Defiance Review by John Keegan

Defiance 2.04: Beasts of Burden

Defiance 2.04: Beasts of Burden

Written By:
Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer
Directed By:
Allan Kroeker

One would be tempted to think that this episode was largely about the attack on Pottinger and the delicate balance that Rafe has to maintain between resistance and compliance.  It’s the first thing mentioned in the recap, it’s the case that Nolan is working, and it strikes at the heart of the political tensions in Defiance.  It even has Pottinger and Amanda trading rape survival stories (and who saw that coming?).  Yet, in the end, that’s not what was most memorable about the episode at all.


For me, this was all about Datak’s return from prison, and what would happen after his violent return to the family bath in the previous installment.  Datak does what any petty criminal tyrant would try to do: re-establish his credibility and put any pretenders to the empire in his or her place.  And since that also means punishing his son for supporting his wife, a mere woman, for asserting control in his absence, it gets very personal.


Datak’s tactics are considered old school for Castithans of lower caste birth, and he seems to think that a return to “pious” traditions is the way to return to his former status.  He didn’t quite take into account that he had already set up his empire under the new paradigm of a Earth-based cultural change, and that meant the old ways weren’t the best ways.  Punishing Alak did nothing but embolden Stahma further, and she was already looking for ways to get him out of the picture.  The turnabout at the end of the episode was brutal, yet necessary.


Pottinger’s situation serves as a nice counterpoint to Datak’s descent, because while he starts off in a humiliating position (literally getting pissed on while forced to his knees), he ekes out at least a minor victory from his own perspective.  Punishing Rafe for trying to protect Josef is as petty as anything Datak sought to do, but it demonstrated the difference between assumed power and actual power.


What’s very clear is that much has changed in Defiance, and just about everyone is doing their best to pretend it hasn’t.  The cracks are already starting to form, and Irisa’s actions in the previous episode (spreading her goddess-ness around) is only going to add to that.  Pottinger may find that evicting Rafe was a huge mistake.  After all, with Stahma taking control of Datak’s old criminal empire, and Rafe’s daughter Christie married to Alak and more or less favored by Stahma, the seeds are being sown for a nothing-to-lose Rafe to turn to “family” for help in an uprising.


Pottinger and the E-Rep is going to end up well over their head if things continue to progress on this course, but the one that should be most worried is Nolan.  As the “sheriff” of Defiance, it’s going to be on him to try to manage the chaos, and right now, he’s more determined to ignore the parts that he finds inconvenient.  That’s going to come back to bite him, and I’m betting it won’t be long.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Datak’s fitting punishment
  • Pottinger’s confession time
The Bad:
  • Could have done without the pissing scene

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Defiance by - 7/11/2014 5:42 AM243 views

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