I’ve been mulling this episode for a while, not really sure what I want to say. I know that this episode brought in elements I’ve been waiting for, such as something that more seamlessly brings in our contemporary music, and that’s Alak being a DJ from the arch of St. Louis. I know that it gave me an interesting view of a Castithan with a human haircut and that made me wonder about the greater Castithan society at large integrating with humans. I know that it gave me actual Tommy scenes, which I’ve been waiting for so long because Deshawne Williams is seriously one of the must underrated actors on this show. I know that it showed me a bit more than a glimpse of the world outside of the town of Defiance…
But I also know that the relationships that were established in the show didn’t feel organic. I know that I got Irisa’s backstory and felt more disappointed by it than when I learned what it was actually about. I also know that I dislike the stilted energy between Nolan and Rosewater, and yet I’m supposed to believe that they will be lovers in the future. And really, if we’re going to be honest, there is nothing I hate more than when a man hears a woman say something about love that isn’t an ideal, and be like “oh, it’s just because you were hurt.”
I may be wrong about where this relationship will go, though. So I will cheerfully take everything back if they establish in the next few episodes that the two are just really awkward drinking buddies.
So anyway, I’m torn, and I’ve had to spend a lot of time thinking about why. Why do I continue to watch this show? Is it solely because of potential, which it still has in spades? Or is it because I think that this will all weave together seamlessly when I marathon it later?
It was in that last question that I found my answer. I think watching this show episode by episode, and having to wait for all the hints from the last episodes not come to fruition in the next (Luke’s gold thing, Stahma’s actual “nefarious” plan, the evil ex-mayor’s evil machinations) gets frustrating, hence why I’m always so divided with each episode. In this episode, for example, I wasn’t even wondering about Irisa’s past, and I get that instead of whatever that gold thing Luke has.
Thus, for now, I conclude my reticence to like this episode lies in a heart of episode to episode pacing when it came to over arching relationships. I liked the episode itself. I mean, in the great confusing bus kidnapping and ransoming plot, though it suffered at the end from excessive exposition, it was convoluted enough to keep me curious. Also, it introduced a new villain into the fray, which I’m fairly certain is a good thing. Though, really, we have a lot of villains right now… But still, what has been going from episode to episode has been getting less and less satisfying.
So, let’s get to Irisa. I have loved Irisa in everything up until this point, but now I’m feeling let down. In this episode, we learn that the desperate situation Nolan saved her from in Denver was a Castithan named Dago torturing her in order to make her “special” (a reference, I presume, to her visions). She smells him, knows it’s him, and then proceeds to torture him despite proving that she didn’t really remember him well enough (she got his eye color wrong) to really be certain. Then, under the influence of snake venom, he confessed.
So, it turns out it was fine. But that doesn’t satisfy me as a viewer. It just doesn’t. And frankly, I expected far more of Irisa. I know she’s a wildchild, which is why I love her, but I had thought she would be a bit more rational in this situation. And not only that, I’m disappointed in Tommy. Even if she was right about Dago being her torturer, which they didn’t know until after he was probably going to die anyway, Irisa’s methods were wrong, and if Tommy has been anything at this point, it’s been the paragon of doing the right thing.
This brings me back to how inorganic the relationships in this episode felt. This is not to say there hasn’t been build up with Irisa and Tommy. Anybody watching the first two episodes could pretty much guess something torrid was going to happen between the two. But the triggering event is what leaves me somewhat suspect. The man just watched her unlawfully imprison someone and then torture them until they confessed to something. It’s likely just me, but it’s not really a turn on for me. I think having this incident serve as an eye-opener for Tommy, and him having to realign all the things he had thought about Irisa, would have been a far more effective and dramatic end to this episode. Essentially, I’ve been long wanting more Tommy and Irisa, but I guess I should have been more specific when I made my wish. I wanted Tommy and Irisa butting heads and coming to terms with their incongruities. Not just jumping in the sack because television tells us that’s what people do when they feel stressed.
Still, the episodes had all the positives that I listed in the first half of this review, and I think this is why I enjoy Defiance. The world is gets a little bit bigger, and a little bit more fascinating with every episode. That, and the prostitute and the bartender dancing at the end– apropos to nothing in the story, I might add– was probably one of my favorite moments (and if we don’t get more of Tirra and Kenya having a rocky relationship, I shall be crestfallen).
Thus, I can only conclude at this point that I will keep watching and waiting to be impressed, because that is the bar I have set for this show, and it had better clear it.