Inclement weather is a writer's best friend. Not only does it prevent one from doing other, non-writing things, it also serves as a storytelling device to justify characters not being able to leave each other's sides when the inevitable emotional confrontation occurs as a result of being cooped up with someone for an extended period of time. Blizzards, hurricanes, thunderstorms, and debris from alien spaceships falling out of orbit are all wonderful excuses for making characters talk to each other without being able to get out of it.
But in the end, "Good Bye Blue Sky" wasn't really all that committed to this particular idea. The razor rain, while threatening, didn't exactly stop Sukar and Irisa from running around town, nor did it prevent Nolan from chasing them down. But it did allow for a few confrontations to come to... well, not a boil, but a simmer, I guess; two of them felt like they came out of nowhere, while the third existed just to keep the story of the McCawleys and MacGuffin's Golden Pretzel chugging along.
We'll get to those in a minute, but first let's talk about Irisa edging ever closer to whatever her Irathient destiny is as this chosen one. I initially thought that Sukar and the Spirit Riders were conning her, that they'd made the sinking ritual acid bath incorrectly and it was all part of a religious zealotry plot. Part of me would've preferred that over nanites controlling Sukar's actions*, but such a plot would've likely had the opposite effect on Irisa, and only driven her back to Nolan instead of widening the gulf between them.
*First Revolution, now Defiance; at this point I fully expect Bob Benson on Mad Men to be a collection of nanobots from the future made to look like an accounts guy.
Regardless, I'm still engaged by how Defiance is tackling these culture clashes. "Down in the Ground Where Dead Men Go" worked this idea on more or a societal level, but the personal conflict that's arisen between Nolan and Irisa is a bit more interesting because the effects are more obvious—not much has been made of the self-sacrificing Castithan from Episode 2—and also more character-focused. Nolan's attempt to use Iruz's name to offer some comfort to Irisa was incredibly patronizing, and I appreciated that the show afforded Irisa the space to call him out on it; it helped to make the disconnect between them clear and meaningful.
And that disconnect is important as Irisa and Nolan are, along with Datak and Stahma, the show's only characters with a solid spine to their interactions. I wish we'd seen more of the history between the human and the Irathient*, but the show's done a decent-enough job that I believe this is something that will create conflict for them for at least the rest of the season.
*This is an instance where the American broadcast model of 22-24 episodes is something I'm hankering for from the show.
Meanwhile, Nicky came looking for Birch at the McCawleys' house, claiming that her car had broken down. Rafe wasn't buying it, and Nicky wasn't exactly selling it very hard, and the two exhibited a sort of begrudging respect for each other even though there aren't many positive feelings between them. Sure, Rafe had mentioned his distaste for Nicky last week, but I feel like this was a new perspective on her from him. While I still don't really care all that much about whatever Nicky wants MacGuffin's Golden Pretzel for, or what it has to do with the earthquakes of 1811, I appreciated that Defiance is pushing it along. Quentin killing Birch last episode was a surprise, something of a bold move for a show that up until that point seemed content to let this plot sort of plod along.
This episode didn't move it forward that much more, but I'm glad that Rafe knows what happened to Birch and that Nicky knows that something happened to Birch (clever way of finding out, too). I do sort of wish the whole thing didn't feel so separate from the rest of the series, but bringing more people in on the conspiracy would mean this plot probably would've consumed the show prior the last few episodes, so I'll just be quiet on this particular quibble.
The episode's two remaining plots felt like oh-so-much filler. Christie was (suddenly) anxious about a Castithan bathing ritual involved with the wedding ceremony—or something along those lines—and she wanted Alak to do something about it and... oh, guys, I just can't even pretend to care. I don't know why either of those characters loves the other or wants to get married, and Alak came off like a real jerk in this episode in his complete disregard for Christie's nervousness. This whole thing could've been an interesting parallel to the other various inter-species and inter-cultural differences the show explores, but it ended up just being ridiculously dumb because, again, I don't know why the characters care about each other beyond the fact they're supposed to care about each other for the sake of the narrative. Whatever. Moving on.
Kenya and Stahma's time in the NeedWant was just sort of bizarre to me. Given how Stahma spoke of Kenya in "A Well-Respected Man," I'd assumed the two were on fairly friendly terms, or at the very least that they were past Stahma being the one who picks up Datak's piece of the NeedWant's profit. I guess that inference was very wrong, however, based on Stahma's being insulted by Kenya chuckling about Stahma's lack of understand of human sexual practices. Sort of like with Christie's concerns about the bathing ritual, Stahma's apparent discontentment felt like it came on awfully sudden. One the one hand, I'm sort of glad that we were granted this little insight into Stahma's frame of mind, and I'd love it if Defiance carried through on it in some way. On the other hand, I feel like it was just an excuse to have the two end up in bed together. I suppose only time will tell if it'll mean any more than that.
– Sorry about the lack of a review for "Brothers in Arms." I was moving when it aired, and didn't have cable or internet installed at the time. For what it's worth, I thought it was a good episode, particularly the second half.
– "Did you pack your socks? You know how grumpy you get when your feet are cold."
– Glad to see that even under the threat of being rained on by a bunch of shrapnel from space, there are still people who go out in the bad weather just because. Thank goodness Defiance doesn't have any weather reporters...
– "It wasn't because of some ooga-booga Irathient god."
– In light of the whole razor rain thing: NASA estimates that there are 500,000 pieces of space junk bigger than a marble floating around the Earth and 20,000 pieces bigger than a softball. Potentially, there are hundreds of millions of pieces of debris at least a millimeter in diameter. Just something to think about next time you look up at the sky.
– Closing montage cover song: Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic." I'm just impressed it wasn't a Joan Osbourne cover. Oh, c'mon, you were thinking it, too. (Amanda being an R.E.M. fan does make me like her a little bit more, though.)
What'd you think of "Good Bye Blue Sky"?