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Syfy (ended 2015)
Defiance "Bottom of the World" and "Doll Parts" (S02E10 and S02E11)



I’m sorry, wait, what?

I was rather excited about Defiance after its first two episodes of this season, but the show steadily declined, hitting a sizable wall last week and has now just stopped moving altogether. Which is a weird thing to say as it seems to move onto its big climax...but good grief, does anyone actually care about the rising of the Kaziri and what Nolan calls the Votan Rapture?

I started this season giving the Irisa/Irzu stuff a bit of a long leash because it was at least grounded in Irisa trying to figure out what was happening to her and her struggles to, at the very least, minimize “Irzu”’s control. There was a personal stake in all the mysterious nonsense the show kept dropping, picking back up, and dropping again that could keep it somewhat afloat. However, Defiance has opted to drop most of that and turn Irisa into a nanotech puppet (“Irzu” can make guns heavier and short circuit electrical equipment but Irisa has to break her thumbs to get out of handcuffs? OKAY.) who doesn’t have much remorse for anything, and delivers a long speech about Nolan ruined her, turned her into a killing machine.

It’s a credit to Leonidas and Bowler that that scene isn’t a complete wash, and while it may be reflective how Irisa or Nolan (or both) may feel about one another in the insecure parts of their psyches, it also positioned Irisa as an Earth surrogate, another thing ruined by the humans, and served more as a way to connect it back to the Votan Rapture notion more than an actual conflict between Irisa and Nolan. Again: The personal has been subsumed by this plot, and it’s incredibly dull.



The Tarrs and the McCawleys continued to be horrible and violent families, and the odd shagginess that has taken over the show is at the forefront here, again. Rafe taking the fall for Quentin’s assassination plot for the visiting Tennety is exactly the sort of thing that Rafe does, and while it finally got Linda Hamilton onto the show, it feels very much too little too late for this big of a development, especially with only two episodes left. Also: What happened to Rafe and Datak teaming up to stir up a rebellion against the E-Rep? That seemed to collapse, especially after the show decided to contain Pottinger in a “I just want to get together with Amanda” box, and not a “I’m an ambitious jerk who is going to drive Defiance into the ground.” grand plan. The E-Rep threat that was so promising at the start of the season now feels as dangerous as a soggy paper bag.

Finally, Christie killed Deidre (I refuse to call her Treasure Box Doll, because, eugh) after the latter tried to poison the former, and Christies’ descent/ascent (take your pick) into becoming as Casti woman appears complete enough that Alak is now thoroughly frightened by his young wife. It’s a rather nice rehabilitation that both of these characters have gone through, but the decision to rehabilitate them when there are, frankly, better storylines (Defiance rebellion) and characters (Stahma and Datak, both wonderful as the argued about who could’ve killed Deidre (I LOVED STAHMA LIGHTBULB MOMENT)) on which to focus.

I find myself in the same position that I found myself with Defiance last season: This is a show that could be pretty damn good, but makes weird choices that undermine a lot of its potential. I actually think I may dislike the show more now than I did last season because it showed signs of improving only to cut itself off at the legs as it enters its season finale.

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 8/28/2015

Season 3 : Episode 13

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I dislike the Christie story. The other characters seem more natural, but her change from a sweet miner girl to an unrepentant assassin who has forgotten her own species feels too forced. It's the worse part of Defiance. I even like Alak and all and was ok with lame season 1 Christie. At least she made sense. Now she is too far fetched for me.
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She wasn't exactly an assassin. She killed Treasure Doll because Treasure Doll was attacking her and trying to kill her baby. That at least was why Christie hit her. Throwing her off of the arch didn't seem premeditated -- so it's not even like she was planning to kill her. If you remember, Treasure Doll kept striking at Christie's abdomen with her fists, trying to kill her baby.

The whole I am Stahma thing came after and is part of her trying to figure out her identity. We can guess that there was more going on with her than being a sweet miner's daughter given her family's backstory - disruptively mentally ill mother -- so mentally ill that her father had to get rid of her (Christie thinks she's dead), raised by gruff Rafe and the only girl in a family of wild brothers.

Christie, dupe that she is, never even saw Treasure Doll's betrayal coming. Most people would have or at least been suspicious of her, asking themselves why is is all of a sudden such an intense and fast friend. She doesn't think anything of it -- again maybe a factor of how she was brought up (but could just be poor writing like a lot of the show).

