Defiance: Everything is Broken Review -

Defiance Review

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Episode: Everything is Broken (Episode 13, Season 1)
  • Starring: Grant Bowler, Julie Benz, Tony Curran, Jaime Murray, Stephanie Leonidas, Mia Kirshner
  • Written By: Kevin Murphy
  • Directed By: Michael Nankin
  • Network: SyFy Channel
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • Series:

Defiance: Everything is Broken Review

Does Defiance go out with a sufficient bang?

By Chuck Francisco     July 11, 2013

Full spoilers begin below!

If the episodes of a normal TV show are like the soft and disused muscles of a cubicle bound weekend warrior, this week's Defiance stacks up like a Greek god by comparison. I'm continually amazed at the content density brought to bear by this show. Yet even though so much is being accomplished each week, nothing ever feels rush; the pacing is perfect. Defiance offers its own brand of time travel: making an hour block feel like an engrossing ninety minutes. I scarcely know where to begin. 

The logical jumping off point would be the mondo mystery reveal: the artifacts which have made their home inside Irisa are actually keys to a genocidal weapon, long hidden beneath the surface of St. Louis. If triggered, it has the capability to wipe out all humans or all votans. The origin of this craft will likely form the basis of season two's enduring mystery. Why did this extinction level device arrive on Earth so far in advance of the collective of alien races? Were they planning our demise before setting out, or was this a scout ship which the Indogenes equipped to erase indigenous life it might happen upon? Despite the awesome capacity for destruction, this ship or weapon also possesses the capacity for great good, clearly able to resurrect the fallen dead. 

I could not believe in the truth of the moment immediately following Nolan's last breath. While this is an ensemble cast, the former ark hunter is practically the primary focal point. My mind raced with possibilities: could Defiance work without him? Should it? How would this effect the dynamic of the show and who would assume the principal spotlight? After wiping away the cold sweat, a conclusion ricocheted around the inside walls of my skull: while this show has the balls to make such a command structure change, its crew are also intelligent enough to recognize the mistake that would represent. The impact would be deep but the show would suffer without the rugged Grant Bowler. After picking up on the buzz in the air, his resurrection in exchange for Irisa's sacrifice was nearly guaranteed. 

Unfortunately for Kenya, she decided to enter into a lethal stakes chess match with a master manipulator and fell one move behind. Stahma appeared to have been backed into a corner with no escape, but fans of the show know that this is where she is at her most dangerous. Over the past two episodes, Stahma has revealed herself to be a sociopath, having no empathy for any other beings beyond her immediate family. That she would have to murder Kenya to remain in Datak's good graces was foreshadowed by Alak's penance last week. The day that Datak loses the graces of Stahma is the day the entire pantheon of Castithan deities had better have marshaled to his aid, because that's the only thing which could protect him. 

Did Back Jonah's mannerisms strike anyone else as completely odd? At first I found him quite campy, which didn't exude the menace expected from a mercenary interrogator. With more screen time he developed into an unbalanced madman with a foppish streak smile wide. As a character, I don't believe I ever cared for him one way or another; a mistake when he could have been someone impeccably menacing like Giancarlo Espositio on Revolution. Still, he doesn't seem to have lived long enough to matter, but he did setup the most entertaining line of the whole episode: "What's a golf ball?". Doc Yewll coated that one in such disdain. Perfect.

Mayor Datak's first order of business is to murder his E-Rep co-conspirator for disrespecting him. It's a wonder that officer rose so far up the ranks without possessing any modicum of interpersonal skills. Did he think the Castithan gangster was going to simply allow him to walk away as insult was piled upon insult? The ensuing gun fight when Defiance resumes is going to be awesome. The last few episodes have been hammering home the point that Castithans are culturally very different from humans, despite general physical similarities and public behavior. Kenya and the colonel learned the lesson with their lives. Many others doubtlessly will too.

