Defiance "A Well-Respected Man" Review and 4-Episode Test: Due Deference

Defiance S01E04: "A Well-Respected Man"

Last week, I struggled with the unevenly baked father-daughter focus of "The Devil in the Dark," especially since the episode tried to rush the significance of it with a heavy-handed montage sequence. This week, well, the thematic heavy-handedness continued, but at least it was more evenly ladled over the episode. And, to be honest, I'm actually pretty impressed that this week's closing sequence wasn't set to a cover of Aretha Franklin's "Respect." Truth be told, I really don't mind a heavy-handed approach so long as it's also entertaining and/or interesting, and "A Well-Respected Man" was, by and large, interesting and occasionally entertaining. 

So, yes, this episode was all about respect, and the privileges that it grants and the problems that not having it—or not showing it—can cause. Respect is a valuable thing in a town like Defiance, where lots of people are plotting and scheming, where working at a cross-purpose is a normal occurrence. It also has personal ramifications, though, and through those ramifications, we learned about Amanda and Kenya.

Back in the pilot, questions arose about the challenges that Amanda being mayor and Kenya being the town madame would cause, and understandably so. It would appear that the situation has caused some issues, as Amanda was accosted by an angry wife, but, hey, if prostitution is legal in Defiance, I guess there's not much that can be done about it short of the referendum process. Provided, of course, that Defiance has a referendum process.

More interesting than that encounter between Amanda and the jilted wife, however, is what that confrontation stirred up between the two sisters. Amanda and Kenya haven't spent much time together since the pilot, so their relationship has remained something of a question mark. While they initially seemed to get along well enough, it would appear that that was more due to the fact that at the time, everyone was probably going to die; their relationship was decidedly more strained this week, with Amanda being super judge-y about Kenya's occupation, and Kenya being annoyed that Amanda has a stick up her butt about, well, everything that Kenya does.

I admit that I would've liked the tension between them to have played out a bit more across a few episodes, or just to be better established prior to this episode. As it stands, their conflict is more of a one-off that's provided some character background instead of offering much in the way of character development—though Kenya did learn new things about her sister and, more importantly, about their mother, I'm not sure that counts as progress, since we barely know either of them.

At least we did get to understand their histories a bit more, which in turn helps us understand them. Amanda's dedication to helping others really came through in the flashbacks that showed her desire to protect Kenya from the truth about their abandonment-happy mother (or survivalist, if you're feeling charitable, I suppose)—and the scenes also revealed that she's not the best at ironing out the details, i.e., the Saint Finnegan's pendant. That sort of inattention to the fine print, while okay when dealing with a grieving kid who doesn't know any better, feeds back to her inability to keep the town council in line when they decided to smuggle weapons under her nose and Nolan failed to inform her about his raid of said weapons. Neither the council nor Kenya respects Amanda; they only see her as a placeholder/less-than-good replacement for a predecessor. Amanda has an inner-strength, but it needs nuturing if she's going to be a real leader.

However, Amanda's actions made a big impact on Kenya, even with their lack of finesse. Kenya cares for Kiera, the employee she was abducted alongside, like she's a sister; Kenya even offered up the pendant not once, but twice over the course of the episode, mirroring her sister's earlier actions to provide some comfort from the phantom Volge pursuit (I'll get to the maze in just a second). She wasn't even out to fire Kiera from Need/Want; instead, she provided the opportunity to clean herself up from the drugs and the stealing from customers.

Okay, the maze. Like the hellbug hive last week, it felt like a tacked-on sci-fi/action element that didn't really belong in the episode, and the presence of a Volge made it feel all the more out of place (then again, we know so little about the Volge that maybe a random one wandering around isn't out of the ordinary?). However, unlike the hive story, the maze plot was salvaged a bit by the reveal that it was all a virtual reality stimulation. It wasn't just there to add another neat sci-fi/action piece, either: The maze's "danger" would produce the chemicals needed for the synthetic adrenaline drug. It was a motivated bit of technology, and I always appreciate that sort of thing.

One other thing that was improved from the last couple of weeks was the lack of a "The Tarrs are deviously devising!" scene. Stahma and Datak didn't have a moment where we saw Stahma explain that she should go see Amanda to get Datak a seat on the council, nor was there a scene where she instructed Datak to put on that big show when Nolan and Amanda showed up at the house.

As a result, everything folded together much nicer than previous bits of their planning had in previous episodes. Datak's wounded-pride speech was motivated by the apparent snubbing by the council due to Nolan busting up the arms smuggling, but it also ended up playing into the schemes to better position the Tarrs to gain control of the town, thanks to Stahma's ability to properly manipulate the situation. So when she and Nolan shared an exchange at the end of the episode—"You know, I've had my eye on the wrong snake. You're the dangerous one." "You're very sweet."—it was actually the perfect way to end the hour: with the giving and acknowledgment of respect.



THE PATENTED TV.COM 4-EPISODE TEST!

