Defiance continues to be my favorite brand of crazy. This series surprises me every single week. I will give it that. Are surprises enough to keep me engaged? Probably, but I have a short list of complaints.
First: Nolan and Irisa have the best on-screen chemistry, yet they have spent the last two episodes apart. I understand that the series wants to be a vehicle for Julie Benz, therefore Amanda and Nolan are to some extent indebted to screen time with one another on principle. But Amanda could easily be dealing with her own plots that involve Nolan on a more cursory level; she should not be exclusively tied to the hero. That should be Irisa’s place.
From a storytelling perspective I’m on the fence: would I rather Amanda be haphazardly integrated into Nolan’s every day life or take a longer period of time to be established as one of the central group? I know that it feels awkward making an ultimatum like this, but what they’re doing isn’t exactly working for me.
Defiance is spreading itself too thin in these early episodes. Yes, the world is fascinating and the character design of the aliens is in itself a marvel to behold, but the core characters need to be consistently interacting with one another or the series will fall apart by the seams. The core ensemble is lovely; there are just enough characters to keep the world interesting, with at least one of every Votan being represented in name if not as a central character.
I overall enjoyed the plot of “The Serpent’s Egg”, especially when it involved Irisa. I feel that think this whole Irisa business needs to slow down a little bit, but I’ve sort of accepted that she has crazy psychic abilities and is probably some kind of Messiah. Whatever, it’s a scifi show… it can do what it wants. If we’re focusing on Irisa’s special powers I’d prefer for it to be the central plot, but then the series wouldn’t be a vehicle for the leads, and leads don’t always take kindly to that. I’m not thrilled with the tortured young woman background, but Irisa is a tough character and her thick skin needed to come from somewhere.
- The Nolan and Amanda plot I could take or leave. There’s always a hijacking episode in scifi shows. Always. There’s no way to quantify when is “too soon” and what is “too much”, so I won’t go there.
- I will say that I liked the conclusion of Rynn’s story.
- I was thrilled with the inclusion of an alternative marriage arrangement.
- It is clear to me that the writers of Defiance must be some pretty cool people who have been involved in many subculture scenes given their choices to include the following themes: polyamory, steampunk, sex work as an art form (and liberating for women rather than inhibiting), and what can only be considered Pagan-influenced spirituality.
- They even ended the episode on my favorite The Cure song, “Lovesong”.
- The torture-y flashback was well worth it because we got to see the moment that Nolan met Irisa. This scene made me all teary-eyed because I’m a sucker for this kind of thing.