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DEFIANCE: In the Future…There Shall be Cross-Dressing

207, “If You Could See Her Through My Eyes”

[photos: Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy]

At the top of the episode, we find Datak Tarr getting sexual gratification in the arms of one of his former Castithan servants, Jalina.  It seems he’s going in for a little role-playing by having her say her name is Stahma as he aggressively has sex with her.  The next morning, she’s found dead on his stoop, with her eyes removed.  Stuck with corpse of Jalina, Datak enlists the help of his comedic foil Rafe McCawley to dispose of it, while Stahma goes to Nolan to launch an investigation into her disappearance.  Jalina’s body is conveniently eaten by a hellbug.

Defiance - Season 2

Datak confronts Stahma about Jalina’s murder.  She denies it, so Datak and she decide to find the perpetrator and bring him to their version of justice.  Meanwhile, another townie, the local school teacher Lambert, shows up at Doc Yewll’s needing eye drops his new “contact lenses”, which just to happen be violet Castithan corneas.  Yewll fingers him for Rafe and Datak, who confront him and learn that Lambert wanted his new eyes for his Castithan cross-dressing at the Janus Club.  Lambert gives up the name of the doctor he got the corneas from.

Meanwhile, Rynn is strapped to a chair as Dr. Scheck, one of the other doctors in town and our eyeball thief, prepares to remove her eyes. He manages to remove one eye and is headed back for the other before Nolan and Irisa find him. Scheck stabs Irisa with a pair of scissors and flees. Once in the street, Rafe and Datak quickly find him. Scheck pleads for mercy (as Scheck was trying to make money for his daughter who has polio), but apparently he forgot he was dealing with Datak, who grabs Scheck’s head and gouges out his eyes before trussing him up for the law.  The wounded Irisa tells Nolan to follow Scheck and he finds Scheck in the street with Datak and Rafe, before he is joined momentarily by a now unwounded Irisa, of which Nolan takes note (particularly in light of other recent episodes of her healing quickly and acting strangely).

Defiance - Season 2

Viceroy Mercado and Amanda Rosewater have a sit down, with Mercado dangling the mayor’s office in front of her while Niles Pottinger is exiled up north.

Concurrently, Irisa is having flashbacks of time spent on an Arkship, in the presence of an Irathien male whose picture she draws in her notebook.  These visions seem to be triggered when Irisa injures herself.   The Irathien Rynn returns to town, looking for Sukar who has apparently gone missing since Irisa put the whammy on him several episodes ago.  Rynn recognizes Irisa’s picture as Cai (short for Mordecai), an Irathien lawyer in town to do business who is decidedly less Irathien than any we’ve met before (played by “Sanctuary’s” Robin Dunne). For example, he wears suits, looks like he bathes regularly, and is Jewish. Irisa immediately accosts him, as is her way, but he doesn’t recognize her.

After Rynn is saved by Nolan and Irisa, Irisa kisses Cai, which causes another flashback of her and Cai taking control of an Arkship with the two halves of the weapon now located inside Irisa.  Overwhelmed, Cai gets on the land coach to get out of town.

In the always stormy Tarr household, Alak confronts his wife Christi over the gem she received at the cross-dressing party she attended last episode.  It’s a Castithan courtship jewel that is not commonly available and Christi doesn’t have a convincing lie as to why she is in possession of one.  Alak’s human DJ, Deidre, who tried to seduce Alak last episode, has a heart-to-heart with Christi, sharing her backstory (apparently her mother attempted to sell her into sex slavery and Deidre had ambitions far greater than that) and telling Christi that anyone can be anything they want to be if they want it bad enough.

Later however, Deidre is obviously playing both sides against the other, spilling the beans about the party Christi went to.  Alak tracks her down at the Janus Club and finds Christi dancing with Viceroy Mercado, both of them dressed up as Castithans.  Christi explains that she dresses up to be more like Alak’s family, to fit in at their home, to be beautiful and strong like his mother, which horrifies Alak.  They fight and Alak storms out of the club.  Mercado consoles Christi, shares his theory on how Castithans are not the level of evolution as the primary life-form of earth, and asks her to rejoin him on the dance floor.  She agrees and asks that he call her “Stahma”.  Alak goes to drown his sorrows at the Need-Want and Deidre seduces him at the club.

Defiance - Season 2

Our end-of-episode musical montage is set to Mercado singing in English and Castithan at the Janus Club, while Datak and Stahma hold a memorial for Jalina.  Nolan violently confronts Irisa, as he cuts her hand to watch her heal,  and Alak and Deidre at the Need-Want.

A quieter episode, with a significantly smaller body count than last week (that’s not hard to do), this week’s focus is spent on the cross-dressing subculture that has developed in Defiance, with people resorting to permanent body modification to fit in.  It has echoes of contemporary trends, such as plastic surgery to “westernize” the eyes of girls in some Asian countries or adopting different modes of dress and speech patterns, with the show reflecting the same amount of inherent awkwardness that its real life counterpart engenders (Mercado, in make-up, doesn’t ever not look very strange).  This is Christi’s only arc this season and it’s hard to know where it’s going to pay off at this point (and this particular tangent doesn’t seem nearly as strong as some of the other character arcs this season, such as Stahma’s rise to power).  It’s more titillating than compelling at this point.

I liked the addition of Robin Dunne to this episode.  Hopefully we’ll see more of the Cai character soon.  He steals every scene he’s in with little bits of stage business.  On the other hand, the other new-ish character, Deidre, is telegraphed a mile away as she works to force Alak and Christi apart.   I’m already bored with her.  I was glad, however, to have Nolan finally confront Irisa, even if it was only during the closing montage.

The aserbic Doc Yewll, who has become my favorite of the regular characters, has a great line this episode, when Datak asks for her help in removing Jalina’s body: “There are two types of friends in this world: the kind that helps you hide a dead whore…and me.”  She gets all the best zingers.

This episode marks the halfway point of the season.  This episode ended with the season 2 trailer that was shared at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con which shared tidbits of forthcoming events, including the arrest of Rafe McCawley, Berlin discovering something down in the mine, someone falling to their death from the top of the arch, and Amanda Rosewater getting herself some revenge.  In addition, the panel also shared (SPOILERS) that Mia Kirschner’s character Kenya, who was apparently poisoned by Stahma at the end of last season, is still alive.

Woodchuck sez, “Check it out.”

[Defiance web site at Syfy]     [Previous Recap – “This Woman’s Work”]

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