Sunday, July 12, 2015

Defiance, Season 3, Episode 6: Where the Apples Fell

Alakk has Stahma held at gun point – Datak arrives and they fight. Datak quickly gains the upper hand but Stahma stops him from stabbing Alak, her son

She then stomps on his foot and lays an epic reality slap-down on her son – she has championed him from the very beginning, facing off against Datak, embracing Christie, has even become Rahm’s agent and destroyed the arch for him. Christie sacrificed everything for her baby, for their bloodline – she spits on Alak, calls him an ungrateful coward who has shamed their family. The baby crying distracts the whole tense scene. Even Datak seems quite taken aback.

Alak still intends to leave the Tars. Stahma stands in his way, refusing to let him leave with baby Luke – they argue and Nolan storms into the building (brought by Andina the servant who reported that Stahma was attacked by Alak. Andina covers for them the minute Datak tells them to. Alak continues to be most unpleasant – and reveals Stahma and Datak are the spies. Datak smacks Nolan a bit and he and Stahma run and escape.

Nolan organises a manhunt of volunteers and they also discuss how defensible Defiance is (despite them having no weapons while Rahm is well armed) and how the best way to defend is to find Datak and Stahma and hear what Rahm’s plans are so they can prepare. Also when Alak describes the arms dealer who is selling weapons to Rahm, Berlin realises he’s her ex-boyfriend Conrad – and Amanda (noticing the reaction) gets Berlin to tell her too. Amanda wants her to tell Conrad Defiance wants to buy his guns.

Nolan has Irisa look after baby Luke, much that she resents that (it’s a job that doesn’t involve picking up a gun. Yes, they have issues). He takes Alak to see T’evgin and Kindzi; he wants their help to find Stahma and Datak using his ship’s satellite imagery and invoking the VC as a shared enemy – T’evgin is not impressed, this is not his war. Nolan is bemused about why they won’t help him – until he realises that the Omec don’t actually have the resources to return to their ship – of course they won’t admit to such weakness

Alak speaks up, noting that Stahma was there which T’evgin is happy to admit to her “teaching him” human culture. Kindzi is less amused by this. And Alak quickly shuffles away from the conversation when it turns into what a willing sex partner his mother was (actually I think they missed a chance here – Castithan are very overtly sexual, there’s no indication that Alak would be grossed out by the idea of his parents being sexual).

Nolan leaves with some threats and T’evgin stops any criticism from his daughter before she even starts. Still later they do have it out. T’evgin points out Omec culture supports many partners though they haven’t live traditionally since there’s only the two of them (which also says T’evgin and Kindzi have had sex – uckies and incest AND sexual assault since he’s her commander.) Kindzi is furious because her dad didn’t tell her – and honesty has always been a major part of their relationship. Rather than address that, he calls Stahma entertainment and not important. And they kiss, and probably have sex

In town we hear that some of the Votan residents aren’t all that concerned with a VC attack – and Datak and Stahma plot to leave the city. Stahma is, for once, very much out of her element and despairing a little, she also hates the idea of leaving without Luke – while Datak, much more streetwise and used to living without resources, plans for a way out. Stahma, going against a lot of what we’ve seen these past 2 seasons, says she married well.

Stahma, however, may have her own plan since she has a hidden stash. One of the guards finds her and since he doesn’t buy her helpless act (which absolutely no-one in Defiance should believe by now), she has no choice but to brutally stab him.

Datak, meanwhile, turns to Yewl who is at her snarky best! Datak encourages Yewl to come with them since she certainly owes the town nothing but Yewl has been thinking, even about the skinning thing. To Amanda all lives are equally valuable, so if it means hurting Yewl to save a life, even an Omec life, she will do it for the sake of that life. She also snarks about her braid which means the writers have DEFINITELY been listening to fandom.

