Welcome to the New Age of Defiance!
The Defiance effort represents the best in Transmedia demonstrating outstanding production values that are clearly evident in the new hit series! Featuring a fast moving story arc whereby each sequence faithfully builds upon each of the previous scene’s Single Effect.
Other equally important Defiance elements of Transmedia are incorporated including a kick ass video game that we will review in the near future, robust mobile applications, social media interaction from the celebrities with their admirers, and merchandise galore from authorized Defiance vendors.
We will have more on the critical subject of Transmedia story telling and marketing as a revenue source later in a separate analysis regarding the efforts to produce success for the Defiance franchise.
While some say that Transmedia is an illusion, such efforts have long been legend since George Lucas first edified the Transmedia foundation with the Star Wars franchise thirty-seven years ago. The Star Wars companion products (toys, games, books, clothing and more) literally built his empire. Defiance, a very expensive series to produce, must emulate Lucas’ effort if it is to ultimately succeed.
In the meantime, let us examine Defiance ratings, still an important criteria for any entertainment product. Based on healthy ratings with 2.7 million live viewers for the premiere, and with an additional 800,000 viewers in the closely watched “Plus 3” rating for viewers who watch via DVR and or On-Demand after the premiere, some 3.5 million people agreed Defiance was a series to take note of.
This reviewer, who loves anything of a science fiction nature, is delighted by the story arc featuring humans, aliens, inter-species romance, robotic marauders and horrible mutant creatures that become manifest on Earth as a result of the invasion.
The subsequent war, which Terra-formed much of the planet after the cataclysm destroyed nation states, left Earth laid to waste across much of the planet, replaced by city states in the manner of St. Louis, which became Defiance.
The characters make Defiance a popular science fiction series in large part due to the investment in the personalities portrayed in the series, making the suspension of disbelief a relatively effortless transition. Each character exhibits traits that viewers can relate to. What more could an admirer of science fiction drama ask for?
Virtually everyone we know and interact with, but not all, are celebrating this new science fiction drama series featuring a stellar cast of veteran and relative newcomer actors to the world of Defiance.
How could someone not be enjoying Defiance? At the end of this analysis we will discuss how some seem unable to simply be happy in life with a fine series like Defiance and the accomplishments of those involved with this wonderful Transmedia product.
Utilizing slow motion superimposed cinematography, the viewing audience is treated to a close-up of one of the ships as a voice over hauntingly shares how the changes to Earth all began.
The opening moments continue in the present time frame of Earth. We learn later the year is 2013 from a “33 years later” text graphic that is displayed on screen in the next sequence.
Suddenly, when they look up at the sky, they witness an incredible sight! A humongous fleet of alien spaceships have entered the atmosphere of Earth from orbit. The young lad stands, looking upwards shocked and transfixed.
As we are deftly drawn into the latest incarnation of an alien invasion of Earth, can there be any doubt the young boy will be featured as a main character to be woven into the series?
The young lads mother, in an obvious state of sheer panic, is fully aware of what is about to happen. After 150 years of alien invasion books, radio shows, movies and television series, Mom knows what is about to happen. Grabbing her son, she runs for their lives!
Rather than hear the mother screaming at her son, we observe that her voice is muted. This reviewer found this technique to be quite effective when compared to other equally impressive alien invasion sequences that set the standard for this genre, notably a classic series such as The Invaders (1967), The War of The Worlds 1953 film and 1988-1990 television series, and later enhanced in the blockbuster movie Independence Day (1996).
With deference to these classic science fiction products with often ground shaking audio associated with alien ships, such sometimes made listening to the voices difficult. Although a huge fan of The War of the Worlds, Independence Day and The Invaders, I enjoyed this variant of the invasion of Earth by alien beings, sans invasion ship sounds.
The opening moments established the foundation for a scripted science fiction drama series estimated to cost $100 million dollars for the pilot year of thirteen episodes. However, when first drafting this article, delayed from publication due to intervening activities, I am sure that some percentage of this amount represents a two season down payment commitment by Syfy and NBC Universal Cable Production.
In today’s economic environment, with a financial foundation shattered in 2008 after the crash of the American economy from an economic bubble that burst upon the world, the requirement to spread financial risk associated with such a large investment over time is now mandatory.
