Defiance 3.1 ‘The World We Seize’
Original UK Airdate: June 25th 2015
Two purple skinned aliens we’ve not seen before leave their ship in orbit, head down to Earth and while looking for something in the ruins around Defiance re-awaken Nolan and Irisa from stasis. Seven months have passed since the end of last season. The purple-skins leave Nolan and Irisa alone in a snow-storm on the outskirts of Defiance.
They head home to find a dying town: The collapse of McCawley mines saw the death of any industry the town had going and now there isn’t even the power to run the defence nets that protect the town from raiders. The E-Rep are gone and Amanda is back in charge. Irisa finds she’s the heroine of a new pulp fiction book-craze that tells a fictionalised account of her life…and then gets the shit kicked out of her by Berlin.
Amanda, Nolan and Irisa team up to search the mines and see if they can kickstart the Defiance economy and find out what the purple men were after.
Elsewhere the awesome trio of Datak, Stahma and Rafe have tracked down Christy, Alak and now newborn Grandchild. They’re being held hostage in a remote house by Quentin and LINDA HAMILTON, but the Votanis Collective are also sniffing around. Stahma and Datak infiltrate the VC by pretending Rafe is their hostage. The VC group is being run by General Rahm Tak (Lee Tergesen) and HELLLLLLLOOOOO Season Three big-bad. He wants to wipe Defiance off the map because that’s the plot. Scenes of him having human heads on spikes and eating human ears as a delicacy would have more impact if they began to look realistic.
Until the final scene this was entirely by-the-numbers television. I wasn’t feeling particularly glad the show was back (without being sorry for watching it either) and I was missing Pottinger (the character he was, not the one he became). The writing wasn’t particularly sharp although you can always trust Grant Bowler, Stephanie Leonidas, Jaime Murray, Tony Curran and Graham Greene to do the best with what they’ve got. The best I could say of it was it was playing the long game, setting up stories for whole series and that’s fair enough for a first episode.
Then there was the final scene…
… Where the VC find the house the McCawley/Tarr extended family are; General Tak kills Rafe’s son Quentin in front of him; Christy tries to hide her baby and herself only to be found and Tak forces Stahma to prove her ‘loyalty’ to the VC by either killing Christy or allowing Datak to be shot in the head.
Previously secretly freed by Datak, Rafe engages his full on badass mode and shoots a lot of VC goons only to get gunned down himself. Stahma realises Christy has hidden the baby away and the best chance for its survival is to fake loyalty to the VC – So she slashes Christy’s throat with Datak’s light-saber sword and the final image is a dead Christy lying in a dead Rafe’s arms.
Talk about a shocker of and ending. I assume the writing staff have been watching Game of Thrones. R.I.P Rafe McCawley, the first major character to get killed off.* It was always a pleasure, never a chore. And goodbye Graham Greene, one of the shows finest actors.
LINDA HAMILTON and Alak, out of the house on some sort McGuffin errand, witness the whole thing.
HANG ON A MINUTE! If seven months have passed since the last episode, why is it still clearly the middle of winter?
* That anyone actually cared about.
The Verdict (STILL SPOILERS): Bit of a shocker, killing an entire family. The McCawley’s become in five minutes what the Starks have become across five series. I’ll miss Rafe, one of the shows best characters. I’m glad we don’t have to suffer Quentin any more. Christy I’m indifferent about.
Until the end it was a so-so episode, but the ending was excellent so I’m prepared to give it a slightly higher rating than I might. Last year I complained a lot about the writers not taking chances and being too scared to move away from what had always been pre-planned and I can’t accuse them of that any more. Kudos to them for having the balls to wipe the unpopular (aside from Rafe) McCawley family out in one go especially since so much of what came before was about re-setting the status quo.
As for the season arcs, there’s still a chance that the purple-skin alien plot could be another Defiance sci-fi cliché 101 plot; but General Tak vs. Defiance with the Tarr’s stuck in the middle could be amazing.