Defiance: The Awakening (recap and review)

Datak Tarr as an Omec Happy Meal
With the death of T’evgin becoming general knowledge last week in Defiance, along with Doc Yewll busily collecting “food” for the new Omec leader Kindzi (who is now the show’s new “Big Bad”) just the title The Awakening has an ominous ring. This foreboding feeling does not abate by the episode’s end and this penultimate season end installment sets the stage for a big finale.

Before the episode ended, Datak Tarr once again proved that, like a magician, it helps to be the smartest person in the room/Defiance. Nolan learns that Kindzi is now practically indestructible, Stahma finds out that T’evgin, the one person who could protect her from his psychotic daughter is dead, Amanda learns of the full Omec threat, Doc Yewll is discovered as the Omec Dark Harvest enabler and Joshua and the mayor “have a moment.”

At the start of The AwakeningNolan arms up and goes Kindzi hunting. Later, when they catch up with the Omec “mother” he shoots her in the head, with a long range rifle. The bullet knocks her down but she then removes the spent round from her forehead and starts toward Nolan. He shoots her a few more times with the rifle and then empties his pistol into Kindzi. She does not flinch as she runs up the hill toward Nolan.

After this attempt on her life, Kindzi sets herself up for a fall with her own people. Lying about T’evgin’s demise, she tells the Omec that Defiance denizens murdered her father, and she opts to rule behind this lie. The enchanters are following her lead but it is doubtful that they will continue when she is found out.

Amanda proves just why she is in charge of Defiance be revealing that she knows why Kindzi is so powerful. Nolan and the rest learn that Doc Yewll’s recent patients have all gone missing, a total of 13 and they go to question her. Meanwhile, Kindzi orders more takeout and Yewll obliges.

Kindzi notices Datak on the menu and they talk. The new Omec leader tells Tarr, “You Castithan, I recognize you. You’re Stahma’s mate.” “I’m also the last person you’ll see before you die,” he says. She makes a threat against Stahma and Datak scoffs at her, reminding the Omec that Earth will not give up easily. Mixed into his diatribe are a number of insults, including one about inbreeding. Kindzi tells her captive meal that she is going after Stahma.

Nolan and Amanda reach Doc Yewll’s office and she is not there. Mayor Rosewater has a moment of crisis. She feels responsible for the Omec invasion and it concerns her. Amanda tells Nolan that it is all her fault. The Mayor heads to a corner and starts crying and Nolan pulls out that motivational streak inside him and regenerates Amanda. Joshua tells her that he believes Defiance needs her to be in charge and that he, Nolan needs her.

They kiss.

Yewll is ordered to bring out another meal for the newly arrived Omec and there is a short comic moment where two of the intended meals argue about who should be next. Datak Tarr pushes all of the doctor’s buttons forcing her to let him out to be the next Omec “un-happy meal.” He insults the Indogene and when he calls her a “golem” Yewll lets him out.

Alak and Jake are sharing a moment and interrupts by Andina bringing Stahma for a visit.

Meanwhile back at the Defiance smorgasbord Tarr reveals that he really does have a trick up his sleeve, or to be more accurate up his Votan manufactured bio-replacement arm. Datak shoots a long blade out of his fist and the first Omec that gets in range is skewered in the head. Tarr holds off the others and while the rest of the captors cheer his victory, he escapes.

Yewll puts the injured (and bellowing) Omec in the back of her roller and turning up her music takes him away to be treated. Stahma tells Alak that Datak is missing. Nolan and Amanda stop the doctor and as she protests Rosewater removes the control stem. Yewll is relieved and borrows the mayor’s pistol, emptying the entire clip into the Omec in the back of her roller. “Looks like momma got her groove back,” Yewll says looking at her victim.

*Sidenote* This has to be mentioned, was anyone else “freaked out” by the appearance of the Omec that Yewll dispatched with Amanda’s pistol? If nothing else this scene spoke volumes of just what the race really are. The dead Omec, face frozen in a overly large snarl, fangs extended and mouth stretched, and one eye distended looking for all the world like a giant fish eye. This viewer took that image to bed last night. Defiance delivered one shudder scene on a roller platter.

Alak and Stahma talk further and after he declares that his family is a fraud, she reveals a few home truths of her own. The two sort of make up. Stahma decides to leave, after Alak informs her that she put Luke in danger by showing up. Stahma leaves and Alak asks Andina if he should go after her.

