Defiance Review by John Keegan

Defiance 2.06: This Woman's Work

Defiance 2.06: This Woman's Work

Written By:
Brian Allen Alexander
Directed By:
Allan Arkush

Despite the fact that I refer to it all the time in reviews and on The Critical Myth Show, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Defiance is part of a much larger franchise mythos, much of which has been explored in more detail in the associated MMO.  I get wrapped up in the dynamics in Defiance and overlook the details of the back story.  This episode brought some of those elements back to mind, and part of that might have been the “weapons” that Mercado wanted, which came right out of the game scenarios.



 

I don’t mind the crossovers all that much, because the story generally focuses more on the relationships and power politics in town.  Who didn’t find Stahma’s struggle to overcome yet another challenge to her rise among the Castithans to be the best part of the episode?  The writers are using the Castithan culture as a means to explore the vile nature of an extreme patriarchal society, and how those elements aren’t necessarily all that different from the “equality” we currently enjoy in the Western world.

 

But Stahma is setting a new course for her people, and she is doing it by taking the lessons learned from her husband and applying them in new and exciting ways.  And she’s inspiring others; I can’t help but think that Christie’s decision to pose as a Castithan is anything less than a reflection of her desire to be as strong and mesmerizing as Stahma.  With the irony that Mercado also poses as a Castithan, and clearly wants to revel in the power that Castithan males are supposed to possess, as a reflection of his own feelings of inadequacy.



 

There’s more than a little commentary there about “appropriation”, as it is implied that the club both Christie and Mercado attended was tailored for humans that want to pose and act like their favorite aliens.  It’s downright creepy, especially when the episode also featured humans trying to exploit aliens as a weapon, and Irisa continuing to spread whatever the hell is inside of her into people around town, against their will.  Again, it raises question about society as a whole, as all of these examples could be considered allegorical to how cultural mixing is viewed and approached.

 

As much as the relationship issues in this episode were driven by the annoying trope of “people can’t communicate, explain, or ask simple questions”, I can’t say that I’m entirely upset by the results.  I liked Nolan and Amanda as a couple, but her drug addiction and other issues were going to get in the way sooner or later.  And frankly, as other options go, Berlin is one very good choice.  I feel a bit bad for her, as she is acting out of anger and resentment, so things will go sour in due time, but she and Nolan needed that moment.



 

I’m not sure where the writers are going when it comes to Tommy and Irisa.  I will note that others are warming up to my observation that Irisa looks a bit more mature these days, making her seem more sensual instead of a precocious brat.  It makes sense for Tommy, already under her spell, to get more drawn into her situation.  As the “infection” spreads, I doubt it will end well for Tommy, but it sets up a scenario where that subplot can percolate without too much interference, with his involvement in covering things up as a reasonable explanation for why it goes unnoticed.


Our Grade:
B
The Good:
  • Stahma’s continuing win streak
  • Solid social commentary throughout
The Bad:
  • Game-derived aliens a bit too bland

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 - 7/25/2014 10:56 AM183 views

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