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Defiance - Of a Demon in My View - Review

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Defiance, “Of a Demon in My View,” was written by Nick Mueller and was directed by Thomas Burstyn. Defiance is Mueller’s only credit on IMDb. Burstyn is better known as a cinematographer, having served on Defiance’s first season in that capacity, and this is his only television directing credit. It is beautifully shot, but I felt this was far from Defiance’s best episode. It felt a lot like it was simply setting us up for the finale, and to be fair, that is what the third last episode of the season should be doing.

While it was great to see Anna Hopkins back as Berlin, I have a sinking feeling it is only so that she can die – I kept expecting it at any moment. I really liked the moment between Hopkins and Stephanie Leonidas (Irisa) when Berlin acknowledges that she left Irisa to die before. Hopkins clearly conveys her regret at having done that with no words. I thought it somewhat uncharacteristically petty of Amanda (Julie Benz) to accuse Berlin of only returning because Conrad had kicked Berlin to the curb. Sadly, I’m sure that Berlin is going to regret having returned. I’m still struck that this is a totally new characterization of Berlin this season, but I can’t fault Hopkins’ performance. It is nice to see Berlin and Irisa working together – I’d love to see them really partnering up as the lawkeepers if we get another season – and they both make it out of this one alive.

Was anyone surprised that the carnage and Nolan’s (Grant Bowler) rescue were both the work of Kindzi (Nichole Galicia)? Frankly, the entire Omec storyline really took a down turn in this episode with the death of T’evgin (Conrad Coates). His character was more interesting than the bloodthirsty Kindzi and Coates is simply a much, much better actor. I realize that Kindzi had weakened him by drawing off vast quantities of his blood, but his death really seemed pathetically easy – and for someone who is supposed to be the wisest of his race, how was he duped yet again by his daughter?! Though admittedly that was one of Galicia’s best scenes.

While I felt this episode was a bit disjointed and felt like it was a bridge, there were also some really great scenes. Kindzi essentially rapes Nolan, and Bowler is fantastic in this scene. His discomfort is clear as Kindzi has her way with him and then afterwards as they cuddle. It shows an exceptional understanding on Bowler's part for what is normally thought of as a woman's experience. This was another really well-composed shot as Kindzi curls around him, looking more like a cat curled up with her prey than a lover.

It almost goes without saying that my favorite scenes are those with the Tarrs. Tony Curran (Datak) and Jaime Murray (Stahma) are both wonderful in the card playing scene. I loved the opening shot through the glass table. Curran does a wonderful job of playing Datak who is outwardly a brash bully who is not always the brightest one in the room – though he’s not stupid – but who really does have a very soft center. There is no question that his love for Stahma is his primary motivator. Stahma has a vested interest in keeping her pit bull happy, but I loved her telling Datak that he alone would always have her heart.

        I loved the banter between them, such as Stahma telling Datak that T’evgin is decent and honorable and Datak responding with, “Since when do you find that attractive?” It’s significant that after telling him her heart will always belong to him that Datak offers her his new hand – having given up his own to save her – and she lays hers upon it. He’s already proven that he’s willing to give his life for her.

Datak also reveals he has a heart by insisting on going to find Yewll (Trenna Keating). He has an ulterior motive – Yewll is most likely to know how to kill an Omec, but it’s also clear that he’s worried about his friend not answering her hailer. As he should be. She is still fighting the control stem, but it’s a losing battle. She walks away rather than operate on Nolan -  and here again, suddenly it’s that easy to remove the arc-tech? But she does get in a few digs at Kindzi first.

Was anyone else shouting at their screen for Datak to notice the giant thing in Yewll’s neck? I did love that she tries to work around the arc-tech by trying to inject the drug into the mechanical arm, but of course, Datak himself prevents her from doing that. Curran does going unconscious better than anyone! I was pretty sure that he hadn’t survived being blown up just to die here, but I was still pretty relieved to see his nose stuffed through that cage – another great shot too.

I was happy to see Samir (Ray Ablack) again too – though it’s not entirely clear whether he’s actually alive – though why have him in a cage if he isn’t? I’m betting that having a bionic arm is going to come in very handy for Datak – and that Samir may have some insight as to Yewll’s behavior and how to kill an Omec. This could be another match made in heaven…

Stahma doesn’t want Datak to leave her – especially not with the few men he is able to gather for the purpose. Their former thugs have more than just the Tarrs’ recent treason to be bitter about – they also know that Datak was behind the slaughter of his own men. Andina (Amy Forsyth) steps up her game yet again by asking for a gun and swearing to protect Stahma to the death. Here again, I was a little worried about who she might use the gun on.

The scene between Stahma and Andina as Stahma weaves to pass the time is an excellent one. It’s pretty clear that Stahma sees herself in Andina and recognizes that Andina has woven her way into Alak’s (Jesse Rath) life. Stahma clearly admires Andina’s ingenuity, and Stahma’s remarks about marrying into status indicate that she knows what Andina is up to. The fact that Andina offers to sneak Luke in to see Stahma is another reason for Stahma to help her. However, it’s also clear that Stahma is wary of just how clever Andina appears to be. Coming from the lower classes, she is likely to be just as dangerous as Datak can be. Stahma knows she can control Datak – it doesn’t hurt that she’s smarter than he is and that he worships her – but she doesn’t know that she can control Andina. No doubt Stahma will be looking for some leverage over her. I have to admit that while it’s looked like Andina was going to be moving in to fill Christie’s shoes, I also really liked the idea of Irisa and Alak becoming closer.

Families continue to be a central theme in the show, so I did like T’evgin and Nolan commiserating about being terrible fathers. Yes guys, you are. However, there’s a really interesting parallel. Both Nolan and T’evgin filled their daughter’s heads full of hatred, intolerance, and violence. Yet, Irisa has finally put her foot down and said she’s done with that life while Kindzi kills her own father to pursue it. Also interestingly, Yewll tells Kindzi there’s something wrong with her- that she’s got a screw loose in her head. Again, we can only hope that the Omecs that Kindzi wakes will also realize that sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, Irisa actually does have a kind of screw still in her head – the arc-tech.

Let’s hope that T’evgin’s heart was just as weak as the rest of him from blood loss and that Kindzi gets no extra strength from eating it – EW! Also interesting considering Stahma’s remarks about Datak owning her heart. Perhaps the silliest thing ever on Defiance was the father-daughter tongue-wagging dance done by Kindzi and T’evgin upon hearing the radio broadcast. Since when can they go freely back and forth to their ship again? I am looking forward to Demore Barnes joining the cast as Dos next week – we briefly see him wake up in his pod at the end of the episode. Please let him be the purple people eater who takes out Kindzi!

What did you think of the episode? Were you as disappointed as I was that T’evgin lost to Kindzi? Do you think Datak will be able to save himself and the others? Who do you want to see with Alak – Irisa or Andina? 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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