Andina: (Holding Luke) “Do you want an honest opinion?”
Alak: “Yeah of course.”
Andina: “Forget your mother. Think about Luke. He’s in danger if we stay here.”

Andina is a clever castithan handmaiden, she knows the way to Alak’s heart is not through his stomach but through his half-human son.

Samir is removed from his cage to be the next Omec offering and true to his belief (stated earlier to Datak, who offers to urinate in Samir’s cage as a response) Nolan does indeed save him. The veterinarian rolls in the Defiance dirt laughing hysterically as dead Omec surround him.

Back at the Alak household, Andina makes her move and her target responds. While Alak tells Andina that it is too soon, she responds that she is patient and her “Favi” tells the handmaiden to call him Alak. There is a knock on the door and in stumbles Stahma, “Run, Run.”

Kindzi follows.

The Omec knocks Stahma down the length of Alak’s hallway and Alak goes for Luke. Andina rushes to intervene and Kindzi snaps the ambitious handmaiden’s neck. The Omec leader follows Stahma down the hallway and in the kitchen Alak’s mother grabs a knife. “Really?” Kindzi says, amused and as she starts to kill Stahma, Kindzi is stopped by Luke’s cries.

The Omec heads to the baby’s room and Alak empties his pistol into her. Knocking Alak away, Kindzi grabs the baby and sniffs him.

*Sidenote* Right up till Kindzi snapped her head back to touch her spine, the Castithan handmaiden Andina looked to be moving into her own. Alak seemed to be in danger of being “owned” by this beautiful hair brushing servant. As she proved last week in her scene with Favi Tarr Stahma, this young lady had plans and the will to make them happen. Baby Jake was definitely set to get a new mommy. Sadly, with one push of Kindzi’s hand, Andina is now out of the equation. So long Andina and Amy Forsyth the actress who brought her to life.

This week’s episode of Defiance was brilliant. In one go, the show started the invasion and then pretty much shut it down before the end credits rolled although now it seems that Kindzi is about to “up the stakes.” The denizens of Defiance still have to defeat the seemingly un-defeatible Kindzi but she really has set herself up for a big fall with her own people.

Kudos to Julie Benz who proved, yet again, that this performer is not just a beautiful face, this gal’s got chops mate. Great big beautiful ones that are capable of knocking everyone else off the screen. Grant Bowler gave a lot in the Doc Yewll’s office scene, but the lovely Ms. Benz rocked it.

*Sidenote* It seems that Berlin might be suffering from a severe lack of intestinal fortitude since she got back from her boyfriend’s loving arms. The lawkeeper seemed pretty freaked out by the Omec threat, it looks like she may just bolt again if things get too bad.

The season finale is next week. As things stand, Datak Tarr is set on rescuing his Stahma, Alak is either unconscious or dead on the floor, along with Stahma. Andina is in Castithan heaven, or its equivalent. Doc Yewll looks set for a little payback, Nolan and Amanda are dangerously close to being an item and Kindzi looks to be seriously considering a snack of baby back ribs. (Sorry, could not resist that one, it begged to be used.)

Defiance airs Fridays as part of SyFy Fridays. At this point, the network have not revealed their plans for the series, so news on whether it has been cancelled or renewed is still up in the air. Till then, tune it to see how this season ends next week.

Defiance: Of a Demon in My View (Recap and Review)

Berlin and Irisa in Defiance
By the time end credits rolled on Defiance last week, Nolan was sent off for execution in Brazil and Kindzi had overpowered T’evgin placing herself in charge of the sleeping Omec in orbit above the Earth. This week, Of a Demon in My View has Nolan being taken from his temporary captors, Doc Yewll as Omec assistant and Kindzi is indeed the new big bad, along with the Omec hoard that she is in the process of waking for the Dread Harvest and Berlin is back.

Things have been going south for the denizen’s of Defiance since Rahm Tak was destroyed. Now, just when you thought things could not “go south” any more than a crazed Nolan killing the Voltanis Collective emissary, and his being sent to Brazil for his own execution, Kindzi proves to be clever enough to take over the reins of power from T’evgin.

While last week’s episode was pretty dark, and anyone who forgot just how dark need go no further than the pre-opening credit scenes in this week’s show. The specter of The Butcher of Yosemite is still with Nolan. Irisa and Joshua sit in the back of the van and the camera shows the “shadow” all dressed for battle and no one to fight. Irisa asks Nolan if he can still see it and he says yes.

