Defiance "Good Bye Blue Sky" Review: When It Rains...

Defiance S01E07 "Good Bye Blue Sky"

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.



LAWKEEPER FILES

– 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"?

Comments (43)
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It was an okay episode with twists that did not make much sense.

Previous episodes already showed that Kenya has strong feelings for Nolan even to the point where Kenya was not accepting clients because she has trouble resolving what she was feeling.Now on these episode we see her starting a relationship with the married alien who by the way has a psycho husband. Talk about being on a rebound. This plot twist really seemed forced, just to add some spice to a bland episode.

The whole Sukar death and resurrection and the paralyzed I think will be a trend on this series where we will see main characters die only to find them in the next episodes alive just to give the audience a shock which frankly has been done in a lot of shows especially soap operas.


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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 but after watching episode 8, I would say episode 8 is better. 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.
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I'm old school scifi pre Battlestar Gallactica re-imaging. Guns, explosions, aliens, and hot chicks I'm happy.
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If ever we do have regular contact with alien species, Defiance will be one of those shows where the stereotyping and alien-racism will be laughable.

Apparently only humans in this show live like non tribal-species? Yet we can presume it was the superior technology and evolution of the other species that got them to earth in the first place. Don't get me wrong, tribal people may well be very well evolved in their own way, but why have they made the majority of alien species to be like that? It doesn't make sense.

This feels like a wild west series from the 70s, that has been re-hashed to include aliens.

Stahma's line "if Datak knew about this he'd kill us both without remorse", and Kenya's complete non-reaction to this, stood out as a line that summed up all the problems with this show. The alien species' shown are all flawed in social conduct, and living by their life or death ideals (the typical original Star Trek Klingon mentality).

This show had a chance to really explore what real issues technologically advanced alien species might have if they were forced to live on earth. But Defiance is ignoring this completely, and just sticking with basic (and overused) human reactions and stereotypes from budget 70s westerns.
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Exactly a western disguise as a "sci-fi" show !
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Anyone have a clue who is sing the Cover "Goodbye Blue Sky" at the end?
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So far I'm just taking it as it is but Defiance just needs a lot of episodes to make it viable. Maybe one day in the end that'll happen but there's so much with the show I'm not sure what to think?? I'm not totally intrigued at all either which isn't a good sign. There are other races not even touched yet for their understanding so I hope that's coming. Or are they just there and that's that?
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I've just realised I've found a way to know if a show sucks. If after a few episodes I can't remember the characters' names (it happens with this show, and it happened with Zero Hour and The Event, for example) then the show sucks BIG TIME.
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The whole Christie/Alak relationship is amazingly boring, although it was good to see them have a disagreement about something. Unfortunately the bathing ritual was played as "tee-hee, you have to get *naked*!" when it could have been a genuinely interesting scene. What if it actually meant something important to Alak, what if water is important in their culture and the ritual was quite significant? I know Alak has already been portrayed as not taking his culture seriously, but I think that plot would have been more moving if she went through this difficult, awkward experience because she knew it was important to him. Then, all of a sudden, I'd be taking their feelings seriously. Arguably Alak letting go of it performs the same function in reverse, but it doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

Also is it too much to hope for this Kenya/Stahma thing to be taken seriously? It's probably fanservice, but hopefully something comes of it. It doesn't have to be Willow/Tara or anything but if it's never referred to again I'll be annoyed.

It's tricky to make the audience care about the whole golden pretzel plotline without us knowing what it does. I mean it can be done, but at the moment while I'm actually quite enjoying events in that plot, it falls a bit flat if we have no idea what the stakes are.

This all sounds quite negative, but I do think the show is getting better. Or at least, developing enough of its own mythology to properly distract us from the bad parts.
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I have to say I'm torn now. On the one hand, Alak played "Lovesong" for which I hated him, but he refused to play "Shiny Happy People" which shoots him up to 'this guy's not all bad.'

As I watched the episode, I just knew I was gonna complain about how they needlessly wasted Sukar, then they brought him back...and kinda killed him again. These aliens aren't interesting overall. It's more like that bar in Star Wars, where there's not much to see once you're done looking at them. I like the Doc, and Stahma and Datak are kind of interesting, but I just hope they work in more substance somehow.

