Sunday, August 16, 2015

Defiance, Season 3, Episode 11: A Demon in my View

The prison transport carrying Nolan and Irisa has crashed/exploded/had badness happen. Berlin comes across the wreckage, strewn with bodies. She finds one survivor: Irisa.

Nolan is missing but alive (as Irisa knows because of the alien tech in her head) though he has been taken by someone. Why is Berlin around? Well she was heading back to Defiance when the VC attack was over and now wanted to help Amanda in the aftermath of Nolan shooting people. She’s also not impressed with the “not in his right mind” excuse since Irisa used the same reasoning for killing Tommy. Irisa tells her about the attack but it’s a pretty sparse description

Looking at the bodies, Irisa realises some of them have been killed by an Omec (or the same “animal” attacks that they had in Defiance.

T’evgin himself has been captured by Kindzi who is now draining his blood to stop him escaping because he’s so super powerful. She also maintains that whole sexual/family sexual thing that makes them so very very creepy.

Kindzi is also the one behind Nolan’s kidnapping – she’s brought him to her lair and is having Yewl check him over. Despite being controlled Yewl is still snarky. Kindzi has taken Nolan as abet because he’s oh so special. I’m with Yewl “why him”. When Kindzi talks about his beauty, Yewl points out she’s a lesbian. She also makes a very unsnarky but still quite brutal summation of how sickening Kindzi is (though unfortunately linking it to mental illness, because otherwise that would be an epic take down). Kindzi gets rid of her and decides to remove the arc tech from Nolan’s head herself.

Which Irisa also feels on the road. She feels pain and then Nolan disappear.

When Nolan wakes up Kindzi is there to lie about why he rescued Nolan – claiming that Irisa is in on the plan and is currently giving them a cover story in Defiance. And now it’s sexy time.

Afterwards she praises him for brutal random murders but he says he was actually being possessed at the time and hallucinating. The Omec know all about it – they have a “warrior echo” that keeps telling them to kill people even when common sense says no. Nolan plays nice and tries to act like everything is normal but Kindzi clearly sees through his plan to escape and tases him.

When he’s all chained up she explains how he no longer gets to be her special valued pet and now gets to be snack food. This is interrupted by Irisa and Berlin arriving looking for Nolan. Kindzi tells them that Nolan and T’evgin are on the run because T’evgin loves the “lesser races” and hates the Votanis Collective so liked Nolan killing the Castithan vice-chancellor. As cover stories go, it has a few holes in it, it has to be said. She invites them to search. And find nothing

Nolan gets himself free though and finds T’evgin all imprisoned and blood donating – as well as a Yewl growing vat. I think a world filled with hundreds of Yewls will be both awesome and terrifying. T’evgin tells him their history as Nolan frees him – how he and Kindzi had followed the Votan arcs since they knew it would lead them to a liveable planet; on a personal note he tells how he was completely obsessed with hatred and vengeance and how he taught Kindzi that – infected her with it. He considers himself a bad father but Nolan, tellingly, can see the point, how anger kept Kindzi going (with some nice, subtle clearly he’s thinking of himself and how he raised Irisa subtext)

Kindzi interrupts before T’evgin is free and again plans to chow down on Nolan – but now Irisa arrives. This lady just can’t eat in peace, no wonder she’s in such a bad mood. Irisa can’t take down Kindzi but an axe she throws goes past T’evgin – and he catches it. Kindzi quick turns to bargaining with T’evgin.

It doesn’t work and Nolan and Irisa leave them to fight. T’evgin has lost a lot of blood but still wins – and returns her to the sleep pod and to swear to obey. When she swears he lets her go – and she stabs him in the neck. Nolan and Irisa leaves as she grieves over her dad.

We have a flashback – to 1978 in the Omec arc a long way from Earth with T’evgin looking for the world the Votans have fled to while Kindzi disappears – until they find human radio signals and celebrate.

At home, Stahma and Datak are playing cards and snarking at each other about T’evgin and Kindzi – Stahma rightly points out that Datak’s nastiness is because of his jealousy over T’evgin. Stahma both points out how T’evgin helped and protected her and is due respect and affection – but also that she only loves Datak.