Datak Tarr and Stahma are playing cards while waiting for the Omec leader to give them the Kindzi all clear. While they wait, Datak takes little jealous nips at his wife. In one of the few amusing moments in the show, Tarr shows that he still resents his Favi Tarr sleeping with T’evgin. Stahma reassures him that while she has affection for the Omec leader, her heart belongs to Datak.

Kindzi is draining her father’s blood to keep him weak. “You are stronger than any other Omec, stronger than me.” she tells the chained T’evgin. “You should just kill me,” T’evgin tells her. “Kill you? No.” Kindzi leans close to her father and after kissing him, finishes in their native tongue, “I love you father.”

The Omec princess loves someone else too, or perhaps lusts after is a more accurate description of her feelings for Joshua. It is she who took Nolan from the Voltanis Collective and Irisa, who was rescued from the crashed van by Berlin, comes close to figuring that out. She recognizes the bite marks on the dead VC members. Meanwhile, Doc Yewll who is still under Kindzi’s control, is keeping Nolan alive.

Doc still will not remove the remaining bits of “hardware” from Nolan’s head but Kindzi has no issue with endangering her new pet. She takes the remaining tech out of Nolan’s brain but not before Yewll displays uncharacteristic backbone as she tells the Omec princess that she is “broken.” The Indogene’s  analysis of Kindzi includes telling her that: She has a screw loose, is a born sociopath and is “sick.” She ends her display of bravado  with “You make me sick and that’s the truth.”

*Sidenote* Did anyone else hear Lily Tomlin’s character of “the kid” lisping delivery in their head – “and that’th the truth.” (Insert raspberry noise here.)?

Kindzi kicks Yewll out and does the risky surgery herself. (She is not going to have a damaged pet thank you very much.) She forces the drone to take the last of the tech out and instantly the connection between Irisa and Nolan is severed.

A pause to contemplate the return of Berlin (played by Canadian actress Anna Hopkins). Jessica “Berlin” Rainer scarpered away from the rogue VC troops and Rahm Tak just when Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz) needed her most. Using her weapons dealer boyfriend as combination excuse and means of transportation, Berlin deserted what she saw as the sinking Defiance ship. Now she is back, she says, to offer the mayor of Defiance help since Nolan went nuts and killed the Collective emissary.

Meanwhile back at the Omec “headquarters” Kindzi seduces Nolan. Afterward, as the two “cuddle” and Kindzi praises Joshua for his killing of the “Castithan politician.” She tells him that the action reminded her of how her father used to be. Nolan explains that killing the vice chancellor is not something he is “proud of.”

As their post coital conversation continues, Nolan learns that the shadow he saw, while the arktech was still in his head, is not unusual. According to Kindzi there is even an Omec name for it. Joshua begins quizzing Kindzi about the raid where she rescued him and how Irisa is. Kindzi starts lying and Nolan, despite having just had brain surgery, picks up on it.

After one amusing moment where Kindzi actually offers to make pancakes for Nolan, he tells her, “No, I got this,” and heads to the kitchen. He grabs a knife and Kindzi shocks him. As he drops the weapon and falls to the floor, she tells her new pet in her native tongue “You’ve disappointed me.”

Disappointment is the theme in the Tarr household as well. Datak has hired some reluctant mercenaries to guard Stahma as T’evgin has still not arrived to give the Tarr’s the Kindzi all clear. Datak is desperate to see Doc Yewll. She is not answering her hailer and he wants to know how to kill a mature Omec, in case T’evgin has sided with his daughter. He is not overly thrilled with his temporary security force.

Andina (Amy Forsyth) tells Datak to give her a gun. “I’ll fight for you Favi,” she says, “die defending you if necessary.” Stahma is touched. Tarr gives the handmaiden a gun and tells her “Safety’s on the side.”

Nolan is learning that he has lost status with Kindzi. He is no longer a cherished pet. Now he is to be lunch. Irisa and Berlin show up at Kindzi’s to look for her father. Kindzi gives them the run of the place. Berlin decides to warn Amanda that the VC convoy was attacked, and Nolan taken, while Irisa stays to search for her father.

Joshua has escaped and found a weakened T’evgin. As Nolan frees the Omec leader, T’evgin explains that Kindzi wants war and that her sociopathic tendencies are his fault. Andina and Stahma have a little “getting to know you” time. It seems that the handmaiden’s bonding with Alak and Luke has given her ideas. While Stahma shows Andina how to “knit” the girl tells her Favi that this closeness is only temporary. Favi Tarr plays “matchmaker” and points out that Andina could raise her social status through marriage…to Alak.

