Defiance continues to make a lot of really silly decisions in its freshman season. Firstly, the series is completely ignoring the central relationship and heart of the series. Secondly, it’s taking every science fiction trope imaginable to such an extraordinary level that the series actually doesn’t make much sense. Some big event happens in every single episode, an event which is meant to introduce us to the world, and with it comes action and drama that is not always necessary or even optimally used for story progression. Sure, I like the episode about razor rain, at least all of the razor rain-specific stuff. But I kind of wish Sukar’s death had been later on in the series.
I don’t necessarily lament Sukar’s death in the way I would any of the Stark family (Game of Thrones) for one reason only: I haven’t spent enough time getting to know him as a character and am therefore not terribly invested in his life or death. He was only ever shown as the Campbellian wizened character—the archetype that is meant to teach the world to the hero (as well as the audience) and die early in the hero’s journey—in montage and occasional, dramatic dialogue. I had not yet made room for Sukar in my heart, and therefore his passing did not have the effect of, say, Gandalf, Dumbledore, or Obi Wan Kenobi (the three most pop-culture relatable wizened archetypes).
The only characters that I’ve yet become invested in are Stahma, Kenya, Nolan, and Irisa. I know that I’m supposed to care about Amanda, but her presence has mostly been a nuisance because she takes the focus away from the relationship I genuinely want to care about: Irisa and Nolan.
I don’t mind lots of action and dramatic dialogue, but I am a very big fan of the never-quite-used-appropriately quiet moments in Defiance. The thing that irks me the most is that I could probably get behind all of the wackiness if the series spent any amount of time developing the central relationship. I could full-scale fall in love with the world if my affection were not so forcibly being so spread thin by the menagerie of humans and Votan alike.
I understand that that the series is depicting Irisa as the defiant teenage daughter. She has issues with Nolan plainly because he is her father… but this father-daughter duo is the heart of Defiance. This show is seriously doing something very wrong by not monopolizing on the chemistry between Stephanie Leonidas (Irisa) and Grant Bowler (Nolan), but by also by making Irisa seek a secondary father figure, Sukar. It’s completely understandable that Irisa would want to learn about her heritage, but the introduction of her special abilities and her desire to seek that knowledge from those with similar talents is where the first season went completely wrong.
In my perfect defiant world, Defiance would have been a simple law-and-order series for at least the first half of the first season. Nolan and Irisa should have spent a helluva lot more time acquainting the audience with the world and Irisa’s powers would have developed slowly in conjunction with a paced desire to learn more about her people. If we called this my fanfiction, we would have barely met Sukar by the 7th episode, let alone have him killed off by a huffy and puffy Nolan. I recognize the need for a wizened archetype, I just think it could have been implemented better.
- Tommy’s brush with death actually made me realize how much his character is essential to my viewing experience; I didn’t feel as terrible about Sukar for comparison.
- I’m totally enamored with Kenya and Stahma having an affair. I don’t quite understand the Castithan ways yet due to their slow reveal, but I’m a little bit miffed by the inherent misogyny of males being allowed to act outside of marriage and females are not.
- The Twitter hashtag for the Stahma/Kenya consumation was #gayliens. Giggity.
- To Kenya: You go girl!
- I like the character of Amanda the mayor, but “Goodbye Blue Sky” was a nice temporary relief from the character that comes between Irisa and Nolan.
- Is it just me, or is there more diversity within the Irathient race than the human race in the town of Defiance?
- What on this green earth does Christie see in Alak? He’s the definition of a jerk. Like, we should put it in the dictionary kind of definition. Why is she written to be so weak to a pretty boy yet strong and brave all at the same time? My mind is confused.
- Kenya’s makeup artist could use some tips on glitter fallout. Glitter eyes = cool; accidental glitter fallout = what’re you doing, Defiance?