Defiance S3E12 Review: The Awakening
The episode starts with Datak waking up in the cages, along with the not-so-dead Samir and a number of other minor characters of various alien races, and a few humans, too. Turns out the Omec are weak when they first defrost and need to eat immediately, so standard hunting is off the table and hence Yewll’s brainwashing. Also those cages aren’t on the ship like I thought, but rather just outside of town somewhere. And lucky for everyone in Defiance, Kindzi is only beaming down a few at a time. I still don’t really get why we even bothered with Samir, since he was introduced in episode 4, sat off screen until episode 9, and was then captured and kept off screen again until now. So, he pretty much only has a role to play in 2 episodes, this being one and his introductory episode being the other. And given that most of his dialog here is about what a great guy Nolan is it just makes it feel like his whole character only exists as a tacky attempt to make Nolan more likable. Not gonna work, guys.
While the Omec trot people out of cages and eat them, Datak volunteers once he realizes he can’t get through to Yewll (including some very pointed aggression) and uses the element of surprise to chop some Omec up with a blade hidden in his robot arm. Datak just gets to steal all the cool scenes these days. I daresay it’s one of the dangers of responding to fan favor as a writer; it often feels like the direction of Datak’s character is driven by Twitter as much as the plot. It’s not an inherently bad thing, but it is something you have to be careful of. Nolan, Amanda, Irisa, and Berlin catch up to Doc as she’s trying to bring one of those Omec Datak injured back to town, and pull out the stem, finally freeing her from Kindzi’s control. And to prove it, she blasts the Omec in the back of the carriage. Little different than how Irisa responded to being mind controlled into doing horrible things. Doc leads them back to the Omec camp and they show up in the nick of time to save Samir and free everyone else, too.
Meanwhile Stahma has talked Andina into bringing her to see Alak, who’s been living in the McCawley family home since the entire bloodline has been wiped out. I mean, I guess it is his now, after all. She’s warning him that Kindzi may come for them, except Alak points out the obvious: if Kindzi wants to hurt Stahma by killing her family, then she just saved her a lot of trouble by leading her straight to Alak and Luke! Which is exactly what ends up happening: he sends Stahma away, only for her to return a while later having been attacked by Kindzi. I think Stahma is just so out of her element at this point that she’s in total panic mode, which really takes a lot. Andina is killed trying to defend baby Luke, without so much as a lingering shot on her dead body to confirm it. I wasn’t even sure she was dead the first time I watched the episode. It kind of renders all the rest of the time spent developing her this season moot, which is unfortunate to say the least. Her character had a lot of potential. And this comes mere seconds after she kisses Alak!
Still, in all the exciting action moments throughout this episode, it’s these scenes between Stahma and Alak that stand out the most. Alak, who’s been manipulated so much, and seen so much manipulation going on around him, that even in a time of crisis he can’t believe his mother’s true intentions. And Stahma, who had so much power last season, having gone through this season being broken down time after time. Her comments on “the nature of loss” actually pack a bit of sting to them; first Kenya, then Christy, and most recently T’Evgin–and that’s just the people who actually died. And while watching the scenes, it’s never quite clear in the moment if she’s being earnest. It’s only after the fact, when her life is actively in danger and she is still doing everything she can to protect her family that we see she really meant it. I suspect that bit came from good direction, just given how it’s shot. I could be wrong on that.
Unfortunately it’s all for naught, as the episode ends with Kindzi holding up baby Luke and getting ready to eat him. Gotta go into that finale on a cliffhanger. It’s a pretty intense episode, definitely a pickup from before. Let’s see how it all wraps up in the finale, “Upon the March We Fittest Die.”