Irisa bugs. At first, she was bratty but competent, but now she's just hormone-imbalanced because it's her destiny to be hormone-imbalanced. It's so much worse because it's not going to go away until that story line is over. Maybe it's because I'm a godless heathen, but I personally don't watch sci-fi to watch everyone obsess about culture, religions and destinies. The Bajorans got on my last nerve on Star Trek DS9, and pretty sat there swinging on it for a good six years. I did ask for substance, but...not that.

Nolan's a disappointment. It's mostly left over from his cowardice twice over from last week (though 1 out of 3 was better than none), but the guy's just not awesome anymore. It looked like he might get better next week, I dunno.

Stahma and Kenya...I didn't hate it; how could I hate it? But like Noel pretty much said, it seemed entirely off after what Stahma had told Kenya's sister a few episodes back. I thought Stahma was quite fond of Kenya because of all the 'Thank you for letting us do your husband' hugs. Sure, I guess she's more fond of Kenya *now*, but that still doesn't erase all the forced drama at the beginning.

Anyway, I didn't hate it, but they need Sukar back. The Iraths suck overall, and if they're going to keep them around as the Others, it's really not gonna work without him.
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Defiance is getting better. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I liked "Good Bye Blue Sky", very much so.

1. Kenya & Stahma - yes, please! I know it was probably one time thing - nevertheless - Team Stanya FTW!

2. Poor Stahma - Castithan females apparently don't have G-spot :(

3. Irisa - I like her more and more. The best episodes of Defiance are the ones focusing on Irisa and Irathients.

4. Poor Sukar - I really liked him. I hope they will somehow bring him back.

I'm looking forward to next week episode.

Thanks for review, Noel!
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Also I really liked the whole "sinking ceremony" - especially the part in which priestess and Irisa were singing.
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Amanda's not an REM fan...she's a "Shiny Happy People" fan. There's a big difference.

Sukar's sinking ceremony evoked the age-old question...why do they call it a "wake," when that's the last thing anyone expects the guest of honor to do?

And as far as Kenya goes...I could accuse her of being a massive whore, but that would be judgmental, so I'll just call her a bad businesswoman. How does she expect to make any money if she gives the product away for free?
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No Datak??? That was shamefull
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I still like the show. However, there are parts and aspects of it that I find completely ludicrous. I like the relationship between Nolan and Irisa. I even like Datak and that whole thing. But Nicky as a big bad is so off the mark that is falls flat. I don't understand how anyone can be intimidated by her. For me that is the only thing dragging the show down.
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If you would think about it Nicky is an effective villain because she is not your stereotypical villain that would intimidate you at first glance rather she is the criminal mastermind type that nobody expects to be crazy but would do the most damage in the end.
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very true about Nicky, a villain who cant walk up a flight of stairs without a =n oxygen tank isnt very intimidating
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She needed to be a pulling-the-strings villain I think, with minions to do this sort of thing. I could buy her as dangerous via power, but personally getting in Rafe's face is a bit ridiculous.
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While far from perfect, I have liked this show so far. However, this was the first episode of the series that I was REALLY disappointed with. Terrible pacing, clunky dialog, bad acting by secondary characters, boring story, arbitrarily manufactured situations - even the choice of camera angles during long discussions. The script was bad, but I'm also wondering if they had a first-time director for this episode, because it was a mess from the very opening scene. Episodes like this can be a real show killer. In the shortened seasons of cable, there's no excuse for a crap filler episode when there's so much interesting story just waiting to be told.
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I started watching this show about 2 weeks ago and had to stop watching at half the pilot, I was so bored already. I would have watched it even if not very good just because Julie Benz is in it and it has aliens. Julie Benz deserved and opportunity like this. She was great in roles like Darla from Angel or Rita from Dexter. But I didn't quite see her as the "sheriff" here. I didn't see anything interesting enough, and found the story honestly boring. I come around here to see what you guys still watching have to say, cause I don't dare to get back to watch it, it is so disapointing... I thought maybe people started saying that it was getting better (always hope), but it doensn't look that way. Oh well, maybe next season will be totally different.
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Irisa see a baby dragon in her vision and at the end - GoT crossover coming?

Irisa sleeps on the floor (get a bed genius)

Getting tired of the "alien" cover versions

All the Irathient are gingers - but Sukar has a black beard?

