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A Defiance Community
Thursday 8:00 PM on Syfy (Returning 2015)
Defiance: "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" (S02E08)



First off: Apologies for no thoughts on last week's generally pretty decent episode (which I just watched on Tuesday; my DVR hates me at the moment) that had Nolan finding out about the Irzu stuff so they show can dispense with playing hide-and-seek with the show's two core characters. If hadn't been tied up in that under-developed Christie stuff at the humans-as-Votans club, it might've been even better.

Second: Powerhouse Gislef stepped in and provided a nice review ("The eyes have it" I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE), so thanks to him for doing his part in keeping the discussion going. He and I even agreed about the Christie stuff, so it was like I wasn't even gone!

As for this week's episode, "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" seemed an appropriate title as a number of things are approaching Defiance that could rattle the center, to keep up with Yeats. Stahma and Datak are potentially nearing a reconciliation, one that their lieutenants are eager to avoid; Kenya's alive and coming back to Defiance, which I'm sure will cause problems for the Tarrs; and the "Irzu" infected decided to gather in a field and hang out for a while.

What interests me more about this episode than anything that actually happened in the episode is that it was very much a table-setting episode that occurs at the season's halfway point, a sort of "Here are the big things we're concerned with now." It's not a second premiere, of course, but given Kenya's return and "Irzu"'s intentions to create an Arkrise event. Plenty of this is a continuation of plot points running through the season, but it feels like we're only now getting to the point where they're ready to kick into gear.


I'm finding this structure more interesting than I probably should, but a similar thing happened in Hannibal Season 2 and is happening in Legend of Korra Book 3 right now. There's a fair amount of either set up or resolving storylines from the previous season before the show segues into its big/primary concerns with five or six episodes left on the season. I don't have a problem with this as a structure. I just find it interesting that given how we think of 13 episodes moving narratives along at a speedy clip (compared to the "slog" of 22 episodes) that perhaps a trend is emerging to slow them down sometimes, refocus themselves at (roughly) a halfway point.

I only mention this because the episode was a lot of bringing in/back certain elements or ratcheting up older ones, and while it was all mostly fine, but it wasn't all that weird or exciting as the last few episodes have been. The threat of a distant terrorist bomb threat to a location we've never even visited was a non-starter for me, while the politics of the Tarr organization will always be a part of the show, so little hints at the potential tensions there will suffice as the show builds up a bit. "Irzu" is "Irzu," of course, but I'm pretty sure it's trying to bring a big old buried ship out of the Earth, and that will likely be pretty bad.

If there was one thing that stood out, it was the episode's visuals. The show continues to ramp up its visual style -- I loved Nolan and Irisa talking in the lawkeeper office right before she heads out to the wilderness -- and in ways that have me frustrated when they do daytime scenes. They seem happiest when they're shooting at dusk or at night. Admittedly, a shift in the lighting of the show can ease their considerable make-up burdens, but the trade off may be worth it in the long run.

What did you all think of "Slouching Towards Bethlehem"?
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