Defiance Review: What Do You Believe In?

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Defiance got off to a great start last Monday with the most watched pilot on Syfy since Eureka.

This week, "Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go" took advantage of the momentum that premiere created, propelling us into the exploration of the beliefs of some of the Defiance residents. 

It's pretty common for shows that feature aliens to ask: "how are they physically different?" In some unique cases we might get, "how are they culturally different?" instead, but it’s a rare show indeed that’s willing to step out of the safety zone by starting with the question: "Who or what do they worship?" 

But this is why Defiance is a stand out; it lets the sci-fi "tech" and CGI take a back seat while giving us a very personal look at some of the key figures around town and what they believe in. 

It's pretty clear that the Castithans have strong beliefs toward cowardice. No surprise to this reviewer that the strongest among them was Datak Tarr, who was the most vocal defender of the ritual of cleansing both to Nolan as the outside and to his wife Stahma. Overall, Stahma’s beliefs were a little more ethereal as she explained to Christie how fate (and a convenient air lock) intervened on her betrothed as he was heading to fight Datak on the ship to Earth. 

Datak's Ritual

Does anyone believe her “tossed out an air lock freak accident?” I don’t either. My bet is that she spaced her betrothed before he could hurt Datak. I said it before: Datak maybe ruthless, but Stahama is the dangerous one.  

Meanwhile, ex-Mayor Nicky believes she is doing the right thing even though she regrets the deaths it will cause. Her touching moment with Amanda was almost laughable given he ruthlessness towards her “master plan.”

Nolan showed us that he believes in Irisa, leaving her with Deputy Tommy knowing how much she hated the Castithans ritual of cleansing happening to Elah Bandik. If you have any questions of the depth of his knowledge of her, look no further than their exchange when he returned. 

He could tell she was on edge and was not only careful to get inside her comfort zone, but he lowered himself down and spoke encouragingly to her. Nolan knows his daughter very well. The surprise for me was Amanda coming to the defense of Irisa and Tommy. 

It stands to reason she would believe in her Lawkeeper and his deputies, but to step in and say that they were acting under her order was pretty awesome. 

When all was said and done, Rafe and Nolan are a little closer friends, Amanda knows that Nolan is the man she gambled on and Irisa knows that Antarctica is not as real as the town of Defiance is, where she and Nolan have a chance to make a difference. 

However, there were a few absentees on the roster. Did you miss Kenya and the Need/Want club this week? Or the Liberata housekeeper that was cooking for the McCawley last week?

How do you think the second offering did? Share your thoughts below!


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (76 Votes)

Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


Boring TV show, if I can call it that way. Dialogs and scenes are so low on quality that I have no words to describe it. In the first scene the alien girl sings "I'm going to Jackson" with full American south accent... Dear Lord!


Once again, nice acting by Jaime Murray!!


Jaime Murray transformed. Now, that's a good actress, when you can't tell who she is, when she speaks. Julie Benz is also very good. The problem with the show is not the acting, because the acting is top notch. The problem is the show, itself. In what direction is the show going? I know it's only the fourth episode that has aired, but most of the main characters are unlikeable and the robotic race of villains that were destroyed in the pilot, I don't even know who they were. The episodes are not getting better. I hope that the show's fate is not the same as Terra Nova or Revolution. I'll give it a chance, even though I've gone back to watching reruns of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. I never really got into Atlantis, but now that I've been watching it, it's a very good series. I miss good Sci-fi. It seems that there's a lot of money invested in CGI and effects, but where's the good writing, gone. ??????


Syfy is stuck in a time warp. What's next? Martian babes in high heels and miniskirts? It's all so...predictable and absurd - "human" aliens, cross-species romances, CGI stupid creatures, a star-faring race that lives like pioneers, slow, formulaic plots. Suggestions: Read some sci-fi from the past 10 years - tons of provocative ideas. Forget thought-provoking (this is SyFy). I'll accept something different and original where folks are not living like survivalists. Religion is a non-issue. Here in the Bible Belt I have yet to hear one person mention it when discussing the "quality" of the show.


To Jim Garner:
I agree with you, I think that Defiance DOES GET SCI FI BACK TO IT'S ROOTS! Shows like Defiance are the reason I watch Sci Fi.
I enjoy all science fiction, even those cheesey old Godzilla movies. With science fiction, It is also much better than Survivor or the Voice.
Speaking of reality shows, Face Off is in my humble opinion one of the best shows in on TV in the last 20 years. Whether you like or dislike Defiance, at least Sci Fi is taking a chance. The only other network that comes close to Sci Fi in quality science fiction TV shows is Cartoon Network' s Toonami.


You guys are all too critical... you'd rather watch fake ghost reality shows? Show Syfy you want more than that even if you haven't been impressed with Defiance so far. SG:U had growing pains and died because of it. Don't give up on Defiance so easily or we will drown in more crap reality shows!


★☆☆☆☆TV That was Revolution bad. I've taken a few days so my disappointment could find some leg room. Still how and why did that get past the table read. Producers why why why??? Terrible Machination.


Didn't even make it through the whole episode. Too uninteresting. Cool that they're trying to give it some edge with showing dumb religious rituals for what they are, we're in 2013 after all, but that won't keep me watching. Won't be watching this show again.


Julie Benz is hot. The British alien wife is hot. The show is not hot.
I guess it's hard enjoying Sci-Fi after Battlestar Galactica. Spoiled :-)


Watches, Sadly, parts of the US are not as progressive as the rest of the world. Specifically, "the bible belt" of the US gets upset for lots of different reasons and it's like navigating a mine field to know what might set them off.. For example the book "Good Christian B!@ches" sold millions of copies, enough in fact that ABC maded a TV show out of it. While the book was fine the bible belt had a fit over the show -- While I agree Sci-Fi shows have a much better chance of flying under the radar, *knowing* that it could end up in the cross-hairs makes the choice to include it at all pretty brave (in my eyes) on the shows part.

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Defiance Season 1 Episode 2 Quotes

Rafe, you can do the right thing by your dead child, or you can do the right thing or by the two living ones. But you cannot do both. You make your choice right now.


Tommy: Elah Bandik is under arrest.
Male Castithan: For what?
Tommy: Loitering.