Starting in 2013 Defiance, the SyFy channel’s science fiction drama, slowly grows on you. Not being too overly impressed with the first two seasons, it was surprising to see the series approved for a third season. A mini-binge was in order to see where the series was going and how long Terminator icon Linda Hamilton was going to last in the show. Looking at the show’s rating history on Rotten Tomatoes and its current ranking on IMDb it is interesting to note that after a shaky start, the second season garnered a staggering 100 percent from the former website and now has a 7.0 rating on the latter.
Perhaps tuning in for the first season was a mistake that could have been rectified by sticking with the show for its next run, as fans of the series did. Certainly SyFy had enough faith in the show to keep bringing it back and it could be that the development of so much alien language, that initially feels like a rip off of the Star Trek verse (Klingon or Romulan anyone?) was off putting for new viewers.
It was decided that season two of Defiance could be missed, despite the presence of Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress Julie Benz and character actor Graham Greene and the introduction of Linda Hamilton as the crazy as a bedbug grandma.
So not being an overt fan-boy of the show it was a total lack of anything remotely entertaining on television, and therefore Hulu, that season three of Defiance was watched; all three episodes, to see what the series brings to the table.
Without going to the trouble of binging from its first airing, which would have included watching the poorly rated season one, the experiment was to see if not having a backstory would affect the enjoyment of the show. Quick answer is…It does not.
Despite the writing being a little too slap-dash for this reviewer’s tastes, the show was self explanatory enough to pull the viewer in with no real knowledge of previous events. The fact the show’s writers felt the need to have Linda Hamilton’s character, Pilar the craaaazy and homicidal granny, say, “Come with me if you want to live,” did annoy but not so much so that it detracted from their intent. (Which was obviously an OTT remember of just who Hamilton is, forgetting or overlooking her Beauty and the Beast days. A series where Linda made her name while the first Terminator worked on becoming a cult favorite. Shame on you writer guys, or gals.)
Of course this could be on par for the writing team. Notice that Julie Benz, who played vampire gal Darla in both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel, plays the mayor in a town that has just had a father-daughter team of vampire-like Votan aliens show up. Did Benz groan a bit when that was introduced? Hopefully not as it is kind of cool…Just saying.
For one who has not followed the show, it was with something approaching delight to see solid performer Graham Greene on board, only to be dismayed when his character was killed pretty quickly in season three. Hamilton lasted a bit longer, although her death was brilliant, “There is no way you’ll shoot this baby’s grandma right in front of him,” was her last line. Pilar proved that she was no Sarah Connor in this science fiction world so it was “sic transit gloria Linda.”
The world of Defiance is set in the shattered remains of the US, specifically, it seems, in the midwest, Pilar mentions the “Ass end of Oklahoma” and the St Louis arch is blown up, the arch is a symbol of Defiance the mining town. The show is set in the future and while some of the dialogue leaves a bit to be desired and the “made-up” linguistics of an alien race or two feels a little hokey, the show does become addictive viewing after a few episodes.
The third episode of season three leaves things up in the air and ends with a bit of a mini cliff hanger. John Nolan and his daughter Irisa, who shared a life support pod for seven months in the bottom of the mine, were connected with some sort of umbilical cord attached to their temples. When the Omec pair release the two, they rip out the cords, leaving two comma shaped scars on John’s and his kid’s foreheads. In Dead Air, both John and Irisa have been getting increasing painful headaches and by the end of the episode, Nolan is lying in floor in agony. The rescued vet says John needs treatment because he’ll die if he doesn’t, and Nolan’s daughter has been left in the snow back in Defiance, presumably dying as well, while the lawmaker there walks off, not on her way to get help one presumes.
This impressive “leave” at the end of the show is promising. Certainly at least one viewer wondered about those scars and the cord that attached father and daughter in that life pod. A small thing compared to the overall plot of the show, but one that someone decided was worthy of making a significant plot thread in the show. End result? One new fan who will be tuning in next Friday to the SyFy channel to catch episode four.