives her, telling her that he respects her pragmatism. Nolan (Grant Bowler) takes great pleasure in showing Datak that he’s voting with the black ball to convict. The punishment is death by hanging. Datak never flinches or deflates, instead quipping to Amanda (Julie Benz), “Did my wife do that to your face? It’a a good look for you.”

Datak has always been bound to Castithan tradition and family. Alak (Jesse Rath) answers his father’s request to visit him, and it’s easy to see that Alak has finally earned some of his father’s respect. Rath and Curran are both terrific in this scene. Alak has refused to bring baby Luke to see Datak, but he does agree to honor the sacred favor his father asks for. Datak wants to die on the shaming rack – by Castithan justice. It’s clear through Curran’s performance that Datak does regret having let down the town, but even more that Datak is ashamed of not having protected his family. He tells Amanda that he wants to atone and that his reasons for don’t matter. Not surprisingly, Amanda grants his request.

Was anybody surprised to see that Datak finally ended up being lead to the shaming rack? I’ve been expecting this since we first saw the rack back in season one. I also wasn’t surprised to see Datak meet what looks like his end with dignity. Even Alak has to respect Datak’s choice, and he brings Luke with him to watch the shaming. Datak apologizes to the people of Defiance and takes responsibility for not protecting his family. In return, Alak tells Luke that while his grandfather was deeply flawed, he still had honor. I realize the next episode has aired in the US, but I’m still waiting for it in Canada, and I find it hard to believe that Datak doesn’t have something up his sleeve… He better!

Meanwhile, Stahma is between a rock and a hard place herself. T’evgin (Conrad Coates) has nursed her back to health, but she can’t leave the mine without risking being captured herself. The big problem is that Kindzi (Nichole Galicia) hates her with a passion. It’s a tour de force by Murray as Stahma must cover her anger and her fear to be subservient – but then Sthama, like Murray, is the consummate actor. T’evgin may have underestimated Kindzi’s hatred of Stahma when he assures Stahma that she will be safe when he leaves her alone with Kindzi while he gets supplies in town. Kindzi forces Stahma to eat something that seems to transport her to a ship – is she simply remembering?

The rest of the town is busy mobilizing for Rahm’s arrival. Unfortunately for them, he’s tunneling under the city. Bebe/Beckman (Billy MacLellan) has turned his face entirely human – no doubt the better to be able to infiltrate the humans. While his fully human face is a lot smaller and thinner than his half human, half Indogene face, it also helps to underscore what a great makeup job the half and half face is.

Nolan attempts to whip their rag tag volunteers into a fighting force. Talent is hard to find, but Zero (Douglas Nyback) emerges as a talented sharpshooter. Even Alak has joined and is clearly suffering through the basic training. Things start to fall apart when Frei Poole (Tony Nappo) points out that they shouldn’t have to risk their own families when Nolan isn’t risking his own. Irisa’s (Stephanie Leonidas) absence has been noted – not least of all because as the Amazing Goddess, she could be a real inspiration to the rest of them. Poole also points out that the Voltans aren’t really in danger from Rahm anyway.

Nolan is forced to ask Irisa to help, and this is another great scene between Bowler and Leonidas. She despairs that their world is so full of violence and asks Nolan if he ever gets scared. He admits that he’s scared and tired. It’s his sharing his vulnerability with her that has Irisa running to him to hug him and tell him that she loves him. Perhaps in the end, showing her his past has helped her to understand where his violence comes from. I’d still like to see him acknowledge his own racist tendencies, however, and address them.

In the end, it’s impossible for Irisa to stand with the others, and she breaks down sobbing after hallucinating Tommy (Dewshane Williams). It was a double edged sword having Williams back. Always nice to see him, even when he’s given so very little to do, but it underscored how much I miss the character! Nolan is then called upon to make an impassioned speech, telling the volunteers that the strong have been called upon to protect the weak – and that Irisa is one of the weak right now. He tells them that it’s not fair but it is right. In the end, the troops buy it and rally to stand behind him anyway.

The centerpiece of this episode is actually Berlin’s (Anna Hopkins) story – and what appears to be her swan song. Amanda has used Berlin’s connection to Conrad Von Bach (Ian Ziering), Rahm’s gunrunner, to get guns for Defiance. When he arrives, he gives them the guns for free simply as a gift for Berlin. As it turns out the Von Bach’s are a rich and powerful family and Berlin was engaged to Conrad. They discover that his mother orchestrated their breakup.

Once again, the themes of family and fear are woven throughout the episode. Conrad asks Berlin to come with him, and she agrees. Berlin goes to Amanda to tell her that she’s leaving. She confesses that she’s scared and that she doesn’t believe that Amanda can save the town. Amanda also confesses that she’s afraid. Berlin tells Amanda that she was afraid her entire childhood and is feeling that way again. She tells Amanda that family has to be more than just good intentions. All she really wanted from Amanda was her support. In the end, Amanda calls her a coward and Berlin leaves. This scene is juxtaposed with Irisa reporting for duty for Nolan, overcoming her fear for her family.

Berlin’s disconnect from the people of Defiance is underscored when after she and Conrad hear Nolan’s impassioned speech, she still turns to Conrad and tells him no second thoughts. I wonder if that’s true. Hopkins is excellent in the episode, but I felt it was a bit of a 180 on the character and where she’s come. Frankly, I think the character has been squandered this season. Berlin was a terrific character last season, really showing some growth, but has done so little this season that I find myself not too worried if that is the end of her story arc in Defiance. I think Hopkins deserved better.

This was a good episode with some really good performances. It brings us that much closer to the big confrontation the season has been building to. What did you think of the episode? Do you think that Irisa will be forced to fight? Will Berlin be back? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, Agent Carter, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Forever, Defiance, Bitten, Killjoys, and a few others! Highlights of this past year include covering San Diego Comic Con as press and a set visit to Bitten. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.

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