Review: Defiance, “Beast of Burden”

It’s not a good day to be a powerful man in Defiance.

“Beast of Burden” opens with Mayor Pottinger escorting a shipment of advanced mining equipment back to Defiance. The caravan is attacked by masked raiders, and the guards are killed, the equipment stolen, and Pottinger utterly humiliated.

A promotional image for DefianceThe search is on to find the culprits, and Rafe McCawley is as surprised as anyone when the trail leads right to his doorstep. His days of grudging tolerance by the E-Rep may be coming to an end.

Meanwhile, Datak Tarr is enjoying life out of prison, settling old debts and reestablishing himself as the master of his criminal empire. But he may be pushing too hard and too fast. It’s a new world, and not all are happy to see his return to power.

I didn’t enjoy “Beast of Burden” as much as I have the last few episodes, though I can’t quite put my finger on why.

Maybe I just don’t like seeing Rafe tore down any further than he already has been. Maybe I don’t like that Alak regressed to being more or less the non-entity he used to be. Maybe it’s that I am disappointed by the fact the one person in Defiance willing to stand up to the E-Rep is apparently a complete idiot.

Or perhaps I am underwhelmed that Doc Yewll and Irisa’s arcs, which seemed to be building to interesting things last episode, fell to the wayside.

That’s not to say this isn’t an episode without some merits. We got an interesting — if disturbing — insight into Amanda’s past that shines a new light on what led her to her current place in Defiance. Stahma had the opportunity to be more badass than she ever has. Pottinger had a bad day, which evokes a pleasant jolt of schadenfreude. Rafe McCawley got plenty of attention, and that’s never a bad thing.

The cast for Defiance for season twoChristie even showed some personality for once. I’m actually starting to wonder how much longer she’s going to put up with Alak telling her she doesn’t understand things because she’s human. Alak’s a decent guy by most standards, but man, is he a douche to Christie. I suppose it could be a lot worse, considering Castithan attitudes towards women.

And the Tarr clan once again stars in an absolutely amazing closing scene.

Still, I feel a little underwhelmed.

I guess it just boils down to the fact “Beast of Burden” didn’t really evolve the characters or offer any new clues to the mysteries of Defiance — barring the Tarr storyline, which was easily the best part of the episode. “Beast of Burden” isn’t bad; it just doesn’t quite fit into the ongoing arc as well as previous episodes have.

It could have interesting repercussions down the road, at least. I really don’t know what’s next for Datak, and I mean that in the best way possible.

Overall rating: 7.1/10

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One thought on “Review: Defiance, “Beast of Burden”

  1. /agree that this seemed to be more of a setup for things down the road. Alak really did fall back under Daddy’s shadow, and then after the incident with his hand, back under Mommy’s shadow too. OTOH, I liked the final result of that at the very end…..

    I was impressed with Rafe and how he had his bags all packed, was just waiting for the E-Rep to show up with the “get out” papers. Going to be really interesting to see where that goes as well. Seems like it may force him into being the underground resistance leader that everyone seems to want him to be after all.

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