Defiance – Season 1, Episode 8 “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” Review

Rating: 8.3

 

“I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” was by far my favorite episode of Defiance to date. Sure, it didn’t do the stuff I’m still itching for: more Irisa and Nolan screen time—but it didn’t really need to because in terms of construction, exposition, and overall quality “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” was as ideal as Defiance gets.

Defiance is the kind of show that deserves a monster-of-the-week, crime procedural construction and not plot-heavy storytelling. The story of Gordon McClintock was not only entertaining, but also facilitated a great deal of world-exposition that was much needed. Why are people sequestered to the ground, and why can’t they fly from place to place? The sky has gone radioactive, of course! Were the Pale Wars pretty? Of course not, the Indogene abducted humans and tried to send Indogenes modified to look like the abductees back to earth so that they may carry out reconnaissance prior to the Votan invasion.

All of those revelations are in themselves utterly horrific. Like, really. There were abducted humans whose brains were turned to mush so that an Indogene can walk around in their stead? That’s the stuff that feeds nightmares. Of course this is not fully played out on screen to the height of that horror, but the thought of it alone is disturbing nonetheless.

“I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” proved that Defiance thrives in its quiet moments. There were very few action sequences, no shoot-outs, and the thrill came from the interpersonal drama and Gordon’s slow decline into devastation. Similarly, the drama between Stahma’s relationship with Datak and Kenya had no climactic, over-the-top action sequences or bursts of unnecessary and dreadful anger, rather each moment came to a slow boil that few scifi series manage to achieve.

Dr. Yewll was finally given the opportunity to shine in this episode. We’ve had plenty of interaction with human, Irathient, Vulge, and Castithan characters, but Defiance has failed to allow the audience many opportunities to learn about Indogene, Liberata, Sensoth, or Gulanee Votanic races. I feel that Dr. Yewll’s character has become more secondary than her original incarnation in the pilot simply because it is clear that the Trenna Keating (Yewll) struggles to speak with the pounds of prosthetics and makeup that she is wearing. While all of the characters are humanoids, the Irathient and Castithan Votanic races are close enough to human that the actors do not appear to struggle in the speaking department. The same cannot be said of the remaining Votans, thus leaving little room for those characters to achieve much screen time. Fortunately, this plague established in the last moments of “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” appears to bringing new life to Dr. Yewll’s character and a new opportunity for world-wide and character exposition.

Other thoughts:

  • Charlie Rivers from the Bay Area is the first victim of the plague, and that makes me sad. I lived in the Bay Area for almost 3 years and I don’t want to think about what would happen there after the apocalypse.
  • Connor makes an off-hand comment that there was razor rain only 2 days ago… How the hell is Tommy walking around and helping Nolan lock up bad guys?
  • Irisa the whiny brat teenager is starting to become way too much for me.
  • I still don’t understand the gender politics of the Castithan’s. They seem very uninvolved.
  • Connor called Amanda “Mandy”, which is Angel’s favorite song from the Buffy spin-off. Julie Benz (Amanda) was a primary guest star on the series and had an enormously important role, Darla. Also, Angel and Darla’s’s son is named Connor… Am I grasping for straws, or were these some intentional references on Defiance’s part?

 

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