If you were hoping that this episode would continue any of the plot threads started in the last two episodes, you were expecting too much. Unfortunately, for what I can only assume relates to the story arc of the season, the writers needed to get the Irathians back into Defiance, and have them somewhat integrated.
And guess what guys! Integrating the Irathians after almost a decade of bad feelings was easy as fighting a battle with each other. Now they will arrest their own kind for the humans that killed them!
Now, I’m looking back at historical precedence for this and I’m coming up with a big fat zero.
But first, the award for most obvious product placement goes to Adidas!
And iPods. Because you can’t go on a run in post-apocalyptic earth without a pair of Adidas and your iPod. But ‘Defiance’ teaches us a very important lesson about running while listening to music, and that’s you may not hear when a Hellbug is coming up to murder you.
The more you know.
Speaking of murdering Hellbugs, if you were wondering how the video game experience of ‘Defiance’ fits into this series, the answer is boss battle.
Like, pointless monster boss battle replete with babies you need to destroy first, but always seem to freaking regenerate. Okay, it was not quite that video-game-tastic, but the scene was very reminiscent of every random monster boss battle one tends to have when running around caves in an RPG, and I’m not sure if that was done on purpose or not.
But let’s get back to the plot. This episode completely follows the plot about the Irathians trying to become a part of the town of Defiance, but the humans (and really, just the humans) not being so down with it. They have a nice scene of objects from all the races that live in Defiance, and note that the Irathians have not, nor will they, include an object.
Then they find out that an Irathian is killing people who are implicated, no matter how tangentially, to the murder of her parents, who were killed so people could take their land and sell it to Rafe McCawley, the man who now uses these lands to mine. Now, we’re starting to get into historical precedent I can believe in.
It sounds like I didn’t like this episode, and truth be told, I didn’t. That doesn’t mean I hated it. It’s just that, when you tie up an episode about trying to get a people who have been living on the outside of society like this, wrapping it up in a nice little bow at the end of the episode, it’s sort of insulting to the audience and robs future story arcs of much needed tensions.
I can think of no time in the history of anything where land was taken from someone who felt they rightfully owned it, given to the people who rightfully owned it before them and have it work out. I especially can’t think of anyone who would cheerfully lease, which I assume means pay for the land, the land that they had already bought after it was forcefully taken away from them. Especially when they didn’t know the original deal hadn’t been fair and square. There is a reason why, no matter how unfair it is, Native Americans can’t and won’t get their land back without huge resistance. Yet, Rafe McCawley, so far the most resistant to living in harmony with other alien species, does it.
Basically, I’m having a little trouble suspending my disbelief with how the episode resolves itself and with good reason. If they don’t have Rafe being pissed off about it next episode, I’m going to be pretty annoyed.
That being said, where I think they failed on a grand macro-socio-scale in this episode, they excelled at a micro level. Through these first three episodes, the most redeeming quality in the show, aside from the Tarr’s weird familial structure (which is brilliant, subtle, and fantastically dramatic), is the relationship between Nolan and his adopted daughter, Irisa.
Not only is their relationship an excellent representation of what it is like to be adopted, and be of a different race than the parent, but Irisa was raised both human and Irathian, and remembers both. In her is the hope of the Irathians, and in her, is the hope of the show. Good thing she’s the main character!
And good thing her gruffness and her inability to suffer bullshit makes her so darn likable.
Finally, my last thought on the episode is this: I want the “old” music to be more than a montage that brings the end to the episode. The music is one of the best part of the series, especially when thinking of last episode’s “Come as You Are” but I think it should be more interwoven through the society. I want to hear buskers on the street singing songs we know in a new and haunting ways. Of course, this leads me to imagine all the things of our culture that will be lost or reinterpreted. Though really, for a any song to survive nearly six decades past now, I would never guessed it would be Five Stairsteps with “Ooh Child”. If you don’t remember that song, I do not blame you. The Jackson Five pretty much overtook Five Stairsteps, leaving them to be a footnote on the history of soul.
Though, taking the context of the song and placing in this world of racial tensions may be more genius than I give it credit for.
Still, at the end of episode three, I’m feeling conflicted about ‘Defiance’, and despite not being wowed by this episode, I still stand by what I said last episode: this show has potential, and I hope it will fulfill it soon.