Other equally fine science fiction programs sporting large budgets, like Stargate Universe, were known to require a two season year commitment. The real place where “the rubber meets the road”, in terms of whether a program of any nature will survive, is the ratings during a two season run.
We here at WormholeRiders are hopeful that science fiction admirers will enjoy Defiance as much as the members of our analysis team so as to ensure many seasons of this fine production. The difference that may make the difference is the Transmedia factor to “ice the cake” of Defiance.
With the Internet, gaming and mobile computing device lines blurring, when juxtaposed against traditional viewing or playing, Transmedia success will be one of the ultimate determinate factors for many entertainment products, including scripted television series like Defiance.
The Defiance effort, offers a full mobile computing, tablet computing, and cell phone communication device access anywhere a person in North America and the United Kingdom who desires to watch the series or play the game.
In another masterstroke move by major networks to immediately make the episodes available on-line and On-Demand for legal viewing, with commercials injected for an important revenue stream, has been a success, effectively blunting piracy by Internet thieves.
Coupled with an aggressive product licensing product merchandizing campaign yet to fully develop, but displayed as advertizing, the Transmedia recipe developed to support the Defiance series and game appears to have all the requisite ingredients required to ensure success.
This factor will be critical to success in a mobile computing world where younger viewers and gamers are no longer satisfied to sit at home at a specific time to watch a series, or to play a favorite computer video game. Gamers and viewer want their entertainment wherever they are, NOW!
The specific vehicle contains two people we come to find out are father and his adopted alien daughter featuring excellent prosthetic makeup by Paul Jones Effects Studio, a Canadian company, that throughout the series delivers delightful aliens in Defiance!
There appears to be noticeable friction, a disagreement of some sort between daughter and father. Who as a parent, or a person who knows people with children, have not witnessed such a scene?
This effective technique in story telling, relating to both the young and old, teenager and parent alike, is sure to draw a faithful audience than spans generations.
The enchanting red haired young woman is beautiful. She is quite angry at her Dad. At this point the story arc focus moves away from the argument. Dad is named Joshua Nolan (Grant Bowler), a human being, and the young lady is named Irisa (Stephanie Leonidis), who belongs to an alien race of beings called the Irathients.
We learn later the Irisa’s race was a member of the Votan cadre of aliens who invaded Earth. Somehow, not fully explained at this point, the Votan were transformed into something completely different in Earth’s environment having been attempted to be Terra-formed by the invading aliens for their dubious purposes.
We will learn, in addition to Irathients, that there are a total of eight alien races, Castithan, Indogenes, Sensoth, Liberata, Volge, Biomen, Gulanee, who now, with the remnants of humanity, are separated into various nation state factions seeking regional and perhaps global dominance on Earth.
Each faction is seeking control over available resources, including the salvage of alien mother ship technology from “Ark” ships that often crash to Earth from decaying orbits. The “Ark” ships that crash to Earth are considered treasure troves of artifacts worth a kings ransom.
As Nolan and Irisa cruise through a war devastated barren landscape, we see that Irisa is writing in her daily diary journal. The lettering is in an alien language, another nice touch by the creators in which we will hear the various alien languages with subtitles upon occasion throughout the series.
Next we get to witness another cool part of Defiance. Irisa informs Dad that his plans always turn to “shtako,” equivalent to “Shyte” as the Irish and British often say. We know the word here in United States as the multi descriptive “sh_t”.
This too is a nice bit of icing on the cake since the original and re-imagined Battlestar Galactica (1976 and 2004) invented the best known fake swear word “frak” which virtually everyone on the planet in range of a television must known the true meaning of by now.
While writing in her diary journal, we discover that Irisa thinks Antarctica is a sought after paradise long promised by her Dad as their ultimate destination. We are led to believe by Irisa’s narrative that the war, with subsequent Terra-forming attempts by the aliens, the result made that frozen wasteland of Arctic beauty we know today, as a sought after tropical paradise positively affected as a result.
On a future note, this reviewer hopes we get to visit the Antarctica of 2047 in the future of season one or the already announced second season!
A famous Johnny Cash song, “Jackson”, comes on the radio of the “Roller”. It is nice to know that radio communication has survived the war. Unlike other series such as Falling Skies or Revolution, when technology was either reduced, or virtually erased from existence, technology, although shattered by war, is still in evidence on our fair planet.
