Greetings Defiance fans!
I hope you are enjoying the show!
It had some morality questions posed to a few characters and a few surprises as well. I like that in a show, I like when you are able to question that in yourself as you are watching your favorite characters go through it as well.
I am very happy to see Fionnula Flanagan make an appearance in this episode. Every time we see her now, another piece of that conundrum is revealed. I like that she plays both sides, she is a masterful artist of deceit and does it well.
The classic song “I Belong To You” by Mallory Sands featured in a restaurant scene with ex-Mayor Nicky and Quentin McCawley (Justin Rain) adds a nice touch of nostalgia too.
Next week’s wedding episode should prove very interesting. Two powerful families united through their children, sounds familiar, right? I bet that Alak (Jesse Rath) and Christie McCawley (Nicole Muñoz) could give Romeo and Juliet a run for their money.
Brothers in Arms:
Okay, on with the review, I will be jumping around in this episode, not reviewing every scene. The ones that I feel are the most significant to this particular episode…just when you think it’s safe to go to an open market, a mad bomber strikes.
Not just any mad bomber, but an on-the-run Castithan with a brutal, but brilliant past. It sounds like something out of a crime novel, a bounty hunter looking for a psycho-killer although brutal, brilliant as well. Sounds like this guy would give even Hannibal Lecter a run for his money (minus the cannibal part…I hope).
We come to find that the bounty hunter, Eddie Braddock (Rob Stewart) and Nolan are old war buddies. Surprised? Not in the least. It was a matter of time before Nolan and his past caught up with him. I love that Nolan knows his friend all too well, when he asks for his gun Braddock gives him a great look.
When Nolan presses him again his look changes to one of seriousness. Finally Braddock relents and hands him one gun, and then another one…and yet a third one. It is a fun scene, especially when Stewart says as Braddock “You gonna leave me naked here, no man?”
It is such a great line, and to me very telltale, for what is a bounty hunter without his gun (or several of them)? It is nice to see the contrast between these two men, who at one point were the same. I will get into this a bit later.
It is great to see the very versatile actor Daniel Kash (Alphas, Nikita, Lost Girl to name a few) as Pol Madis the ruthless psycho that will stop at nothing to get his plan in motion. I like how he was trying to make an ally out of Doc Ywell (Trenna Keating) by bringing up something from her past. He thinks that it will give him some leverage and maybe it does, but it also shows his wickedness.
I find it interesting that Braddock initially lies to Nolan about Madis, instead of telling him the truth. They are friends and comrades, maybe they can help each other. Maybe Braddock is just not eager to share the reward money that a man like Madis can bring.
I like how Nolan’s character is slowly changing throughout the season, I hope it does him some good. I also do want though, for him to at least keep some of his edge, some of what makes him a great sheriff and criminal. Nolan has lived booth sides of the fence, so he knows how they work, which gives him and advantage.
Braddock mentions that the Earth Republic is right behind him and that he promises to turn him over to them, when Tommy (Dewshane Williams) informs Nolan why the prisoner had the drop-blast…he invented them. Nolan then knows that the fugitive is Pol Madis, to which Kash does such a great thing, his cockiness was revealed in a “the one and only” type of gesture.
It shows the arrogance that most mad geniuses possess, that almost untouchable confidence that they have and that no one can out smart them. Alas, it is a delusion that rarely works, a delusion that ultimately is the price that is paid when that genius is caught or even killed. Ego can be the one downfall of the powerful as I have a feeling we will see more of in this series.
As much as Nolan agrees with Braddock about the fact that Madis should be prosecuted, his disappointment of why Eddie is doing it is evident. I like Bowler’s disappointed look at his “brother” but that also reflects the disappointment in himself for almost believing him in the first place.
Then Braddock reminds him that Nolan is no saint either, that he has done things like he has for profit. I am sure that now with the world being the way it is and the badlands being far more desolate and dangerous than usual, they had to do what they had to for survival. Money, I am sure was scarce and any way to get what is needed means by any way you can whether it was right or wrong.