Yewl agrees to help, but they spot Nolan following so Datak ends up distracting them and being captured to save Stahma. In the lawkeeper’s office, Datak tells Nolan his whole story of being forced to work for Rahm for Alak, but Nolan decides while this is plausible it still doesn’t explain him becoming an agent for Rahm (it doesn’t?) So they decide to use extreme measures – and Nolan dramatically threatens to kill Alak until Datak begs and pleads for his life, telling them he knows nothing because he had no choice, throwing out dignity for his only son

And yes it is pretence because Alak is on this as well. Oh Alak, when Stahma and Datak are done with you it will so not be pretty. Datak falls into hysterical laughter.

Back at his house, Alak and Irisa have a cute moment with Irisa being all sweet looking after baby Luke.

While Stahma has sneaked into Amanda’s office to hold her at gunpoint to take her hostage so she can escape. Amanda attacks “you’re a terrorist” “I’m a mother who loved her son.” Of course Amanda has grudges against Stahma over Kenya’s death already. Their fight is pretty epic. And Stahma may be in a figure hugging dress but she still wins because STAHMA. Stahma makes a point about choosing not to kill Amanda despite being able to – though Stahma has been stabbed in the fight. She leaves – and goes to T’evgin

Alak is in the Need Want ordering whiskey in French for some reason so he and Nolan can talk about fatherhood and being bad fathers.

Nolan goes back to the prison to have the same discussion with Datak who asks how many people he’d kill for Irisa and honour Rafe’s sacrifice.

Over at Rahm’s camp we have another melodramatic cheesey speech (I kind of like his cheesiness) and his Irathient wife Volubela arrives which calls for a party.

While the reunion may be happy, she’s there to try and bring him home at the behest of the Vice-Chancellor of the VC. He’s gone rogue. She’s really unhappy but the innocent humans – especially children – that Rahm has left in his wake and the last thing the VC want is another planet-destroying Pale War. She is also clearly revolted by his perpetuating genocide – and doesn’t think their kids will agree either

He seems to be tempted and listen to her – but as they have sex he keeps looking at the severed heads of the humans he’s slaughtered.

He then begs for her forgiveness, tearfully – he’s killed her and he rants in an increasingly unhinged fashion. He tells his men she was an assassin sent by the humans.

Stahma’s EPIC take down of Alak requires so much praise. She’s usually so gentle and manipulative but damn she has lines and this was a major one. I also liked how she was not only outraged by Alak’s attack and disrespect of her and everything she’s done for him but also angry that he doesn’t acknowledge’s Christie’s own sacrifice.

Of course, Alak is now quickly cementing himself as least-favourite person and Stahma will have to hurt him. I really wished he had listened to her awesome rant – and now he simply has to be horribly mauled.

Stahma and Datak – I am looking at that line “I married well.” Of course, in many ways she didn’t. We have seen Datak as very abusive, cruel, sexist and generally a terrible person who has caused his wife and child a lot of problems. But from a practical stand point for resources? She married s man who has skills and experiences she does not. This goes back to when we first learned about Datak and Stahma’s marriage, how she rejected a husband from her own class to marry the more ruthless, streetwise Datak from a much lower class. Whatever affection they show – and whatever antagonism – on some level Stahma chose Datak because he was a resource. So when she says “I married well” when we have both his declaration of devotion AND his clear demonstration of his valued skills, then there’s two possible meanings to what she says. And both may be true.

An element I don’t like – Rahm’s chosen slur against humans is “pink meats” and is highly problematic. It’s a slur based on skin tone – which is expressly aimed at white people. This not only cuts across the actual history of skin tone based slurs but it also reduces humanity to white people only (to add to this – he’s from the Votanis Collective which is primarily based in South America).. His slur for ALL HUMANITY is a phrase that expressly applies only to white people.

And that’s aside from the fact that the Irathients and Liberata don’t have all that different skin tones from humanity.

T’evghin and Kindzi – woo-woo is not an excuse. We have a man who has sex with his daughter while also being her commanding officer AND while also being more powerful because his species grows more powerful with age. The power differential here is huge, the consent far too whispy to be remotely supportable.

I also think they’ve failed at Omec culture – if they really are a culture with no real value in monogamy, then why even the suggestion of jealousy? Why would that be a relevant emotion to this alien culture?