Defiance Review: Beasts of Burden


This show really keeps getting better and better. There are so many things I enjoyed about this episode but the main thing right now is the writing of the characters. It would be easy to say that the writing on this show has just been better this season than in season 1. But I think that’s too easy of an explanation. While the writing has definitely improved, I think that there’s also more freedom with a show after you get over that season 1 hump. Season 1 of Defiance was really about introducing the characters to us and giving us glimpses of the dirt and secrets everyone is hiding. This Season, with the decision to put all the characters in completely different circumstances with Earth-Republic now in control of Defiance, has allowed us to dig deeper into the dirt that these characters have been hiding. I feel as though this show is at its best when it’s dealing with the interpersonal relationships of the characters and with them trying to keep their dark pasts from being revealed. As I’ve said week after week, the bigger storyline with Irisa isn’t bad but it’s just not the gripping part of this show to me.

Now on to the details of this week’s episode…

Pottinger Gets Pissed Off

Defiance-Episode-2.04-Beasts-Of-Burden-Promotional-PhotoMayor Pottinger seems to be a bit of a psychopath. Several things point to this. First off, his propaganda videos for Earth-Rep are just creepy as all hell. It’s as if he enjoys playing this noble character but knows he’s hiding a ruthless side. Remember, he had Doc Yewll’s finger cut off like it was nothing. He sent those miners to be killed by Hellbugs. Then there’s how he reacted to getting pissed on. I don’t know what’s more unbelievable: That Josef actually pissed on Pottinger or that the SyFy channel showed it. Josef must have had an extra Big Gulp cause he really soaked Pottinger. But outside of the comedy, this “simple crime” did huge things for the storyline. First off, as I was saying, Pottinger dropped all pretenses about being a nice guy. He was out for blood. He snapped at Amanda and was barking orders at Nolan.

Datak Found Religion

defiance-s2e4-alak-datakDaddy Datak Tarr is home and in true Datak fashion he has to display his dominance in blunt instrument form. They don’t show it but it’s implied that Datak beat Stahma for her “transgressions”. As he said he left her pretty face alone. 9 months in prison and Datak still hasn’t learned to stop underestimating his wife. Stahma brings up being an equal partner to Datak and he immediately shoots her down. Again, that Castithan male pride. Stahma raised profits and she did a better job running the business than he did. She also showed that she’s just as ruthless as he is with the way she handled Skevor. None of this is really shocking because we know Stahma is the brains behind this family. Still, Datak decides he would rather play with and sleep with the snake than respect it. That’s never a smart strategy.

I will give Datak credit. Finding religion (in a way) in prison has helped him learn a bit of restraint. No way the old Datak let’s those E-Rep soldiers get away with treating him like that in Season 1.  It also wasn’t too shocking that Stahma sent those soldiers to provoke Datak. She’s gotten a taste of power and doesn’t want to give it up just because Datak is out. He doesn’t want to make her a partner and she’ll have to take it from him (more on that later). Datak doesn’t know who he’s fucking with.

Tommy is a Company Man Now

This Tommy vs Nolan dynamic is going to be very interesting. I hate that Tommy is a company man right now but I also understand his position. Tommy always tried to do the right thing in Defiance once he became part of keeping the order. As far as Tommy is concerned, Irisa and Nolan abandoned Defiance when the town needed them the most. Tommy stayed behind and had to clean up the mess and (for good or bad) assimilated into a new life under Earth-Rep rule. Tommy needs order, structure and rules and that’s something Nolan and Irisa can never offer while Earth-Rep and Captain Rainer can. When Tommy things Nolan is covering for Rafe, he’s mad because Rainer was hurt but also because Tommy sees the order and structure in his life being threatened. While I understand Tommy’s position, Nolan see’s the bigger picture. He knows that Earth-Rep isn’t good for Defiance but he also knows he can’t completely tell them to fuck off.

