Defiance "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times" Review: The Yesterday Man

Defiance S01E08 "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times"

I've decided that Defiance is just better when its episodes are driven by a single plot as opposed to having multiple subplots sprinkled around an A-plot. Lots of shows can balance the demands of that practice, but as last week's "Good Bye Blue Sky" proved, Defiance doesn't exactly excel at time and character management when it has to divide its attention. So from a structural and character standpoint, "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times" (and that's the last time I'm typing out the episode's title because, well, good grief) was probably one of the show's better episodes. I have some quibbles with it, but they're really more personal response issues rather than actual flaws.

The quandary of Gordon McClintock—a man out of time and out of place—is a familiar-enough tale in science-fiction, and normally it involves someone trying to cope with with the changes around him. Life as he knew it no longer exists, everyone he once knew and loved is dead and gone, and it's frustrating to try to integrate into the new society . Indeed, unlike a lot of Defiance's plots so far, this one was the most overtly science-fiction-y; the show has made a habit of borrowing from the Western and grafting on some sci-fi elements, so even in its genre approach, this episode was a bit of a departure for the series.

Unlike a lot of those stories, however, McClintock awoke in a future that wasn't so far-flung that he couldn't completely recognize it and, more importantly, one where people knew who he was. There'd been an important book and an influential film made about McClintock and the crew aboard the destroyed International Space Station, and there was something wonderfully grand and hopeful about the hero worship he experienced as he walked out of the Lawkeeper's building and into a mob of as many humans as Defiance's casting department could afford. 

My favorite part of the episode—and probably of the series thus far—was his night of drinking and reminiscing with Nolan, Amanda, and Rafe. Yes, it was an extension of the celebrity gawking he'd enjoyed only a scene prior, but those scenes in Rafe's house were so deeply personal and intimate that they felt like they were part of a different Defiance than the one we've been watching. There was a looseness in everyone's performances, and in the characters' interactions with one another, as McClintock learned about what'd happened after he supposedly died and the others waxed nostalgic. Defiance has been light on this sort of thing, so it was very delightful to see talk of the past be affectionately portrayed, with happiness instead of heavy-handed remorse. These surviving characters have been through a war, but they never seem to recall anything that happened before it very fondly, and so to see that was a rush of fresh air, and a real character-building moment. 

Defiance hasn't spent much time dealing with this sort of thing—life just before the Votan arrival—and instead allowing its various transmedia avenues to sort of fill in a few of those gaps, and I loved that the show took a moment to let it all breathe. I needed it, and I certainly think that the show needed it, too.

Where I quibbled with the episode was that McClintock turned out to be an Indogene who had been surgically altered and implanted with the real McClintock's memories. It was a layer of science-fiction that I don't think the episode really needed. It did sort of up the emotional stakes for McClintock, but I'm not convinced it was in a way that the episode couldn't have addressed something beyond him not being able to deal with the world around him having changed. 

Ultimately, the episode felt like a vehicle to expand our general understanding of the Indogenes and to provide a bit more insight into Yewll's work during the Pale Wars specifically, a door that was opened in "Brothers in Arms." I understand the need for this, especially as Indogenes are in short supply in Defiance—I imagine that most of them are with the Votan Collective, and a few are probably working with ERep, plus that makeup work makes them time-consuming and costly from a production standpoint—and so the show needed a way to offer insight into the Indogenes the same way it did for the Castithans and Irathient. I'm not opposed to this by any means, but I felt like it sort of undercut McClintock's story by throwing two different identities—it didn't help that I kept wondering about how the Indogene part of McClintock felt about all this, if it felt at all—into the stew when one would've been enough.

But as I said above, that was more of a gut response to first aspect of McClintock's story. Ultimately, the Indogenes bit worked well enough that it didn't seriously damage the episode, or its effectiveness, all that much. Sure, I'd love to know what happened as McClintock found his wife, but it also doesn't really matter. What matters is that he, like the rest of the folks in Defiance, figured out that he could still belong somewhere, and where that place was.



LAWKEEPER FILES

– Oh, hey, I didn't talk about the whole Kenya-Stahma-Datak thing. You guys have fun with that in the comments; it feels like filler to me.

