Defiance 3.02 ‘The Last Unicorns’
Original UK Airdate: July 2nd 2015
The purple skinned aliens who made their débuts last week are called Omec, a Votan race far older and more vicious than the others. Legends have it they enslaved and consumed vast numbers of the other Votans but were believed to have been wiped out when their star-system was destroyed. They also seem to possesses super-strength. The other Votans see them as a devil race, predators, cannibals and I’d like it if Defiance explored the potential grey-areas where superstition and legend meet reality rather than sticking to these labels too literally.
Doc Yewll refuses to treat the Omec-daughter whom Amanda shot last week and advises to kill both the Omecs while they still have the chance. The father arrives in town and demands to see his daughter but Amanda refuses until they’ve come to some sort of resource-sharing deal to ensure the town’s survival.
The girl panics and escapes, killing a small Castithan boy in the process. So Nolan and Omec-dad team up to find the girl before an angry mob finds and lynches Omec-daughter.
Elsewhere, General Tak outlines his plan to conquer Defiance with a small army: he wants Datak to go back to Defiance and work as a spy, undermining the town to General Tak’s benefit while he keeps Stahma hostage to ensure Datak’s compliance. Mr and Mrs Castithan Macbeth decide they’d rather die together taking Tak out in a blaze of glory. It was also heartening to hear Datak speaking fondly (somewhat) of his long time enemy Rafe.
Alak, baby and LINDA HAMILTON (I’ll stop typing her name in block capitals now; I’m over it. Honestly) head off into the wilderness and there are some neat scenes where Alak (who’s really grown on me as the shows gone on) realises just how dangerous she is and how much trouble he’s still in with her around. I was looking forward to some scenes with the two of them surviving together and him being a pseudo hostage who’s too afraid to try and escape; but no, he wakes up to find her and the baby gone. Then he gets arrested by….you guessed it, General Tak; who now plans to send The Castithan Macbeth’s back to Defiance as a couple while he keeps Alak as a hostage to ensure their compliance.
Overall even while ‘The Last Unicorns’ was just further set up for the series it was exactly the sort of shades-of-grey writing Defiance should be aiming for more often: I can’t say that everything Nolan and Amanda did was right; and even Yewll, Omec-dad and LINDA HAM-Oh yeah, sorry I got carried away-Linda Hamilton’s character (Pilar) had motivations that were understandable.
I also ended up quite liking the Omecs and I think there could be some interesting scenes with them as recurring characters trying to survive in a town where the humans don’t trust them and the other Votan races loathe and fear them. While the final shot of the Omec army waiting in suspension in space ready to be re-awakened and invade Defiance was an excellent close.
The Verdict: This aired as a double-bill with the season opener in the States and while it did serve to be further set-up for the series, the mixture of strong character writing, moral ambiguity and intrigue as to where the show goes from here means this gets a strong rating. The ending to the lynch mob vs. Omec-daughter story played out in quite a familiar way to an episode last year, but that quibble aside, please keep this up Defiance!