Episode 1: "Pilot": 3 stars (out of 4)

Episode 2: "Down in the Ground Where Dead Men Go": 3 stars

Episode 3: "The Devil in the Dark": 2 stars

Episode 4: "A Well-Respected Man": 2.5 stars

In other words, pretty average. I wouldn't necessarily recommend Defiance to someone without knowing their science-fiction leanings, and if I weren't reviewing it, it would probably slip into my Friday-night catch-up queue. It hasn't really made itself appointment viewing for me.

But I would still be watching it, and that's the important takeaway, I think. I find the idea of the show, this Western + sci-fi + immigrant story mash-up, interesting enough that I want to see how it goes. While I'm not interested in Nicky's plan for the town, how that golden knot figures into things, or the relationship between Christie and Alak, the rest of the show generally holds my attention week to week. There are plenty of episodes left in the season, however, so there's plenty of time to become more invested... or less so.



LAWKEEPER FILES

– Rafe and Quentin were also mixed up in the episode's thematic emphasis, with the latter was looking for it from Rafe, especially now that Luke's dead. It was fine enough, and I liked that Rafe showed his son the respect he wanted by showing up the golden knot that Luke has. It also led to them discovering all sorts of odd glyphs in the mine shaft, and so that plot marches on.

– Last week I was wondering why Amanda was up for reelection when she'd just been made mayor, but it turns out that it was by appointment due to Nicky's retirement, not an actual election. All of this means that we probably have an election episode coming soon, and I am really looking forward to political shenanigans.

– The fact that the ice cream truck's music and speaker still worked amused me to no end. 

– "When you people look at me, you see a wild dog, a fierce, unpredictable beast, occasionally useful when you need to smuggle illegal weapons or find a missing person, but best kept on a short chain. He's known to bite. If you truly saw me as a citizen, you wouldn't have brought this blunt instrument to yank me from my sleep and lay hands on me in front of my family. You think you're better than me. You lack respect. And that is why I will not help you find your sister."

– "But, for the record, I had no intention of whispering in that disgusting man's ear." Nolan's breakdown of that situation with the Bioman's... partner (?) was a highlight of the episode for me.

– "I'm going to kill Ulysses."

– Speaking of Ulysses, will that many bullets kill a Bioman, or is he going to recover? I have to imagine that Datak is going to miss the big blue guy on some level.

– Montage song: Bob Dylan's "Scarlet Town."

Tomorrow afternoon at 2pm, we're going to be hosting a "Twitterview" with Defiance EP Kevin Murphy, and we want to know what you think we should ask him. If there's anything you'd like us to address, please leave it in the comments on this page or post it here!


What'd you think of "A Well-Respected Man"?

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Definitely failed my 4-episode test totally bored with all these characters I mean come on you know a good show ahem 24, Lost, Alias ahem when you care for the characters in the Pilot!! There's so much jumping around here I that I feel the writing is rushed so the character development is left on the way side. For those of you sticking with it my prayers will be with you LOL.
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ZZzzzzzzz... I'm out, bitches!!

I realized I only watch this show when I'm trapped in a prison of my own boredom and it happens to still be saved on the dvr. And it bores me all the more. The characters are the worst, the aliens are dull, and the plots are uninteresting. I hope it gets better for the rest of y'alls sake.
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Well. Defiance failed my 4 episode test. I might catch up with it if I really really got nothing to watch, but so far everything seems quite dull in the show.

I just don't see the point of why we are shown this world. Even with its defining characteristics such as various aliens, changed Earth and so on, all of that still is kinda boring. There is no reason for watching. Maybe it's my own apathy or the world and characters actually aren't that interesting.
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I didn't get this episode at all.... in fact I'm writing this while its on because Im bored.

This is not Sci-fi. Now we have someone keeping slaves? Is this just going to be an excuse for having every known problem known to man? What on earth has this got to do a post-invaded earth?

I really really wanted to stick with this..... but I don't want a story where everyone but humans are bad.
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I'll be sticking with this simply because I'm dying for some sci fi, any sci fi. But it's not really wowing me. It's better then Terra Nova, certainly better then Revolution, and probably better then Falling Skies (time will tell on that one) but Firefly did the sci fi western thing much better.
One of the biggest problems I see plaguing Defiance is they don't know where they're going with the characters. Sure they probably know where the big story arc of the former mayor and her schemes is going, but the little things from episode to episode seem thrown in at the last minute. We saw it last week too. The thing with Irisa and the visions should have been mentioned before the episode focusing on it. And here, the relationship between the sisters should have been shown before they do a whole episode improving it. It'd have been nice if the drug this episode used as a plot device would have been mentioned at least in passing before this as well. The writers really need to sit down and write out all the major players' backstories, skills and motivations, and then start dropping them in here and there even when the plot doesn't revolve around it, just to give the characters some depth.
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The problem with this show is that it doesn't know where its going. Usually there's some sort of red thread, a story line to follow but I'm just not seeing it. At least not yet. I hope they find that red thread or else this show is gonna fall flat on its face. This show has potential, just don't wait too long to get in gear.
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The problem with the show is that it is not SCI-FI enough for those who want a SCI-FI show ! I think falling skies is better as a SCI-FI show and I am really glad it is coming back soon in June.
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Exactly. The sci-fi world is just there, but the characters don't analyze. Everything's already old for them. So we are just petty family dramas. And they're not doing that in a good way either..
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Its different and thats why I like it!
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My breakdown of the series so far is more by characterization. Datak and Stahma really steal the show I feel. I don't find Julie Benz's portrayal as the mayor believable. I just don't see her accomplishing this role. Kenya does well and I feel Irisa is also a favorite. Nolan is fine and a predictable type character but suits the need. I'm hoping for more guest stars to really balance things out and more concerning the Volge and the major plan to take down Defiance.

