Sunday, August 9, 2015

Defiance, Season 3, Episode 10: When Twilight Dims the Skies Above

I’m not even going to recap this damn prologue – I’m so sick of this trope. Shit happens and then we go back 12 hours earlier. I will revisit said shit when it is actually relevant rather than disrupting the sequence of events for some unknown reason which, I presume, involves whiskey.

Nolan is drinking in the Need/Want and sees Stahma and T’evgin enter. His hallucination wants to kill Stahma as a traitor

Stahma is clearly nervous about being out of the shelter of her home and T’evgin is quite sweet and reassuring. In town more of the shopkeepers shun Stahma as a traitor but T’evgin snarls to her defence (and buy her flowers) demanding she is respected. He also wants to talk to her about his people since his ship is nearly refuelled. He doesn’t think he can release his people after what he saw Kindzi do. He thinks about colonising Australia where the Omec will be massacred by the wildlife can study humanity while being isolated from it enough not to go around hunting people and eating them. And he wants Stahma to come with them to help her teach and guide his people. Of course she wants to stay – but T’evgin points out how little she has left in Defiance.

Amanda, with the help of Irisa, finally tacks down Nolan drinking away – they need him because the Votanis Collective has arrived. A big convoy of military vehicles no less. They did ask if they could enter which was nice, and Amanda allowed them because, without the Stasis Net, it’s not like they could be stopped.

They meet Vice-Chancellor Silora Vaske. She’s very polite and introduce Sturuge, her chief of staff – and Datak, alive and well. Stahma looks shocked (and is that disappointment?) before running to his arms.

In the mayor’s office she says what she’s there for – an alliance. Amanda is shocked and points out all the things the VC just did but Silora points out that Rahm Tak was rogue and not sanctioned by the VC. And they’re here to apologise and make nice. She also thought Datak would receive a warmer reception than he is – neither Amanda nor Nolan (or his raging hallucination) are happy that Datak lived (and now has a new mechanical arm). Nolan is so unable to suppress his violent hallucinogenic rage – or his urge to reach for weapons, that Amanda has to kick him out. Silora also kicks out Datak, reminding him he owes her for the very expensive arm he now has as well.

Datak storms out and does manage to vent a little at Sturuge who is unfailingly polite.

Silora explains the situation with Rahm to Amanda and how far he went beyond anything they told him to do, even murdering his own wife. (She also calls Datak a “haint” which Amanda is surprised by but Silora, as a Casti, says “it’s ok when I say it.”) (She also calls Datak a “haint” which Amanda is surprised by but Silora, as a Casti, says “it’s ok when I say it.”). She can offer all kinds of shinies and the main reason she’s doing so is because a whole lot of Votans agreed with Rahm they need some signal of co-operation, them working together. And on that she mentions the Omec with their Harvester in orbit which has thoroughly terrified the VC. And scared Votans do stupid things (Amanda points out that the Votans tried to wipe out the Omec with their arc – which kind of makes Silora’s point)

Silora wants a chance to have a diplomatic meeting with T’evgin. The price for peace with the VC for Defiance is peace between the Omec and VC – so Amanda has to make it happen.

Outside Nola’s hallucinations goad him into a battle with Datak even while Irisa tries to stop him. He ignores Irisa but Datak slaps him down with his new shiny arm and Irisa manages to stop him following.

A worried Irisa goes to see Yewl about how Nolan needs help and Yewl mentions he may be hallucinating because of the Arc tech in his skull. She is very involved in her own project (and hardly owes Nolan anything) so sends Irisa on her way with a drug to “curb his aggression”. With Irisa gone, Yewl continues to try and remove the Omec tech from her neck – and fails.

Of course, Nolan refuses to take his medicine and continues to violently hallucinate. When she tries to inject him he holds her at gun point before leaving.

Datak goes home to Stahma and they have sex, but Datak keeps a glove over his prosthetic arm. Stahma reassures him (she finds “pragmatism” alluring. Oh that is so perfectly Stahma). She takes off his glove to reveal his new arm. They can’t get back to sex because Silora and Amanda come to visit. Stahma greets Silora by her liro (Stahma is Shanje, Silora Valane – 1 step lower) with great politeness, Silora seems to find the who introduction not that important). They want her connection with T’evgin (and slut shame her in doing so).

They demand she make T’evgin attend a reception (lots more slut shaming). When Stahma is reluctant, Amanda threatens to have Datak killed. Alone Datak demands she go to T’evgin but Stahma is afraid of being taken to Australia against her will if it came to it.

