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Defiance

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!

Review

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.

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Watchestoomuch

"It's pretty clear that the Castithans have strong beliefs toward cowardice." Like punishing/killing deserters is unheard of on earth? This tells us little about Castithans. Question: Was the "purification ritual" going to be fatal? If not, the town authorities got this guy killed by trying to circumvent Datak's authority.

Watchestoomuch

Picture Babylon 5 without its five year plan or its visionary producer. That's Defiance. This episode was not as terrible as I feared, but most of it was still cookie-cutter TV drama stuff. Bad guy runs off, good guys chase, bad guy dies while managing to not give away the game. @Jim Garner says: '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?"' I'm not sure who's paying Jim to be so bullish on this show, but why exactly would it have been daring to ask "who or what" these aliens worship? Why would Jim even bring it up, given that (a) this episode is about cultural practices, not religious beliefs, and (b) alien gods and beliefs frequently come up in sci-fi. Like, say, the awful Doctor Who episode from three weeks ago where aliens people bow down to a giant sun-pumpkin thing. Or in B5. "It's pretty clear that the Castithans have strong beliefs toward cowardice." Like punishing/killing deserters is unheard of on earth? Question: Was the "purification ritual" going to be fatal? If not, the town authorities got this guy killed by trying to circumvent Datak's authority.

Avatar

The show is well crafted, there is an incredible amount of backstory and a very diverse cast of characters. With that said... It bores me to tears. its story seems, standard. The actors, bland.I want something to remember when the show is over and when it is over, I find that i dont care. Rockne S. O'Bannon was a producer on "Farscape" which I found to be far superior to this and it is already 10 years in its grave. Ben Browder was immensly charismatic on Farscape as were most of the characters. Their interaction alone kept me interested even when the stories lagged. So far on Defiance, not so much. I want to see them let their actors off the hook and establish themselves before too long. I want to see this show not folow a formula which i believe it has and instead break new ground. My 2 cents.

Dreamrose

I enjoyed this episode a great deal, despite the fact that it had no real surprises in store. Ben the Traitor was inevitably going to die; it was his only way "out". Same goes for Elah Badnik. Though, were I Nolan, I'd be seriously peeved at Mayor Amanda for undercutting his authority as Lawkeeper. He told the Castithans to stop the ritual, and she essentially told them it was alright to ignore him! How's Nolan supposed to enforce the laws of Defiance when the residents can do whatever they want under the guise of cultural custom?

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.

Nolan

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

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