After last week’s more cultural and religious centered Defiance episode, I was glad"The Devil in the Dark" took us down the familiar path of a murder mystery mixed with some action and a splash of humor.
Let’s start with some of the humor. Datak stepping out of the house covered in hellbug gunk declaring, “Maybe we should eat out” was one of the best scenes Tony Curran has delivered thus far. Of course, that was preceded closely by his ranting about Christie insisting that she bath alone.
After all, what good Castithan wife does that?
As for action, who didn't love that Datak’s energy knife could be extended into an energy sword? Granted, the trip into the mine felt short, but given the size of that matriarch hellbug I’m not sure it needed to be much longer. I suspect it was there as a nod to the game, and I’m okay with it as it fit the episode.
We also got a good deal of mystery, starting with Irisa’s visions. It was pretty clear she has had visions for a long time and it became an unspoken gap between her and Nolan. Settling down into Defiance and being around other Irathients has triggered them again and stronger than before.
I can’t imagine it was easy for Nolan to raise an Irathient, especially not one as quick-tempered as Irisa (aren't they are all quick tempered?). That said, he apparently did the best he could, but he is still human and part of that came across in making Irisa afraid of being alien and the gifts her species has.
But like any good father, it didn’t stop him from being there at her bed side when she was having a nightmare and holding her hand at the end of the episode. Did you catch that her tossing and turning stopped after he did?
Of course, Irisa got off pretty light compared to Rynn, whose parents were murdered in front of her. I get that she wanted revenge, but waiting years then using hellbug pheromones to have her parents' murders eaten seems a bit slow and overly thought out for the typical Irathient. Maybe they aren’t all quick tempered after all.
Finally in the “Please never do that again!” category we had Kenya "servicing" one of the victims who appeared to have a hot grease and cooked food fetish.
First of all, the fetish portion of this scene didn't add anything to the show; in fact I was sorely tempted to fast forward past it. Second, it makes me think less of Kenya that she still a working girl and not just the manager/Madame as I thought when we met her in the pilot. Lastly, if they just wanted to show a hellbug eat through a guy from under the bed there are much better ways to do it.
SyFy, I'm pretty sure I can speak for the general audience when I say, we will never, ever, ever complain about a lack of fetish representation in Defiance if you never show it again. In fact, I personally would recommend finding the staff member who suggested that scene and send them for some counseling.
Kenya aside, overall it was an excellent outing; we got to see a very scary hellbug that I’m pretty sure I will have nightmares about, so I’m giving the episode 4 shtako filled shorts out of 5.
Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.