Here’s my review of Defiance season three episode “The Beauty of our Weapons.” 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.
Here we have the (relative) calm before the store. Although Defiance may not know it yet, it’s the eve of battle. Rahm Tak’s crew are on the way. This is a necessary episode I suppose because we need to see the town preparing for the fight and we need to continue the Tarr family storyline. What I think is strange, however, is the sudden focus on Berlin. Despite being promoted to series regular this season, she’s really been sidelined from a lot of the action.
Berlin certainly has the potential to be an interesting character. Anna Hopkins always portrays her with a lof of spunk. But we really don’t know much about her. Her only defining character moment this season was when she left Irisa in the snow during her seizure. That moment says much about her character but that’s only one moment. The only thing else she’s really done is yell at Irisa and talk with Amanda, and neither one of those things really advances anyone’s character development. So how are we supposed to feel once Berlin decides to leave?
Truthfully, it feels like her decision is inconsequential. The looming threat of Rahm Tak is more important than whether she stays or goes. The storyline about Datak is more important than whether she stays or goes. Life will go on whether Berlin is there or not. If she had been integrated into the plot more, it would be different. It would feel more like the betrayal that Amanda acts like it is. And if we understood her motivations better, it would make more sense why she’d want to leave.
One of the most important rules of writing is “show, don’t tell.” Instead of letting a character blatantly state how they’re feeling, you let their interactions demonstrate it. Otherwise you will lose audience engagement. Berlin does a lot of telling in this episode, explaining that she’s scared and has always been scared. She tells us how she felt about the E-rep and how she feels now that it’s gone. That’s all important information about her, but it would have made more sense if we’d known all that ahead of time. In previous episodes, she doesn’t really act like she’s just putting on a front to hide her scared feelings. And she seems to mourn the loss of Tommy more than her E-rep family. So why is she running away? Perhaps if we had seen more of her struggle earlier with the feelings she mentions here, it would make more sense. I hope that she hasn’t left the town for good and that this sets up an arc of character development she desperately needs. Even if the execution of her exit in this episode was sloppy, it’s still full of potential once the action kicks in as Rahm Tak makes his move.
In other storylines, Datak has finally been convicted of treason and sentenced to die. There’s not a lot of him in this episode, but what little we see is great. He never once wavers to show fear or remorse, just his usual cocky attitude. It shows how his character is even under dire circumstances. His request to die the Casti way is also very interesting because he wants to “remove the stain from his immortal soul.” I don’t know whether they’ve planned to really kill off his character or not, but if he doesn’t escape somehow, I’ll be satisfied knowing that he got a lot of character development. (But it will be sad to see Tony Curran go)
So this episode wasn’t a slam dunk like the last two, but it was still enjoyable. We needed this breather before the storm hits.
Beyond the Stasis Net
- Datak’s character might be fascinated right now but Stahma’s is confusing. Is she just gonna hang out with T’evgin and forget about Datak forever? Usually she’s more cunning than that.
- Kindzi obviously never learned the important lesson about personal space.
- Some interesting moments for Irisa and her continuing PTSD problem, but I’m wondering if she’s getting too out-of-character.
- Are the sharpshooting father/son duo too good to be true?
- I really liked the camerawork on Amanda’s face when Berlin walked out. Nice to see the subtle reaction on her face.
So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.