At least the Bob Dylan song was a bit more apropos so really have no complaints on its usage. Anything is up after "Ooh Ooh Child."
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IMO, this show wants Nolan to be the show's hero, but sometimes he seems rather clueless, acting like a 20yr old indulging in his temper, rather than a more experienced man that's able to figure out what's going on behind what's right in front of him — until the Nolan and Stahma (Jaime) finger-knitting scene: "You know, I've had my eye on the wrong snake. You're the dangerous one." That was fun, and hopefully Nolan will try to think things thru before going all 20yo-cowboy again, with that realization.
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This show so badly wants to be 'Battlestar Galactica' with aliens and just isn't and never will be. Only good parts are the parts with Jamie Murray. On 'Gods of the Arena' she played Lucretia's bestie Gaia and in this role she's become Lucretia - maybe Jamie Murray should call her buddy Lucy Lawless for a role on this show. 'Stahmah' doesn't have any bitchy female friends to commiserate and conspire with, like most of characters of this type usually have - bring on Lucy to fill that void!
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I am just bored with this. Why couldn't they have started this series with the invasion? I don't really care about any of the characters in this. The stories are very predictable. Its another scifi show released with a big fan fare with really no ump paa paa!
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Im mostly liking it but my big issue with it is that in trying to have the western motif they havent bothered to think outside the box in terms of creating new family dynamics or relationship dynamics in the alien characters. They all seem pretty nuclear family types men/women to me whereas they could have created more out there social groups or characters.
But keep having Grant Bowler take his shirt off....
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My comments in this thread have been pretty negative because I really didn't like what they did with this episode. But I should also point out that I did really like the scene where Datak was expaining to Nolan that he could be more effective by getting to understand the people in the community and working from that prospective rather than just being heavy handed all the time in his lawkeeping duties. I think if they show Nolan making an effort to do that and getting results it will make for some good development of his character. And I also liked the way he saw thru Datak's lil scheme w the bioman's "friend" in the trailer and Datak basically said "ok, you got me" and moved along. And of course the line from Datak's wife at the end (you're so sweet) was great. Guess I should have mentioned these things in my previous comments, but the other elements I mentioned before just had me really annoyed. This show has so much potential to be great if they can focus on the right things and develop the characters, relationships, and story in the right way.
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I was hesitant in the beginning, with the hype of the show/videogame crossover and basically having to engulf myself in a truly sci-fi world like Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica, but I'll admit that its grown on me. This episode was the best one yet. It does remind me of Firefly, which is a good thing, plus I'm already a fan of Nolan and Arissa. So, I'm in.
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For those interested, it's doing quite well for a SyFy show on Mondays. This past week it got just over 2.152 overall and 0.996 in the 18-49 demo. That is far better than Being Human and Lost Girl were doing. Sadly for Warehouse 13 fans, that show's rating fall to 1.275 and 0.585. That's around what Being Human and Lost Girl were getting. So people are watching and staying with Defiance for now while a good chunk of viewers are dumping Warehouse 13 afterwards.
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Because its the 'sheep' with Nielsen boxes and this show is just bland enough to attract the sheep without pissing anyone off.
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It's pretty much where it started at "Not Bad." It's nowhere near good, somewhere around Warehouse 13, Continuum and Eureka, but Mediocre Sci-Fi is pretty much the only sci-fi genre outside of the theatre. I actually like the third episode the most if only for Datak's decent showing, and the revelation that his coldfire dagger was longer than a dagger. He's not stupid, he's just not the smart one. I can relate.

1: 2.5 out of 4
2: 2 out of 4
3: 3 out of 4
4: 2.5 out of 4

Generous, I'd say, but sci-fi's sadly at a low bar overall, and it won't be getting better.
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I loved Eureka so damn much, I was so pissed when they abruptly cancelled it. Yes, it could be a bit cheesy, but I truly enjoyed the characters and most of the storylines. I've actually spent the last few weeks rewatching the entire series (I have 3 eps left) and it just reminds me how much I miss it. Nolan has grown on to an extent so far, but my favorite sheriff/lawkeeper will always be Jack Carter.
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Jack was a dork, but he stopped short of being too annoying. Most of the characters weren't annoying, which is a big plus in shows like this.