Andina puts all her cards on the table and tells Stahma that while she “whispers” into Alak’s ear for him to forgive his mother, she can bring Luke to his grandmother for secret visits. Stahma, looking at the knitting, says, perceptively, “you’ve got quite a knack for this. I’m impressed.” It looks like the Shanje may be getting a new family member.

Berlin, risks the wrath of Amanda (Julie Benz) to tell her of the attack and Nolan’s kidnapping. Rosewater immediately begins collecting personal bits that belong to her missing lawkeeper. She plans on placing these at the attack site and telling the Voltanis Collective that Joshua Nolan was killed in the attack.

Datak Tarr finds Doc Yewll and she tells him of a pandemic and offers him a vaccine. She injects him as he insists that the Tarr family need to be inoculated. He passes out and Yewll promises that she will be collecting his entire family, “the Omec will see to that.”

Berlin helps Amanda drag Votan bodies into a fire and the mayor of Defiance reluctantly thanks her former lawkeeper. Berlin tells Rosewater that she will be there as long as she is needed, “Conrad understands.”

“I missed you,” Amanda says flatly. “Same here,” says Berlin.

Kindzi interrupts Nolan while he is releasing T’evgin. She throws Nolan across the room and then goes to eat him. Irisa stops the feast before it can get started emptying her gun at Kindzi. As she comes down the stairs, she throws an axe at Kindzi and it misses. T’evgin grabs the weapon and uses it to free himself from the last of the chains.

His daughter demands that he fight and kill Nolan and Irisa, “They will come back with weapons and kill me,” she says. Telling Nolan that this is not his fight, T’evgin tells the father and daughter to leave. After a very short battle, Kindzi tricks her father and kills him. “You are old and stupid,” she tells her father as he dies. Kindzi screams, it is not a victory scream but one of grief.

Cue a flashback to 1978 and the Omec ship is scanning radio frequencies. T’evgin and Kindzi are the only Omec awake and just as she states that nothing is out there, a song crackles into life on the radio, it sounds like the Bobby Day original version of “Rocking Robin”. The Omec father and daughter dance to the music, excited that they have found the Votan’s planet of refuge.

After this brief memory, Kindzi sings a ceremonial song and then rips her father’s heart from his chest and eats it. She flies to the Omec ship, where a caged Datak Tarr waits to be eaten in the Dread Harvest. Kindzi is awakening her brothers and sisters for the big war and feast. Datak is not alone.  His cage is surrounded by hundreds of others, Doc Yewll has been a very busy Indogene. Tarr begins speaking in Castithan as he struggles to free himself.

This episode was the “Kindzi hour.”  As predicted, she is now the new villain in Defiance and Doc Yewll is her reluctant “sidekick.” Intense stuff from all concerned and it seems that Andina’s climb to gain social status may be interrupted by the Omec Dread Harvest.

Most shocking moment of the show had to be T’evgin’s “death by Kindzi” followed by Datak’s waking in that cage.

Nolan and Irisa may be going for reinforcements and Berlin may have come back to help Amanda, but this could all be for naught if those Omec siblings wake up too quickly. Kindzi and her family are almost ready to take part in a Defiance smorgasbord.

Meanwhile, the Voltanis Collective have yet to learn of the Nolan convoy incident. These uncomfortable allies may well help “save the day” when Kindzi starts “the big munch.”

Defiance is part of SyFy Friday and is not to be missed. Fans will now be desperate to see who survives this latest threat.  Join them and be mesmerized by Julie Benz, Grant Bowler, Tony Curran, Julie Murray, Stephanie Leonidas and Nichole Galicia as Kindzi.

Defiance: When Twilight Dims the Sky Above (recap/review)

Datak Tarr and his new arm
Defiance last week watched Nolan struggling to deal with the death’s he felt he was responsible for and T’evgin banished Kindzi, When Twilight Dims the Sky Above is all about return. Datak Tarr returns; with a brand new arm, the Omec leader’s daughter comes back from the Harvester ship and Stahma return, which actually began last week, reached fruition in this episode. By the end of the show, things in the town of Defiance have taken a down turn.

Nolan is having severe issues with the artech left in his head by Doc Yewll. Whether it is his overindulgence in alcohol that has encouraged the problems or the several blows to the head, he is seeing “The Butcher of Yosemite” and conversing with him. This hallucination prompts Joshua to act upon his baser instincts and also leads him to see things that do not exist.

