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Syfy (ended 2015)
Defiance: "Painted From Memory" (S02E09)


This will be fairly brief as I am tired (too many livestreams and too much MSNBC last night), but I really liked a lot of "Painted From Memory" until the big plan behind it was revealed and I let out a loud, sad groan.

Like with last season's big Indogene replicant episode, this one had a very nice singular focus on a single plot, and it remains amazing to me how much Defiance shifts gears when it isn't juggling serialized and more stand alone plots in a single episode. The show slows down. There's less of a rush to the episode, and moments get chances to breathe. You get that heartbreaking, impeccably acted scene between Amanda and Stahma (Jaime Murray isn't going to get any major award recognition for her work on Defiance this season, and that is so very wrong), something I feel like this episode would've had regardless but it landed so much better because there wasn't any clutter around it.

That the Kenya Nolan and Amanda rescued last week turned out to be a replicant wasn't all that surprising over the course of the episode and after seeing her fuzzy sense of things from inside a tank. (Yewll and Pottinger having vague, conspiratorial conversations was also a sizable clue.) That the show was re-visiting this particular plot device didn't bother since it resulted in so much good stuff, from Amanda getting closure to Stahma freaking the hell out while digging in a field of flowers. It was all very compelling stuff, and tied up that lingering tension very nicely.

What was not compelling, or even in the vicinity of good, was the reason for the Indogene replicant. That it was because Pottinger wanted to further manipulate Amanda and get closer to getting into her pants didn't undo anything, but it made me frustrated that it was a petty and sort of a narratively limp reason for it. This is what he sprang Yewll out of jail for? This? I'm okay with pathetic characters but it dulled a previously strong antagonist for Defiance. Someone convince I'm wrong about this?

One other thing that came about from the Kenya plot was the return of Quentin McCawley (almost unrecognizable to me). He was the masked man who was holding Kenya last week. Not sure, exactly, what's going on here, but I'm mildly intrigued to see where that particular thread is going to lead us.

What did you think of this week's episode?

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 8/28/2015

Season 3 : Episode 13

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For some reason, my DVR didn't register this as new, so I just got around to watching this yesterday afternoon.

I sort of rolled my eyes at the Pottinger thing too (I also for some reason think he is gay and was hoping he was because I could interpret him as being a character we could root for but this just makes him scummy to me). It did lead me back to something that Pottinger showed Yewell at Reverie and that it seemed like it was Irisa's medical records. And maybe there was a vague hope that the whole Irisa thing ties in with some Indogene plot because, well, sure, for the first time this season I learned that the relationship between the Casthathian invading the Irathian planet and that in turn led to the Irathians running to Earth and being followed (and maybe the Indogene were behind it all? they came up being and terra formed? they had a separate line of attack against earth? and it seems since they have been determined to be the bad guys, why is Defiance all keen on having them living amongst them when they are a little iffy about Irathians who kind of just seem, well, like ruffians but other than Irisa's weird stuff, they are kind of normal.

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Pottinger's reason for having Kenya replicated was really stupid... especially given the fact that he was becoming closer and closer to Amanda while he was supplying her with drugs. It just makes no sense to go to all that extra trouble to get into her pants! If he hadn't tampered with her memory she would still be hooked.

I loved Stahma's reaction to finally finding Kenya's grave. Stahma is seriously twisted, and I love her. Datak better look out.

I always miss these community reviews until a couple days later, I wish this was a regular review, or somehow featured more prominently.
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Speaking of community (shameless promotion) - Outlander's "Castle Leoch" review is up :)
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I totally agree about missing community reviews. Instead of showing TV Guide magazine stuff (who on Earth reads that on tv.com website?!) and What to Watch Online - tv.com Powers That Be should use the place to promote community more.
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Also what was up with Stahma saying that Kenya's skull is tiny? Did I miss something where Castithans have bigger skulls than human? Mia Kershner is a bit on the small side, but not unusually so.
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I thought Castithans are like humans except they have pale skin, white hair, weird eyes and cool bathing customs.
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And big skulls, apparently. Unless complimenting someone on the tininess of their skull is a Castithan compliment.
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So I guess a Casthian pick-up line goes like this?

"Oh Favi. You have so tiny skull. I could hide it in my breast pocket. Do you want to take a bath and relieve sexual tension with me?"
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"Like with last season's big Indogene replicant episode, this one had a very nice singular focus on a single plot,"

I like how in that review, Noel said, "Oh, hey, I didn't talk about the whole Kenya-Stahma-Datak thing. You guys have fun with that in the comments; it feels like filler to me." Little did we know... ;)
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I'm very angry and sad about this whole fake Kenya thing. I was so happy that Mia Kirshner was back to the show. And it all turned out to be some kind of mockery.

I really hope someone will kill both Yewll and Pottinger in a season finale.

Noel - if I may ask - why are you reviewing Defiance now as community member and not tv.com staff? Also thanks for review :)
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As soon as I saw she was billed as a guest star, I knew she wouldn't be around long. There was always the possibility she'd come back in a recurring state, but it'd be a lot of narrative effort for not much reward. That said, I think we might see Indo-Kenya again one day, if they can think of a good plot reason to bring her back. She's got that short life-span going on and everything, but nothing's impossible in sci-fi.