Ftr, I'd put Eureka at the top among the mediocre tier (Eureka > Stargate > Sanctuary > Defiance > The Dresden Files > Continuum > Caprica > Falling Skies > Warehouse 13). Anyway, Jack really should've gotten the hang of things better than he did. If he were a nurse, it'd be like him still not knowing how to insert an IV line at the beginning of every episode.
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Yes, Terra Nova was a huge disappointment, but I think it's slightly above the "watchable" line, which I draw somewhere around W13 or Dresden. Although, I don't remember Dresden well enough to know where it really belongs on the list. I haven't watched the new episodes of W13, and I don't think I will. I gave up on Eureka a couple of times, but after a while I started watching again.

I guess Revolution should be on the list too, somewhere near the position of Terra Nova.

I have seen lots of positive comments about Haven here, many of them *very* positive, like "it's my favorite show". When the show started, I watched a couple of episodes and thought it was terrible. After reading some comments here about six months ago, I decided to give it another shot, but I still thought it was so awful that I couldn't continue.
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Ehh, Haven, in the range of Mediocre Sci-Fi, is in the range of shows I'd be willing to watch...I just don't watch them. Anything higher on the list are shows I would watch if I were home and remembered to watch them (wouldn't DVR them). And Warehouse 13 on down fall to shows I refuse to watch. At worst, I semi-voluntarily hear them when my sister-in-law watches them while I cook something (lookin' at YOO, Lost Girl. My God, the dialogue..).
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Liked Terra Nova better, eh? I knew you guys were out there somewhere.

I knew I was forgetting some (still am), so adding to my first list:
- The Dresden Files > Haven > Flash Gordon > Continuum > Warehouse 13 > Terra Nova > Revolution > Lost Girl (just for the dialogue alone).
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That inspired me to make my own list. Not all of these are sci-fi, but they're the sort of shows that are usually bunched with sci-fi.

Stargate SG-1 > Stargate Universe > Continuum > Battlestar Galactica (I was never a big fan...some aspects were great, others not so great) > Stargate Atlantis > Caprica > Terra Nova > Eureka > Falling Skies > Warehouse 13 > The Dresden Files > Flash Gordon > Lost Girl > Sanctuary > Defiance > Haven.
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On a side note, it surprised me that Amanda was the older sister. I figured they'd have an angle where Kenya was the older sister, doing what she had to so they'd both survive, keeping Amanda pristine so she'd have more options, etc. Ehh..
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I was a bit worried about this show at the beginning becoming a "Heroes"-like introduction to a new species every episode, but it seems to be doing quite well, and it's enjoyable on the whole.
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I will continue to watch it, but I still think the show is not living up to its hype and budget. I'm fearing that the show is another Terra Nova. Personally I didn't like this episode. I just didn't care much of Kenya. Irina is my least favourite character but last week's episode was better. Maybe because this episode didn't introduce anythings much in terms of lore. I think the biggest problem of the show is that the major story arc is not that interesting. Ex-mayor plotting to destroy the town because of some artifacts, to me, is not that interesting.
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I think I'm done although I might revisit it later this season if I read that it has improved.
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I'm sorry, but this show is shtako. I found it pretty difficult to keep watching until the end of the pilot episode. I had no desire to see any more of it, but one person said that episode 2 was better, and someone else said that episode 3 was really good. So I watched both today. Let's just say that I will *not* be completing the 4-episode test.

I can't get over how ridiculous everything looks. I feel like I'm watching nerdy teenagers play a live role-playing game. I hate the case of the week format, and I don't think any of the cases have been even close to interesting.
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I am going to stick with it but it is wearing on me. Next week looks pretty good but it won't create any dilhemmas in my Monday night TV watching.
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After liking Farscape a lot, I keep wanting to similarly enjoy this but it is all over the place. It's expecting viewers to accept and be aware of characters and events that haven't as yet been fleshed out nearly enough. Having said that, they don't appear to need much airtime as most are bog standard. Shame. A waste of two or maybe three decent actors.
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Also, I'm reading in the comments that the history and timeline and info on the aliens is available online, but seriously, if u have to supplement all that info for the audience to have a clue what the hell happened then the show is lacking. It's one thing for extra info to be available. It's another to require the audience to look elsewhere to understand the basic history because the writers either couldn't figure out how to fit it into the format or simply didn't care enough to try.
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This episode took a huge step backwards to me. I simply don't care about the pathetically weak mayor and her hooker sister, so basing the entire episode around them was a huge fail. Then as if I didn't already lack respect for the mayor enough, she easily agrees to put the town crime boss on the council to get help. Actually this entire episode was filled with weak whining. The mayor whines about everything, her hooker sister whines that the mayor looks down on her for being a hooker, datak whines about respect, the council whines about the lawkeeper stopping illegal smuggling, the rafe's son whines and cries that daddy doesn't trust him, random character whines that her husband likes hookers, the bio-man acts like a timid whiny lil sissy... And now I'm whining about all of it. Then add the lame addition of kidnapping people and putting them in the matrix to scare them and make narcotics out of their adrenaline and another week of the vast overuse of "schtako".. And seriously, the lawkeeper has no problem that this chick he's starting a relationship with spends her day banging other dudes for money? Ugh. Last week gave me hope, this week has done the opposite.
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First off I just noticed my autospell changed hookers to boomers which is funny....Anyway Chris17, fair enough. That's what's great about this forum, is we can share opinions, which will differ from one viewer to another. I'm still holding out hope for the show, it has great potential.
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Chris17, yes they were expressing opinions.. in the form of complaining. And when an entire episode is comprised of one complaint after another it comes off as every character whining for an hr. Should the lady be upset that her husband likes boomers? Of course. But take it to your husband, not the mayor. Datak complaining about respect is stupid, there are damn good reasons they don't treat him with respect. The miner kid's issue is legit, but the crybaby way he expressed it was annoying. And are you honestly saying that because the world they live in is chaotic a guy wouldn't care that his girl screws multiple random guys all day every day? That goes completely against human nature. But I get ur point overall, not all of it can necessarilly be considered "whining" by strict definition. But it was complaining and as a collective, after awhile it jumbles together in a very annoying way.
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Alright, I guess I can understand where you coming from. Although, I didn't much take notice of so many character whining nor did I find it annoying....to each of his own. As for Nolan, he obviously has no problems with having sex with a prostitute. It doesn't bother him, at least he hasn't expressed any concerns on the show so far. Personally, I see nothing wrong with the whole brothel storyline. Just goes to show, how messed up the world on Earth is after the invasion. ^ ^ ^