As referred to by Syfy, the NBC Universal creators, and writers Rockne O’Bannon and Kevin Murphy, radio was saved by the “Post-Apocalyptic Society for the Preservation of Cool”. How cool is that!? Pretty danged cool I would venture to say!
The Johnny Cash song softens the friction between Nolan and Irisa as they break out into joyous singing of the words to this iconic melody. Father and adopted alien daughter obviously have grown quite fond of each other during the sojourn together despite their differences. The music, then, like now, is a bond that links the alien teen and her adopted human parent.
We learn that Nolan and Irisa are scavengers, hunting down and searching for technology and other treasure from chunks of alien mother “Ark” ships that crash to Earth on a semi-regular basis.
We are not given details of the battles of the intergalactic war that brought the alien races to Earth, or how humankind was able to destroy the invaders fleet in orbit. We must assume that humans used nuclear weapons to defeat, or fight the aliens to an apocalyptic draw that left the Earth shattered, a world much different than that we know of today.
Perhaps the radiation from nuclear weapons deployment on a massive scale had something to do with the transformation of the aliens? Leveraging a time honored technique of science fiction, the viewer is left to imagine what may have transpired for the time being.
Nolan and Irisa have been tracking a recent mother ship which crashed nearby. Entering the superstructure of the “Ark”, as the alien transports are referred to, an intact alien energy sphere is found in what appears to be the Ark ships power reactor.
The energy device is glowing, about the size of a basket ball. Quickly removing the device, Nolan and Irisa are delighted with the treasure they have found. Knowing that it is worth a great deal of money, especially to the remains of to the regional governments established on Earth after the war, both dream of wealth, and an easier life in future in the Antarctic paradise.
At this early point in the character development, the creators of Defiance have accomplished part of their mission when father and daughter hug each other after finding the energy sphere.
We hope that the viewers also felt invested in the Nolan and Irisa, father and adopted daughter characters.
This reviewer certainly did feel invested in the series at this early juncture in the story, wanting them to succeed to their attempts to enjoy a better life than the “hand” that fate has dealt them in their struggle to survive in a post apocalyptic world.
Nolan and Irisa’s celebration is abruptly terminated when other scavengers, Irathients converge on the scene. Attempting to escape with their treasure, Irisa is captured by a crazy looking post apocalyptic gang that brings back memories of the Mad Max series of films in the 1980’s led by Sukar (Noah Danby). A nice touch to tug at the hearts and minds of science fiction fans the world over.
Apparently, many survivors of the war, including this evil gang of Irathients, also track and scavenge the crashed mother ships for valuables, including the much sought after energy spheres. The gang demands that Irisa and Nolan surrender everything they possess, and are about to find the sphere. Nolan has no choice but to cooperate and surrender to save his daughters life.
Just when things look bleak for our two heroes, all their possessions and “Roller” about to be captured, we learn that Irisa is a fighter. Pulling a martial arts style and a hidden knife, she move to distract the Irathients thieves by stabbing the leader! Irisa and Nolan kick some alien butt in a well choreographed fight and flight sequence!
Nolan uses the distraction to get free, grabs Irisa and the two quickly high-tail it to the nearby forest. Sans their “Roller”, but with the energy sphere in hand, all is not lost. Dad and teen daughter make an almost clean getaway.
Unfortunately, Irisa becomes a casualty after taking a bullet in the gut during the escape. Even though Nolan and Irisa escape, we are certain the see this gang again in the future, who like their name, are quite irritating!
As Irisa weakens from the gunshot wound, Nolan carries her through the forest seeking safety. Sorry Nolan, more bad news. The forest is crawling with some kind of gigantic spider-wolf hybrid. The special effects utilized to create the “Wolf-iders” are quite impressive with fluid movements that make them appear very real.
Naturally, to make matters worse, the horrible mutant creatures appear to be quite hungry. No doubt Nolan and Irisa are to be the main course for their dinner!
Nolan quickly buries the energy sphere for safekeeping and moves to defend Irisa from the creatures. As several of the mutant “Wolf-ider” monsters approach to fill their misshapen bellies, Nolan fires his weapon, killing a number of the beasts, emptying his energy weapon to no avail.