I really love Stephanie’s choices in this episode. She becomes the protector so to speak of her adoptive father. She has an uneasiness about ‘Uncle Eddie’ and never fully trusts him.
You can tell by her body language and the way she is when Eddie is around that her senses are giving her the right signals. She plays this well. Stephanie does a good job at being the strong, fierce, warrior woman Irisa grew up to be, thanks to Nolan, although he admits that he tried. I think he is selling himself short, he did do a good job, he just does not think so.
The banter between Nolan and Braddock is great. I like to see actors that are comfortable with each other and their chemistry on screen resonates and makes for great television (or movies). The brotherly way that they tease each other is great, you can tell that they must have been very close during their war days. When you are in those kinds of situations, how can you not be.
I love the scene with Fionnula Flanagan (Nicky) and Quentin (Justin Rain), it is the scene that I was talking about earlier where Fionnula shines. She is a masterful manipulator, which I am sure came in handy when she was Mayor of Defiance. You know that she is definitely up to something when she approaches Quentin in the diner as he is looking for clues about that gold artifact that his brother had in his room.
She is so cunning in this scene, she plies Quentin with compliments and reminds him of happier times in his life, all the while gathering information. Just like she did when Fionnula was on the series Brotherhood, she pits one brother against another. She uses her charm and wit to cast a spell that will be the other characters downfall.
It is great to see actors like her in this series because it always makes for great TV. Those kind of characters, whether they are reoccurring, regular cast or just a guest star are what fans remember most. It is what I as a director love about supporting or minor characters in projects, they are the ones that make the most lasting impression, or the ones that you look forward to seeing again and again. It is what makes them legendary and what makes the fans…well, fans.
I will have to say one thing that I am disappointed with was the fact that the writers made Irisa and Tommy sleep with each other only five episodes in. It was a little sudden for me and I thought really quick. I know that there was some sexual tension in previous episodes, but it should have played out a bit longer.
I know as a fan of TV, I like to get to know characters first and how their relationships are formed before they can take it to another level. Of course that is my choice as a writer and director, it is something I wouldn’t want my characters to do right away. I just feel that it not enough is known about the characters to warrant that.
The scene with Datak (Tony Curran) and Pol is great. I like how Pol just makes himself at home and thinks because he is a Castithan that Datak will help him. It is a nice change to see Datak actually do something opposite of what you might expect. Datak’s speech about believing in his people’s right for their own country and the home he has made here is wonderfully patriotic to a fault. He does not by any means want to be associated with this mad man, he has worked too long and too hard to have it all crumble.
I find it interesting, though, that in a way what Madis is saying to Datak is somewhat true. He is calling him a sell-out for conforming to this society, while the one he left behind suffers. Considering that Datak still wants to keep his traditions and religion, he is okay with the ways of the humans. Again, the moral issue comes up in this scene. At what point do you leave who you were and everything that you knew and loved behind, just so you can blend in and survive in a new world?
The episode really takes a turn when Nolan, Braddock, Irisa and Tommy finally catch up to Datak and Madis. When Madis, cockily informs Nolan that the Earth Republic doesn’t want him nor do the Voltanis Collective because he is a criminal. The real truth comes out, they need him for something far more destructive, his weapons of mass destruction.
War is a profitable endeavor, regardless of how many lives are lost, it will pay well to those who can give one group an advantage over the other. It seems that war and its reasons never change no matter how many centuries come and go, warmongering is a pastime that will never grow old and seems that thirst will never be quenched.
When Nolan makes the decision to end the rage of terror that Madis was on himself, his moral compass changed. He became the better man, he changed and to Braddock’s dismay, not for the better.
He became soft and almost passive, no longer was he the soldier that once fought side by side his ‘brother’ Eddie and certainly not the one who would “kill them all and let God sort it out”. Eddie is visibly upset when Nolan offers him to come back to Defiance and become his deputy, he tells him to learn some self-restraint. Eddie laughs at this idea, this coming from “a trigger happy son of a bitch” as he so affectionately (ha ha) calls Nolan.