I think there is also the possibility that the pregnancy is transforming her -- though I have to say that we haven't seen any other Casti women anywhere near as ruthless and cunning as Stahma. But then again Christie was neither in this situation.
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I agree about the killing not being premeditated but a normal person would have called the police and explained it was self defense or something. Christie not only didn't do that but she seemed powerful and pride in the bath, rubbing to Alak what she has done. And she speaks as she is a casti woman, which I refused to find natural. She had began acting weird before, remember how Alak told her he didn't want her to be anything like his mom.
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You mean, call the E-Rep and politely explain it was an accident? The E-Rep whom she explicitly doesn't trust based on what she said about them arresting her father?

Plenty of "normal" people in RL don't trust the police . I don't trust them as a person of color. Ferguson and the light shed because of Ferguson on other systemic injustices cops perpetuate on poor/immigrant/POC/black/trans communities are just very relevant examples of why that distrust is justified. There are a lot of people who don't rightfully, trust the cops to seek true justice without being blinded by biases.

In the world of Defiance, Christie didn't trust them and she seems to be performative post-TD killing. Her natural state was likely guilt and shock based on her questioning Stahma on how someone can do evil. Then, she takes on another identity in the tub- one like Stahma's - because she feels strong doing that and there's less guilt and shock and far more justification for what she did. It's basically a way to live with what she did. Basically, Christie's faking it till she makes it.
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I understand being wary of police or E-Rep, Acting like a cold assasin is another. That is what I meant and nothing else.
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I find myself in the same position that I found myself with Defiance last season: This is a show that could be pretty damn good, but makes weird choices that undermine a lot of its potential. I actually think I may dislike the show more now than I did last season because it showed signs of improving only to cut itself off at the legs as it enters its season finale.

You could substitute "Defiance" with A LOT of show titles and this statement would be no less accurate.

I don't hate the whole Irzu story arc, it's certainly not doing the show any favours by separating Irisa from the rest of the cast. I didn't know where things were going in the season 1 finale, but I knew it wasn't going to be anywhere great...at least I'm not disappointed there.

Pottinger on the other hand...ugh! Don't even get me started.

And words I never thought I'd say, "Atta girl, Christie". I'm guessing though Rafe will be none too happy that his little girl is now a stone cold killer. And now that his boy is back (also a stone cold killer...maybe it's poor parenting) along with a VERY haggarded looking Linda Hamilton, maybe we'll see the two families team up to form an E-Republic busting Voltron before turning on each other.
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I hate the environmental message that came out of nowhere. Oh, Irzu is terraforming the world because Humans ruined it. What?! Humans are the problem, really, Irzu? Not the racist imperialist Castithans or the cold amoral Indogenes? No, Humans need to die because the Votans want the planet. Grrr.
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Isn't there an actual sic-fi fan to review this great show?
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Oh no!! Am I not an actual sci-fan fan?! QUICK! Someone send me the membership requirements, and I'll get back to you!!
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Sigh, I agree. And it is suffering for me know because as much as I wanted Dominion to focus on things, it helped to balance out some of the boringness of this show. And now two weeks of two hours. I couldn't do it so I watched it in two parts and let me just say, if I'd watched it as one, I would have been confused as to tone. At least last year the storylines last year sort of coalesced into the Battle of the Vulge, but I can't even feel the risk of whatever Irisa is planning. I like Berlin, that's pretty much it.
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Linda Hamilton, yes! More music montages? No, no, no.
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I know that people are happy to have Linda Hamilton in a cameo role. I would have preferred that Rafe's wife been cast as Latina or Native.
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I can see that but, hey ... what's this show about if not diversity?
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Yes, I hate the music montages or at least the ones they've been doing with known tracks versus instrumental music. I think it cheapens the show, since the acting is usually good enough to stand on it's own -- it also just doesn't fit in a show set in this time and place.
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The show is dropping bits of plot the place, the Defiance rebellion being the major one but what about the side effects of Amanda's EGO extraction and Doc Yewll's "ghost"
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1. I'm glad there is no Irzu. The Evil AI controlling Irisa makes much more sense.

2. Geisha's balls part cracked me up. Berlin you have much to learn, girl :)

3. I'm glad Deidre is gone. Christie finally grew a pair of ovaries and may become an interesting character.

4. Amanda being a deputy sounds like a good idea for her.

5. I'm not sure if Defiance needs Linda Hamilton.

6. Stahma was awesome as always.

I can't wait for season's finale. Hopefully Nolan will kick The Evil AI hard into mental balls and everything will be ok.

