Friday, June 19, 2015

Defiance is one of those shows that believes killing your darlings makes for visceral television. I suppose they are not wrong.

Here's your one and only spoiler alert because I really want to talk about all those deaths on SyFy's Defiance last week.

As you may or may not know, the two-hour season three premiere of Defiance came out swinging, and by that, I mean some characters I kind of liked ended up dead. Up to this point, I thought that "most" of the major characters would be safe since the only real death that bothered me occurred in season one when Stahma killed Kenya (Amanda's sister). And to once again get this out of the way, I'm really beginning to hate how George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones has seemed to influence everything in the genre these days. Must we kill our darlings? Must we? Is this the only way a story can resonate with us these days?

To say I wasn't expecting the McCawley family to become the Stark family of the show is an understatement. But within pretty much the span of an hour, Quentin, Christie, and Rafe were killed in a way that almost seemed callous. Rafe found within himself this badass "well of strength" and started taking out the villains that were holding his daughter (who had just given birth) imprisoned. I thought, "Yeah...Rafe is awesome" as he's knifing people in the back and then grabbing their gun and killing like three or four more. And then he gets into the room, grabs his daughter's hand to take her out of there, and gets shot dead as more reinforcements flow in from outside.

What the hell? And then Christie gets her throat cut by Stahma because Stahma is given this impossible choice between choosing Christie or choosing Datak (Stahma's husband). In the end, Stahma Tarr makes the only choice and kills Christie violently with a knife if only to solidify that she's on General Rahm Tahk's side (the villain causing all of this bloodshed) so that she can bide her time until at some point in the future, the Tarr's can kill all of these horrible people. Defiance, much like Game of Thrones, doesn't have any real heroes. Instead it gives us these deeply flawed and unlikeable antiheroes that are all differing degrees of terrible. With Christie's death, Stahma is officially a mass murderer but I guess if we can get her to kill the right kind of evil people it's not so bad, right? Then she will be the "right kind of terrible."

The only McCawley that survives is Pilar who's played by the veteran actress, Linda Hamilton. I've always liked Hamilton, and she certainly plays a tough protective grandma who ends up kidnapping her grandchild from the now widowed Alak (the baby's father and Christie's husband). I suppose it bears to mention that Hamilton doesn't need the paycheck from Defiance because she had a very public divorce from director James Cameron post-Titanic (Titanic made a ton of money). So you know she's just doing this role because it's fun and she likes the series.

And then there was that "questionable" moment where Doc Yewll got skinned/flayed similar to how Ramsay Bolton goes about flaying his victims. What makes it even worse is that Doc Yewll didn't get a choice, as Amanda and Nolan corner her so that this new character (who is an Omec and who has contempt for Doc Yewll's entire race) can harvest cells that will save his dying daughter (who got herself in the position of dying by being a terrible person). Sure, there's the whole "hook" thing about getting power restored to Defiance (which is the name of New St. Louis) because these Omec have great technologies capable of harvesting their direly needed power source from the old McCawley mines. However, the whole skin harvesting thing really does come across as a rape, and it was very disturbing to watch.

All in all, Defiance is really off to a roaring start because it launched so many potential future story arcs. It's going to be fun to watch the Tarrs exact revenge on Rahm Tahk for killing the McCawley's. In Stahma's words (it could have been Datak that said it), "I may not have liked the McCawleys because they were human, but they were OUR humans." I think when revenge for having to kill Christie finally rolls around, Rahm Tahk's death is going to be pretty sweet. So I guess my Friday nights are now going to be a little funner (especially with SyFy's new lineup of shows). Are any of you watching?


  1. I was stunned by all of the deaths. They certainly took a Game of Thrones approach. Of course, Defiance's cast is only so big - they can't do that often.

  2. Oh how blatant. It works for Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead now everyone will start killing off main characters. I guess they're giving the people what they want. Whatever happened to shows like The Waltons and other family type shows? Some people might actually want that.

  3. I haven't watched that show but I suppose they did that for shock value. You have to walk the line between indiscriminately killing characters like GoT and never killing anyone at all.

  4. I haven't watched this show but my wife nearly threw something at the TV when one of her favorite characters on Game of Thrones recently died.

  5. I got to the end of the episode and decided I'm done. I've never been a big fan, but all those deaths... It's why I don't watch Game of Thrones (that, and I don't have HBO). I know that makes me a bad genre fan. I should enjoy the gritty. But I like my fiction shiny and happy (well, shiny and happy to a point).

    I suppose they're going for "realism". Bad things happen. Our characters can't be immune. But there comes a point where I'm just cringing, and I'd rather spend my time enjoying my stories.