Defiance Review: “The World We Seize” and “The Last Unicorns”

photo credit: syfy.com

photo credit: syfy.com

Here’s my first review of Defiance starting with the season three two-part premiere “The World We Seize” and “The Last Unicorns.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.

It always seems like the wait between seasons of Defiance lasts forever and a day. But the world of this story is so rich and well-established that it’s so easy to sink right back in, even though the story has skipped ahead seven months. Defiance’s two-part season premiere made some bold moves that paid off in order to set up the story for this season. The two episodes included effective introductions to new characters and heartwrenching send-offs for a few others. (I’m still crying over that, by the way) The season opener demonstrated well the writers can make the characters interact and play off each other in many different ways.

Let’s begin with the introduction of two new characters: the Omec father/daughter duo, T’evgin and Kindzi. It’s often difficult to add new characters to a story because it can easily throw off the balance of everything and take time away from the characters that we care about. We want to be able to learn more about the new people but also not distract too much from our main characters. Since there are so many characters in and around the town of Defiance, this seems like a difficult task. But T’evgin and Kindzi (portrayed by Conrad Coates and Nichole Galicia, respectively) are introduced briefly at the beginning. That opening scene gives us the important bits: they are a father and daughter, they are on a mission, Kindzi is a bit apprehensive. This is just enough to keep the audience interested without giving too much of the mystery away.

As the episode continues, we get to know more about these new faces by seeing how everyone reacts to them. This is a good way to not only develop the Omec’s personalities, but also everyone else’s as well. We see that most of the townspeople react badly to the Omec’s presence, like Doc Yewll (Trenna Keating). And in response, T’evgin and Kindzi aren’t afraid to push back with strength and some defiance of their own. (Pun definitely intended) The fascinating thing about this show is how everyone has their own different way of doing things and how that causes conflict. Some want to kill the Omec before they become a threat, but others like Amanda (Julie Benz) and Nolan (Grant Bowler) see the potential benefits of the situation. Amanda’s interactions in particular serve to emphasize her diplomatic skills and her devotion to helping the town. Introducing new characters is effective only if they can help add more depth to the existing characters, and I think the writers nailed it here. I’m looking forward to seeing how everyone interacts as the season continues.

But to add more characters, we must remove a few to make room for them. Unfortunately, the premiere marked the deaths of almost the entire McCawley clan: Quentin (Justin Rain), Rafe (Graham Greene), and Christie (Nicole Munoz). I was disappointed about this because I was really looking forward to seeing more of the dynamic between the McCawleys and the Tarrs. But even if it’s sad to see them go, they at least got to go in dramatic fashion. Quentin’s death was so sudden, it was shocking. This is the kind of thing that catches the audience off-guard and pulls them deeper into the story. It also served as a good demonstration of what kind of person General Rahm Tak (portrayed by Lee Tergesen) is.

Following Quentin’s death, Rafe got gunned down while trying to rescue Christie. He hangs on long enough to pass on some words of wisdom to Alak. It’s a final demonstration of how important family and parenting is to him. It also serves to contrast with how Pilar treats the children.

And lastly, Christie is killed by Stahma when she had to choose between her and Datak. Christie’s death is probably the most dramatic and emotional because it also is unexpected. But Christie’s death shows how much strength she has because she doesn’t go down without first hurling Casti curses at Rahm Tak and then exposing her neck to Stahma, saying that she wasn’t afraid. I will miss Christie’s character the most because she had so much excellent character development last season and I had hoped it would continue into this one. But at least, like all the other deaths, hers serves to bring out more development for the other characters around her. I’m sure we will definitely see how Stahma deals with what she has done as the season continues, whether that is with remorse or more cold detachment. If the writers think it’s necessary to kill off characters, then it works best if their deaths affect the surviving characters and serve to expand on the living characters’ development. And I think this worked well in the season opener.

With all the characters of Defiance being shuffled around in these first two episodes, the writers have managed to set up many interesting stories for the season. I’m looking forward to seeing all the interactions in the coming episodes.

Beyond the Stasis Net

  • I didn’t get to talk about Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas) in the main review, but I’m really looking forward to seeing how she deals with the fallout from what she did last season. She seems to be suffering from some sort of PTSD. And her tension with Berlin (Anna Hopkins) is going to be fun to explore as well.
  • It’s been so long, I honestly can’t actually remember what happened to Pottinger last season. Someone want to enlighten me? Did he die?
  • I’m so sad for Alak (Jesse Rath). His life is just like one tragedy after another. I hope he rescues little Luke from Pilar and then returns home to Defiance to settle down as a DJ again.
  • Rahm Tak and his crew are disturbing and creepy and therefore super fascinating. I think they’ll be a bit more interesting than the E-Rep were as villains. The idea of appropriating human culture instead of destroying it is very interesting.
  • My favorite line of the episode was Irisa’s deadpan delivery of “I’m from Denver.”

So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Just want to go try gambling with Doc Yewll now? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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