Review: Defiance, “All Things Must Pass”

It’s hard to believe this isn’t the season finale.

A promotional image for Defiance“All Things Must Pass” is an epic tour de force that showcases nearly the entire cast of Defiance at their best and culminates in an intense cliff-hanger that could easily have been a worthy conclusion to the season.

It starts with Datak Tarr and his wife being abducted by mysterious assailants. They wake to find themselves chained in a silo. With no escape — from their captivity or from each other — they are forced to confront the flaws within themselves and their relationship. And for all that they are the epitome of Castithan ruthlessness, there is still some good, and perhaps even a certain degree of nobility, within them.

Meanwhile, Mayor Pottinger continues his efforts to woo Amanda, but things do not go entirely according to his plan. The short version is that Amanda is kind of awesome.

Having been rescued by Quentin, the matriarch of the McCawley clan at last returns home, and there was not a dry eye in the house.

Following the events of the last episode, Nolan finds himself lost in the wilderness. He knows that the only hope of stopping Irisa lies with Mordecai, with whom she shares a mysterious connection. But before he can seek out Mordecai, Nolan must drag a mortally wounded Tommy the many miles back to Defiance.

Running low on food, Doc Yewll is forced to return to the surface, accompanied by the EGO-induced hallucination of her dead wife. Along the way, she stumbles across the wreckage of the Kaziri and realizes that Irisa has woken it.

The cast for Defiance for season twoAnd Irisa at last brings her plan into motion, waking the Ark fleet to do what Nim Shondu could not: cleanse the Earth in fire and create a new paradise for the chosen few.

There really wasn’t any element of this episode I didn’t enjoy. Defiance’s greatest strength, its cast, is used to its full effect, but “All Things Must Pass” also has an epic sci-fi feel that Defiance has generally lacked. Once again, I am struck by how vastly this show has changed, and all for the better.

Of course, it goes without saying at this point that the Tarrs’ plot was excellent. An entire hour of nothing but Stahma and Datak would still be worth watching. All credit to Tony Curran and Jaime Murray for their stellar performances.

Similarly, anything to do with the McCawley family is quite welcome. None of their scenes in “All Things Must Pass” advance the plot in any meaningful way, but they’re all sufficiently powerful that I don’t really care. It’s all just very well done.

Doc Yewll is someone else who never disappoints. Her acerbic banter with her hallucinatory wife offers no shortage of entertainment. I would have liked to have seen a greater acknowledgement of the emotional impact of still having her dead lover in her head, but then again, Yewll’s a pretty tough cookie.

I’d say that Nolan’s plot was probably the weakest part of this episode, but there’s nothing wrong with it. It just didn’t shine as brightly as the others. It was nice to see him and Tommy finally find some kind of peace between them.

The town of DefianceTaken all together, “All Things Must Pass” is an excellent episode, and perhaps Defiance’s finest outing to date.

Overall rating: 9/10

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