Thanks for review, Noel!

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Everytihng needs Linda Hamilton. ;)
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It seems as though the series is turning more and more into a (human) soap. Where a good scifi show uses the strength of each race to point out the differences and get great stories from that, Defiance turned into an almost human soap. Although the characters might look different, they act more and more human.

Even Christie, though she killed Deirde, did it in a human way and not as part of a devious plan thus looking like Stahma. Stahma is the only one upholding the old alien traditions in the story. Even Datak, who promised so much, is now playing card games. We lost the great story line where he thinks he's in charge and in reality she is. Their son has almost nothing in common with a Casthitan male, he's just her toyboy now. How un-Casthitan. Remembering the race values, I do not understand the other Casthitan in the city respect them as the woman have taken over.

Part of the attraction of a series is the interest the viewer has with a character and for me, only Stahma is intersting enough. I really couldn't care less what happens to the others (maybe with the exception of Datak because of his interaction with Stahma)..

Where have all the great (alien) back stories gone? What happened to the differences between the races, what happened to that city beneath the city, where's the rebellion, where are the strong characters (besides Stahma?

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Though one of the constant themes this season is that everyone in Defiance lives in a new world and that they may have to and perhaps should (especially when it comes to harmful and oppressive gender roles) accommodate themselves to it.

Alak has grown up in Defiance and never knew Casti -- plus, once he decided to marry a human woman had to accommodate himself to her ways. He also isn't interested and has a distaste for the ways in which his father has constructed his own manhood, so I can't see him really wanting to emulate that.

Christie on the other hand admires Stahma (don't we all like her as a character??) and also wasn't okay with the misogynistic aspects of Casti culture though she is enjoying the exoticism of some of its forms.

I agree with you and others that lots of the plot points have just fizzled without any resolution. I don't know what is happening in the writers' room. Does no one keep track of what they write or care that the storylines get resolved?

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All that said, it's nice to have Phoef Sutton on as a writer and creative consultant. She joined up a few episodes ago, and wrote "Doll Parts." I think she's doing what she can with what she has at this point. And "Doll Parts" was definitely the better of the two episodes.

Ms. Sutton appears to have worked primarily on Boston Legal, although she did a lot of work on Cheers, too. Probably why there was more humorous dialogue in "Doll Parts."

I guess you wouldn't expect a Hollywood writer to work on both Cheers and Defiance, but there you go.
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I could care less about Irisa and the sci-fi mumbo jumbo in her storyline. Just get that thing out of her already! I'm with you Noel. This season started out very strong. Once the plot shifted away from Stahma, Datak, and Doc, it's been downhill all the way. I was really hoping for a Rafe/Datak-inspired uprising. I hope next year that Tommy and Irisa move far away and Datak moves back into the homestead.
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I disagree almost entirely with this. I'm a late comer to the show (only watching because I got the game cheap ;) but the quality has only increased to me, Sure they've dropped alot of stories before they could really get going (I would have loved to see more of the Casti dress-up place) but I've been enjoying this run a hell of alot more than season 1!

Problem for me is I'll be out of the country for the finale next week and will have to wait until September 8th to see it. Tommy better survive or I'm coming for you Irzu!
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I quite enjoyed the last couple of episodes. must admit that I don't really care about the Irissa stuff - although I do like the Irissa and Nolan's relationship (It kinda reminds me of Balloo and Mowgli in the jungle book - sooner or later nature will out.) But the best part was seeing Christie ascend into becoming a mini Stahma. Respect! I think Stahma is quite pleased with Christie as well. Although this is definitely the end of her marriage to Alek - he stated before that he didn't want to marry his mother. The look on his face when Christie referred to herself as a casti woman was priceless!

I felt like cheering when Treasure Doll plunged to her death in the beginning. hate people like that - so jealous of others they have to try and take away what others have rather than going out and earning it on her own. I don't believe for one second that she was in love with Alek - she was in love with the idea of being rich and having status.

