Defiance 2.13 ‘I almost Prayed’
Original UK Airdate: 11th December 2014
The finale starts with a bang (and a spot of terraforming) as Irisa uses the arkfall technology to terraform New York, fresh with effects from an early PS2 game. It’s not just the naff special effects that make this such am unaffecting, cold opening (joke intended); but also the fact that a city we’ve never seen, full of people we’ve never met is being torn up. It makes it hard to actually care about what we’re seeing.
Thankfully I Almost Prayed moves back onto solid ground with an episode centred around the Defiance regulars, complete with a script that still pays attention to character while it moves the action forward at a pretty fast clip.
Robin Dunn returns as the irreverent Irathiant Kai, and Nolan wants to get him close to Irisa, as doing so will re-separate the two keys that control the AI which has taken over Irisa’s mind; while Doc Yewll simply wants to shoot her in the head with some data crystals that will shut the AI down and kill Irisa in the process.
Mercado gives Yewll’s plan the go-ahead, and what ensues is an excellent stand-off scene involving Nolan, Mercado, Amanda and Kai starting with Nolan holding Mercado at gunpoint before Amanda, believing Mercado to have backed the right plan holds a knife to Kai’s throat. The pendulum keeps swinging one way and the other as each side gains, loses and then regains the advantage until Amanda/Mercado win out. With some nice character moments for all four as well as Pottinger and Yewll, it’s an excellently crafted scene.
From here it’s obvious that Nolan is going to escape and put his own plan into action; but the way he easily beats up four E-Rep guards (albiet with slight help from Kai) and basically ignores the effects of a taser is a little daft, even for Nolan. Still, a follow-on scene with Nolan stopping Irisa’s assassination is equally well put together and the interplay there between Nolan, Pottinger and Yewll just as well written.
Meanwhile, Pilar, Rafe’s mad ex-wife, aka LINDA HAMILTON proves she isn’t a pilar of the community (pilar…pillar…geddit…. I’m not apologising) by kidnapping Christy and Alak. Because…. well, because. Maybe we’ll get an explanation next year, even if it does mean we have to see Quentin again.
Berlin arrives at Camp Reverie to find that the terraforming threat which now hangs over Defiance itself has sparked a prison riot and a nameless sergeant has taken matters into his own hands by lining prisoners up to face a firing squad. These scenes have to be the most uncomfortable scenes of Defiance so far, and a magnificent directing decision sets these scenes in a dark, foggy field which not only adds to the unease but also means the viewer’s brain can go overboard filling in the terrible blanks.
The sergeant knocks out Berlin and she and Rafe are next up for the firing squad, until Datak and Stahma arrive to bust Rafe out. They need his help to track down Pilar and get Christy, Alak and unborn grandchild back; and to also form one of the most badass trios of all time. Seriously, I would not want to get on the bad side of those three.
Nolan, Irisa and Kai board the crashed Votan ship in the ruins of old St. Loius and are eventually able to stop the Arkfall. The previously structurally stable ship inconveniently chooses that exact moment to collapse, Kai escapes but Nolan and Irisa appear to be crushed in the ensuing collapse.
An end of show montage, excellently set to Robert Plant’s ‘Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down‘ depicts the celebrations in Defiance after the end of the Arkfall scare and Mercado tells Amanda that Nolan and Irisa are surely dead.
BUT WAIT! We see the collapsed ship and Nolan and Irisa are inside one of the lifepods Irisa’s followers (Sukar included) had been using to protect them during the Arkfall. But they are frozen in stasis, and everyone thinks they’re dead…..and that’s how Defiance Season Two ends.
I don’t run a competition for quote of the week and it’s a good job, as there are some real gems this week:
Mercado: Geez Niles can’t you just pay for sex like a normal person?
Nolan: Is that going to hurt her?
Doc: A brief intense flash of pain. (pause) Her death will transmit the…
Datak: The lights are beautiful. Do you suppose they bring death?
Datak: Getting inside her head will be easy once I blow a large hole in it.
On the whole a really strong finale to what has been an improved second season. Depending on how the third season starts the ending could be a positive or a negative, but for now it’s fine. When written a third season hadn’t been ordered by Syfy, so I can see why the writers wanted to leave things open for new stories if the show was renewed (which it has been) but also offer some form of closure if the worst came to the worst.
That’s it for this season then and thus concludes my episode recaps, but I will be posting a season overview/ramblings piece in the next day or two. Until next year!