Reluctantly she goes to T’evgin and, fearfully, declines to go with him to Australia. T’evgin rages, destroying furniture and telling her of all the Castithan he stole, raped and ate. He roars at her, terrifies her but she still defies him – telling him it’s a new world and his old ways are dead. She reminds him that he punished Kindzi for not knowing this.

She tells him about the dinner but he refuses since they murdered his entire people (destroying the Omec arc) but Stahma, always awesome, points out the Omec slaughtered Votans as well. She makes an excellent speech about leaving old grudges behind and building  new world for his people

Unfortunately, Yewl, under Kindzi’s command uses her cobbled together tech to wake Kindzi up.

At the reception Silora brings a lot of appreciation by bringing coffee. (The Votanis Collective is based in South America) and we learn Silora’s father was the Votan who was murdered and started the Pale wars in the first place.

Nolan decides to go on a violent rampage and search the Chancellor’s apartments. He does seem to fin bomb components in the room.

Stahma arrives at the reception – with T’evgin (much to  Datak’s jealousy which he takes out on Andina). Silora and T’evgin meet and it’s very formal and slightly awkward. Especially when Kinzi arrives with Yewl. More than a little worried, T’evgin tells Stahma to go home and barricade herself inside. She leaves.

Kindzi is planning to kill and eat everyone, not understanding why T’evgin doesn’t join her – but they’re interrupted by Nolan storming in, holding the place at gunpoint and declaring there’s a bomb. He shows his proof to Amanda – and it turns out he was hallucinating again. It’s a normal handbag, not bomb making equipment. Nolan shoots Silora, killing her. Nolan and Irisa leave, chased by the Votanis guards.

Kindzi’s “I’ve just been upstaged” is kind of glorious.

Afterwards Datak approaches Amanda to try and forge some co-operation between them, especially since she may be tempted to protect Nolan. He reminds her that Silora was a rare moderate and the hardliners in the VC will take the excuse to invade, especially since Silora’s dad was also famously murdered (presumably by humans). Amanda tries to point out Nolan is delusion and arc tech etc before Datak points out how little that’s going to matter and what a bad excuse it is.

Their only hope is to hand over Nolan. Amanda, of course, won’t agree to that. Shame. Next up is T’evgin telling Datak to go protect his wife because Kindzi may try to hurt him through the woman he loves

Which isn’t awkward AT ALL

Irisa and Nolan and his highly unwise hallucination are on the run. Irisa manages to drug Nolan before he takes them all down in a blaze of stupidity.

To top it all off, Kindzi uses the drones to capture her dad, it’s mutiny, T’evgin is captured.

The next day Nolan wakes up in the prison – they’re taking him to South America for trial. Amanda offers to go with him but obviously can’t. Irisa has to go because of the brain thing. Amanda does hand a wadge of cash to Irisa so they can escape and go on the run.

I’m actually glad Nolan is hallucinating because of the Arc tech, because the whole “I’m hallucinating because I was traumatised and will now do random things” is a trope and not a great one. It’s another part of the whole “we’ll use mental illness as an excuse because actual motivations are hard.”

T’evgin and Stahma – the whole idea of a woman needing T’evgin to leap to her defence is a shaky, on top of that we have the whitest of white women being defended by the darkest member of the cast, there are parallels. This becomes more skeevy when he basically tries to terrify Stahma into obeying him and coming with her whether she wants to or not.

Which is why it was all the more important for Stahma to win that round - for Stahma to fight to ensure that that was not what their relationship was about. And, while it was at Amanda's orders, not her own will the fact she ended up at the party with T'evgin and Datak shows a powerful look at the control there and how far Stahma has come despite her setbacks: there she was, at the party, on the arm of a powerful man who did not want to be there and on the arm of a man in front of her very jealous husband. Amanda forced Stahma, but in that situation Stahma has taken control

I'm really sad about Silora's death because I wanted to know far more about her story. What we've seen of Castithan culture is extremely misogynist  - yet she rose to high office. That points to an interesting character and story

Amanda has a habit of being scrupulously fair but ignoring context, culture or history in doing so. Like she judges the Votans for destroying the Omec arc – but that completely ignores the fact the Omec have enslaved and literally eaten the Votans for generations. The show is good at remembering that though like Stahma, for all her respect for T’evgin, still sees his offer of going to Australia as being taken away, as the Omec used to.