Defiance returns with its second season tonight (June 19th). Nothing says summer like a solid sci-fi series with interesting drama, conflict and cool effects weeks to week, right?
I generally find myself on the line with sci-fi series that contain actual aliens (this is coming from a Farscape fan, mind you), it’s an extra hurdle of suspension of disbelief that the sincerity of the story needs to clear. If you’re coming into this without having seen the first season (well, go watch that), know that this isn’t a problem with Defiance, a series that sets up conflicts and relationships that feel real from the get-go, something that is certainly present in the second season premiere.
Minor but not really spoilers below. If you’re truly concerned, come back after you watch “The Opposite of Hallelujah” tonight at 10pm and let us know what you think.
My favourite moment from the series premiere was echoed in this episode, an unlikely father-daughter pairing of Nolan and Irisa. Season one opens with the duo singing along to country radio. That was the moment the show had sold me.
Nolan (Grant Bowler) spends much of “The Opposite of Hallelujah” searching for the lost Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas). This search seemed like a journey that the show could have taken more time with, but there’s something else going on. In a canny mirror to the series premiere the pair sit together, driving into the night and the music is playing, but it’s not like it was before.
Julie Benz is as always stealing the show with the wonderfully stoic Amanda Rosewater. Watching Amanda successfully running Kenya’s bar, while holding out hope for the return of her missing sister is painful while also filling us with confidence that Amanda can make it work. All the while, she is sparring with the new mayor, Niles Pottinger (James Murray), as they find common ground.
The Tarr family storyline continues to bug, the violence and the misogyny come off as lead-footed shorthand for “these are the baddies” rather than truly exploring the culture and conflict within it. This is the one part of the show I continuously struggle with. Maybe it’s just that Lena Headey is carrying Cersei through a similar, but more nuanced situation on Game of Thrones as Jaime Murray is with Stahma Tarr and the similarities are too close for me not to compare. I’m holding out hope that the dynamic will change with circumstances bringing more character based development into this mechanical plot. It will be interesting to see how Stahma is able to hold on to her idea of change within this very conservative, misogynistic society, particularly when Datak Tarr returns.
The Opposite of Hallelujah” is a promising start for season 2, and I look forward to seeing what Defiance will be bringing us all summer long.
Defiance season 2 premieres Thursday, June 19th at 10pm on Showcase. What did you think?