13 “Upon the March We Fittest Die” (Defiance season 3) [SPOILERS]


defiance

Defiance, by and large, does pretty good season finales.

Granted, the preceding two are not a particularly big sample, but both of them capped the preceding seasons well, closing off a section of the story whilst leaving a plethora of paths ahead for the next season. There’s an art to the season finale, which straddles the past and future, needing to both give a sense of fulfilment to what has come before, and to give a sense of urgency to lead the audience into the next season.

And whilst I do feel that season 3 misstepped rather sharply mid-season, it both started strongly and regained its stride into a strong climax. Well, hopefully strong.

With Kindzi on the verge of unleashing an army of Omec across Earth, the Defiance citizens must come together to save not only the town, but their whole world, from the dread harvest.

So when we left Defiance last episode, Kindzi was in the process of taking her revenge on the Tarrs. She killed Andina, and Alak’s bullets had predictably little effect on her before she tore baby Luke from his father’s arms. Stahma pleads for her grandson’s life, offering herself as a servant and eventual snack for the Omec All-Mother. Which, given that Kindzi holds all the cards, is a bit of a pants offer. But I suppose it’s all she’s got going for her.

Fortunately, Datak shows up in the nick of time with his magic arm knife blade, which he uses to pin Kindzi to the wall whilst they make their escape. It actually gives Alak his best line of the season: a bewildered exclamation of “How is she still alive?!”

Datak’s next move is to burst into the lawkeeper’s office, pointing a shotgun at Yewll and shouting about her working with the Omec. Which, actually, she was until Amanda pulled the control stamp out of her neck. Datak is talked down by everyone a lot more quickly than you might have expected, and the conversation turns to what to do about the Omec invasion. Yewll, credit to her, proposes a risky but plausible plan to hijack the Omec launching pad, board the Omec harvester in orbit, and blow the thing up.

Amanda gets on the radio to warn the citizens of Defiance that the Omec are not friends any longer, and to apologise for inviting them into the town in the first place. Which feels a bit much, given how desperately they needed the gulanite. But there you go. On the way back to the base, Amanda and Berlin hear screams, and intervene in an Omec hunting party. Unfortunately, in the process she gets slashed across the midriff. She she’s off the boarding party, replaced by Irisa, to Nolan’s reluctance.

The boarding goes fairly well. They make the ship, where the Omec are all still sleeping. Yewll interfaces with the ship, in a way that looks pretty permanent, and after a bit of arguing gets it under control. Nolan heads down to get the engines warmed up, whilst Datak and Irisa hold the fort with the good doctor.

Down on the ground, Stahma and Amanda have a bit of a reconciliation whilst the former changes the latter’s bandages. Amanda is still pissed. Which, you know, is understandable. But Stahma seems to genuinely want to rebuild bridges, admitting that she admires Amanda and her ability to inspire the best in those around her. Of course, the Omec attack the infirmary and pass over Amanda as “spoiled meat”. The delirious mayor, though, manages to haul herself from her sickbed to gun down the Omec.

Up in orbit, though, Nolan has Kindzi to contend with. As the engines charge up they fight, and eventually Nolan throws her down in to the whirling gears of the engine. Which makes short work of her. And with the engines overloading, they look to make a hasty retreat — without Yewll, for whom it was a one-way trip.

Except, Irisa’s pesky conscience chooses now to speak up. She doesn’t want to blow up the ship. Mainly because it’s full of Omec, who might not be beyond salvation. She persuades Nolan use the engines as actual engines rather than a bomb, and to go find the Omec a home. But Nolan doesn’t really want his babygirl dragged halfway across the galaxy, so tazes her and sends her back down, whilst he heads off into the unknown with only Yewll and a ship full of purple vampires for company.

So there we go. The third season ends on a surprisingly lighter note than the rest of a rather darker season. I have a few reservations, but overall I’m pretty pleased with how this panned out. It was a lower key affair than some might have expected, but that’s what Defiance does. Big stakes, intimate story.

The key parts, for me, were the emotional moment between Datak and Yewll, when it became clear that Yewll wasn’t returning to Defiance with them — the lead up of the story all season towards this only made it better that she survived. The second emotional heart was the final farewell between Nolan and Irisa, as he made the sacrifice for her. Which, Irisa’s closing monologue expounds, might not have been such a sacrifice given that he’d always wanted to see the stars.

One criticism I do have is how Kindzi died. I quite like that dismemberment killed the All Mother, but after the hints of dissent in her ranks last episode, I had rather hoped that we’d see a mutiny. It would have fitted well with the story, too — the Omec willing partners in the departure from Earth. It was a misstep in an otherwise pretty solid season finale.

So where from here? I really don’t know. I don’t see Nolan leaving the series, so presumably he will make a return after some fashion. I wouldn’t be surprised at a big gap between the third and fourth series, but there’s a whole world for the series to go on to explore, and the characters to do it.

So you need to renew Defiance for another series, SyFy.

Closing thoughts:

  • The hint of romance between Irisa and Alak felt forced. Sorry. Not keen.
  • I wonder if beheading or a stake through the heart would kill an Omec?
  • The Omec that Amanda kills were, to be honest, a bit sh*t. They just stood and waited for her to shoot them one by one.
  • If I’m not mistaken, Yewll hints that it was her who carried out the initial sabotage on the Omec ships.
  • They named the new arch after Nolan. Given the number of names Nolan has had throughout this series, that’s not a particularly helpful statement.
  • Seriously, renew the damn series.
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