Of course Nolan and Irisa cannot die at this point. Suddenly a new character, referred to later as the “Law Keeper” named Clancy, portrayed by Peter MacNeil), enters the scene with reinforcements blasting more of the nightmarish creatures to a pulp with a more powerful weapon that scares the monsters away.
Clancy the “Law Keeper” brings the injured Irisa and Nolan to the nearby town to seek medical attention for Nolan’s daughter. As they approach the town, Nolan sees a giant arch in the center of the town that he recalls from memory. “Is this St. Louis?” Nolan asks.
“It used to be,” says Law Keeper Clancy. “Now we call it Defiance! As the camera pans back we are provided with a stunning visual sequence of what used to be St. Louis.
Joshua Nolan, exhausted upon his arrival in Defiance township proper with unconscious Irisa, needs help. Clancy takes the pair seeking out the local doctor to treat Nolan’s daughters gun shot wound. We are then introduced to a new alien character named Doc Yewll (Trenna Keating). Yewll is in charge of the hospital facilities that have the look of an old western style frontier apothecary.
Doc Yewll is a member of the Indogene, a cross bred alien race of a cybernetic nature. Doc Ywell, one of the transformed alien races, performs much needed surgery on Irisa with advanced alien medical technology to heal the bullet wound she suffered during her escape from her own race.
The Defiance Sheriff Tommy Lasalle (Dewshane Williams), Clancy’s “Law Keeper” deputy, is in the hospital to find out what happened in the forest. Keep an eye on this rising star many will recognize from his roles in Flashpoint (2009), Lost Girl (2011) and Saving Hope (2012). The role of Tommy is a pivotal character as discover as the series story arc unfolds .
Here we give kudos to the creators of Defiance who have obviously have invested considerable resources in the alien make-up and costumes. Throughout the pilot we witness many of the aliens in a delightful set of sequences with lots of visitors not of this Earth, not unlike the memorable Star Wars movie franchise.
Each alien species in Defiance, both the outstanding costuming and make-up, is beautifully done.
The scenes, replete with many aliens, are played out on fabulous sets specifically constructed for the series. Kudos to the creators for paying attention to the many details that draw the viewer into the adventure!
One of the best sets is not unlike the famous Star Wars Cantina, a bar, restaurant, and house of prostitution. The Defiance watering hole brothel is aptly known as the “Need / Want”. Naturally, the facility is filled with whatever you need or want, for a price, as we come to find out.
“Need / Want” is run by the madam of Defiance, a human woman named Kenya Rosewater (Mia Kirshner), who we will later learn is a blood relative of another powerful female in town, none other than Mayor Amanda Rosewater perfectly portrayed by Julie Benz!
Fittingly, Nolan leaves Irisa in the doctors office to recover. From years of traveling and knowing the score, Nolan heads out to find the political power, the Mayor of Defiance, Amanda Rosewater.
Amanda Rosewater, who has just given a speech about the history of the success of the City State to the citizens, pledges to serve all the races in their quest to remain free and independent from the evil forces outside the force field that protects them all.
We suspect Nicky’s motivations are not of an altruistic nature. Why? Many politicians become corrupted by a lust for power that holding political office over time infects them with. As we known in real life, politicians seek a way to extend the domain they have created during their time in office. We suggest that everyone keep an eye on ex-mayor Nicky Riordan, she is up to no good!
Newly elected Defiance Mayor Amanda Rosewater, like many politicians, is savvy but a bit naive to the evil afoot on the planet in general, and Defiance in specific. Rosewater delivers a rousing speech to the townspeople that Defiance, as a City State will continue its rise from the ashes of war and that all eight races will be included in the future rebuilding of civilization in what was once St. Louis.
Mayor Amanda Rosewater’s speech is a prelude to the celebration of the end of the war, that many years previous devastated the planet, leaving behind a Terra-formed landscape with many aliens inhabitants now sharing an altered existence here on the Earth.
To commemorate Armistice Day in Defiance, and the heroes, the “defiant few” as Mayor Rosewater refers to them, whose namesake the town has adopted in order to honor them.
A time for relaxation and social mingling, the event brings together those who have forged and built a reinvigorated community after the disaster that has befallen the inhabitants of Earth.
The celebration in Defiance is much like a street or block party of today with BBQ’s, beverages, and entertainment being sponsored by the two most influential families of the City State, the McCawleys, who own the mining interests in Defiance, and the Tarrs who are a member of the Castithans, a Votan race, transplanted on Earth, alien gangsters, who seem to be involved with everything else!