I understand where you are coming from Noel. This show does need a lot of work - the overarching season plots are not nearly as engaging as some of the side stories, and not enough focus is given to the standout characters, but overall I still think this show is worthwhile, and deserves more time to find its feet. I know that it should have already found its feet during this sophomore season, but if shows like Under the Dome and The Following can be renewed surely Defiance can be given a third chance?
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when deidre was killed i remember thinking " about damn time!", which was followed by a profound sense of jubilation.
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I hated her and really couldn't understand why Amanda had any affection for her. She was a petty, hollow person -- yes, she'd been abused as a child -- but she was also just a ruthless climber. You can't really like someone who - fill in the blank. Good riddance.
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This show is getting better and better.
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The lovely whore's name was 'Treasure Doll', 'Treasure Box' would have been an 'eugh' for sure (but it would have been hilarious). I loved the fact that 'Treasure Doll' was playing 'Hole' and wasn't wasting the public's time with 'R.E.M.' Sorry Amanda. 'Doll Parts' played in the first scene had me digging out my old 'Hole' CDs. Haters can hate, Courtney was/is awesome. I have to finish watching these episodes...........
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Eugh. You're right. I'll correct that right now. Thanks. Still terrible, I think
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Noel, I agree with you about the Irisa stuff. I feel that she had so much potential to be interesting, but the writers have dropped the ball on that storyline too often, and now they're sort of sending her story in a weird direction. I imagine she will find a way to fight off Irzu before it's all over with, but what's to become of Irisa after that? I really hope they put a little more effort into Irisa's story in the future (if there is a future for this show).

OMG... I am so sick of tv shows using the "running out of oxygen - saved in the nick of time" thing to add urgency to a rescue. It's really freaking cliche now. I had no doubt that Amanda and Pottinger would survive, I had no doubt that Nolan would get there just in time.

I loved the investigation into who killed Deidre, and I absolutely loved it when Stahma and Alak both realized Christie did it. Alak just sat there with his mouth open in shock, and Stahma was thrilled! At this point in the show, I am basically watching for Stahma.
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Amanda as a lawkeeper deputy was actually really good, and Benz really got into it. I'm just going to say it: Benz and Anna Hopkins (Berlin) for True Detective Season 2. ;)

Like I said a few weeks ago, Defiance just needs to become The Stahma Tarr Show and then Jaime Murray can just be awesome without all the clutter.
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Julie Benz and Anna Hopkins for 'True Detective' Season 2 - better than any casting suggestion that's been thrown out there. Those two together works wonderfully and drove that episode quite well outside of the Tarrs themselves.
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"and while it finally got Linda Hamilton onto the show,"

And... Hamilton wasn't in "Doll Parts," righ?tI haven't had a chance to do more than skim the second episode and grab the credits (and she wasn't credited). It seemed odd to bring her in and immediately drop h er.

"especially after the show decided to contain Pottinger in a “I just want to get together with Amanda” box, and not a “I’m an ambitious jerk who is going to drive Defiance into the ground.” grand plan. The E-Rep threat that was so promising at the start of the season now feels as dangerous as a soggy paper bag."

That, and the fact that Mercado is supposedly in charge now, isn't he? But once Niles comes back, Mercado disappears and Niles might as well be the mayor again. Why would Mercado send the two of them to greet Olfin, an apparently high-ranking E-Rep ambassador?

It also seemed kind of pointless to bring in Olfin and then kill her. They referred to her back story, but did anyone really care a season and a half later? Like Kenya, they just seemed to bring Olfin back to tie up a not-very-loose end.
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The Hamilton thing bugged me so much, if only because it's her. Syfy mentioned her in the screener box they sent with the first three episodes and she's just now showing up...for 2 minutes...Based on promo photos for next week, she's a bit more prominent, but I'm just all, "I WAITED ALL SEASON FOR THIS?!"

I have zero idea if Mercado is still in charge or what's going at this point. Just showcases how shaggy the show's become.
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Yep. Given how much money they must have paid Linda Hamilton, you think they'd want to... do something with her.
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I'm disappointed there was no mention of the "beads" in your review ;-)

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That moment was one of the better moments of the show. Berlin did not wash her hands, did she? Eewww.
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Not sure why you put beads in quotes like that! They are beads! ;)
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I wasn't sure they were beads.
Could you explain what those particular beads are used for?
Are they a type of meditation bead?
;-)
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Sure! They're anal beads. They're inserted into the anus and then removed from the anus at varying speeds to create sexual pleasure. I suppose you could use them for a very specialized and unique form of meditation, however. Hmmm...

(Never, ever play explanatory chicken with me!)
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Ben wah balls?
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(Paraphrasing Ygritte)

You Know Nothing, Noel Kirkpatrick. These aren't anal beads...
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:eek: the aliens must have very large orifices cos those things were HUUUGGGEEE !!
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Its an understandable lapse...
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No, though I can't tell you how often I've confused those items in my own home. Woo boy.
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I thought they were greek worry beads
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