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Defiance - My Name Is Datak Tarr And I Have Come to Kill You - Review

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Defiance, “My Name is Datak Tarr and I Have Come to Kill You,” was written by showrunner Kevin Murphy and was directed by Mairzee Almas. The theme of honor and responsibility run throughout this episode, and it’s the kind of tightly written, character-centered episode that Murphy is so good at. The episode becomes a tour de force for Tony Curran – doing double duty as Datak and Datak’s father. Grant Bowler also turns in an excellent performance in this episode.

It was perfect casting to have Curran be the one to play Datak’s father, and I loved the way the sequences filled in around the story we already know. We see that the charge blade is tied to some of Datak’s early memories of his father. I loved the shout out to Datak’s own tough-love of Alak (Jesse Rath) when we see that Datak’s father also punished him by damaging his hand. Datak’s father used the charge blade as the source of what he considered Datak’s failure as Datak used the album press on Alak.

It made perfect sense for Datak to swim in and out of these memories as he awaited his death on the shaming rack – the only way in which he felt he could regain his honor. I have to admit that after losing Graham Greene at the beginning of the season, I was very worried that we would truly see Datak die on the rack. It was terrific to finally get to see the Castithan world – complete with what looked like some kind of pterodactyl. I also liked the use of lighting to indicate the dying planet.

Of course, we already know the story of Datak’s father insisting on staying behind on their dying planet with the scrolls, and we know the story of how Datak won a place on an Ark playing cards. But we didn’t know that he’d won two places and intended his father to come with him. We also see why Datak is so attached to that charge blade.

Curran is fantastic as Datak’s father, creating an entirely new character in just those few scenes. Datak’s reluctance to move away from Castithan traditions and his harshness with Alak make so much more sense, yet one gets the feeling that Datak is still a more sympathetic and lenient father than his own was. I loved Datak’s father’s words of wisdom: “You don’t earn honor in the eyes of men. You only lose it in the eyes of God.” And then his final words to Datak: “Datak remember: pride, greed, ambition. Only honor endures. And when honor dies the spirit dies with it.” Pride, greed, and ambition are the three words that I would have chosen to describe Datak’s guiding principles. It’s clear that he’s travelled a very long way from his father’s final words.

Amanda (Julie Benz) offers Datak redemption, but I think he takes it more to bring honor back to the Tarr name for Alak and Luke than for himself. The scene in which he visits Alak and tells him how proud he is of him shows a very different Datak, a humble Datak. It’s clear that the entire experience is going to be a life-changing one for Datak. I’m curious to see his reunion with Stahma, who also finds reaffirmation of where her loyalty lies.

Kindzi (Nichole Galicia) hasn’t in fact poisoned Stahma or somehow magically transported her up to their ship – well, at least not physically. I have to admit that a lot of the CGI on the ship left something to be desired, but the sets were quite well done. T’evgin (Conrad Coates) returns from the town to find the two “hanging” from some mini disco balls and shuts them down with a click of his tongue. The damage is already done, however, as Kindzi has shown Stahma the ship full of Omek and exposed their lies. She taunts her with the coming of the Dread Harvest and insists that T’evgin will now kill her.

T’evgin, however, has had a change of heart. It seems he’s come to admire the honor amongst the folks of Defiance – there’s that theme again. And he’s decided that inclusion is a better choice than annihilation. Coates has really grown on me. I loved him going to the diner and simply ignoring that they’re terrified and insisting on having his pancakes.

        I also loved the scene when he shows up and takes out the Irathient assassin – by ripping out his throat with his awesome and terrifying teeth! The woman he saves is pretty much as afraid of him as the Irathient who just tried to kill her. T’evgin tells the assassin that he is without honor, and tells the woman that the stories she’s heard of the Omeks are old stories. I have to wonder, though, how the other Omeks will feel when they wake up. I suspect that they will feel as Kindzi does.

Kindzi spits on T’evgin and runs off in a snit. Stahma points out that Kindzi will never agree to peace and that he will have to do something about Kindzi. It’s interesting to see Stahma revealing more of herself to T’evgin and even pushing him. He puts a stop to it, of course, telling Stahma that they aren’t a team and that she shouldn’t presume. While he doesn’t buy her submissive Castithan ruse, she also tells him he should do better than willful ignorance.

The rest of the town is busy dealing with Rahm’s (Lee Tergesen) attack. Tergesen has been amusing, but I’ve never felt that he took the role completely seriously, so for me, Rahm has lacked any real threat as the big bad. However, the infiltration of the town with Bebe (Billy MacLellan) pretending to be one of them and cold-bloodedly killing one of his own men was well done. Rahm may be dead by the end of the episode, but he has still managed to defeat and dishonor the butcher of Yosemite.

