Friday, July 12, 2013

We Few. We Defiant Few. We Band of...wait a minute...

So, I don't know if you squirrel friends have been following the exploits of the intrepid futurescape that is Defiance. I have to say that I disagree with some critics' complaints that the show is "too complicated." I don't find the plots complicated at all. Maybe they're complicated if you're used to watching at least one explosion or sex scene preceding and following every commercial break. Don't worry, kids, Defiance still has plenty of that.

Kenya, my other subplots have shown me to be a ruthless killer. I'm sure this will not end badly for you. 

I haven't read a whole lot of reviews about the show, but having watched the entire season from start to finish, I have to say that, ironically, the show's major weak point in my estimable opinion is the show's leading man, one Joshua Nolan. He's supposed to be this rebel outlaw who breaks all the rules and lives by his own code and is his own man and doesn't follow orders and is rough and ready and tumbleweedy...and you get the point. 

The problem thus far with Nolan is that he's the least interesting character on the show. The writing staff has done a good job giving all the characters in the large ensemble cast depth and backstory, but this same treatment is lacking Nolan's character development. Instead of coming across as a Han Solo/Mal Reynolds archetype (which, if I'm not mistaken is the intent), he comes of as a hothead trigger-happy frat boy, who shoots first and...well, asks no questions later. He was supposed to be an Everyman, but the writers have made him so much of an Everyman that he's coming across as more of an idiot.  Nolan has shot at least two people on the show so far for no real reason (and then just kind of said oopsie) and that's fine if you want to make him a cold-blooded killer, but I don't feel that he is. He doesn't learn from his mistakes and I wonder how long the audience will maintain their sympathy for him as a main character, especially when so many of the supporting characters are so much more worthy of focus and development. I don't know if this is the fault of the writers, the directors or the actor himself, but Defiance needs to focus more on Nolan being a bad ass and less on portraying him as a moron with a gun. Side note: the actor who plays Nolan's other most notable acting credit is that he was John Galt in the objectivifest that is Atlas ShruggedOh boy. Ayn Rand. That's what we all need more of.

Yes, all this and I was a "friendly witness" at HUAC.

During the season finale, Nolan got his bad self shot and was way dead, but no biggie. Turns out that his adopted Irathient daughter, Irisa, is either a doomsday device sent by the aliens To Destroy Us All OR is River Tam. Or both. 

Yes, Irisa likes to get stabby, but Nolan is the only true parent she's ever known, so this evil superweapon/Jesusclock she has implanted in her back also brings back the dead. That's a pretty saucesome free app. Fuck you, iPhone 5. 

So, Nolan was dead for a while, but Irisa brought him back to life. Because that's never happened on a show before. I honestly thought they'd killed him off there for a while, though. I thought they were like, "You know, what? Nolan's not that interesting of a character. Next!" Nah, bro's got himself a contract. 'Sall good. 

Look, I know this is a bad time, but people on the internet are still discussing whether or not you're hot.


So, I'm not going to go through all of the various plots and subplots from the first season. If you want to catch up on the show, it is currently on Syfy On Demand. 

The season finale continues the mayoral election plot that was set up a few episodes back. Missouri sweetheart and current mayor, Amanda Rosewater, is going up against the dastardly (or dumb?) Castithan businessman Datak Tarr, heretofore known as Lucius Malfoy. 

We want the Good Guys (Amanda) to win the election because Datak has been throwing all kinds of shade at both Amanda and Nolan, and he's also struck a deal with the Earth Republic which is, of course, REALLY FUCKING EVIL (RFE). 

Meanwhile, Amanda's sister, Inara Kenya, has been having some ill-advised sex with Datak's wife, Stahma, who is not AT ALL SHY ABOUT THE FACT THAT SHE IS REALLY FUCKING EVIL (RFE).  In a previous episode, Stahma tricked Kenya into setting up Nolan to shoot a Castithan teenager, as part of Datak's plan to malign Nolan and cause Amanda bad press. Kenya is angry at Stahma for Stahma's role in setting up Nolan and she is like, "I'm going to tell on you" and no, no, no you're not, Kenya. Stahma is just going to smack you. And by smack you, I mean kill you. Kenya threatens to tell Datak about her relationship with Stahma, thinking that Datak will be furious with Stahma. Stahma lures Kenya into the forest and tosses her a flask. Kenya refuses to drink, but then Stahma pulls some full on Shakespearean shit. Stahma tells Kenya that she put the poison ON the flask. Then Kenya passes out. Or dies. It's a little unclear.

Oh, my darling. What a terrible judge of character you are.

The Earth Republic is after Irisa because she's carrying a key or something that unlocks the aforementioned doomsday device/Jesusclock in her spine. They need this key, and access to Rafe MacCawley's mines, because there's a crashed Votan ship deep inside the mines and they need to access the ship and the doomsday device/Jesus clock that is residing in Irisa in order to activate the deathweapon and have ultimate power, rule the galaxy, subjugate all humans under their mighty fist and whatnot. 

Bring me River Tam!!!!

Irisa gets kidnapped by the RFE Republic and is taken to a makeshift tent, where Indogen physician Dr. Yewell is expected to perform surgery on Irisa to remove the doomclock key from her vertebra. This whole process is interrupted when Nolan and co. raids the RFE Republic camp to rescue Irisa and Nolan is shot and dies. 


Irisa jumps into the ship, presumably to activate it. Because that's her destiny and suchlike. Then she brings Nolan back to life. She had had the key implanted in her back by some weird culty people because she's the Chosen One, and so now the evil allied gubbmint is after her. So. River Tam.

So, unsurprisingly, Datak wins the election, but all of that goes directly to hell when he murders an Earth Republic rep. Stahma finds Datak with the body during all the post-election fun, and they are presumably arrested by the Earth Republic peeps. However, that doesn't automatically forfeit the election to Amanda. The Earth Republic takes over the mine, and after Datak is discovered they take over Defiance as well. DUHN-DUHN-DUHN.

As far as season finales go, this one was pretty decent. The show overall is a solid B, and the season finale is what one would expect from a show if its caliber. The only real problems that I had with it were that they kind of left it up in the air as to whether Kenya was actually dead or unconscious. Datak asked Stahma to get rid of her, and I'm sure Stahma totes wanted to get rid of her, but Stahma is sneaky and if she wanted to defy Datak somehow, she very well could have just drugged Kenya and taken her off somewhere. If she is dead, it kind of doesn't surprise me. Kenya's a sweetie, but she is really naive and way, way, way too trusting of people like Stahma. The other thing was it was kind of unclear what exactly happened to Datak. I don't know if RFE Empire hauled his ass off to an RFE gulag, and I also don't know if they took Stahma along. For all we know, they both could have wheeled and dealed their way out of it. 

"That body? Oh that. Oh, that was here."

Either way, I don't really care if they go to RFE Republic prison. They are interesting, but they're also both fucking terrible people.

There's such a thing as a cliffhanger, and there's also such a thing as leaving things unclear. Like, for instance, on Warehouse 13, that cliffhanger ended with everyone getting kicked out of the Warehouse, and adorable Claudia stayed behind to do battle with Giles from Buffy. So that was a cliffhanger. The ending of Defiance...ehhhh...don't know about that. Anyway, it's been picked up for season 2, so we'll see how our little friends fared. 

Having watched the show this season, the biggest suggestion that I would have for the show as a whole is that it needs to develop its own mythology if it wants to be a highly successful program. I don't think anyone can argue that the show is derivative, and what it needs to do in successive seasons is to truly discover its own voice.

The new season of Defiance begins in 2014. 

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