Rafe McCawley (Graham Greene) and Datak Tarr (Tony Curran) are the patriarchs of each respective powerful family. Datak represents the Defiance gangster faction, somewhat Mafia like, with interests that span gambling, prostitution, influence peddling and more. Datak is allied with his equally powerful wife, Stahma Tarr, portrayed by the gifted and gorgeous Jaime Murray.
Naturally, Rafe McCawley and Datak Tarr are each others foils, business rivals whom put up with each others respecting the relative power of the what each has accomplished in Defiance.
Like the Hatfield and McCoy’s of American history and mythology, the two have children, Alak Tarr (Jesse Rath) and Christie McCawley (Nicole Muñoz) who, unkown to their parents, are falling in love. Another apt analogy would be Shakespeare’s ageless tale of “Romeo and Juliet”.
We are left to wonder if the two young lovers will suffer the same fate as members of the Hatfield and McCoy / Romeo and Juliet rivalry, ending with a suicide pact between the two young lovers? Let us hope the analog of past history does not plague the two youngsters.
Subsequent to the street party, we learn during a meeting between Joshua Nolan and Amanda Rosewater that Nolan was one of the “defiant few” that helped fight for Defiance in the olden days of the war. At the meeting Amanda Rosewater offers Nolan an obligatory drink of what appears to be fine whiskey. Nolan slugs the booze down like a bulldog with his nose in a bowl of oatmeal!
When Nolan goes for a second shot, which Amada pours back in the bottle, he discovers his lineage does not produce respect from Amanda, who is deeply concerned about frictional inter-species relations between the human and Irathient’s. Let us be frank here, this topic is a clear reference to the sad proclivity of the humanity to be racially prejudiced to this very day.
Amanda Rosewater is not in any manner prejudiced against Irisa, but nonetheless advises Nolan to leave Defiance with his daughter before they are harmed (targeted) by elements with the racially changed environment in the City State, some of whom do not believe in inter-species relationships of any kind. Joshua Nolan is not so easily scared away, but takes her “nudge” to heart, in part because he wants to protect his war orphan daughter.
However, based on the familiarity during conversation between the two, this reviewer believes that Nolan was the young lad depicted in the opening sequences of the St. Louis of old.
This reviewer suspects Joshua Nolan desires to stay in his former home town to raise his teenage alien adopted daughter in its relative safety behind a protective shield known as the Stasis Field, Based upon her gaze at Nolan, Mayor Rosewater appears to suspect the same thing.
Nolan departs Amanda’s comfy office to seek funding no matter which course of action he is forced to take. Picking up Irisa at the doctors office, his daughter clearly dubious over his intentions, “Dad” Nolan heads to the “Need Want” bar, restaurant, and house of prostitution. Here Joshua Nolan meets the gorgeous proprietor, madam and sometimes call-girl Kenya, portrayed by the marvelous Mia Kirshner.
Viewers may recall that a young Kirshner played a stripper call girl named Christina in the cult movie “Exotica” (1994) opposite then aspiring actor, soon to be superstar Bruce Greenwood. Exotica also dealt with the seamier side of life, a human “Need and Want” that has existed since the dawn of time. A more veteran, Mia Kirshner, nineteen years later, brings her considerable acting experience to Defiance in a realistic portrayal of Kenya, the salacious brothel madam.
During the exchange, Nolan observes Kenya rebuffing a filthy customer, a miner, looking to satisfy his ”need” with her. Nolan gets the hint that he will need to be cleaned up and earn some quick scrip (local money in Defiance) before he can begin to have a chance to “want” Kenya to satiate his obvious “need”. Those familiar with history may recall that scrip was often used in mining towns the world over as a substitute a national currency.
Nolan learns from Kenya that Defiance has a “fight club” known as “The Hollows” where money can be earned for defeating the current champion. This too is much like mining towns of Earth history where bare knuckle fighting often took place for cash.
Irisa is not too happy with this development as Dad Nolan enters the ring. Despite warning him of the treacherous nature of such places, Nolan is not listening, intent on earning some “easy” cash.
Sure enough, we find that Datak Tarr owns the fight club facility. Fearing that Nolan will kick the current champions butt, costing him a lot of script money in the process, he plans some treachery.
