DEFIANCE: Speaking for the Dead

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Defiance 211, “Doll Parts”

[photos: Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy]

When Syfy released the mid-season preview trailer for Defiance, one of the clips showed someone taking a header from the arch, presumably to their death.  It was obviously female, but it wasn’t clear at the time which of the show’s females it was.  Well, now we know.

Deirdre, Alak’s DJ (and blackmailer)/night porter known as Treasure Doll, falls/jumps/is pushed from the top of the arch and doesn’t survive the abrupt landing. To anyone who has watched the show this season, it likely comes as welcome news.  However, Amanda takes it hard and, in the absence of Irisa, takes it upon herself to get deputized to investigate the murder of her some-time prostitute underling when no one else shows an interest in doing so.  She appears to be working her way through all the jobs available in Defiance.  A chunk of this episode takes place in flashback, leading up to Treasure Doll’s demise, mostly instances where Deirdre spoke with Amanda.

Defiance - Season 2

Amanda and Berlin track down the usual suspects.  Or rather suspect: her employer, Alak.  It seems that Deirdre put one of Berlin’s cameras in their radio room and recorded herself seducing Alak and him rebuffing her advances and threatening to kill her (specifically, throwing her from the arch).  We’ve got 2 of the 3 clues necessary to pronounce guilt in a game of Clue.  So Alak gets hauled off to jail, protesting (legitimately) his innocence.  A bloody mike stand is also found under his bed at the Tarr home, but Stahma withholds that from Amanda.

After last week’s threat, it would seem that Stahma would be the most likely candidate for helping Treasure Doll shuffle off this mortal coil, except she hadn’t gotten around to it either.  Distressed by her son in jail and finding herself down a handmaiden since the murder and mutilation of Jalina earlier this season, Stahma offers to take in the daughter of a dying Castithan if he will be the patsy for the murder of Deirdre.  The deal is quickly made, the bloody mike stand produced, and Alak, despite Amanda’s reservations, is out free.

Later, Alak finds a vial of in their bedroom which, in small doses, can be used to terminate a pregnancy. Christie confirms to Alak that she is the one who chucked Deirdre from the arch after Deirdre tried to poison Christie so she would miscarry. In the process of defending herself, she clobbers Deirdre with the mike stand and then shoves her towards a window, which Deirdre obligingly falls out of to her death.  After her admission, Christie forcefully tells Alak not to endanger their child again, before inviting him to join her in the bath (seems just like yesterday, she was all uncomfortable in her metal bikini…).  The look on his face could be considered attraction…but it could also be considered a little bit of shock and horror, too. Now, show of hands, which member of the Tarr household, regardless of race, hasn’t killed somebody yet this season? crickets chirp in the silence

Defiance - Season 2

Meanwhile, Nolan goes out to Irisa’s pilgrimage site, but is caught snooping around by the “saved” Tommy. Nolan antagonizes Tommy to take a shot at him.  Instead Tommy vomits up the Votan whoziwhatsis that Irisa put into him at the end of last episode. Apparently, it doesn’t like humans. Nolan identifies it as ark-brain nanotechnology specifically from Kaziri, the name of the Ark ship buried underneath Defiance.

Nolan plans to use positronic charges to scramble the ark-brain nano-machines that have infected Irisa’s remaining followers so they can take her back.  However, in order to do that, Nolan has to give Tommy enough time to plant the charges, so he picks a fist-fight with Sukar that doesn’t go quite as planned as Tommy can’t get the charges to work before Nolan gets his butt thoroughly kicked.

Nolan and Tommy manage to knock out Irisa and her followers and then throw Irisa in the back of the roller to head back to Defiance.  Nolan and Tommy bury the hatchet somewhat on the trip back, but Irisa comes to, fries the engine, knocks Nolan out, and stabs Tommy as he tries to appeal to her (but she refuses to harm Nolan in the same manner).  She flees after wounding him. Nolan soon recovers and, seeing the wounded Tommy, fashions a litter to drag him back to Defiance as their vehicle is now kaput.

So we finally start to get some clear inkling of what has really been going on…and it’s delivered with all the matter-of-factness of “It’s…the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man”.  Except it’s more like, “It’s…Kaziri…the long-buried Ark-ship pretending to be a god and planning to wreak destruction and possibly genocide on a grand scale”.  There has been no “Irzu”, it’s been Kaziri all along.  You’d think that would be a slightly important plot point to maybe drive home in a more significant fashion.

Defiance - Season 2

It’s becoming clear that Defiance has sacrificed plot this season (and even last season) in favor of character development, skipping over important overarching story elements so people can yell at each other and cry while leaving the casual viewer in the lurch about what is truly going on.

This episode’s title is taken from the Hole song of the same name.  The episode features the original Hole version at the beginning of the episode, and then a slower cover version by Young Beautiful in a Hurry towards the end over the episode’s montage wrap-up.  The cover version will be released as part of the 2nd volume of music from Defiance to be released later this year.

As for Deirdre, good riddance to her. She was an unlikable character with a tedious personality that never felt more than a jilted lover stereotype. Even with the attention given to her back-story in this episode, it doesn’t make her a single jot more sympathetic because at the end of the day, she’s still a psychopath.

After being ignored for most of this season, Christie has come on strong the last several episodes with her attempts to be more Castithan (the cross-dressing, using the language) bearing dramatic fruit.  It’s not that the McCawleys are strangers to murder (every member we’ve seen regularly has killed at least one person, Christie now included), it’s just that she seemed the least likely, the most meek, but now she’s headed towards full-on Castithan mama bear.  Stahma Jr., if you will. She has leapt to the top of my unofficial “most interesting people in Defiance at the moment” list.

My favorite moment of the episode has to be when Stahma figures out who murdered Deirdre.  The only word I can think of to describe her laughter is “delicious”.

Two episodes left!

Woodchuck sez, “Check it out.”

[Defiance web site at Syfy]     [Previous Recap – “Bottom of the World”]

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