Apparently gingers melt their dead - i always suspected

The idiot in the rain suit - f*ck him, let him die, the world would have one less idiot

Hiding from the razor rain in the roller - of course they would be safe

Las Vegas is a prison - living up to the whole sin city tag

Nanobots - Revolution crossover coming?



DEFIANCE HAS EX PORN SCRIPT WRITERS!!

"looks like rain"
"good excuse for us to hang up here and make out"
"you smell amazing" - the porn dialogue is creeping in

"the whole family together in a bathtub" - porn dialogue again

"the principal was so grateful she kissed me on the lips" - porn scene set up?

"i just need someplace to wait out this ghastly weather" - more porn dialogue

i am not even going to bother with the sex talk between Mrs Tarr and Kenya

"you've got some balls Nicolette"

"Do you want to dance with me" - porn scene set up to Mrs Tarr and Kenya

Kenya - 2 for 1 deal offered = setting up the pron scene for next week
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you will be hence forth referred to as the Porn Expert;-)
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its a commonly used term for me
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Something else to think about next time you look up into the sky, all of those bits of junk and well pretty much everything in low earth orbit is covered in a rather unpleasent brown film. It's easier for the astronauts to throw certain things right out the airlock instead of bringing back to earth.
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After two relatively decent episodes, they went and did this... another ridiculous episode.

At this point I feel like House MD trying to diagnose what's wrong with this show, but there are so many symptoms, it could be anything at this point. Lupus? Must be Lupus! Oh wait, it's never Lupus.... Anyway.... What I do know, if they don't figure it out soon (and with a renewal already in the pocket) death of good television will be the result.

-focus already, story lines were all over the place. I wish this show would take just one focussed story line per episode and really work that out as it is obviously incapable to incorporate several story lines per episode. This might have something to do with the fact that they haven't fleshed out any of the shows characters up till now.

-characters are all over the place and they are just that: characters. I'm still not seeing persons, personalities or something vaguely resembling someone to root for or give a damn about. The people don't 'feel' real to me, just a bunch op badly drawn up stereotypical characters who act anyway the writers see fit at the time.

-another week, another apocalypse. Why does Defiance have to deal with a town destroying problem almost every week? To be honest... At this point I still don't care enough about the town or the people in it, so threatening to wipe it off the map is not that big of a deal to me.

From the creators of Battlestar Galactica???? Seriously???? Where did it go wrong????
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This was a weak episode.

Alak and Christy: I agree with everyone who wrote that they don't seem to have a reason to be getting married. The writers could have used their scenes together so show a shared interest (maybe Christy is also into music or they have a game that they both like to play) or to give us some more background (maybe Alak could have talked about what it was like growing up with his parents or what he remembers of the early Defiance, what his parents have said of their homeworld; Christy could have shared similar memories). Instead, we just got Alak trying to feel Christy up (and it didn't seem like that went much of anywhere) and Christy expressing a lot of trepidation around a ritual that either wasn't a big deal or would have indicated that she and Alak had some serious interspecies stuff to discuss. Does anyone else feel that they aren't really marriage material?

The writers just haven't answered many of the questions you would expect to come up around two people of the same background getting married much less two of completely different species. We've seen human and Voltan having sex but can they procreate? I remember Nolan talking about hybrids (but we haven't gotten a taste of what that would mean, even in supposedly integrated Defiance). Where will Alak and Christy live after they marry? Neither of them has much of a career job...

Kenya and Stahma: I didn't really expect to find Kenya and Stahma in bed with one another. For one there didn't seem to be much chemistry or interest between them - though I guess with Kenya, sex is the cure for everything. Plus, am I the only one repulsed by Kenya (not by the actress), by the fact that she's been with just about everyone in Defiance in every sort of way possible. Are their no STDs in the world of Defiance. True Casthis don't have human sexual hangups (though apparently Datek would find his wife with Kenya effont enough to his honor to kill them both on the spot), but what's so sexy and alluring about that.
The coupling also didn't seem realistic as Stahma is just about the most calculating and guarded person in Defiance. Why let your guard down that way with someone who has the potential ear of all of the other powerful people in the town. Kenya could easily use their encounter against Stahma, she may even just trip up and let something slip to someone she shouldn't. And this is not to mention everyone who saw Stahma enter the Need-Want and go up to Kenya's room. Why would Stahma allow someone else to control her fate like that? It just seem crazily out of character.