Datak, protecting his horde of cash, uses his “right” as owner to switch the champion for another mutant alien species referred to as a Biomen, an android played by Rob Archer, whose purpose is to kill whoever they are instructed to. The Bioman character is a nice touch similar to the Commander Data character from Star Trek The Next Generation.
We will see more of Rob Archer as one of the Biomen since he is scheduled to appear in at least three more episodes of Defiance, one opposite Robin Dunne of Sanctuary. A very nice bit of body make-up by the Defiance creators makes the Bioman android ass kicker character enjoyable.
Joshua Nolan is apparently quite familiar with the android species. Nearly getting seriously wounded in the fight, as Irisa looks on in horror, Nolan remembers the Bioman has an off switch attached to his butt!
Nolan wins the considerable cash prize thinking he and Irisa will be able to leave town to continue their quest to get to the paradise in Antarctica. Of course since Joshua Nolan is to become the “Law Keeper” of Defiance, a plot twist is required.
Have no fear, Datak Tarr, with two henchmen, shows up to inform Nolan his method of winning was against the rules of “The Hollows”. Datak Tarr promptly relieves Nolan of most of his scrip money as Irisa nearby groans that her Dad’s plan turned to “Shtako” once again.
With only enough funds remaining to get a bath, buy new clothes, and perhaps to fulfill his “need”, Nolan heads back to “Need Want”, with a daisy flower in his hand for Kenya, Nolan intends to enjoy some carnal knowledge with the eagerly waiting madam Kenya.
The sequence ends in a steamy love making, errr “Need Want” session between Nolan and Kenya. This part of the story arc clearly sets up the third romantic couple after Stahma and Datak Tarr, in addition to Alek Tarr and Christie McCawley.
As with many entertainment products, the love interests whom inhabit the world of Defiance are destined to be a central part of the adventure. Perhaps most intriguing will be the relationship between Kenya and Nolan. Will they be customer and client or will more develop between these two lovers?
After satisfying their mutual “Need Want” Nolan and Kenya hear a commotion downstairs. Rafe McCawley enters the bar seeking vengeance on young Alak Tarr for the death of his son Luke (Wesley French), discovered murdered a few moments earlier in the pilot episode.
Apparently, Luke was murdered with an alien weapon known as a “Cold Fire Charge Blade”, used by many of the Votans. Luke’s brother Quentin McCawley (Justin Rain) is shocked by the murder, but nonetheless sees the tragedy as way to become closer to his father who had long favored the slain Luke over him.
During the scuffle, Rafe goes crazy when he learns that Alak has not only dancing with his daughter Christie, the two appear to be greatly attracted to one another, something prejudiced Rafe is loathe to accept.
Christie tries to stop the fight by confessing that Alak is innocent because she was with him making out! Dad Rafe, now completely losing it when he learns an alien has touched his daughter, moves to shoot and kill Alak for his multiple acts of transgression.
Irisa and Nolan intervene smashing heads and knocking weapons out of hands of McCawley. Unfortunately, during the exciting and nicely choreographed fight sequence, Defiance’s current “Law Keeper”, Clancy, is killed in the process.
Only one of many “Red Shirts” to come, Clancy’s death opens the coveted ”Law Keeper” job up for Joshua Nolan to accept later in the pilot episode after he proves himself worthy to Mayor Rosewater and The Powers That Be, Rafe McCawley and his rival Datak Tarr.
With his meager amount of scrip money expended, Nolan desires more of the “Need Want” sex sessions with a willing Kenya. Unfortunately, Nolan is completely broke again. Seeing opportunity knocking, Nolan acts when Rafe offers a reward of 20,000 bucks (scrip) to find the murderer of his son.
Nolan informs Rafe that he is a scavenger tracker and can hunt down the real killer of his son Luke. Rafe accepts the offer as they set out to track down the killer. During the exchange, Tommy and Irisa are observed giving each other the once over, setting up the fourth love interest in the story.
In the meantime, Stahma Tarr is meeting with her husband Datak in their luxury bathing quarters. Lovely Stahma enters the bathing room virtually wearing her birthday suit. Datak is no doubt quite pleased to see his wife!
According to our sources, this is but one of many such scenes to come in the future of the series with Jaime Murray to be observed in various states of being disrobed, since their race apparently cherishes a squeaky clean lifestyle and hygiene!