So much for friendship, when Eddie informs Nolan that there is a quarter million bounty on his head, Nolan is definitely disappointed that his friend has changed. That is the friend who he has spent time with, fought with and I am sure bled with has become a morally corrupt, money hungry bounty hunter.
A man who would do anything for money, including betraying his best friend and brother. When he Eddie tells Nolan that it is because of prison that he has become this way it is of no surprise. Often criminals come out worse than they went in, with rehabilitation working on the minority instead of the majority.
Another, deeper reason why Braddock changed was that his jealousy for Nolan and the life he could have had. Braddock was the one that saved Irisa, but Nolan was the one that raised her, the one that got to be a father. Deep down that is really what is missing from Eddie’s life, that longing for family, to belong to something greater than yourself, to take care of someone and be taken care of in return.
This is also the scene that makes me love Nolan even more, and it gives Bowler a chance to shine. When he tells Eddie that he can take him, but he has to promise to tell them that Irisa is dead “that is the only thing that matters” he says, as long as she is safe. That is the mark of a true man and father, of someone that has truly changed from the soldier to the caretaker, father, law-keeper and somewhat moral compass of the show.
I applaud the writers for giving Nolan a flawed but fixable character. He may be on the side of good right now and trying to repent for his sins, but that does not negate the instincts he has and may have to use again. The great thing about Nolan being the law-keeper as I stated in an earlier a paragraph was that he now has a taste of both sides. Even though he is on the right path now, he may need to be his old self to get the job done, it is never easy being that moral center, conflicts abound every day.
I love the toward the ending when Connor Lang (Gale Harold) confronts Nolan about what happened to Madis and that he is in huge trouble, when Eddie steps up and takes the blame.
Maybe Nolan’s morality is starting to rub off a bit, maybe the thought of leaving Irisa orphaned got to him or maybe, just maybe he is becoming a decent man? Who knows what the real reason Braddock changed his tune, but it works well with the theme of morality through line in the episode.
When Connor says that he has never seen anybody so anxious to get to Vegas, I laughed out loud. The sheer fact that the writers used Vegas was great, given the history of the town and its infamous origins. The famous “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” saying and the fact that the city itself is nicknamed lovingly “Sin City” is what makes this scene funny to me.
The fact that Vegas sometimes questions your morals and is the place where you are either a sinner or saint, or a gambler or a visitor is never questioned , but always answered by the choice all of the above. You can never escape it, and that it is why it will draw you back time and time again, why you will spend you very last nickel to get that jackpot, why you will mortgage you house, sell your car and gamble with your very soul, because money is what makes the world go around and the more money you have the happier you will be. Or so you think.
I have mentioned in a previous post about Quentin’s dilemma as the middle child. He is the one who has to almost be the saint in the family, the one who is more grounded, but also he is the one that is most conflicted.
When Nicky’s henchman breaks into the McCawley house and steals the artifact Quentin catches him and then fights with him. As he is defending himself, he begins to choke the man as the ghost of his dead brother Luke (Wesley French) eggs him on.
He is really the weak one in a sense because he allows his dead brother to still have control over him as well as his father. Quentin’s conflict is his weakness, it will be the thing that ultimately becomes his Achilles Heel. I am curious to see how his character progresses as the series does.
The ending with Irisa and Nolan in the bar is sweet, he reminds her that she does have an uncle whether she likes it or not. It is really because of him that they are even a family and despite what Eddie had done, despite the trouble he got himself and Nolan into he in the end did the right thing.
If it were not for him, Nolan would not be a father and for that I bet he is eternally grateful. I do have a feeling that we might just see Braddock again. With Quentin’s morality and now life altered, time will only tell what will happen to him, too. Once you cross that line, there is no going back, especially in Defiance.
Well, dear readers, I hope that you are enjoying Defiance as much as I am each week! I am looking forward to the next episode, and the ones to follow.
I hope you enjoy my Defiance analysis and reviews and you can read my previous news articles about my analysis of Fringe. Thank you for visiting WormholeRiders News Agency, and thanks Kenn for video embedding and additional image selection
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Until next time,