09 “Ostinato in White” (Defiance season 3) [SPOILERS]


An ostinato is “a continually repeated musical phrase or rhythm“. No, I didn’t know either. Yes, you’re quite welcome.

A killer is on the loose in Defiance, and it has something to do with Yewll and the Omec. Nolan and Irisa investigate, but the scars of the battle against Rahm Tak run deeper than Nolan cares to admit. And Stahma grieves for her husband, as she discovers that even a mayoral pardon has its limits.

So last week I was somewhat surprised at the abrupt resolution of the Rahm Tak storyline. Given that they’ve already basically established that the Votanis Collective aren’t about to ride over the hill to avenge him — and actually are probably rather glad to see the back of him — it isn’t that much of a shock that the Omec are the new threat to see out the tail end of the season.

Remember when Kindzi stole Doc Yewll’s source code, or whatever it was, and T’evgin told her not to? Well naturally she didn’t listen. She made a bunch of Indogene clones, and is presently hunting them around Defiance, and making an ungodly mess in the process. This is played as a murder mystery, which is a bit weird given that there’s no way the viewers can think it’s anybody but the already pissed off Omec girl.

Luckily for Kindzi, Nolan is not really in any shape to be doing policework. After his entire militia was slaughtered last week in a trap that he led them into, he’s a mess. At the memorial service for the fallen, he is remonstrated at by the father of Indur, the Irathient boy who insisted on going on the mission and died when Bebe blew up the tunnel.

There’s a nice reversal going on here. Nolan’s PTSD mirrors Irisa’s at the start of the season, and she even takes his role by pulling him off the line. Returning Indur’s gun to his grieving father appears to paper over the cracks a bit, but Nolan is very much not okay. Finding a bunch of dismembered Votans as the latest work of “the beast” doesn’t help either, and after he gets drunk and nearly gets it on with Kindzi, Amanda has to stop him from launching a one man assault on T’evgin’s lair.

Stahma, meanwhile, is free. Except, nobody is much fond of her — including Alak, who keeps two bullets in his gun for his mother. Amanda also hasn’t forgiven Stahma for either her betrayal or staving in her head. There’s reckoning still to come for her, even when it is revealed that Datak is not dead.

Given that the Indogene corpse is Yewll, she knows exactly what’s going on. Leaving Samir behind to raise the alarm if she doesn’t return, she takes the exceptionally foolish step of walking into the Omec lair. Quite what she thought was going to happen is a mystery to me, but Kindzi sticks something into her neck to make her compliant and obedient.

T’evgin is displeased, and banishes his disobedient daughter back to the Omec ark in orbit, and back into stasis, but Yewll is still under the purple thumb so to speak — she sticks poor Samir with a syringe when he asks too much.

Even drunk out of his mind, Nolan knows that the brutal murders have Omec fingerprints all over them. Amanda stops him from going round when he’s pissed, but even hungover he’s not exactly diplomatic. He extracts a promise from T’evgin that there won’t be any more “beast” attacks, on “his daughter’s life”.

And as Nolan stumbles back over to Indura’s father’s, answering a call from earlier, he finds the Irathient hanging from the ceiling. Another death on his conscience.

So, I’m seeing a problem here. I enjoyed this episode a lot; I have a lot of time for dealing with consequences, and that’s what this is. Nolan took a big hit with the slaughter of his militia, and we are digging into his psyche here. He has a tendency to go off half-cocked, follow his gut and take the reckless call. Which is fine for the grunt work, but as he says, it does not make for a leader.

The problem, and it is not a problem with the episode — which I really enjoyed — but its place in the series. It’s the problem of the VC storyline reaching climax in episode eight of a 13-episode season. Even with the Omec threat remaining, there is a definite step down in tension, and whilst the episode was a beautifully crafted story, I can already feel this season becoming unbalanced, disjointed.

Which is a real bloody shame, because it was doing so well.

Closing thoughts:

  • There’s going to be an awful lot of browned off people when they realise Datak is still alive.
  • Nolan’s decision-making was sound. Nobody else knew that Bebe was an Indogene spy, and there was no way any of them could have known it was a trap.
  • That said, he does respond by acting like a massive, clichéd bell-end.
  • Apparently Yewll’s clones were sarcastic too. That makes me smile.
  • Kindzi had a point: it doesn’t seem likely that all those other Omec will share T’evgin’s view that the dread harvest has no place on the new world.

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