Datak is most troubled by recent events in town at the “Need Want”, saying that he wants justice for their family and his son who was wrong accused of the murder of McCawley’s son.
Stahma coolly informs Datak that “there are many roads of justice”. As the two characters proceed to make love in the luxurious, ornate environment of their faithfully recreated Castithan private bathing room.
This reviewer praises both of these talented actors for their performances. Each exhibits a smooth style that makes one easily become invested in their characters and their scheming ways!
Prior to the hunt for clues to find answers regarding the murder of Luke McCawley, while Irisa is being held in jail for her inappropriate knife brandishing behavior in the “Need Want”, we observe that she is becoming much better acquainted with Tommy during the evening meal.
The tender moments between Tommy and Irisa further edify what this reviewer is certain to become a full fledged future love relationship between the two characters, one human and one alien.
Nolan confirms that Luke’s killer is a member of an alien race, the Indogene. We immediately think that Doc Yewll may be involved because the species are very similar looking characters, a factor which added nicely to the mystery. However, Nolan determines is must be another Inodgene due to his identifying that the killer has leg injury.
Ben is indeed a traitor who is in process of murdering a guard at the cities defense station to defeat the “stasis” force field that protects the Defiance City State from threats outside the township.
An exciting car chase ensues with Nolan and Amanda together in a “Roller” tracking down nefarious Ben in his vehicle, another hybrid car of the future. The scene is fun because it emulates the first person “shooter” aspect of the Defiance game in a scene I would swear was taken directly from it.
A third element to the love triangle is now becoming apparent as Amanda is heard barking at Nolan while fondly gazing upon the handsome devil at the wheel of the “Roller”!
Nolan responds by referring to Amanda as “sweetheart”, indicating that “sweetheart” was his second choice! The scene nicely injected some satire and humor into the story arc. We suspect the word Nolan was really thinking of is that Amanda is a biatch! And so she is, a very beautiful and powerful one at that!
Ben is tracked down. Under some measure of duress from Nolan, Ben confesses that the Volge, hideous alien soldiers whom Nolan has fought previously, are on the way to Defiance. Without the force field stasis net, the helpless City-State of Defiance appears to be doomed to devastating defeat!
As the townspeople are preparing to flee, becoming refugees once again, Kenya visits Amanda where we learn they are sisters!
Kenya encourages Amanda to rally the citizens of Defiance to fight what they have struggled to achieve! It Is quite clear that Mayor Rosewater is depressed by the development that the Volge are about to destroy and enslave the City State.
Even the rival Tarrs and McCawley’s vow to fight to the death to save Defiance! The rivalry and racial tension in the town is set aside as all citizens cheer in support now that the equivalent of the “Hatfield’s and McCoy’s” have joined together to save the City State from destruction!
Meanwhile, nearby Nolan is stunned to learn that Amanda and Kenya are sisters! It is clear that a love triangle will become manifest between these three main characters in the future.
Despite the fact that Nolan has purchased a “Roller” from his earnings while tracking down Luke’s murderer so that he and Irisa can escape before Defiance is wiped of the face of the Earth, we know, just like Han Solo of Star Wars, that Nolan will certainly must return to help save Defiance from destruction!
And so it becomes. After retrieving the energy sphere, Irisa and Nolan look down on the way out of town at the approaching Volge army of destruction, Amanda’s speech makes Nolan think twice about fleeing.
Despite pleas from Irisa, Nolan knows that up the energy sphere can be of use to the cybernetic Indogenes in Defiance who have the ability to transform the device into a bomb of great destructive power to stop the town from being overrun!
A pivot point takes place between father and daughter. Irisa says she is leaving Dad to his own devices (pun intended with reference to the energy sphere). Nolan returns to a Defiance now unified under Commander Mayor Amanda, delivering the sphere to Doc Yewll for a little ad hoc bomb making!
With the citizens lined up behind their icons, the McCawleys and the Tarrs become one as “good guys” to fight the hideous and evil Volge out to plunder and lay waste to the City State that they believe is defenseless and prostrate before their massed might!
At the final defense point in a mountain pass leading to Defiance, trusty Doc Yewll sets up the sphere as a bomb in a sequence that reminds one of the of the scaffold utilized for first Trinity Atomic Bomb detonated in New Mexico during July 1945.
