Defiance S2E12 Review: All Things Must Pass

Tarr-tiedA slow build to the finale begins, some unfortunate truths come to light, and the Tarrs steal the show, as always. But you already expected that, right? How about kidnappings? They’re what’s trendy this week, so read on for more.

Stahma and Datak have been having fun, it seems, as we open. I guess the machinations of their daughter-in-law got them all hot and bothered. Datak tries (less than subtly) to get back into the house, but Stahma tries to lay down some terms before he can come home. And at long last, Datak realizes that Stahma is willing to use sex as a tool to get what she wants, and that includes with him! He’s a bit of a slow learner. They get to fighting pretty vehemently until Stahma leaves, at which point she’s almost immediately captured by shadowy forces. Their conversation beforehand seems to imply the gang members might be behind it, but that turns out to be a red herring.

It's still not clear to me if this is literally Irisa, or an ancestor of hers, or what.

It’s still not clear to me if this is literally Irisa, or an ancestor of hers, or what.

Nolan is still dragging Tommy through the woods, trying pretty hard to keep him awake. The sheer amount of flashbacks involving Tommy doesn’t look good, though. Little known fact, but untimely flashbacks are one of the leading killers of critically injured fictional characters. He also takes out Irisa’s diary, which has a sketch of that guy Mordecai from episode 7. Tommy, just barely maintaining consciousness, tells Nolan that this guy is probably the only person who can stop Irisa, and Nolan’s gonna get right on that as soon as Tommy stops dying. So, since we’re talking about him, the camera finds Mordecai, who has a complete vision of the crash of the Kaziri from roughly 3,000 years ago. It shows a bunch of the little life pods that Sukar and the others were encased in last week being dropped over Earth, including two that form around the Irisa and Mordecai doppelgangers.

Pottinger and Amanda, meanwhile, are having some kind of weird domestic moment, where he makes dinner for her and tries to talk her into traveling to Europe, because he can pull the strings to get that done. His conspicuous absence in the last episode really makes it feel like there’s a piece missing here; it’s still not clear, at the moment, what he told her in the mine. Even one or two brief scenes with him could have helped patch this hole up, but no. Clearly it wasn’t a confession, at any rate. But all this isn’t just an ordinary date for these two–no, he has yet another surprise.

Pilar visits Rafe, who is still imprisoned in Camp Reverie. Linda Hamilton does as good of a job as I’d hoped she would in these last few episodes, which makes this otherwise totally unnecessary character a lot more interesting. They discuss the lies he told, and he begs her to get help, but she leaves. Quentin stayed in the car, for obvious reasons. It’s now that we return to Datak and Stahma as they come to, tied together in an abandoned grain silo. They don’t waste much time before getting back to fighting, however. The walls are starting to come down, though; Stahma wishes she’d have stayed with Kenya, and Datak stubbornly insists he has not and will not learn anything. As always, they are by far the most interesting characters around, and even tied up manage to dominate the scenes they’re in.

Poor Doc even expects her own hallucinations to cheat her--and she does.

Poor Doc even expects her own hallucinations to cheat her–and she does.

Doc Yewll is talking to and somehow playing cards with her hallucinatory Lev, having not removed her malfunctioning ego implant from episode 5. It’s a pretty entertaining back and forth, but Yewll is growing concerned as it becomes clear the food is going to run out long before Datak comes back to resupply. Lev talks her into attempting to return to the surface.

Nolan just can’t keep Tommy awake, and decides it’s time for some drastic measures. He heats up a knife and cauterizes that flashback right out of him. I feel like these flashbacks are a feeble attempt at giving Tommy some of the characterization he really didn’t get much of this season. Really, all he had going on was hating Nolan for taking his job and trying to first resist and then help Irisa. None of that really helped him to grow, however; all his character change took place offscreen between seasons, and none of these flashbacks will change that. The wound stops the bleeding, and Tommy somehow manages not to pass out from the pain. Now it’s just a matter of dragging him back to town… right? You do have to hand it to Nolan, though, the man has some serious willpower when he sets his mind to something. You can tell he’s about ready to drop himself, but he pulls Tommy all the way back to the front gates.

This ended up being a serious "Yank the dog's chain" moment. To get him all the way to the gate...

This ended up being a serious “Yank the dog’s chain” moment. To get him all the way to the gate…

Datak and Stahma have calmed down some now, the former announcing his regret for the mean things they’d been yelling at each other earlier but insisting that he is capable of changing and treating her as an equal. It’s an interesting way of forcing some honesty out of them, although you wouldn’t guess it. Their relationship has always been the most complex; sometimes it seems like the writers spend all day discussing these two, only to realize as clock-out time comes along that they haven’t spent much time on the others. This seems to be setting them up as a power couple should the show continue on, and I think we can all get on board with that.

Yewll and Lev stumble upon the wreckage of the Kaziri as they wander aimlessly through the tunnels. Yewll wants to go warn people of what this ship is capable of, but Lev starts trying to talk her into letting it happen and climbing into one of these pods. Now, we’ve seen Yewll is pretty well concerned with her own survival above all else, but it seems sitting aside allowing genocide to happen is where the line is drawn. As Lev continues trying to talk her out of it, it becomes clear that the Kaziri‘s AI Arkbrain has hijacked the ego to communicate with Yewll. So, she rips it out of the back of her own neck and sets off for the surface. Pilar meets up with Christie, and they reunite. It seems very sweet and very irrelevant.

Amanda tries really hard not to be awful and the entire planet conspires against her.

Amanda tries really hard not to be awful and the entire planet conspires against her.

Pottinger drives Amanda outside of town and reveals to her that he has found the people responsible for killing Kenya. And given who we saw captured earlier, it’s a safe bet that he’s found the truth, via Raiga. He hands Amanda a pistol and leaves her alone with the Tarrs. Datak tries to deny it, then tries to take the blame by saying that he killed Kenya in a fit of rage over her relationship with Stahma. Finally, as Amanda makes it clear what she plans to do, he simply asks that if she kills Stahma, to kill him as well. Stahma, for her part, seems willing to accept judgment. I think that the guilt from finding out Kenya’s murder was totally senseless might have been getting to her. Amanda won’t do it, however, and she’s pretty pissed at Pottinger for even putting her in this situation, despite how much she wants to follow through. If there was any doubt before, let it be known now that Amanda is, by far, the most morally “good” character on the show. She has them released, and they decide to try both changing for the better. How… sweet? Maybe? I never know quite how to feel about them. But once they get back to town, Datak joins the “poker” game between his men, and takes them all out with Stahma’s poisoned gloves. Some things never change.

Nolan finally makes it to the gate, but it’s too late. Tommy’s dead, and Berlin’s standing watch, making her the first to see it. I think we all knew she wasn’t really over Tommy, she was just trying to get back at him, and it really shows here. She’s pretty devastated, and it’s a real shame that we don’t get more of her out of these last two episodes.

Irisa levitates some rocks, and they circle around her like the debris belt around Earth. And out in that debris belt, Arks start moving, aiming for New York…

I’ll save further analysis for episode 13. Onward!

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