Television & Film

No Respect for DEFIANCE

Episode 104 “A Well Respected Man”

[photos by Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy]

So, after only four episodes of a somewhat mediocre show, Syfy has announced that Defiance will get a second season. Which really isn’t such a surprise, given that they’ve spent so much money to make the show one really big high-falutin’ advertisement for the video game.

I find myself putting off recaps for this show because I just don’t have it in me to go over it again after watching it. Because I have yet to care about anyone on this show. They’re all one-dimensional stereotypes living in a stereotypical post-apocalyptic city wearing stereotypical clothes and falling into the same stereotypical traps that we’ve seen over and over again (and done better in other places).

But, OK. … here we go.

This week, we find out Mayor Amanda (who’s apparently not really mayor but we’ll get to that in a minute) raised her sister Kenya after Mom got killed in the war. Even though we don’t see a body, it’s accepted as fact that Mom’s dead. Amanda gave Kenya a St. Christopher off a dead soldier, calling it a “Saint Finnegan” because that was the soldier’s name.

Kenya, meantime, has stumbled across a drug operation while trying to straighten out one of her girls, who’s been stealing from the clients. Kenya and Tirra get snagged by the Bioman — who gets the name Ulysses in this episode — who takes them to the drug farm run by Meeko. Meeko is not pleased to have Kenya in his company, as she’s someone who would actually be missed. You know, since she runs the local bar & brothel. Ulysses is suddenly the sad puppy dog creature, and as a result loses any interesting qualities as a character. I liked the Fezzik version better. And when he was just “the BioMan” who pummeled people, he was more of a credible threat. Now he’s just the misunderstood Frankenstein’s Monster.

Tired. I’m ready for Longmire to come back.

Sheriff Carter Nolan makes a big gun-running bust, makes it very difficult for Datak to make his gun-running operation to stay operating, which makes the town council hopping mad because they made a deal under the table to get guns now that the big shiny defense screen is kaput. Only nobody thought to inform the Not-Really-Mayor Amanda. Why? Because she’s the young kid in the group, because she’s appointed. And the show swerves into another tired trope.

Look. I get that we’re going to see some of the same elements in shows. But this show has taken every single trope (it seems) and put them on a wall for the writers to select from every week in a “Trope Mashup” that sets my teeth on edge.
Kenya and Tirra get sent through a maze to get them amped up so their adrenaline can be harvested to make this drug. And we get a Volge impersonating a Terminator before we learn that it’s all a manufactured dream and they’re inside the Matrix and they’re really strapped into beds in Maco’s lab. And Kenya realizing it is enough to let her wake up from a drug-induced coma and not two seconds later accurately aim a firearm.
OK. Sure. Whatever.
The 90210 part of the show has us watching Datak maneuver into getting placed onto the town council in exchange for helping locate Kenya. Which he does by … what? Taking Nolan to some guy who knows exactly where they are? Could Nolan not find this guy on his own, using … I don’t know… his resources as sheriff?
And McCauley has a bit of a tiff with his still-alive son, who wants to work the tunnel started by not-alive son. McCauley doesn’t want any part of it, and after a father-son “you don’t respect me” riff (right out of every Teen Angst program invented by the CW) McCauley finally tells kid about the Mystery Gold MacGuffin he found in not-alive son’s drawers. So they go down into the tunnel and find.. cave paintings? Where is this going?
So, Datak’s now on the town council, thanks to some clever manipulation by Datak’s wife. And really, Jaime Murray is bringing her A-Game, but how can anyone not see right through her? She’s so obvious in what’s she’s doing. At least Nolan’s got her figured out. We’ll see where that goes.

Random Observations:

  1. I hate the Axe spots. hate them hate them hate them hate them. This does not teach people to have respect for our space program.
  2. Melodrama doesn” make a good story in and of itself.
  3. hailer, scrip, shtako, adreno — I think this show creates words just to make it seem like Firefly
  4. I’m really tired of seeing post-apocalyptic science fiction.  Really.
  5. This show feels like it was written for the 14-year-olds who play the game. Or at least, Syfy thinks 14-year-olds play the game, so they’re writing for that group. O’Bannon knows better than this, doesn’t he? This is the same guy who did Farscape, isn’t it?
  6. Oh, crap. Another montage with music.
  7. I’m still waiting for Deputy Anthony to die.

[Official site on Syfy]     [Previous Recap: “The Devil in the Dark”]

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

One thought on “No Respect for DEFIANCE

  • One thing I don’t like about Defiance is that they keep trying to use sex appeal to draw viewers, like a lot of cable and network TV shows. That part really turns me off.

    Defiance, why do you need an average of two sex scenes per show to try to get ratings?

    Like you, I’m also waiting for the show to develop into something decent.


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