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Defiance Season 1, Episode 3

Defiance Season 1, Episode 3

defiance season 1 episode 3‘The Devil In The Dark’

The Devil in the Dark differed from the past two episodes, in that it focused primarily on one of Earth’s new species, the Irathients. This episode revolved around a revenge plot being orchestrated on select Defiance inhabitants, by a female member of the Irathient Spirit Riders viewers met in the pilot episode named Rynn. This set-up allowed for Irisa’s story to come to the fore, although perhaps more mysteries for her were created than solved. It seems that Irisa has ‘The Sight’, an Irathient mix of precognition and psychic gift. Here, she has the ability to see and inhabit the memories of Rynn, much to the surprise of the leader of the Spirit Riders, Sukar. Although this rather alarming and significant detail of Irisa’s character was overlooked in the first few episodes, it appears that she has been having visions for a while now, and Nolan has been diagnosing them as simple symptoms of post-war PTSD. As it turns out, Irisa has a rare and special gift; according to Irathient culture, she has been “touched by Irzu”, or God.

The subplot of the episode focused on the further adventures of the Tarrs and the McCawleys – the young lovers, Christie and Alak, and their parents’ rivalries.  Whilst last week it appeared that the tension between the families was at crisis level, by the end of this episode that conflict seemed to have been partially resolved. Rynn’s desire to take revenge on those responsible for her parents’ death years before led to her targeting Christie McCawley (in order to get to Rafe) whilst she was dining at the Tarr household. In one of the most entertaining scenes of the episode, Datak Tarr ended up fending off the attacking creatures, saving Christie’s life with a glowing extendable knife/sword/awesome piece of weaponry. However, knowing Datak and Stahma’s plans to ruin Rafe McCawley, it’s safe to assume that any peace sparked from this (perhaps superficially) heroic gesture will be fleeting.

After two entertaining and surprisingly stellar episodes, The Devil in the Dark by comparison ended up being a disappointment. The acting is still convincing, but this week the storyline felt weak and the CGI was overused. The only thing worse than bad visual effects is an unrelenting abundance of bad visual effects. The idea for the monster of the week was impressive – massive carnivorous bugs attracted to pheromones – but ultimately felt ill-used, particularly as a means of revenge by Rynn. Sci-Fi shout-out of the week: the idea of the bug creatures was a clear allusion to Starship Troopers (though thankfully no disgusting brain-sucking hive bug). When the search group went underground into the bug lair, armed and ready for battle, I was half-expecting to see Neil Patrick Harris stroll casually round the corner spouting psychic-scientist wisdom. Wishful thinking, possibly.

Overall, Defiance continues with its third episode to be enjoyable viewing, but the storyline this time felt unsatisfactory. Frustratingly so, as the premise of an Irisa-centric episode had great potential; her reveal as a supernaturally gifted member of the Irathient species seems to have been under-served. Viewers should continue to tune in though, especially if it means more glow-sword fight scenes with Datak.

★★★

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