So at least that part makes sense to me. I understand it, I'm not saying I approve or condemn it.
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Okay, after carefully reading and re-reading your post (while admittedly giggling), I have to disagree with most of what you said. Not sure if you are familiar with the definition of the word "Whining" but most of the people simply expressed an opinion.

Mayor's "hooker" sister simply did not liked being judged so harshly, she did not whine. If anything she was more upset than whiny...

"random character whines that her husband likes hookers" - She did not "whine", she simply expressed a matter of opinion. She insulted Kenya, calling her a "slut" than procedeed to telling her "your mother must be so proud". It was central to the story, because later it was revealed that it was Amanda who took care of her sister when their mother left. I hardly consider that whining. lol

Also the Mayor wasn't whining, she asked for help, she was begging for help!!!<

Lastly, the world is all messed up. There are 9 different ALIEN races living on Earth, there's war going on. Murder, bugs eating people and whatnot...

You really expect living in such a terrible world, someone like the "lawkeeper" A.K.A. Nolan to care that he is sort of dating a prostitute?
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This is a good sci-fi/western show, reminds me of the Mos Eisley scene in Star Wars. Characters are interesting and stories are not bad. I definitely want to know more about this new world and its inhabitants but I like the fact that they don't rush things. What I enjoyed the most this week were the duels between Nolan and Datak. And as already mentioned in other comments, the ending scene between Nolan and Stahma was very good.
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I am still going to keep watching it. It isn't bad and I think they have a story there. I think they are still struggling to find their footing. They might be suffering from too many central characters. And in trying to include everyone they dilute the quality that could be there.
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"..and Kenya being annoyed that Amanda has a stick up her butt about, well, everything that Kenya does." - LOOOOOOOOOOOL

Props for writing just that ^

On more serious note, I absolutely adored the ending. That "You are very sweet" line was simply brilliant! Great actress playing Stahma!!!! Although, I'm not sure it had anything to do with respect. It's just that at that moment, he realized she is the one pulling the strings. Hence the thing she was weaving looked like a web. She is the smart one, she makes all the decisions, and Nolan realzied he needs to be very careful approaching Stahma or her family again. <<<
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This show is a mess... They half-ass everything. We are 4 episodes in and I still have no idea who anybody really is or have a connection to anyone in particular... okay maybe Stahma.

Story of the week.... Seriously?? I'm afraid this show is only going to give us background stories interwoven with lame weekly problems. The writing is atrocious and the acting at times has the quality of middle school theater. All the episodes so far have created 'huge' problems with very simple 'easy way out' solutions.

- I don't know how future mining works... but are we to believe that Luke is the only one that knew about what was in that mineshaft?? Miners, especially the boss's son, usually work mineshafts alone right?!?

- A lawkeeper stopping illegal gunrunners is usually a good thing. Arming the town after the grid went offline is a smart move, why the town-council wants it done illegally and without the temporary major or the lawkeeper knowing about it... It's just another way to create a silly problem and another opportunity for Detak to be mad.

- Running after a stealing hooker from a bad to a worse part in town is just silly. Reimburse the client and let Nolan track her, that's what he is for. Also not running for your life from a part-machine idiot who's abducting people.. well, let's just say I would keep running instead of hiding in plain sight after running 5 meters.

- Detak is getting worse by the episode. His whole speech about wanting respect was ridiculously misplaced. He knows he is a criminal and he does behave like a wild dog. His wife has to talk sense into him every damn episode. And didn't he confess to killing somebody and leaving him on the steps of the lawkeeper station? Normally you would get jail for that not a seat on the council and about that does amanda have the power to give somebody a seat on the council? Oh and about that brand of aliens, they look like SG Atlantis Wraiths....the Hello Kitty version.


