Review: Defiance, “Doll Parts”

This episode deals heavily with Tarr family politics. Do you need to know anything more about it?

You shouldn’t, but in case you feel you do, read on.

A promotional image for Defiance“Doll Parts” begins with Alak’s mistress, known as Treasure Doll during her work at the Need/Want, taking a rather unfortunate and completely fatal tumble off the Arch. It was obviously not an accident, and Amanda takes up the search for her killer.

Why Amanda? Because Nolan has bigger fish to fry. Desperate to stop whatever Irisa intends to do with a terrasphere, he ventures into the wilderness to apprehend her at any cost, gaining the aid of Tommy along the way.

Nolan’s plot is plenty interesting, but I actually preferred the mystery of Treasure Doll’s murder. At first, it seems cut and dried that Alak did it to cover up their affair, but with all apologies to Occam’s Razor, sometimes the obvious solution isn’t the correct one.

Unfortunately, the resolution of this plot was spoiled for me beforehand, which is a shame because it’s really a great twist. Even knowing the outcome, though, it was a fun ride, full of intrigue and strong performances from most of Defiance’s cast.

It also involved what may be the first genuine laugh we’ve ever heard from Stahma.

It will haunt my nightmares.

Jesse Rath as Alak Tarr in DefianceIf I have one complaint about this episode, it’s that Amanda’s grief over Treasure Doll’s death feels odd considering there has been little to no onscreen interactions between them before now. They retcon in a strong relationship between the two, and of course it makes sense that Amanda would care about all her employees. But some foreshadowing would have gone a long way.

Still, it’s a pretty minor hiccup in an otherwise strong episode.

On the Irisa front, it seems we have finally learned what “Irzu” is after. I am a little disappointed that it’s essentially a complete repeat of the plot of the MMO version of Defiance, but on the other hand, I’m always up for a good doomsday scheme, and there are still some intriguing questions left to be answered, like how the Kaziri wound up on Earth thousands of years before what is generally believed to have been first contact between humanity and the Votans.

This part of the episode also offers some of Tommy’s best scenes to date, and perhaps the first instance in Defiance’s history of Nolan not being a complete dick to him.

All in all, “Doll Parts” provides a strong set-up for what will no doubt be an epic conclusion to the season, all wrapped up in a delicious blanket of intrigue, interpersonal politics, and bloody vengeance. Truly Defiance at its finest.

Overall rating: 8.1/10

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