They’re supposed to be waiting for T’evgin to come and tell them it’s safe –or Kindzi to come and kill them. Datak gets his troops together – but here we can clearly see how the Tar reputation has fallen. They’ll fight for his money but they’re not loyal to him any more – and it’s not only the whole arch-blowing up thing. Datak killing his old crew because they sided with Stahma also hasn’t gone down well. Further evidence of how low they’ve fallen is how much back talk Datak puts up with.

Stahma certainly isn’t thrilled to be left alone with them and Andina – but Datak is leery that Yewl has disappeared. In addition to his friendship with Yewl he also thinks she’s the only one who may know how to actually kill an Omec since they’re damn tough. In response to Stahma’s worry Andina asks to be armed so she can fight for Stahma.

Later Stahma shows Andina how to weave while they talk about baby Luke and Alak. Andina is sad though – she loves how close she’s come to the Tarrs but once they are past the crisis she, a handmaiden, will be relegated to being a servant again. Stahma suggests elevating herself through marriage to the Shanje Liro  – and pokes her towards Alak. And Andina will, of course, totally get Alak to forgive Stahma and let her see the baby. Stahma is impressed.

Datak finds Yewl (“I’ve been looking for you everywhere.” “I haven’t been everywhere.” Oh Yewl) clearing up lots of blood, blaming it on a horrible new plague. She claims she has a vaccine for it which she gives to Datak – allowing her to knock him unconscious. Another part of the Omec – well Kindzi’s plan

Berlin goes to town to tell Amanda about the “raid” that kidnapped Nolan only Amanda is very much NOT Berlin’s biggest fan at the moment. Amanda springs into action when she hears what happened to Nolan – but her first instinct isn’t rescue but about Defiance. If Kindzi’s attack didn’t fool Berlin and Irisa then it’s not going to fool the VC who are still waiting for Nolan to arrive for some vengeance killing and may show up asking why Amanda is faking Nolan’s disappearance and protecting the “Butcher of Yosemite.”

She takes some of Nolan’s personal effects to the raid site and burns the bodies so they can properly fake his death. Only then does she soften a little towards Berlin with Berlin promising to hang around as long as Amanda needs.

Back to Kinzi - and T’evgin’s… funeral I guess. Which involves cutting him open and painting blood about and eating his heart. Kindzi then goes to her arc and wakes her fellow Omec (amusingly announcing that she speaks in English and announces it as the language of their new world – but how they understand her remains a mystery). She speaks of conquest and the Dread harvest. Datak is already in a cage on the ship.

I do like Datak and Yewl because they seem to have genuinely built a… mutual understanding if not friendship. They work well together, even if it is generally very one side. He’s such an excellent target for Yewl’s snark. I also like Yewl’s clear remark about being a lesbian – it’s a small thing, but Season 2 had a lot of the characters be shown as bisexual (as well as some heavy hinting with others) – but this season has pretty much buried any LGBT presentation; those characters established as bisexual or lesbian have kept quiet and outside of relationships (or in relationships with the opposite sex) and the only indication of any same-sex desire we’ve had is the much more dubious Omec declaration of the slaves they have “loved” and eaten.

Andina – definitely cheering this. It’s so easy to relegate serving staff to background set decoration but that misses so much of Andina’s history, especially how she was desperate and first came to serve the Tars. It’s excellent to see she does have ambition and hopes and is willing to use a little craftiness to get ahead - oh she’s not as adapt as Stahma (but who is?) but it’s like seeing a baby Stahma in training. Her methods are severely limited by the classist and misogynist culture they live in, but within those limits it’s nice to see her working to achieve more than just being a loyal servant. And Stahma is clearly willing to apprentice her.

I do like the way this show handles world building of all these aliens – little things like T’evgin telling Kindzi to fight with honour not in her “second skin” gives a little insight to their shapeshifting. Or how they’ve talked about the Indogene and made it clear the Omec created them without ever sitting down and saying so – lots of information is delivered in a very natural way without any character clumsily info dumping to us.

Amanda continues to be an excellent character even if she only appears briefly here – her dedication to Defiance first and foremost is all. It’s not to say she isn’t emotional and doesn’t care about people but, ultimately, Defiance matters first and is her first thought and concern.