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I gave up after episode #2. I guess it is getting worse. :P
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I thought this was probably the best episode so far. They're finally giving us a little backstory for some of the characters.
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I feel very mitigated about this show:
On the one hand, the characters have no depth, whether they are human or alien, we still have no idea about the general plot (looking for the mayor's sister is not a thing I care for, not after knowing her for 2 hours) and the acting is average, at best.
On the other hand, it is a sci fi show with aliens who don't look human and apparently a history that I for now find hard to understand.
I hope to see more of the general picture, see other cities, see how governments are organized ; I hope the bad guys aren't who they appear, I hope Nolan will stop to take himself too seriously. And I want spaceships !
As it is more difficult to create a sci fi show than a procedural, I'm wiiling to give this one a chance. For now.
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Mitigated?
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The last thing I ever want to see is a Defiance/Axe tie in. Did they really have to run it three times? At least the Once Upon a Time/Disneyworld promo was a) only run once, and b) funny.
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I laughed pretty hard at Regina at the Disney commercial. I thought it was a hoot, plus I love Regina so it was great.

But I have to admit, I got another laugh-out-loud moment with the Axe commercial for Defiance. At first I was like... did I miss a scene? (since it was Kenya vs BioMan) Then when I saw the astronaut and I laughed.

Just the first time though for the Axe commercial. After that I was like :sigh:

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In Kenya's profession, I believe the "stick" up the butt costs extra.
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1. Maze - perhaps I've seen too many episodes of Stargate SG-1, but I immediately knew Mia Kirshner and her friend were in some kind of virtual reality and it was matter of time till they realized it.

2. Stahma - for once Jaime Murray wasn't naked - I feel like it's a progress. Female character doesn't need to show boobs / bum to be interesting...

3. Nice to see some backstory between Julie Benz and Mia Kirshner's characters.

4. Where was Irisa during this episode?

"A Well-Respected Man" wasn't the most boring episode of Defiance, but I still feel this show is heading straight to cancellation box.

Noel - I love your reviews. You deserve to write about a decent show - have you ever thought about watching Orphan Black? ;)
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1) Maze
Ditto. Common sci-fi trope. Plus them running around in an actual maze doesn't really let the guy harvest their hormones as they're being produced.

Plus, I saw her necklace very early on (I think after waking up on the floor). So it was either costume goof or was going to show up later to let her realize it was all fake.


Re-posted because I realize it sounded like I was agreeing with the bad-show-comment.
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Depending on who you ask, I get to write about decent shows! (Seriously. Go read the comments tearing me apart for not liking last week's episode.)

I'm behind on Orphan Black (2.5-3 episodes), but I will say that beyond Maslany's performances (and she's stellar), I'm not super enamored with it. Some of this is me trying to get past my response to the first episode which was, "Man. This would probably be better if it were animated." Which I know it a surface thing.

I think my other issue has just been that, so far (and I think I stopped last weekend about halfway through episode 3...?), Sarah is just pretty accepting about all of this. There's not a lot of introspection or interrogation about the implications of her being a clone, and there being a lot of them. And the show is sort of going out of its way to stop that from happening with the police & clone killer stuff, the best friend stuff, Beth's husband, and (I'm assuming sooner or later) the daughter stuff.

And all of that is generally well-executed (though, I think the daughter concerns are really superfluous so far), but it's just so much that I want her to have time to breathe and think.

But, again, I'm behind and maybe that's happened in the episodes since.
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The police / killer stuff is old thing. Now they are focusing on the monitors - people who observe the clones. I encourage you to give this show another try - it's really good. Also Soccer Mom is the best :)
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I hated Julie Benz toward the end of Dexter and I really hate her character here, since she's a central focus and the show is truly a mess I'll pass
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You can't really blame the Amanda for not respecting the "details" about the medallion / pendant. There was obviously no print on it that said St Christopher on it. She needed/wanted something NOW to make her sister feel better so made up the importance of said pendant. And used the dead soldier's name since it was fresh in her mind and kind of worked.

The other prostitute only knew it was a St Christopher medallion because she was raised by nuns. Which goes to show you: the more strict the upbringing the more "wild" the result.
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So the petroglyphs that Rafe showed his son...

We see a red-headed figure holding 2 items: what appears to be the gold object and another that looks like a silver version of it.

I imagine the red-headed figure is Irisa, though I have no idea what the devices are supposed to do.

Also... it looked (to me) that Rafe's son was looking at some OLD archeology/mining equipment. Like an OLD lamp and someone's old glasses. Perhaps like 1970's era or earlier. So maybe these things have been down here for a long long long time and various archaeologists died finding it.

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I "like" it.

I don't "love" it yet, but it's OK and it's grown on me more since the pilot. I think this week's episode was solid and I guess I was one of the few that liked last week's.

I had bigger hopes for it though. And since it is such an expensive undertaking I could see them cancelling it this season or next.