The digital effects that are utilized are superb In an epic battle sequence that produces more “Red Shirts” among the defenders from he murderous assault of the relentless Volge!
The special visual effects delight the senses of the science fiction lovers who appreciate the hard work with careful attention to detail that makes the battle scenes a joy to behold!
During the pitched battle, Mayor Rosewater is among those hit! The villainous Volge, under orders from their mechanized robotic looking leader, suspect the scaffolding and open fire, but of course they have poor aim and miss!
Doc Yewll works feverishly dodging the laser like blasts from the robotic energy weapons. One blast nearly knocks Doc Yewll off of the scaffolding platform, disrupting her priming of the energy sphere as a bomb saying “I need more time”. The villainous Volge close in for the kill!
A rescue of sorts, cavalry of a sort, are needed to help defeat the marauders is needed as the outcome of battle sways back and forth. Suddenly, Irisa re-appears leading a group of “Spirit Riders” of the type that we witnessed in the opening sequences!
Joining in the fight and help to save the day, the “Spirit Riders” reinforcements flank the Volge, disrupting their plan to destroy the energy sphere weapon being armed on the scaffold. During the counterattack, Irisa is knocked from her attack motorcycle!
Can we say YAY Tommy!
Time now having been bought and purchased at the cost of many lives, good ole’ faithful Doc Yewll completes the priming of the energy sphere bomb. The “good guys” all run like hell to get out of the valley before the detonation of the energy sphere bomb!
The Volge, trapped in the valley floor, are completely destroyed by the energy wave that sweeps the area from the miniature nuclear bomb blast! Defiance has been saved!
Only time will tell, however, this reviewer thinks the appearance of the energy spheres, Terra-forming devices, surely means that we will see more of the powerful alien technology.
The energy spheres are just too much of a mystery to not see them again in the future of the series, in part because many more Votan “Ark” ships appear to be in orbit above the Earth.
Winding down from the struggle to retain control of Defiance by the “good guys”, father Nolan and daughter Irisa are reunited after the epic battle.
Datak Tarr (Tony Curran) sets aside his prejudice against humans, allowing the budding romance to blossom between his son Alak (Jesse Rath) and Christie (Nicole Muñoz), for good sound business reasons at his wife’s behest.
Scheming temptress Stahma Tarr (Jaime Murray) relates to Datak that a marriage between Alak and Christie will provide them with “family” access to the McCawley mining operations, the influential Rafe McCawley (Graham Greene) himself, Rafe’s power, and of course, the considerable wealth at the disposal of the Rafe McCawley and his empire.
Nolan accepts a wounded Amanda Rosewater’s (Julie Benz) offer to be the new Police Chief or “Law Keeper” of Defiance under the condition that he will be loyal to her, the law, and agree to protect the citizens of Defiance.
Nolan has a flashback when he sees the St. Louis arch because St. Louis is Joshua Nolan’s hometown, the place that he originally witnessed the invasion of Earth by Votan ships in the sky as a boy of ten.
As the outstanding two hour pilot draws to a close we are with the recently retired Mayor of Defiance Nicky (Fionnula Flanagan). Although Nicky was friendly with the new Mayor Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz), there was a sleaze factor associated with the ex-mayor that leads one to suspect her motivations are not altruistic.
Sure enough we observe Nicky conspiring with a suspect looking character named Mr. Birch (Steven McCarthy).
Nicky is smoking like a chimney with what appears to be tobacco, but who knows with this crazed politician! The scene brings memories of smoke filled rooms of corrupt politicians planning their next power grab. What does Nicky have in common with Mr. Birch?
As we suspected all along, evil ex-mayor Nicky and Mr. Birch were behind the Volge attack that was launched against Defiance! Nicky pledges to Mr. Bitch that she has devised something even more dastardly to achieve her planned return to power in Defiance! Mr. Birch is visibly pleased to hear this news!
This ending scene nicely sets up the political intrigue aspect of the science fiction drama that is certain to be one of the main elements of Defiance in the coming episodes of season one!
In closing for now, we give Defiance a straight “A” and suggest that enjoying entertainment and looking for the positive aspects of life incorporated therein is the best approach. This reviewer hopes that you agree.
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As always, I and the WHR team look forward to Seeing You on The Other Side“!