– "Stop reading Moby-Dick." "It's enriching." "It's annoying." I was planning on reading Bleak House once I finish the self-published YA novel Amazon offered me fat a steeply discounted price, but I think I'll just re-read Moby-Dick instead. We can turn the comments section into a book club! Everyone have seven chapters read by next Monday, okay?

– I have no idea whether Brian J. Smith's appearance pleased or annoyed SGU fans, as I didn't watch the Stargate TV shows after the mothership departed from Showtime. Let me know in the comments; I rather enjoyed him here. Smith was also on Gossip Girl, so I guess I'll have to ask Cory about that... xoxo.

– The Killing had Jewel Staite make a quick Serenity joke during its Season 3 premiere, and now Defiance had Rafe not knowing whether Robert Pattinson was a vampire or a werewolf in the Twilight movies. Of course, Graham Greene was in a few of those movies. 

– I fully expect to see Jamie Murray completely naked by the end of the series, if not by the end of this season, at the rate we're going.

– Closing montage cover song: Elvis Costello's "Man Out of Time," though it wasn't really a montage this week.

– Please note: I'm not serious about the book club thing.


What'd you think of "I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times"?

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I actually gave up since episode 6 and only catching up now because of lack of TV during summer ! This was the best episode so far. I am very happy with Jamie and Mia together in bed but why no nude scenes especially both actress are know to show their fine bodies. Okay ! I am a pervert old man so spare me.

Seriously though, I am pleasantly surprised that McClintock turned out to be an Indogene and happy with the twist ! In order for the show to survive, I would think they really need to go more sci-fi for the second season.
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Ultimately McClintock's character was just a vehicle to now let us into what Doc Yewll / Indogenes are all about. I think that's good since she's been very sideline just helping people out like a doctor does. And with this plague thing coming up, no doubt the doc will be featured more.

Kenya and Stahma are so hot together. :D But Jaime Murray can play the sexual, sensual role so well anyway that it's natural while Kenya is what she is so it's not that hard to show chemistry.

I really would like Datak to go beyond this "hothead" characterization. Stahma is so naturally sneaky and sly while not always giving away her intentions but Datak has no poker face with his emotions. Datak does it well but just too much.

So we're now just over halfway through the season so hopefully the back end really ignites things in every way.
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This show is good enough, but I keep watching because I have faith that it can turn out to be great and I want to be there to witness it when it does.
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i lasted 6 episodes with this show than dumped it. maybe if it was a lot more sci-fi than drama i would have stuck with it. it's basically an alien western!
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Oh nooos a plague.... Oh well they'll solve that town threatening problem in next weeks episode without any major or important casualties...

About this episode I have not a lot to say except for the atrocious acting. At times it feels like somebody taped a poorly played out LARP script and I'm watching it on YouTube or whatever... Even though single story-line episodes work better for Defiance, this was still a mess. My biggest frustration is... I get what they are trying to do and I want to like it, but it sucks in execution.

Jaimie Murray remains the most interesting thing on the show. Not only because Stahma is the most interesting character on the show (even though they reduced her status from villainess behind the screen to scared dumb housewife), but when all else fails, which it often does, the nearly naked hot chick is always a pleasant ray of light to hit the retinas.
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"Jaimie Murray remains the most interesting thing on the show. Not only because Stahma is the most interesting character on the show (even though they reduced her status from villainess behind the screen to scared dumb housewife)"

You know, I was thinking that at first too, that they had finally shown their hand and ruined the mystery of whether Stahma is a victim or a predator. All along the show has kind of teased us with the question of whether Stahma is really as conniving as she seems, or are her manipulations of Datak simply her way of surviving a violent, controlling spouse? Does she come up with these plots that strengthen his position to continuously prove her worth to Datak (and to protect herself and the things she really cares about?) or is she strengthening his position to eventually strengthen her own? Is this all leading up to some kind of ultimate power grab for her? Is she good or bad? We get glimpses of both possibilities, and I've enjoyed contemplating both pathways.

So, when they added this Kenya/Stahma pairing, I was disappointed. Like, really? All of that maneuvering and adding layers to what is essentially the only character with layers on the show, and now you're just going to throw it away on a silly lesbian subplot to try to jack up ratings? Could you get more cliche? And, also, what? Stahma really IS just an unfulfilled victim?