I imagine next, since they sunk so much time / money / resources into a TV series + Game tie-in that they might not want to throw it away immediately and admit it didn't work. Plus it could turn around.
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Stahma is probably the best character in the show, she is suppose to be a submissive wife but she manipulates everything and everyone(mainly her husband, the alpha male). There more I see the more I think that she was the one that flushed her would-be-husband from an airlock.
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A question for Kevin Murphy:
I understand the need for limiting exposition in the pilot and the inability to cover all the necessary groundwork to clue in the viewers to a new world, however, Skyfall was not ever explained merely hinted at in the pilot, nor has it been touched at again in the following four episodes. Was this a conscious decision to string out the mystery of what happened over the course of the first season or is it just a lack of interest in how this world and the 7 races came to exist together and Defiance is to focus on the political aspects and character developments of the show much like Game of Thrones?
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I just recently started watching this and continuum. While continuum is now on my to-watch list, this is an eh, will watch it if I have time show. The reason for this aversion is because this show needs to get straightened out and fast. The mythology and established back-story is much better than what previous science fiction shows have established in 4 episodes.

The problem though is that this show needs to go big or better character development. By going big, I mean the pilot - have a bunch of character interact to face an outside threat and to establish a world outside the confines of defiance. Each episode needs to focus on more characters and bigger story arcs - almost at a "lost" scale. That way the show needn't bother about character development because the interactions will keep things interesting.

In terms of character development, I still dont care for any of the characters other than the mayor (who is very well established) and love the Tarrs as a villain. Going about reversing that should really be a priority.
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Having read the comments, I should add that before I watched this show, I wikipediad it so it lists the entire back story, timeline and the various aliens. If I hadn't read that, this show would be unbelievably confusing and badly fleshed out.
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I loved Rockne S. O'Bannon's other show, "Farscape", so I have really strong sci-fi leanings. Yet unless the world opens up, "Defiance" is in danger of becoming "Terra Nova" but with Aliens instead of Dinosaurs.
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Well.

It's the closest to a Frefly on tv these days, and for that reason alone I¨'ll be watching it (yeah yeah I'm Jonesing bad).
However it's also a show that doesn't make me want my time back after watching so, I guess so far so good.
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I'm still enjoying this show. Sure it has just a bit of character development and just a bit of an overall mystery plot (golden pretzel) but those two things combine make me come back to a sci-fi show. Speaking of political shenanigans, I hope Amanda loses the election and goes to work with her sister Kenya whoring around, and then Stahma joins for shtoka and giggles
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I want so badly to like this show, but I'm ready to give it a rest. I love the environments. The set design is amazing,and innovative, but I cant get over the makeup; the castivan's (?) primarily, who look like morlocks from the sixties "time machine" movie. Putting each actor in makeup and wigs costs literally thousands of dollars each episode, yet their design still looks underdeveloped and stale. It's such a waste. The story could be served just as easily narratively with Datek and co looking human, and the viewer being told they're from another planet. They could ACT alien and culturally different (like Datek's speech about respect) without the visual clutter of grease paint, wigs and contact lenses. Irisa's the same. She looks like an idiot. What purpose does it serve her character to have forehead putty on? She could still be an outsider/orphan with prophetic visions and still be perceived as an alien entity (river tam).

I thinks the show might get another season (or two) if its lucky, but eventually syfy will cancel it because of costs. My thought is, "yeah dumbasses, cause you are wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on stuff your story doesn't need." The only alien I can get on board with is the monkey-man with the little dog. He needs his own show.
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I don't agree with your sentiment (and I see you posted something similar in questions to the writer).

I'm not saying they have to go balls-out crazy with the makeup like they're doing, something minor like the makeup for Bajorans and Trills in Star Trek Deep Space 9 (nose ridge and neck+temple spots). Or Vulcans from any Trek (elf ears and you're done).

Or the Centauri from Gabylon 5 (odd wigs).

But having "something" in their to make the various races more exotic and distinct helps. It also cements in the fact that they grew up in different planets / regions / environments / hardships. And cements the fact they they all have different outlooks on life.

People are finding it confusing enough now. Imagine if they had 7 different groups and they all looked the same. Then people would be freaking out that they forgot this person was that.

Heck, even if it was just ONE alien faction. Remembering who's an alien vs who's a human could become tedious.
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You're right. Something about the old trek's design was more 'elegant' and efficient. Bajorans, Vulcans, etc were spot on. I'd rather see squid aliens, monkey men, and Elcor (mass effect) than the albino Castivans. Whatever the happy medium between completely foreign/alien and appealing humanoid design is, Defiance aint hittin' for me.
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This could be Firefly but it's not. But I have hope for it and your reviews seem very insightful. I don't have to watch this and yet I do because it's new and pretty good. It's also nice to know you would watch it even if you didn't have to. No, it's no Firefly, but it could grow into a reasonable facsimile if it continues to grow...
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Oh, and no questions...
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What I don't like about Defiance's universe is that they show this multi-species, multicultural world, and different races (actually species) are supposed to be tolerant with one another to build a brighter better future together or something. If I suddenly dropped in that world and realized the piece of crap they'd turned this planet into (must more than the piece of crap it used to be under human administration), I'd start hating and probably killing every single alien I found. I mean, I still don't understand who or what turned the planet to the nightmare they show in the story, but basically it's all the aliens' fault, right? That reminds me that in BSG humans ended all buddies with the Cylons. Certainly those sci-fi folks are very forgiving, or have short memory.
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I love Grim Fandango, great icon.
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All of this information is available on the Syfy website. For example, there is a timeline describing major events before, during, and after the arrival of the Votan. In short, the Votan came in peace with no intention of terraforming the planet. However, war eventually broke out due to cultural tensions. At the height of the war, the orbiting ships were sabotaged by persons unknown and began crashing to earth. This unleashed the Indogene terraforming tech, which pretty much sculpted the planet at random (and continues to do so). Suffice to say, no one was thrilled with that turn of events!
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I'll check that out, but sorry, I'm still a radical alien hater. Their presence caused all this. By the way, I think it's bad story-telling if a show/movie/novel needs an instructions manual to be understood. Onscreen story development should be enough for essential understanding, but so far this show is extremely confusing. Of course, you can always check the website/read the books/catch the showrunner's interviews/whatever if you want to expand your knowledge of that universe, but that shouldn't have to be mandatory for understanding.
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Well, here's the thing. I haven't read any of the source material or played the game and I'm following along quite easily.

