Defiance S3E9 Review: Ostinato in White
T’evgin shows his commitment to peace through killing, While Nolan enters a self-destructive spiral a little too rapidly. Everyone’s mad at him, which normally would be fine. The only problem is… this is the one time he doesn’t actually deserve it!
Very exciting teaser to start off the episode, with Doc Yewll being hunted and finally captured and eaten by some monster… but when it comes time to examine the body, Doc walks out and starts the autopsy. Definitely a great way to spark some intrigue, but we’ll come back to this one.
Last episode saw Nolan’s rag-tag militia killed in one hit (except for main cast, naturally) and everyone’s blaming him for that. Yeah, maybe he shouldn’t have been so quick to trust a random stranger no one had seen before, but the situation was admittedly desperate and he took a chance. It’s one of those things where had it worked, he’d be the hero, but since it didn’t, he’s the outcast now. And he’s beating himself up over it as well, having missed his redemption opportunity in suicide last week, now reduced to getting drunk on the job, ignoring his hailer, and offering his life to the hotshot Irathient kid Zero’s father. I think we all knew that kid was doomed from the moment he set foot on screen; he was just too obviously set up to be the tragic loss and represent the high cost of this battle. I just figured he’d be the face of the soldiers who died in battle, not the entire army getting wiped out before they even had the chance to fire a shot. And of course, Zero’s father ends up killing himself to put another life on Nolan’s conscience.
Where this becomes a problem is that, well… Nolan doesn’t always have a problem with innocent people dying or with people sacrificing themselves. He didn’t think twice about poor Churchill, for example, although maybe we can write that one off as just general racism against Biomen. He roughs up people all the time based on his assumptions when it comes to investigating, and never apologizes afterward, which is pretty common for TV cops in general, but sets a low bar. He destroyed evidence that implicated the miners in the deaths of E-Rep soldiers last season and was willing to let the culprit go. Not to mention his entire backstory, which they continually remind us of this season by having the VC address him as “The Butcher of whatever” and generally bringing up his war crimes. He does suggest it might be because of how close he came to losing Irisa because of his own mistakes, but that rings hollow since it happens constantly. So let’s think about why he’s suffering so much today. Is it because these are people under his command? Does he feel like he hesitated, in a manner similar to when his sister died? Hell, he did try to catch the grenade himself. He did everything he possibly could. Literally the only mistake here is putting a stranger in charge because of his apparent experience. Is he upset for trusting someone he shouldn’t have? That’s my best guess; Nolan never really trusts anyone so having it come back to bite him the one time he does will obviously hit hard. He also doesn’t have an enemy to channel this against now, with the E-Rep and VC both gone and Datak dead (as far as he knows), so the only person left to beat up is himself. This is far from over, though, so we’ll no doubt see it in the coming episodes.
Back to Doc’s situation, her autopsy (with help from Samir, the first time we’ve seen him since he was rescued and introduced) leads her to the conclusion that this must involve the Omec, so she goes down into the mines to investigate on her own. Surprise! She’s right, the alien species best known for eating the other alien species is the one responsible for killing and eating the deceased alien. Excellent detective work, Doc. It isn’t all of them, rather, but just Kindzi, who’s decided it’s her right to eat Votans and was practicing her hunting skills by cloning Doc Yewlls (from the skin Amanda and Nolan took to heal Kindzi, in fact) and tracking them down, although she’s already stepped up to hunting others, like an unfortunate homeless Liberata (putting us 4 for 4 at Liberata characters dying, assuming Rahm Tak’s assistant was vaporized alongside everyone else last episode). This ends up being the last straw for T’evgin, when he catches her with Doc and shuts the whole thing down, but not before Kindzi reprograms Doc to “protect her interests at all costs.” Why didn’t T’evgin do something about this after witnessing it? No idea. Especially since he “kills” Kindzi immediately after witnessing it, sending her back into stasis aboard the ship. But this does go to show how much being in Defiance has affected him, and how much he really means it when he says their plan must change. It does seem to be a sacrifice of some kind, something more than just beaming her back, but exactly what is unclear. Seems like the rest of the season will indeed focus on Omec shenanigans, although where it’s headed is anyone’s guess. Doc’s reprogrammed loyalty seems to be the end of Samir, which makes his character rather pointless and drops the show back to 0 non-white human characters.
Stahma, having been pardoned after Datak’s “sacrifice,” goes back to living in her house, where Andina has been keeping things up and running. Andina seems a little scheme-y herself in these scenes; perhaps she knows exactly what Stahma did to her father in exchange for her service. Why such loyalty? Is it just because it’s the best place to live? All she has left? Or is it a pretense for revenge? Honestly I’d love to see Stahma outmaneuvered by someone like Andina, who’s almost beneath suspicion here. And she’d be totally justified, too. Stahma ends the episode performing the Castithan grieving ritual, which involves henna tattoos and black lingerie because literally everything they do has to be sexy somehow.
I guess next episode will be more of the Nolan self-destruct in “When Twilight Dims the Sky Above.”