TV Review | Defiance 2.02 ‘In My Secret Life’

Defiance Season 2 Episode 2: In My Secret Life
Original UK Airdate: 25th September 2014

Nolan and Irisa arrive back in Defiance and the latter makes short work of getting arrested by E-Rep guards. Conveniently, somebody sets off a bomb in Defiance’s market square and Amanda persuades Mayor Pottinger to allow Nolan to track the perpetrator. The deal is simple: find the bomber before he strikes again and Irisa can walk free.

This plot of the week is simply designed to manoeuvre Nolan back into position as Lawkeeper while publicly winning back the the townsfolk’s trust, and it serves that purpose adequately (but obviously), but it isn’t the real point of the episode – especially since as Nolan’s investigation turns out to be a simple track from A to B to C with no hurdles. It is simply the dramatic (or, as it turns out not that dramatic) hook while we see how everyone else has moved on with their lives in the last nine months while Nolan has remained in limbo.

In case you couldn’t tell from the title, secrets also play a big part in the episode. Stahma’s drive the entire plot, Pottinger wants to know what Yewll has hidden in her safe, Irisa hasn’t told anyone why she was so keen to return, Datak is still plotting his escape (from the flimsiest looking prison in TV history, surely) and thanks to Pottinger’s secret camera in Amanda’s room the poor woman doesn’t have any secrets any more. Again, it also serves to contrast Nolan with the rest of the cast: he is so straight up while everyone else has their secrets; although Berlin does question the true reasons for his wise-cracking tough guy persona.

Tommy exemplifies the themes of this weeks episode better than any other character. He’s been playing Lawman for the last nine months and while he is undoubtedly pleased to see Nolan again he resents the idea of giving up his authority and not leading the case. He also has a personal secret, and the reveal that in Irisa’s absence he’s been seeing Berlin is a sting in the tail. He’s still very much treated as a supporting character rather than a major one, but it’s nice to see more meat added to his bones and there are some interesting things to play on with his character in the rest of the series.

Speaking of Berlin, the episode also serves to fully introduce her character after her brief appearance last week. A Captain with the E-Rep Guard who seems to be nicknamed Berlin just so Nolan can make a joke about ‘always wanting to visit,’ she’s an immediately likeable E-Rep soldier – although one entirely convinced that E-Rep are the side of the just.

Berlin

In my Secret Life also continues where last week left off in terms of playing chess with the characters, moving and positioning into place for the rest of the season, as well as creating a couple of plot points that are bound to be important later on (for example Stahma now owes Nolan BIG TIME.)

When is Rafe going to get something to do? He’s the one major character who’s barely had a thing to do so far this series. He needs to be the lead character in an episode soon.

I ended last episode’s blog post with a word on Datak and I’m doing so again: his escape attempt this week was perfectly in character: violent, blunt, entirely obvious and nowhere near as clever as he imagined. Pottinger’s response is fantastic – he’s scheming at a far, far higher level – he even out schemes Stahma at one point – and that makes him very dangerous indeed.

The Verdict: More character development, more establishing Pottinger and Berlin as new main characters but again far from a gripping episode. One of the major problems with season one was that once it got going, Defiance was good without ever really, truly kicking it up a gear and becoming must watch TV (the one or two stellar episodes were in isolation) and it all fizzled by the end. Okay, this was only the second episode, I’ll stop panicking. Two episodes in, season two is certainly far ahead of season one.

3.5/5

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