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Defiance Season 1, Episode 4

Defiance Season 1, Episode 4

defiance s1ep4‘A Well Respected Man’ 

Finally brothel Madam Kenya takes centre stage. Whilst earlier episodes relegated Mia Kirshner to a peripheral role, downplayed and only showing up in minor scenes that showed the sleazy underside of Defiance, this episode showcased how significant Kenya’s role actually is within Defiance’s fragile community. In ‘A Well Respected Man’, Kenya is kidnapped and trapped in a maze-like warehouse, literally left fighting for her life with one of her employees following an attempt to rescue the girl from a Bio-man. Their captor leaves them in an out-of-town factory where abducted addicts and homeless people are drained of their bodies’ adrenaline to synthesise a drug; a rather madcap plot, but one that works well, improving upon last episode’s hellbug creature feature anyway. Pursued by a Volge warrior, Kenya’s fear is evident, but her loyalty, strength and bravery shine through, even when it turns out that the whole experience has been a virtual one.

This episode, as the title suggests, focused upon pride and respect, showcasing the struggles and conflicts inherent within Defiance and the family’s that inhabit it: Rafe McCawley and his son, Kenya and Amanda, and Datak’s egotistical desire for respect on his road to power. Prior to Kenya being taken, an argument erupts between the Rosewater sisters as to her choice of profession. It seems that Amanda always felt she was the parent in this sibling relationship following their abandonment by their mother, whilst Kenya sees this as an unfair dynamic.

Datak has much to say for himself this episode, claiming to Nolan during a stroll around the market that (in a very Game of Thrones Peter Baelish moment) “Knowledge is Power”.  Datak’s spiteful refusal to initially help find Kenya means that once again Stahma has to step up to resolve the situation, calmly appearing from the shadows to help the Mayor (though of course, the help offered comes with a catch).

Despite expressing her fondness for Kenya and her wellbeing, Stahma’s stipulations involve Amanda providing Datak with more respect by placing him in a position of power on the Council. Where Datak and Nolan are “hot-headed”, Stahma is composed, with a propensity for sly manipulation that proves far more menacing than brute force. However, where this story shines is its awareness of each and every character’s vulnerabilities. Even Stahma requires confidence boosts (such as her reveal about Kenya, who unlike the other prostitutes who avoid Stahma, openly embraces her in the streets, praising Datak as an amazing man, enriching Stahma’s sense of honour despite her husband’s sexual proclivities elsewhere).

Unlike the show, Defiance itself appears to be falling apart at the seams. With the upcoming mayoral re-elections, Datak’s promotion to Councilman, and the faulty barriers protecting Defiance, it seems that the town is on the verge of disaster. As with Stahma and Kenya, the characters are more powerful than they appear, so it will be exciting to see how the show proceeds, and how these characters continue to behave when and if things begin to fall apart.

★★★★

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