Sure, there's a LOT we haven't learned about the events of the past and the nature of the various alien cultures. But thus far we've been given "enough" in our little bite-sized packets that the world is easy enough to follow along.

I'd just hope they'd flesh out the back-story a little more as the season goes on instead of relying on wiki-reading and game-playing.
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I agree. A TV series should be self-contained and not need other resource material to explain itself. Not everyone knows about that extra stuff, has the time, and/or even the ability to check those resources - online or otherwise, like a parallel comic series. TV writers should never assume viewers will "get it" and should flesh out the back-story quickly either in the first episode(s) or at least the first season. I can't help but wonder with some shows like this if that back-story would have been more interesting and then some later season, should the show succeed that far, they get to where we are now. The first season could be that back-story and then we pick up however many years later the second season is another way, or like Battlestar, do a mini-series, then the regular series..
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That's fair, but we've only had four episodes, and this large and complex back story is going to require more screen time than that. I hope that people will be patient as more and more of the future history is revealed throughout the season.
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It is what it is and the whole point of BSG was that the Cylons had just as much right to be there as the humans. And yes, I agree we shouldn't need a manual for any TV show. I also agree that patience always wins out...
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Totally understand your point of view, but you forget one thing. Most of the characters, alien and human, have been born after the initial invasion. Most humans have no idea what life was like before aliens came. In other words, you can't miss what you never had.
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That might work if the show were set a few generations after the initial invasion, but Nolan was a kid when the aliens first landed, which means there are plenty of people still around who remember what it was like prior, and can pass on their bitterness to the younger generation.

Take a look at slavery. It was abolished nearly 150 years ago, and yet there are tons of African Americans with chips on their shoulders about it even though neither they nor their parents or even their grandparents ever experienced slavery first hand. I'm not here to debate whether or not they're justified--my point is that 33 years is not enough time for societies to collectively forget about what they once had.
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I imagine that there ARE a fair number of people that remember life prior to the invasion... but most of them were probably kids when all heck broke loose and the war probably killed a lot of the adults.

Kids don't really "know" the world but just their little corners of it. Even with the Internet, lots of kids only know bits-and-pieces of culture outside of their interests. Add to the fact that life was SO different between now and then... it's probably mostly like a vague memory.

Nolan was a kid and now looks to be 40-ish. Rafe (the mine owner remembers) the Internet and his father's dog food business and looks to be around 60. The old mayor definitely remembers stuff. Beyond that we don't have many point of reference.

So I'd say most of the survivors were kids or teens at the start of the war. And have had kids of their own by now. So I'd say a minority of the population TRULY remembers what life was like back then.
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Or you could say that the invasion happened 33 years earlier, based on the "33 years later" we were shown following the pilot episode's intro?

We're going to have to agree to disagree... a lot of the adults may have perished in the war, but you know what? The kids went through the war too. The new mayor and her sister, for example. Maybe they didn't know what life was like before the invasion, but I guarantee that they knew or met someone at some point who would gladly tell them it had been better before. And since after sucked hard for them, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have dismissed that person's tales. Heck, if anything, they probably believe Earth was 100 times better than it actually was before the invasion because, as you pointed out, they don't know. They only know what the older generation tells them, and I don't get the feeling that the older generation is going "Aliens are awesome! So glad they came and terraformed our planet!"
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Good call...
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True, good point, but Joshua Nolan still remembers what the old Saint Louis was like. He even started reminiscing about the places he'd been to while in those creepy underground ruins of what used to be his hometown. Sure, he's a pragmatic fellow who had enough time to get used to the idea, but I don't know if I were in his situation I ever would. And as a viewer I'm having extreme difficulties to see the aliens as friendly fellows, or to appreciate Mayor Amanda's efforts to build a united mixed community.
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Are you guys serious? Nolan was 9 or 10. For over 30 years he has known war and aliens. Like many of the Japanese and Germans after WWII, they were tired of war. Their cities were decimated and millions of their fellow countrymen were killed. And they knew that Allied troops were not going to leave anytime soon so they just accepted it. Pretty much like Nolan and others have accepted aliens living on Earth.
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