Defiance Season 1 Review “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times”

Defiance (Syfy) Episode 8 I Just Wasn't Made for These Times (3)

On the latest episode of “Defiance”, we were introduced to a character that most of us could relate to for once, in that he was from our time: specifically, 2013. An astronaut by the name of Gordon McClintock, and the commander of the now-legendary Bravery 9, he was thought to have perished long ago on a mission so historic that it later inspired a book and a movie, much to his chagrin.

However, it turns out there was much more to that mission than previously thought, in the aptly-titled “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times”, which I assume is both a reference to the Beach Boys song of the same name (also later the title of Brian Wilson’s solo album and a documentary about him) and to McClintock’s feelings of not quite belonging in the period in which the show is set, some thirty-something years later.

I really liked this episode’s approach, as it allowed a window into the period in which the show is set we haven’t quite gotten before, one which grounds it in the past while showing just how much has changed in the interim. I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed the scene where everyone talked about what things used to be like on Earth before the aliens came and changed everything irrevocably.

Also clever were the hidden in-jokes embedded in the sequence, with the amusing “Twilight” reference -I see what you did there, “Defiance” (for those who didn’t, Graham “Don’t look at me” Greene, aka Rafe, was part of the werewolf clan in those films) – and the vampire or werewolf query directed at Julie Benz, who was, of course, Darla, the vamp that sired Angel on “Buffy”. Fun stuff for fans of those franchises, though I myself land firmly on the side of the latter than the former. Buffy would wipe the floor with the likes of Bella, needless to say.

Another cool aspect of the show was how it turned the age-old alien abduction scenario on its head. It turned out that, rather than having died on some heroic mission as heretofore thought by everyone on Earth for the most part, McClintock and his crew had, in fact, been abducted by the Indogenes prior to their invading Earth in earnest, in order to study humans and see what they were getting into by engaging them.

It would seem that Doc Yewll, herself an Indogene, was in on that program, though we only got a little bit of info from her on the subject. It would also seem that her people tried to withdraw their subjects memories (which in turn damages their brains, causing them to lose certain key traits) and reprogram them to infiltrate the highest levels of society in order to assassinate high-ranking leaders. Nolan discovered this the hard way, when McClintock flipped out and tried to kill Amanda.

The incident throws him into despair, especially when he realizes that his humanity has been compromised and his memories are largely implanted. The poor guy almost kills himself before Rafe convinces him to take the high road. Although undeniably romantic, the ending was a bit of a mixed bag, as, after all, it has been over thirty years since the guy left Earth, so when he finally reunited with his wife at the end, she was in her sixties! I don’t care how good a guy he is- eventually that’s going to be an issue, LOL. (My apology for being a pessimist, as it really was a lovely scene in the moment.)

On other fronts, we got some interesting developments on the Stahma/Kenya front, as the latter turned down the former’s husband for a tryst out of loyalty to Stahma, potentially arousing suspicion about the two, which she promptly reprimanded Kenya for. I like how Kenya falls so hard for people without thought for her own well-being. She did the same thing for Nolan, though she eventually backed down from that relationship. Now she stands to get into much more trouble with this one if she doesn’t play her cards right. Thankfully, Stahma, no fool she, tells her just how to play things to avoid issues in the future. But will Kenya heed her advice?

We also got a bit more about Amanda’s relationship with Connor, who returned to offer her a job as a governor in New York, working for the Earth Republic. She turned him down, opting to stay loyal to her people, but Connor warned her that Olfin Tennety was moving against her, having convinced the ER that Amanda was the problem in terms of Defiance cooperating with them. Of course, she’s not, as no one in Defiance much wants to involve themselves with the ER, who only want to control Defiance’s ample supply of gulanite, which is what is used to power most everything in the time in which the show is set. Clearly, this won’t be the last we’ve heard of this, as Olfin and her boss cropped up in the preview for next week’s episode.

Other developments: Nolan finally got wind of Tommy’s relationship with Irisa, which he didn’t seem too pleased about (“You hurt my daughter, your questions about God- they’re gonna get answered personally”); we discovered that the place I currently make my home and where McClintock was from, Alabama, is still there, but apparently not a state anymore (!); that there is no flying in this era, as debris and radiation make it impossible; that more than a few people have opted to move themselves underground (speaking of which, how beautiful was that area that McClintock went to near the end of the show?); that Connor really does love Amanda and the feeling might be mutual; and that there may be a plague in town, from the looks of things. Whew! That’s a lot of info!

That’s also a whole lot of unanswered questions, but then, it is the first season and we’re still getting know how things work and how they differ from the world we know now. I thought the McClintock angle was a really smart way of getting everyone to talk about how things used to be and show how radically they’ve changed since then. And the approach to alien abduction was handled in a way I haven’t quite seen before, as we discovered what the thinking behind such a thing might be. I’m not saying that the act of abduction itself and the reasons for it were necessarily original, just the approach, and sometimes that’s all it takes to make an age-old concept seem fresh again.

All in all, a really enjoyable episode that ranks with one of my favorites thus far. I’m definitely intrigued to see how this all pans out, and I’m happy that Syfy has already renewed the show and will be sticking with it for at least one more season. I do wish I had access to the game so that I could get the whole experience, but it’s fun knowing that it’s out there and serves as another piece of the puzzle that is Defiance.

What did you think of the latest episode of “Defiance”? Did you enjoy the McClintock story as much as I did? Did you get a kick out of the pop culture references? What do you make of Stahma and Kenya’s relationship? Will it end well, or is there trouble ahead? How about Amanda and Connor’s? What exactly went down between them in the past, and do they have a future? What sort of trouble will the ER get up to in future episodes? Is there another Indogene spy within the ranks of the government? Sound off about this and more in the comments section!