I do think Stahma was forced to tip her hand slightly, telling Amanda as much as she did. I think one day soon Amanda will find out Stahma posioned her...I mean it's a well of conflict, she has to! So that might be the real long-term impact of this episode.
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Well, the wikipedia showed Mia Kirshner as recurring in season 2 (now they apperently changed it to guest) so I had high hopes for Kenya's return. Now I'm just disappointed.
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Staff
Along the lines of what Gislef said, Defiance wasn't getting the pageviews to justify continued (paid) coverage, so like with Elementary in the back half of Season 2 (and, well, most of the forthcoming Season 3 as well), I would do these quickie reviews in the community to 1) provide a folks with a review to discuss and episode around and 2) give me a way to keep up with episodes and plots so I didn't miss anything when/if we circled back to regular staff review.
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I see. In that case I would like to thank you for reviewing Defiance for free. Watching the series without your input wouldn't be the same.
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Yewll is too humorous to kill. She's the Dr. McCoy of Defiance.

Besides, the impression I got was that Niles was forcing her to do it, in return for getting her out of prison. They've established that she's working as a doctor as redemption for her crimes.

But yeah, I thought the kind of undid what sympathy we might have had for Niles.

Noel is no longer doing paid reviews for Defiance, as he mentioned in a previous column. Although I'd think that would still let him get a reviewers spot rather than a community spot.
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So Yewll is trying to get redemption by commiting even more crimes? It must be indogene thing cause it doesn't make a freaking sense.

I think it's great Noel is still reviewing the show even if they don't pay him for it :)
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She's trying to get redemption, while being blackmailed into committing even more crimes.

What'd she do if she wasn't forced to work for Niles, we don't know. But then again, if he hadn't come along, she'd probably still be in Camp Reverie not helping anyone. :)
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You say that, but I almost DM'd Gislef to ask if he would do it this week because it had been a crummy week for me, and I just wanted to go to bed on Thursday.
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Feel free. :) Although it usually takes me to the next day. It certainly will now that they're airing back-to-back episodes for the next few weeks until the season finale.
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It was okay. The individual parts and performances were good, but the show doesn't impress me that much when it dabbles in science fiction, oddly enough. (Beyond the basic science fiction/future nature of the show itself.) I prefer the clash of cultures, the intrigue, and the relationship issues.

And if they do science fiction, I wish they would have done it in service of something other than the typical, "I'm a clone-am I real?-oh woe is me!" duplication plot. With a side of "I'm going to clone my intended's sister to make her my bed buddy" thrown in. The "burn briefly/burn bright" is pretty much a direct steal from Blade Runner, for instance.

It also seemed to be two episodes worth of effort for a first season character who was arguably the weakest and most unnecessary of the main stars. Even here, the character of Kenya seemed to be less her own character and mostly presented as a foil for Stahma and Amanda (and Nolan to a lesser degree). Perhaps rightly, Datak and Rafe didn't give a rat's ass about Kenya, and neither did I.
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Does this show even need the men anymore? I'm with you on the 'Pottinger' tried out some old Indogene tech for creating spies to send to Earth to get into Amanda's pants explanation. WHAT??? What was funny though was Doc Yewell's take on that fact. Kind of pulled the rug out from under someone I thought was becoming an interesting character. It reduces him to psychopath. That is some real evil sh!t using Yewll's evil tech that is still around. (Keep remembering what her girlfriend was going through before she killed her.) Using Amanda's memory to fill in the history is even sicker. So they're just going to hide Yewll in Rafe's mine now? That's OK more Datak and Yewll is never bad. (Datak, Yewll, and Rafe could be the threesome, bad choice of word, Defiance needs to survive.) So Quentin was the one that used fake Kenya to trick Amanda. Why when we find the reasoning behind it? I think the revolution has to start now.


All of the women, Stahma, fake Kenya, Amanda, 'Berlin' and Doc Yewell were great this week. Amanda was just as heartbreaking as Stahma. (Why didn't 'Dexter' ever give Julie Benz this kind of material? Whedon proved ages ago she was up for the challenge.) Not much from 'Irisa' and the gathering Tribe, but her story is going to completely break open soon. (Once again, Nolan rubbing it in Tommy's face about 'Berlin' so mean, yet so good.) Jamie Murray was breaking my heart in every scene she had with Amanda, fake Kenya, and Datak. They put her under all that makeup and you can still see in her eyes how much the fact that she killed Kenya is seriously messing with her head. When she was out shoveling in the ground for the body. (Why can't women in sci-fi win awards?) She was totally in love with her and that is something she as a Castithian could never ever reveal to anyone ever. She had to dig up the body to prove it to Datak that she had killed her. Datak proves he is awesome though, he hurts her more by saying he had just assumed she let her live and wasn't going to say anything about it despite the fact that Kenya knew everything the two of them did. And then she had to go through it all over again when the imposter (who has to outlive her biological death sentence and return, has to) showed up. She had no idea who Stahma was and Stahma knew that and it was crushing her when she engaged her in conversation. Good (depressing) stuff.

So when is Amanda going to realize exactly how Stahma knew what she knew and what is that going to lead to from these two fantastic actresses?

Can't wait to see the final act.

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