Review: Defiance, “Putting the Damage On”

If “Beast of Burden” was somehow less than the sum of its parts, then “Putting the Damage On” is more.

The cast for Defiance for season twoThis isn’t really a pivotal episode. It’s not quite filler, but it is only a very small step forward for the greater storyline. Despite that, however, I found “Putting the Damage On” quite enjoyable.

This episode sees Amanda attacked in her room at the Need/Want by what appears to have been the man who raped her in New York. However, her story doesn’t add-up, and as odd happenings follow not only her, but also Mayor Pottinger and Doc Yewll, it becomes clear something much stranger is going on.

Meanwhile, Rafe McCawley lands on his feet after being evicted by the E-Rep as he is welcomed into the Tarr household by Stahma. Cue Odd Couple theme.

This episode reminds me of the first season of Defiance, but not entirely in a bad way. We’re once again in a situation where the main plot of the episode isn’t terribly interesting, but it does serve as a framework for some very interesting and/or amusing character interactions.

For sheer entertainment value, the best parts of this episode were of Rafe McCawley integrating into life in the Tarr house. Defiance has always had a healthy sense of humour, but I can’t recall ever cracking up quite this much.

Graham Greene as Rafe McCawley in DefianceEspecially when Datak finds out he’s moved in.

“I borrowed your slippers. Hope you don’t mind.”

Ah, Rafe. You’re never not awesome.

Seeing where things could be going for him and Datak is pretty intriguing, too. Never expected to see those two on the same side of anything, but I suppose the enemy of my enemy is my friend…

Regardless, any day Rafe and Datak are in the same scene is a good day, and it looks like there shall be many such days in the future.

The other aspect of this episode I found compelling was learning more about Doc Yewll’s past. I do think she is one of the more interesting characters on the show — no small feat — and I wish she’d get more time in the spotlight.

On the downside, we didn’t really learn that much about her that we didn’t already know, or could have surmised. She did horrible things in the war. She’s trying to atone. “Putting the Damage On” offers a little more detail on that, but there’s still a lot left unanswered, especially regarding her current plans.

Trenna Keating as Doctor Meh Yewll on DefianceOn the one hand, I enjoy the mystery. On the other, Yewll’s been a question mark for one and a half seasons now. Let’s start getting some idea of what’s actually going on with her.

There were a few other interesting things about this episode.

For one, I was surprised that Pottinger’s story of being attacked by the Votans as a child was apparently true. I had been operating under the assumption he made it up to win sympathy from Amanda.

Damn it, Defiance, how dare you make a character I dislike into a three-dimensional person rather than leaving them as a cartoon effigy for me to hate?

It also seems to me that this season is both including more references to the game version of Defiance, and being more natural about it. There are a lot of little nods to the game in “Putting the Damage On”: EGO implants (and mention of “soldiers in the West,” IE players, using them), Varus Soleptor supplying Pottinger’s drugs, and technology from Von Bach Industries.

But they don’t feel as forced or randomly tossed in as the game tie-ins of the first season. It feels more like a seamless blending of the two stories.

The town of DefianceFinally, I found it somewhat interesting that Yewll is apparently into girls. I find this noteworthy purely because the main Indogene character in Defiance the MMO, Eren Niden, is strongly implied to be in a relationship with a human woman, Rosa Rodriguez. Makes me wonder if there’s some aspect of Indogene culture and/or biology that grants them a predilection towards same-sex relationships, at least where females are concerned.

Heck, considering that Indogenes appear to be one of the more biologically alien Votan races, gender might not work the same way for them as it does for us.

Yes, I’m enough of a nerd to be interested in such things.

But this is a fairly irrelevant tangent.

Point is, “Putting the Damage On” moves the story in interesting directions. It doesn’t move it as much as I would like, but it does enough to keep me happy for the moment.

Overall rating: 7.5/10

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4 thoughts on “Review: Defiance, “Putting the Damage On”

  1. Yes, Rafe and Stahma in the bathtub…. that scene had me cracking up like I haven’t in a long time.

    I’d actually like to see what they’d do with actual working EGO implants in the show, rather than this week’s McGuffin of the broken ones making them all hallucinate.

    • Yeah, that could be interesting. Be nice to see EGO the character have a cameo, at least.

      Not sure how it could play into the story, though. The game is really inconsistent in portraying just what an EGO can actually do. They talk about them like they make you superhuman, and certainly it turned Nim Shondu into a demigod, but players don’t really have any special powers, so it’s kind of confusing.

      Fun fact: Long before this episode aired, there was a theory floating around that Irisa’s visions of Irzu were the result of a malfunctioning EGO implant.

      • Well, I don’t play the game nor read about it outside of watching it, so I don’t get to see all the various ideas and speculations.

        OTOH, Irisa took some bullets, yet healed like Wolverine, so I’d imagine that those gold and silver thingies in her are far more than just an EGO.

      • Oh, definitely. I just thought it was a funny coincidence.

        Based on what I’ve seen, I think EGOs are generally only used by certain elite Votanis Collective soldiers and employees of Von Bach Industries, so I never put much stock in the idea of Irisa having one.

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