Sunday, August 2, 2015

Defiance, season 3, Episode 9: Ostinato in White

An Indogene is hunted through the streets, she grabs a weapon to try and protect herself, but something growling and bestial manages to grab her and, apparently, eat her. My money’s on an Omec

The next day and we have a memorial of the people who died during Rahm’s attack while Amanda gives one of her excellent speeches. After her beautiful speech, she asks Nolan to say a few words – but Hindler, the father of the dead Irathient sniper objects – blaming Nolan for his son’s death. Perhaps they should find a new lawkeeper.

Nolan’s, very emotional comment is about how thing go wrong in war. It’s well done, but given the givens he’s still not great as a Lawkeeper. General maybe, not Lawkeeper. His speech is very powerful and emotional and really carries the pain of what he did.

After the meeting T’evgin offers his condolences to Alak who isn’t interested and he has nothing but cruel words for his mother despite T’evgin’s attempt to speak in her defence.

He passes on the message to Stahma who is grieving and conflicted and emotional (this is an excellent episode for high emotion). He tells her about Alak, the funeral organised by Amanda and Datak’s sacrifice. And that she has been pardoned.

Stahma checks to make sure T’evgin isn’t going to kill her for the secret she knows – but he’s sure she won’t since it’s not in her best interest. And she always does what’s in her best interest. Oh he knows her well. She also continues to try and turn T’evgin against Kindzi, pointing out she has vanished. She also wants to know if his family, the people he has in stasis, will follow him or Kindzi. He’s sure Kindzi will be obedient.

Stahma returns home to find Andina scrubbing the word “terrorist” off their doors. Inside they talk painfully of Alak being gone and the dead McCauley family. She warns Stahma that Alak intends to kill her.

At the Lawkeeper’s office, Irisa finds Nolan with Zero’s rifle which he intends to take to Hindler – which is such a bad idea, Irisa thinks so as well and there is emotional hugging. He goes and takes the gun to meet with an angry, painfully grieving Hindler who points a gun at Nolan before tearfully putting it down. It’s a very tense and emotional meeting in which Nolan again admits his guilt and how he isn’t really a general. Nolan also cannot think why Zero is the one who hurts him so much and Hilder appreciates

Meanwhile Amanda has found the dead Indogene – completely dismembered – and takes Irisa to the scene. There’s a brief hope that, with the Stasis curtain down, it’s a wild animal though it’s a long shot. They bag up the pieces and take them to Yewl’s clinic. She greets them with her standard cutting sarcasm

She also still has her apprentice                 Samir the vet (“I was joking did you not pick up on my withering sarcasm.” Oh Yewl, never change. And you don’t need a signal for her sarcasm, Samir – when her lips move you can assume she’s being sarcastic). Samir clues in that Yewl knows the dead (which Yewl repeatedly tries to deflect including one clearly and several kinds of awful hit at racism) but he seems to crack her shell by answering sarcasm with sarcasm.

Analysis of the victim confirms that it’s Yewl. Which is a little off since Yewl is the one doing the examining. This is briefly taken aback by this but she assumes the Omec are behind it (which seems likely due to Kindzi’s previous actions) and she’s hilariously snarky because she’s Yewl. She identifies spores on the body that come from old St. Louis and that the Omec are up to shenanigans. Time to go spelunking. Samir urges her to speak to Nolan and Amanda but, given her past experiences, Yewl is very much not a fan of that plan.

Nolan and Irisa go looking for the “animal” that attacked the Yewl clone and T’evgin joins them, asking if they’ve seen Kindzi. He sees the grisly scene and it looks like he thinks Kindzi is behind it.

Irisa and Nolan track more feral sounds – to find three more mauled victims. And Nolan, in his emotional issues, is very trigger happy. Irisa sends him home, tells him he needs to get his head together – and she does it perfectly.

Nolan deals with his grief by drinking and staring at the pictures of all the people who died under his command on the memorial wall. Having drunk and roared he goes back to the Lawkeeper’s office – where Kindzi is waiting. She tries to seduce him – and it works. They start to have sex on the desk when she hears some roaring thing run by the office. She runs out after it – but it’s gone by the time she gets outside. But at a distance is T’evgin roaring and fangy.

Amanda finds Nolan drunk and incapable and quickly takes his gun off him before he staggers off to see T’evgin. She convinces him to go to the mines to see T’evgin in the morning when sober

Yewl is already in the mines and finds a whole Yewl-making factory with lots of body parts. Kindzi is waiting for her – she’s been using Yewl clones to hunt. She now wants better prey and has a techy-thing that keeps “shape-changers” docile. She puts it in Yewl under threat of death. Once inserted, Yewl becomes incapable of refusing her commands – even preparing to cut off her own hand when ordered to

Until T’evgin arrives to intervene. Yewl tells T’evgin what Kindzi did before Kindzi tells Yewl to go back to town and keep silent. T’evgin is furious at Kindzi for feeding (though another nugget of world building is that that’s why the Omec created Indohenes) and kind of thinks the Votans will frown on this – especially since she killed three more Votans. She calls them “lower races” he calls them “sentient races.”

They have a new argument – him wanting Omec to be better than they were, to build a new society without the harvest which will ultimately lead to their extinction while she wants to stay true to what they are and keep hunting and killing. She continues to defy him and he uses some kind of tech on her which bathes her in red light. He tells her “goodbye.”

Stahma goes to the market and finds she is very unwelcome as a terrorist – though Amanda steps in to help. And to rub in Datak’s death and has a clear promise of further badness for her.

She collects a hung over Nolan and is clearly righteously pissed at him for getting drunk. They go to see T’evgin who tells them there will be no more attacks. He swears there will be no more killings – on his daughter’s life, but won’t tell them more. Nolan demands more, justice for the dead and holds T’evgin at gun point – and hits him. That doesn’t go well for Nolan –he’s thrown across the room and invited to leave.

In the clinic Yewl lies to Samir because of the mind control – and then injects him with something.

T’evgin grieves for Kindzi (now in stasis) while Stahma has her own grieving ritual for Datak (which includes some interesting Castithan insights).

Nolan goes to see Hinder – and finds he has hanged himself. And he seems to start hallucinating.

This episode was an excellent one for perfectly depicted emotion. Amanda, Stahma, Nolan – there’s some excellent and powerful emotion there. After last week I think it was needed to really bring the losses home and to make these characters a stronger part of the struggle and loss, especially since the dead were such small characters

Nolan needs replacing. Between his past and his reputation he is a terrible law keeper because too many of the people he’s supposed to be protecting and policing have massive reasons not to trust him. He’s useful to Defiance as a soldier and as a general – but to be a GOOD police force, you need to be trusted.

Kindzi and T’evgin’s conflict is an interesting one – where their culture is, where it is going and how it will need to adapt in such a cosmopolitan setting and mirrors many of the conflicts we’ve seen with the Castithans on a grander scale. I really like T’evgin, his story and his growth. However there is an issue in that the Omec are feral, animalistic, sexual and cannibalistic – and conspicuously played by Black actors. No, they’re not playing Black people, but that’s a lot of tropes there: it’s also notable that the Omec are notably dark skinned (we have seen the odd Black Irathient but that’s few). Yes they’re not Black people – but they are Black actors playing dark skinned cannibalistic feral aliens which… hmmm..

It would help if there were more POC who are not dead after the McCauley’s died. Which is why I’m glad Samir is back and he grows further. And please don’t let him be actually dead. Other than him every POC actor on this show I see is an alien – and wearing face paint that covers skin tone (Alak, Kindzi, T’evgin).