But, then, this episode, at the end, when Stahma and Kenya were in bed and Stahma told Kenya she had made a mistake in pissing off Datak and got kind of snippy with Kenya, and then Kenya basically tried to put the domestic-violence-victim label on Stahma, I changed my mind. Stahma seemed surprised that Kenya thought that of her, because I don't think she really sees herself that way (also, culturally, their relationship is totally normal), and it kind of seemed like she was insulted by the idea, and kind of ticked at Kenya for saying that. In this scene it kind of seemed like we were seeing that this relationship with Kenya wasn't really about emotions and vulnerability, like they had been portraying it up to this point. When Stahma put the money in Kenya's hand, it seemed to me that the whole relationship was a business transaction for Stahma. Maybe she did think it was a little fun, but she wasn't really doing this because she had any kind of feelings for Kenya or was seeking comfort from her.

And when I saw this scene, it occurred to me that maybe Stahma was playing Kenya (and she could, because Kenya is way too soft-hearted and naive for a brothel madam). I don't know why yet, but I think that Stahma hooking up with Kenya is part of some overarching plan. Maybe to destroy Kenya herself for insulting her (doubtful though), maybe to destroy the mayor by destroying her sister, maybe because she is jealous and doesn't like that Kenya sleeps with her husband (again, doubtful and would be pathetic if that was the reasoning), maybe for some other reason we haven't learned yet. I think/hope there is more to this storyline and that we haven't reached the end of Stahma's layers.

Or, I am reading way too much into this. But, I really hope not, or else I will be supremely disappointed in Defiance's writers. :-)
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Judging by how shallow, hollow and changeable all the characters are on Defiance I'd go with they haven't got a clue what they're doing and simply making shit up as they go along.
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I keep watching this show only because it has funny looking aliens in it :) I really do. I love space operas.

But this show is not really space-opera-scifi-western like Firefly. It is just plain western with actors wearing funny makeup.

I haven't seen this episode yet but so far it's been totally formulaic. No surprises, nothing unexpected....

P.S. And aliens on motorbikes are ridiculous even for "space" opera.
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DOUBLE Easter Egg on the "Robert Pattinson was a vampire" line: Julie Benz, of course, also played one of the hottest vampires ever as Darla on "Buffy" and "Angel..."
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I agree, this was the best episode to date, and a lot of it had to do with that scene with Nolan, Amanda, and Rafe, as well as the scene with Rafe and McClintock in the mine. Sorely lacking characterization of our main characters. Hopefully we get more of this.
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Good episode, and I agree with the poster below who said the show is missing something. I don't know why I continue to watch but I keep hoping it will get better. The characters are decent enough, but I don't FEEL anything for them. None of them really grasps me to the point where I care if something happens to them because I don't KNOW anything about them. The focus is on everything that is happening now, and that's fine, but I wish I knew what motivates them. Where did they come from? What was life like before and how does that play into the person they are now? I think the action on the show is decent (for SYFY) so if they can make the characters interesting enough I will stick with it.
Noel I've never read Moby Dick but if you were willing to talk about it I would have been willing to give it a whirl.
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Neither do I feel anything and I think it's because show is pretty formulaic so far..
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I think this was the best episode so far but that still ins't saying much.
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This was one of the most well made episodes of the season and I really enjoyed the time taken for personal growth and heart. Talk about being light-years away from last week's horrendous outing. I guess that's the problem with having different directors and writers every episode. Usually the higher quality of one can make up for the shortcomings of the other, but occasionally both aren't up to snuff and you end up with a bomb. Thankfully, that didn't happen again here.
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Noel, some of us are still hoping that you'll recap The Venture Bros. Season 5 has been so good so far. Any chance at all?
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Incredibly unlikely. No advance copies, and with a 6am wake up call for work, reviewing a show that airs at midnight (or whenever it is) on a Sunday just isn't happening.

