Defiance Season 2 Review “The Opposite of Hallelujah”

Defiance - Season 2

On the latest episode of “Defiance,” it was nine months later after the events of last season’s finale, and it was safe to say that everyone, regardless of where they were, was pretty much saying “The Opposite of Hallelujah” when it came to the state of things. In Defiance, the Earth Republic had taken over things wholesale, with Datak in jail for killing an E-Rep and Rafe forced to work his miners to the bone to save him and his family’s own well-being. Former Mayor Amanda was reduced to working her sister’s bar and giving Stahma a cut, none the wary that Kenya was not only never coming back, but had, in fact, been killed at the hands of Stahma herself.

What’s more, Stahma has essentially instilled herself as the real boss of her husband’s business in Datak’s wake, though her son Alak is ostensibly the figurehead- though it took him some time to realize as much. Given the iron hand she’s ruling with thus far, she’s a chip off the old Datak, flexing her muscle by having a man who disrespected her son near-beaten to death. Meanwhile, Datak is not having the best of times in a ramshackle prison camp- save a brief bit of “Midnight Express”-style action, courtesy of Stahma…and a decidedly more reluctant Doc Yewll. (Two handy-j’s in the space of an hour? Hello, Syfy! Have we met?)

Meanwhile, Nolan is fruitlessly looking for Irisa, and has gotten so desperate he actually goes back to the heretofore unseen Angel Arc- which you might know better as LA. It was pretty nifty seeing things like the Grauman’s Chinese Theater (complete with the ruins of the celebrity-signed Walk of Fame), the Capitol Building (which looks to have been renovated into tenement apartments), and, of course, the famed Hollywood sign. It would have been cool to see Disneyland, too, but I’m just going to assume it’s still there and unaffected and remains the happiest place on Earth, because that’s just how I roll.

Irisa, on the other hand, is rolling deep…in bodies, that is, as she not only takes any number of them out aiding a captured Nolan, but also takes out a punk-rocker chick that I was hoping would become a more involved character because she had such a cool look. No such luck, and no time for love, anyway, Dr. Jones, because Irisa and Nolan have to hightail it out of there to evade Nolan’s old nemesis, Varus, who’ll you’ll recall he stole a gem from in the pilot.

Indeed, there was a direct reference to/recreation of a scene in said pilot, as Irisa and Nolan re-bonded to the tune of a hilariously verbose futuristic country tune. Well, until alternate-Irisa tried to kill Nolan, that is, and told herself to keep quiet about it. Alrighty then. Yep, I don’t know, either, but I assume it has something to do with her “becoming.” Nolan might want to watch his back, but then again, he already knows something’s off, as he remembers exactly what happened to him before Irisa vanished, i.e. getting shot.

Last but not least, there was the new Mayor, Niles Pottinger (James Murray, no relation to Jaime, as far as I know), who was hosting the Viceroy, Berto Mercado (William Atherton) at a decidedly inopportune time, as two local boys, Hyatt and Josef, go rogue when their father is killed in a mining accident and spray paint an E-Rep sign, topping it off by spitting at one of the men, for which they are arrested. Later, they “escape” on purpose, as the Mayor has his lackey Churchill drop them off where the crab monsters are, hoping to kill both of them off. He succeeds in one, Hyatt, but Josef makes it back. Amanda pleas his case and he’s pardoned, and she in turn joins Team Mayor as Chief of Staff. The problem is, Pottinger’s a creeper with a thing for her, and proves it via a secret camera in her room in a Kitty Kay clock, where he oversees her taking the drugs called, I believe, “The Blue Devil.”

So, a whole lot going on, obviously, and a lot to keep up with, including a host of new characters. From here on out, I will probably keep recaps to a minimum, as my purpose is more to review than summarize, but I will try and keep you updated on major developments and sound off on them as they happen. I’ll also make it a point to elaborate on what’s going on with the characters, especially new ones, as well, as I realize there’s a lot to take in on this enjoyably elaborate and challenging show.

“Defiance” is genuinely pure sci-fi of the like you rarely see these days, in which sci-fi hybrids are more the norm, a la sci-fi horror (i.e. the “Riddick” movies) or sci-fi comedy (the late, great “Warehouse 13” and “Eureka”). I suppose this show is technically sci-fi action, when you get down to it, but then “Star Wars” was also like a sci-fi western (or if you want to get technical, sci-fi samurai), so “Defiance” isn’t too far removed from that source, either.

The main difference being that last season also had elements of a “CSI”-style murder mystery, in which Nolan, as sheriff, would help solve local crimes in town. As Nolan is no longer sheriff, I’m not sure if that will be the case anymore, so we’ll just have to wait and see how that pans out once he and Irisa get back to town. Honestly, though, it wouldn’t be a great loss if they jettisoned that particular approach, in favor of more alien-centric goings-on. I feel like we’ve only scratched the surface of most of the alien races, and the show has such an elaborate back-story it would be fun to explore all of the varied mythology of everyone. Maybe we’ll get more of that this season.

As it stands, this was a decent premiere that established a whole lot in very little time, and mostly served as exposition setting up the new season and as a re-introduction to characters we know and an introduction to those we don’t. Mission accomplished, now it’s time to get down to business. Hopefully, the show will stretch its wings a bit more in this second season, as the premise has real promise. We shall see.

What did you think of the premiere of “Defiance”? Was it a bit too exposition-heavy for your tastes, or did you feel it justified it? What do you make of the new characters? Did you get a kick out of Stahma flexing her newfound boss muscles? (To be fair, she was always running things to a certain degree- now it’s just more overt.) How do you think Alak will handle it? What, besides escaping the prison camp, will Datak and Yewll get up to? What’s going on with Irisa? Sound off on this and more down below and see you next week!