Sukar: Even crawling with nanytes how would Sukar's flesh resist the acid bath? It's not like with the bullets where we saw his wounds heal over.

I thought Irisa's actions in this ep were in character and reasonable for who she is. I find I don't really care all that much about the father-daughter tension with Nolan, but it's realistic.

Nicolette: This was totally out of character for Nicky. What did confronting Rafe really gain her? It tipped her hand but not much else.
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I agree with the whole Stahma and Kenya thing. The pairing was too forced especially when from previous episodes we see Kenya falling for Nolan and now she struck up a relationship with the most unlikely character to do something reckless when she has always been so calculated in everything she has done so far. Apparently in this show aliens would only need a few drinks to do something stupid as that.
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The Rafe choke-a-bitch scene and Kenya/Stahma whatever-the-hell-was were so random and awesome that, at this point, I think Defiance should just go full bizarro universe.
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I'm getting a bit tired of the calamity of the week format.
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It was an alright episode.

As for the father/daughter relationship... it's possible to be respectful of one's religious funeral rights even if you don't believe in their values. Heck, even if you find someone's beliefs ridiculous, most tend t oat least be respectful about death... it's not condescending. But her reaction was expected... we've seen in the past he's not really been "into" her culture and thus she hasn't learned any of it. Add to that he shot him, and she's proper pissed.

Though you can't blame him for shooting the guy. He was running around town, acting out of character from the last time they met, beating people up, stealing stuff, and about to turn on the thrusters on the incoming piece of debris that might-or-might-not hit the town. Add to that the sheriff was told the guy died, he probably thought that was a con/lie. So all of that really did shift the save/destroy the town odds well into destroy.
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Just not sure I should bother watching..... Everything about what this show should / could be is what I would normally like. But turned off three-quarters of the way through the last one.

It just seems to be a wild west soap opera to me..... where is the sci-fi? Was this episode actually worth watching?
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I like the show, but felt this episode was "meh" It moved some of the story arch forward a little... Irisa's power / prophet-status / etc. is increasing. The ex-mayor wants the golden pretzel (ancient device). But I personally felt the either episode's story or its execution was "meh"

As for science fiction... this episode probably had more "science" and "tech" than most of the previous episodes: crashing space-ships, arc-brain computers with advanced AI, nanites regenerated necrotised tissue, etc.

One doesn't need constant tech and gear to be science fiction. So long as the underlying premise and plot elements have a scientific explanation (implied or explicit ; good science or bad) it falls into science fiction instead of fantasy.

StarGate was quite science-fiction-y, and yet most of the episodes we see them running around with regular gear and P90's. Some episodes even had no (or VERY little) scenes involving the stargates themselves.
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I can understand the argument between Kenya and Stahma. Even if they are friends (or friendly) two people can still get quick pissed. Plus, you know, Stahma could have been exaggerating her relationship with Kenya to her sister to make her feel better and/or manipulate her.

As we've seen with Stahma's race / people... they're REALLY big on honor and respect. Not just her husband, but the rest of their people... that guy was willing to undergo torture and sacrifice to restore honor to the family, and his people had no problem increasing his torture. So... Kenya's laugh could be seen as an attack on Stahma's honor... and personal beliefs can over-ride a relationship.

Look at Star Trek: we've seen Worf as a relatively nice guy. But someone insults his honor... and he'll knock you across the room unless you're a Starfleet officer. He's even told his friends (like Riker) that if he were not a starfleet officer he'd rip off his arms or something.
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Bob Benson IS a nanobot controlled KGB agent. It was already clear two episodes ago.
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Staff
So what you're really telling me is that Mad Men has just been a very intricate, slow-burning prequel to The Americans? Brilliant.
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Hey, fair enough, I have nothing against Defiance and GOT (I can't say the same about Revolution) but where is the thread for Teen Wolf? I will die slowly but surely if I cannot discuss it soon, the premiere was EPIC. Just ... agh, I am dying. It is turning into a must-see.
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Price tweeted that he might be doing a TW recap... I hope it's here.
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