So as the stakes come more clearly into focus, and open war is looming at the horizon like black, semiautomatic storm clouds, will the town of Defiance tear itself apart before the E-Rep can murder them all to take it? Season one has been highly speculative, imaginative, inventive, and (most importantly) entertaining. The only downside is the nearly year long delay for new episodes, debuting in June 2014. If the cunning plan behind that was to persuade me to play the Defiance video game to tide myself over on this world until then, congrats SyFy; you caught me hook, line, and sinker. It's still going to be a long year waiting to discover how these cliffhangers resolve themselves. 

Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Wednesday's Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a co-curator of several repertoire film series at the world famous  Colonial Theatre  in Phoenixville, PA. You can hear him drop nerd knowledge on weekly podcast You've Got Geek or think him a fool of a Took on Twitter.


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almostunbiased 7/11/2013 5:03:56 AM

I'm really going to miss this show.  I enjoyed the characters and the story and a year is a long time to wait for more.  Hopefully a lot more people enjoyed this like me and they keep bringing it back.  I doubt I will buy the game, but I like it that they are trying to mesh them together.

Iridan 7/11/2013 5:09:08 AM

I don't understand the high praise then a B rating. I agree that this was a strong episode and it flew by. I don't understand Syfy's programming decisions. We've got to wait until June for the next season? I don't know what the ratings are, and whether they consider this show to be a 'hit', but that long of a hiatus can't be good; even if it helps the video game.

Butchman 7/11/2013 5:16:09 AM

 Defiance has been one of my favorite shows. It is going to be a long wait til next June. 

As for this episode I was disappointed and would probably give it a B- or C . With such great episodes leading into the finale I expected more than the quick haphazard ending that we got. With the exception of Datak and Stahma, the episode was lacking in overall emotion and suspense.

CyanideRush 7/11/2013 5:27:03 AM

  Iridan, I really wouldn't get hung up on the grade; it's just a letter. But for clarity's sake, that's a B plus up there, not simply a B. (That's so weird, the comments section won't post a plus symbol in the comments). 

redvector 7/11/2013 5:31:38 AM

The people of Defiance know that Datak had E-Rep backing and now they'll blame him for any atrocities committed by E-Rep troops. They'll believe he was in league with them to get elected.

redhairs99 7/11/2013 7:42:28 AM

I'll be curious to see how this plays out next year.  Don't know that I feel I'll be longing to see the next season when it hits in a year, but I still don't like the year-long hiatus' as I stated on the Warehouse 13 thread.  I like the show, but I have no desire to buy the DVD (or the game in this case) and I really am not wanting to sit through a marathon of season 1 next year as a refresher.  Don't have the time to re-watch a bunch of stuff I've seen when there's other things going on, but I feel with a year-long wait, a refresher will definitely be needed to remember everything's that's happened.

Anybody here think Irusa is actually dead?  For all the "destiny" talk with her this season, it seems like an abrupt death if it sticks.  Personally, I doubt they've really killed off the character, but I am curious to see what happens.

CyanideRush 7/11/2013 8:04:27 AM

 Redhairs, I don't think Irisa is actually dead. I think she is likely ascending to a new state of cybernetic being, linked with this mysterious device/weapon/ship. I'm just speculating though.

almostunbiased 7/11/2013 8:33:24 AM

Yea I figured she'd come back in this machine and kill all the Earth reps.  But I was shocked at the death of Kenya Rosewater.  I hope she is not really dead, as Mia Kirshner is one amazing hottie, oh and yea I liked her character too.

redhairs99 7/11/2013 10:20:40 AM

I liked Kenya as well, but I think she had to die and must stay dead.  Otherwise it totally robs that story of any depth and meaning.  It's bad enough that the brought Nolan back so quickly and the more than likely return of Irusa.  If everyone comes back, then apparently death means nothing at all in this universe.  

redvector 7/11/2013 10:28:15 AM

I think even in death Kenya might have the last laugh and left instructions that if something happens to her that Datak and or Stahma did it.

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