There is no way that this battle between “good and bad Nolan” or deadly and deadlier Joshua was going to end well. The end of the show, which could have been titled “Sic Transit Nolan Mundi” except that Irisa has to go as well, since the two have that stasis pod artech connection that Yewll’s could not completely remove, has Amanda’s lawkeeper being driven out of town for murder.

The episode revolves around the Voltanis Collective rolling into town, headed up by the Vice Chancellor Voske, who are there to make peace. (Or as she puts it, “to apologize” for Rahm Tak’s over exuberant interpretation of his orders, which were not to wipe the human race from the planet.) It turns out that this is really so much smoke and mirrors from the Voltanis reps. They are terrified of the resident Omec and the rest of his clan who are in stasis up in that Harvester.

The overtures of peace are really about keeping the big purple guy sweet rather than trying to mend any bridges that Tak burned while increasing his “heads on poles” collection. Little wonder then that Nolan, and his other self, do not trust the Chancellor or her minions. He sets out to find out what they are really planning to do and things go belly up pretty quickly once the container of coffee is discarded for the purse under the bed.

Doc Yewll is still under the control of Kindzi, which is going to be bad news for T’evgin later in the show.

Highlights in the episode:

(1) Kindzi (in Omec-ian aka native tongue) “I’ve been upstaged.” She arrived at the party for T’evgin prepared to indulge in a bloodbath/feast to show that there was a new Omec emissary in town and Nolan’s shooting of Chancellor Voske, who was holding very dangerous cup of coffee, that to a delusional Joshua looked like a gun, stole her thunder. She was so disappointed that she cut her meal short, before it began, and left.

(2) Joshua and Irisa in that alley. When they are trapped, Nolan says “All right. Lets do this, Butch and Sundance.” He is not saying it to his adoptive daughter, but to The Butcher of Yosemite Nolan, in reply to his, “Better to go out in a blaze of glory,” remark.

(3) Doc Yewll trying to get that device out of her neck.

(4) Datak Tarr snippily telling Andina to stop standing about like a “scullery maid” while looking daggers at T’evgin with his wife Stahma. The Omec leader, seeing that Tarr is looking puts his arm protectively around “our favi” and the one-armed “hero” of Defiance is not impressed.

(5) T’evgin telling Datak Tarr to protect his wife because he, T’evgin, loves her and this is why his daughter will kill her.

(6) Kindzi, again, using her father’s drones to read T’evgin the riot act and let him know that she is in charge now.

(7) Julie Benz as Amanda Rosewater in that dress at that party. Benz is value for money, not only can this beauty act, with massive chops, but she is a delight to behold.

The theme of returning is not just about Kindzi coming back to create death, destruction and a la carte dining on the local populace it is also, as mentioned before, about Datak Tarr who comes back with a brand new arm. Alak is not there to welcome his poppa with a brand new bag (arm) and that really is the only thing missing from the show.

Everything is pent up, or in Nolan’s case un-pent up, emotion. Stahma is pleased, in more ways than one, that her partner is back. One unfortunate consequence of his return is that Favi Tarr must tell T’evgin no about Australia where she was meant to be “mother” to the Omec leader’s family. Later, she has to face her lover’s anger to invite him to Amanda’s and the Chancellor’s party but then, diplomat that Stahma is, she turns the tide and convinces T’evgin that he is a wise chap and that he really should attend the party “in his honor.”

The party, as anticipated, ends badly. It appears that this is also the end of Nolan and Irisa…Or is it? He, after being caught by the late Voske’s head of security Sturuje (Alden Adair) is being sent down to Brazil, along with Irisa as they cannot be apart since the stasis pod connection, and Amanda gives Nolan’s daughter a wad of cash to bribe a guard so they can escape.

The show ends with T’evgin being immobilized by Kindzi with her Doc Yewll sabotaged drone and as predicted, by this reviewer weeks ago, looks to be the next “big bad” in the show. Since she has a real thing for Nolan perhaps he can escape and return to help Defiance fight this Omec princess with the voracious appetite and addiction to the hunt.

Defiance is part of SyFy Friday and while Nolan and Irisa appear to have been shipped off, tune in. Julie Benz is worth the trip, as are Jaime Murray, Tony Curran and new favorite “stop standing like a scullery maid,” Andina (Amy Forsyth).