FWIW, I thought the premiere was just stupidly good, like nothing had any right being that good. I didn't really like Sunday's episode though, apart from the mutants discussing their lack of infrastructure for a society, which I thought was hilarious.
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:( it's a pity but thanks for replying.
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Last week's episode was pretty awful. This week's episode was really solid. Go figure.
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Definitely one of the better Defiance episodes so far.
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I stopped watching this show 2 or 3 episodes ago ; I can't stand Grant Bowler's character. I think I'll get back to it when Gale Harold makes his appearance.
I'm ok for the book club though !
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Really. You and @bluemorphotat want the book club to happen? Because I was going to re-read it starting tomorrow or Thursday. I'm super-amused but totally willing.
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I love a good book, let me know when the book club wants to read something other than the classics. How about we start with Under the Dome.
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Great idea ! We could call the club "Waiting for good shows" !
P.S. : I'm not serious about the name of the club but I am about reading Under the Dome
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I did like this story. It made me feel a bit nostalgic... like reading a good ol' short story from the '50s... so... no book club? ooooh :-(

Never thought Jamie Murray would look this hot in white... :-D

I erm... I feel like Defiance is missing something... maybe it does feel more like a video game than a TV show? Like I am playing missions or stuff like that?

I'm more than ok with the action and stuff but I do need a little bit more heart to this... Don't get me wrong there are plenty of layers 'n stuff... but it feels like somebody is ticking off from a list...
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It is missing something, and that something is a often a sense of urgency. The show's so very middle-of-the-road that's hard to feel invested in it, even when it's good like it was this week. I sort of had this problem with W13 (which is why I stopped watching), so I think it's a Syfy mandate of some sort, a desire to sort of mimic the strategies of USA's early "Blue Skies" original programming, but not executing it as well.
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Oh man! I loved W13 S1! After that: it's been torture watching... I fast forward the eps just to know about the story line and some times I play normal speed for when Rubinek is on and... that's it... sad!
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As an episode, it was solid.

And I was OK with the Indogene thing... because it's bringing to light that the whole back-story the characters are aware of is not exactly the real picture.

As time goes on, I imagine more is going to unravel. And I would guess their coming to Earth is connected to the artifact in the caverns and Irisa's visions. With a bunch of intrigue + deceptions regarding the past.
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I REALLY enjoyed Stargate Universe. It was one of my favorite sci-fi shows in a while.

That being said, Brian Smith's presence on SG:U wasn't one of the things that drew me to it. His character was interesting, but it was mostly the interactions between Rush + Young + Eli (Carlyle / Ferreira / Blue)
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"I fully expect to see Jamie Murray completely naked by the end of the series"
I thought they'd already got there at the start of the bathing scene.
Now if they can just do a bit of stunt casting and have Oliva Wilde show up as Stahma's cousin.......
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Might as well have. Even in places like Australia I doubt they'd classify that "top" as a bathing suit (not that anyone there would care).

I was kind of actually surprised they went that far on a non-premium cable show. As well as her little "private" moment.

Especially on a network that bleeped out the s-bomb just last Friday on Continuum.
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I find it odd that Rafe described Indogenes as emotionless and unchanging. Yewll is hardly that...

Anyhoo, I think they need the Indogene/mole plot to force McClintock out of the show. Otherwise there really wouldn't have been any incentive for him to leave.
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Also, Yewll, must read old Marvel comic books. She practically told Gordon, "Face it, tiger, you _didn't_ hit the jackpot." :)
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They could have gone the whole "Celebrity status was too much" route.

Granted, as an astronaut he was probably used to some celebrity status... but now it was epic. Throw in this "strange new world" and maybe he'd just want to live the quiet life.

But... I was OK with the Indogene thing. Plus it drove in that the backstory they've been told isn't exactly true.
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But if they hadn't given him a reason to want to kill himself, E-Rep would have continued hunting him. The writers needed a way to give Gordon enough of a reason to want to commit suicide, without him actually doing it. Otherwise we would have had some "E-Rep after Gordon" subplot.

Of course, it seemed odd to me that they were telling Connor so much about what was going on. Connor seemed to know pretty quickly that the Votans faked the Bravery Nine explosion and abducted Gordon. And then Nolan just tells him flatout that Gordon tried to strangle Amanda. Plot shortcutting, unfortunately.
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Like I said, I was OK with the Indogene thing because it jump-started the conspiracy thing. And as a science fiction fan, I can dig the whole "replicant / android / clone dealing with existential issues" sub-plot

But to play devil's advocate there were ways to write a suicidal Gordon (or otherwise lost Gordon).

For example: perhaps his fiance/wife died horribly of cancer and it drove him over the edge. Or he realized his presence would incite another global war. Or he was suffering from "hybernation sickess" and the Doc had to treat/save him; at which point they tell the E-Rep guy he died and was cremated when really he was cured and left.

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