Defiance S3E13 Season Finale Review: Upon the March We Fittest Die
With an even more final-feeling finale than last year’s, Defiance puts an end to the Omec threat once and for all by having everyone work together for once. Look at that, it only took a potential extinction-level event to get our characters off each others’ throats!
Gotta start off by addressing our cliffhanger from last episode. Stahma begs Kindzi to spare baby Luke’s life, but of course that’s not going to accomplish much. Luckily, Datak made a beeline for his family the second he escapes and gets to stab Kindzi through the head with his robot arm blade, too. He’s pulled this trick too many times, though, so the blade gets stuck, leaving her pinned to the wall. She frees herself quickly enough, but it’s given them time to escape. Kindzi heads back to the other Omec, of whom only seven are still awake and alive, but now without any food after Nolan and company showed up the night before. So Kindzi, having never heard of the dangers of cannabalism, insists they eat their fallen brothers instead! All the other Omec are kind of in this weird place where no one can really confront her, but they all know she’s totally psycho and not to be trusted with the fate of their people. Awkward position to be in, especially when it involves eating your dead comrades.
Amanda, Doc, Irisa, Berlin, and Nolan are all hanging around the jail when the Tarrs show up, with Datak still believing Doc to be under Omec control. They convince him she’s not and now it’s time for everyone to come up with a plan. Pretty simple: beam up and destroy the enemy spaceship from within. Hey, it worked in Independence Day, didn’t it? And Star Wars… and Star Trek 2009… and Star Wars again… anyway, all we gotta do is get up there. Which, naturally, means going down into the mine. I do wonder how these little Omec pod things get in and out of orbit so easily; I mean, the debris ring in orbit is supposed to be so dangerous, how are these tiny pods not getting knocked out of the sky by a loose screw going 20,000 mph? Ah, well.
Unfortunately for Amanda, she gets her stomach cut open by an Omec on the way and has to sit this one out. And that means Irisa has to take her place on the mission. Irisa’s been pretty hesitant about killing any more people all season, and this extends to the Omec even now. Who’d have guessed Irisa would be the only one to take T’Evgin’s message of peace to heart? She ends up going with Datak, Nolan, and Doc Yewll anyway. And as luck would have it, the Omec have left the one and only way to get aboard their ship completely undefended! Not that I expect Kindzi to be a tactical genius, or even take advice from anyone else, and they are short on manpower, but it still seems like kind of a glaring oversight to totally abandon that area.
One nice bit that we get here in the midst of the frantic nature of a finale is Nolan’s first look down at the Earth from orbit. We know his backstory, that he’s always been into space and scifi, and that Berlin’s initial assessment of him was spot-on in terms of living up to the Han Solo-esque rogue archetype. So taking a second to actually acknowledge how major this would be for him is very important, especially with where the episode is headed. It also serves as a reminder of exactly what they’re up here fighting for–even after being ruined by the Arkfall and the rampant unsupervised terraforming, Earth is still a beautiful place that’s worth defending. Hard to remember that sometimes down in the dirty streets of Defiance.
They jack Doc into the ship, a process which is eventually revealed to be irreversible. It makes sense that the Indogene, as an engineered race, would be capable of this, so I don’t really have a problem with that. It does, however, feel like a missed opportunity–how about instead of Doc being denied by the system and having to fight for control, we instead have her allowed in as a side effect of the control stick? The “fighting” doesn’t seem to do much but eat up screen time anyway, and there are half a dozen things going on that could use the extra moments more efficiently. For example, Stahma and Amanda going over the fallout from last season’s finale. It’s fine, for what time it gets, but a little more would always be better in this case.
Kindzi shows up for some climactic hand-to-hand fighting with Nolan, which he resolves by stabbing her in the skull (AGAIN) and throwing her into the needlessly exposed whirly blades that come standard issue on alien starships. He’s got the ship all set to blow… and Irisa declares right as he’s about to leave that she intends to stay behind. The Omec on the ship are innocent of Kindzi’s crimes, in her eyes, and should be given a chance on their own. Rather than let her possibly get destroyed, and since he’s just going to be hunted down by the VC if he goes back to Earth anyway, Nolan knocks her out and sends her back, then gets Doc to help him shutdown the engine overload and take the Omec ship into deep space. It’s a decently good ending for his character; he’s doing something selfless, getting his bad influences out of Irisa’s life, and at the same time getting to live up to his longstanding dream of being a space cowboy.
This leaves a TON of questions though. Like, what exactly is his plan here? The Omec in stasis have no idea what a human is, nor do they have any idea what happened to T’Evgin and the others. He’s not going to just be able to revive them and gain their respect. So what, is he just gonna go out on space adventures with a cargo hold full of frozen devourers? What about Doc? Was the process immediately going to kill her, or was she only doomed if she was removed or the ship was going to blow up? Is Nolan stuck traveling alone with only Doc for company? Poor Doc Yewll… And the ship’s energy reserves? How long will the Gulanite T’Evgin mined and brought aboard last? Where will Nolan get more, now that the only natural source of it in the galaxy (Gula, in the Votanis System) has been destroyed? Or more immediately: what’s he gonna eat? Maybe the ship has water reserves, and it wouldn’t be too hard to find it on its own, but edible food… that’s more of a problem.
I admit I’m way overthinking this ending but it has some really unfortunate fridge logic to it. Contrary to Irisa’s musings about a space cantina, it seems like both of them, and by extension the Omec, are barely any better off than they would have been getting blown up. Still, the ending music and montage isn’t awful for once, but actually kind of amazing and touching. We don’t get much insight into the fates of the other characters, I guess to leave it open if they want to continue, but Irisa is now serving as the Lawkeeper, and the rebuilt Arch is named after Nolan. You can see what I meant about that sense of finality here; this was clearly designed to serve as a series finale, even more so than season 2’s open-ended conclusion. It’s probably the best ending Nolan’s character arc could have asked for, honestly. And if this is how the show goes out, I’m fine with it. For better or worse, it’s a perfect encapsulation of everything Defiance has been so far. Next week, I’ll have the retrospective up and ready with my thoughts on the season as a whole, and to some extent the series as a whole.