Rafe is Just as Ruthless as Datak

defiance-s2e4-rafe-josefJosef is pretty stupid. No really, Rafe's godson was sooooooooooooooo stupid. Why would he think it was smart to rob an Earth-Rep convoy (that had Pottinger) in the first place? I mean that’s bad enough. But then he brings the goods to Rafe’s house and then expects Rafe to be happy with what he did. And his idiocy doesn’t stop there. Nolan tracks him down EASILY and then he tries to pull a gun on Nolan. That was a mistake. Rafe KNOWS his godson is stupid. I literally laughed out loud when Rafe said he was telling Nolan not to hurt Josef not the other way around. The exchange between Nolan and Rafe about letting Josef get out of Defiance seemed insignificant but it gave us some more information on the fallout from Rafe helping Nolan get Irisa in Season 1. Rafe used that to really twist the knife into Nolan to get some sympathy. And even after catching that huge break…Josef goes out and kidnaps Captain Rainer like a dumbass. For no reason. But everything we’ve seen from Josef shows he’s nothing but an irrational hot head so it was within his character.   Rafe though, shows to be even more ruthless than Datak. Rafe is not as blunt or egotistical as Datak but in terms of ruthlessness…he’s up there. He shot his own godson in the back. Granted Josef had it coming. Any plan at resistance that Rafe was planning was jeopardized by Josef, he had to go. Wasn’t an easy decision for Rafe but he did what he had to do.

Also, what was really up with that equipment Earth-Rep was shipping? Pottinger took one particular thing out of those cases but we never really were told what it is.

Amanda is Such a Buzz Kill

Defiance-Episode-2.04-Beasts-Of-Burden-Promotional-Photos-5_595_slogoAmanda is such a junkie now it’s ridiculous. She’s also in incredible buzzkill. The story she told Pottinger about the man who raped her…Jesus Christ. You know Pottinger is trying to sleep with Amanda and if he was getting turned on before she told her story…that was an instant boner killer. What a mood killer. But again, it was interesting because it fleshed out more of the dark secret’s Amanada has been hiding that were only hinted at in season one. Truth is, I’m now sad that Connor died in Season 1 because now that I know the full story behind why Amanda had an abortion, I feel for both of them. I mean that’s a pretty heavy issue to deal with and it gives more depth to Amanda. So she had to take care of her sister because her mother was going to abandon her and now it comes out she was raped (and didn’t tell anyone) and then got pregnant by the rapist. It gives new insight into how tough and strong Amanda really is and puts her drug abuse into a new light.

Should have Made Her a Partndefiance-s2e4-stahma-alaker Datak

Datak is against having Stahma in charge so much he is going to drag Alak into family business kicking and screaming. I will give it to Alak. He does have a backbone. He’s just not a self-centered egotist like his parents. I was impressed when he stood up to his father and told his father to kill him instead of one of his men. Of course, Datak didn’t listen but Datak again is a blunt instrument that doesn’t see further than his own rage. Oddly enough, that act of defiance impressed Datak and Alak wasn’t even trying. I knew Datak was thinking about burning down that record studio but since Alak impressed him, he sparred the record production facility. But he didn’t spar Alex’s hand. Datak pressed a “My Daddy’s an Asshole” Greatest Hits into Alak’s hand. Of course, once that happened, I knew it was Datak overstepping his boundary. Datak’s been running everyone out of fear and while Stahma is also feared, she’s also loved. As long as you don’t get on her bad side, she’s a very likeable person, unlike Datak. So it was no shock to anyone but Datak that Stahma was able to rally all of Datak’s men to her side. She even made Alak watched, but he needed to see it too. You should have made her a partner Datak. Datak is going to have to get on his wife’s level if he wants to get his position back.


Another great episode of Defiance. This season has been hitting on all cylinders for me and I hope they keep it up. The more we learn about these characters to more engaged I become to this show. This is the perfect show to watch during this time of year.



Charles (Kriss)

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