It was nice to see Julie Benz actually getting to do something this episode. It was nice to have the Amanda from the first season back – I like this strong, capable frontier badass! Amanda admits to admiring Datak’s bravery at choosing the shaming rack and also admits to her disappointment in Berlin (Anna Hopkins). I loved her telling Rahm that she hoped he had the balls to show up in Defiance in person so that she could shoot them off! I also liked that even after Nolan turns out to be wrong about the tunnel, she never throws it in his face. Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen in a future episode!

Naturally, Nolan’s plan to sneak back out through the tunnel is a complete set up, ending with most of his best fighters incinerated. I have to admit that I was also pretty freaked out when Alak got shot, especially since I missed him gasping for breath the first time I watched! I loved the scene between Nolan and Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas) when she’s sharpening her knives and insists she’s coming with him. She too feels responsible for Rahm’s continued existence. It’s one of the better moments we’ve had this season between the two, and it was especially nice to see the re-emergence of the Nolan we’d come to know in the first season. I’m beginning to hope that Murphy wrote this episode as a bit of a re-set.

It seems that Nolan’s concern that Irisa will freeze up again may come into play. Bebe manages to stab her and gets the upper had on Nolan. As he’s about to create a new trophy for Rahm, however, Irisa stabs Bebe first and then makes short work of him. Later, when Nolan wants to heap the blame on himself, she essentially tells him to get over himself – it won’t bring anyone back. Besides, they have a new problem now that Rahm has set up camp right outside the stasis net.

      It’s Yewll (Trenna Keating) who comes up with a new plan while patching up the injured Irisa and Alak. They can blow the stasis net to take out Rahm’s camp. The only problem is that it’s a suicide mission as someone would have to take a device into Rahm’s camp so the blast concentrated on it. Nolan, naturally, is the first to insist on going. I loved that both Nolan AND Yewll immediately say no way to Amanda. In fact, I loved Yewll telling Amanda she was teacher’s pet and to stay after class – and how shocked Amanda looked at Yewll’s flirting.

        Alak interrupts them to tell them that they’re overlooking the obvious. Send Datak. He’s a dead man anyway and he’s likely the only person in Defiance who would be allowed to walk into Rahm’s camp. Amanda takes water and a proposition to Datak on the shaming rack. I loved his typically dry ‘nice to see you’ to Amanda. She offers to pardon him – posthumously – and Stahma should she show up. It’s a better way for him to restore the honor of his family, and he accepts.

      The scenes in Rahm’s camp are some of the best of the season if not the series. Datak’s cover is that he’s bringing terms from Amanda for surrender. When Rahm declares them crap and wants to send Datak away, Datak utterly debases himself and begs to stay – he has to stay in the camp to ensure the nets blow up in that direction. It’s clear that he really does mean to sacrifice himself… until another option presents itself in the form of his father’s charge knife.

        I’m not going to lie. When Datak cut off his own arm – and how brilliant was that!!!! – I was making the exact same face as Rahm. I loved that Rahm’s entire camp of sadists was impressed by Datak’s apparent show of devotion. And kudos to make up, props, and VFX for making that look so good! Especially the arm Rahm then picks up – and the twitching fingers while it’s lying on the ground! I also loved Datak’s “May I have a moment alone? The pain is tremendous!” Rahm’s final, “oh shit” as he realizes what is happening is perfect.

        Even more perfect was using The Doors “When the Music’s Over” – seriously, check out the lyrics. I loved Datak slipping out the door and then running like hell – that’s his life all over, isn’t it? We see the aftermath in Defiance. Most of the town are celebrating, but we see Yewll, soberly taking a drink at the bar, let’s not forget her friendship with Datak. Nolan is drinking alone, clearly troubled. Irisa comforts Alak – anybody else feeling like killing Christie was a way to get these two together? Nolan and Datak as in-laws has even more potential for hilarity than Rafe and Datak!

        The final shot of the episode, however, is reserved for Datak. Somehow, he’s managed to find shelter from the blast that has left Rahm’s camp a charred heap. Sure, he’s missing an arm, but surely, Yewll or maybe T’evgin can grow him a new one. I loved the close up on Datak, clutching the charge blade to his chest and the smile that spreads across his face as he realizes that he’s cheated death, restored his own and his family’s honor, AND he’s been pardoned for everything!

        What did you think of the episode? Do you think Amanda will stand by her promise? Will Datak be welcomed back as a hero? Will Alak forgive him? Will Nolan be able to forgive himself? Will the town turn against Nolan? Will T’evgin be able to control Kindzi and the other Omecs? Will Stahma simply return to Datak? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! And remember that Defiance airs Friday night on Syfy but not until Sunday on Space – so please no spoilers! And speaking of spoilers, in my review last week, when I said I thought Datak had something up his sleeve, I had NO idea what was coming!

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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