“The Cord and the Ax” is another strong showing from Defiance’s second season.
It’s a busy story, with major developments for pretty much every character. Alak learns that he is soon to be a father, which brings his personal crisis over his role in the family business to a head. Irisa continues to be tormented by visions and compulsions apparently from the Irathient goddess Irzu, driving her to the breaking point.
Meanwhile, Amanda’s adreno addiction worsens, Datak learns that Stahma has left him to rot in prison, and Mayor Pottinger uses Yewll’s severed finger to uncover the secrets left in her office.
There’s a lot going on, but it doesn’t feel too scattered. Everyone seems to get a fair level of attention appropriate to their plot, but some did stand above the others.
I continue to thoroughly enjoy Alak’s growth as a character. His larger role really came out of left field, but against all expectations, it’s turned out to be a very interesting direction. He’s clearly being torn in two by his duty to his family and their Castithan traditions, and his desire to be a kinder and more just person than his parents, and to protect his budding family from the dark legacy of the Tarr clan.
His plot also gave Rafe McCawley the opportunity to once again be a complete badass. If I have one complaint about this season so far, it’s that Rafe hasn’t gotten nearly enough screen time.
Once again, I am blown away by the sheer intensity Tony Curran is able to portray.
I also quite enjoyed the continuation of Irisa’s struggles. I’m still not the biggest fan of Irisa’s character, but this episode made the best use of her strengths, giving the viewer insight into how tortured she has become — and she was pretty tortured to begin with.
I also liked how it continued to show the friction between her and Nolan. Nolan truly loves her and wants the best for her, but as Amanda is quick to point out, he’s just not that good of a parent. He’s never truly understood Irisa, and so he struggles to control her when she needs an ally and not a guide, or a warden.
“The Cord and the Ax” also offers some glimpses of what’s really going on with her, and just what is buried beneath the gulanite mines. Not enough to fully understand, but enough for me to be thoroughly intrigued.
This is one thing Defiance does very well: They maintain their mysteries just long enough to keep you intrigued, but not so long that you’re just being strung along without a clue. They hit a perfect cadence for parceling out new information.
Overall rating: 8.5/10
eSports are exploding in popularity, but did you ever stop to wonder what determines whether or not a video game will be an eSport? It’s quite a tall order. Just as only a tiny minority of gamers will ever achieve the skills necessary to play competitively, only a handful of games have what it takes to become a sport.
In my latest article for ADANAI, I take a look at just what is necessary for a game to become an eSport.