Reviews: Defiance, “Where the Apples Fall” + Dark Matter, Episode Five

Defiance, “Where the Apples Fall”:

A promotional image for DefianceAh, the subtle intricacies of Castithan family politics.

Datak and Stahma sold out to the VC to save Alak, but Christie’s death has left him uninclined toward gratitude. As soon as he returns to Defiance, he informs the authorities of their betrayal, spurring a town-wide manhunt.

I very much enjoyed watching the Tarr family self-destruct — Datak and Stahma both have such excellent acting that any episode with this much of the both of them is bound to be great — and I once again find myself impressed with how much Alak has evolved as a character. He’s actually kind of badass all of a sudden, and some of his deadpan comments really had me cracking up.

I do wonder where they go from here, though. Datak and Stahma seem to be up a creek without a paddle, and I struggle to see what the writers’ options are at this point.

I can’t see them being killed off — maybe one, but even that’s a stretch, and definitely not both. I also can’t see the people of Defiance being willing to forgive them after their betrayal, on top of all their previous shenanigans — they were powerful, but never popular. Maybe they might be transplanted to the game, but I don’t think the game has the resources to do that justice.

We’ll see.

General Rahm Tak in DefianceWhile all of Defiance searches for the Tarrs, Rahm Tak’s wife arrives at his camp with surprising news from Brazil, and we learn far more about the Omec than anyone wanted to know.

Defiance is not pulling any punches when it comes to making their villains unlikable this season, that’s for sure. On one side we’ve got Rahm Tak with his virulent racism, his endless sadism, and his corpse desecration fetish, and on the other, we’ve got the incestuous, carnivorous Omec.

Fun times.

It is interesting  to learn Rahm Tak has gone rogue from the Votanis Collective. Helps to preserve the murky morality of the series by showing that the Collective has not sanctioned his atrocities, and it does explain why his army — while a danger to Defiance — isn’t that big. This isn’t some grand campaign by the Votanis Collective; it’s a madman’s deranged quest for bloodshed.

It does make this season eerily reminiscent of the plot of the game, though. If Rahm Tak starts trying to get a hold on some terraforming tech, it’ll really start to feel weird.

Overall rating: 7.7/10

Dark Matter, episode five:

The logo for Dark MatterHard up for cash, the crew of the Raza is contacted by a man (played by Stargate: Atlantis veteran David Hewlett) who is apparently their agent, and he has a new job for them: Recover a damaged freighter. Sounds simple.

Do I even need to say it’s not simple?

No, it doesn’t take long for the crew to encounter a serious problem. A problem that rhymes with “lace rombies.” Apparently the freighter had recently visited the Umbrella Corporation homeworld.

As One and Three get lost in the labyrinthine halls of the ship, Two is attacked and infected, and Five discovers an exotic piece of technology aboard the Raza with the android’s* help.

*(Seriously, can she get a name already? People name their cars, and those don’t even talk back. Someone ought to have given her a nickname by now. Call her Sally — she looks like a Sally.)

For the most part, this episode wasn’t terribly impressive. As with last episode, the premise was fairly cliche, and it was easy to predict most of what happened. Also, a love triangle between One, Two, Three is not something I ever wanted to see.

One and Two aboard the Raza in Dark MatterThat said, it struck me during this episode that Dark Matter is very good at two things.

One is giving everyone on the cast something to do every episode. Seven characters isn’t exactly an enormous cast, but it’s not nothing, either, and yet every episode manages to include a good sub-plot and/or at least one or two strong scenes for every single character. Nobody ever feels superfluous or unused.

The other is that every episode manages to advance the plot in some way. Episode five was mostly what I would classify as filler, yet we still have some major revelations. We’ve gotten yet more evidence that the Raza crew aren’t your garden variety homo sapiens, and there’s the mystery of whatever Five dug up.

I think these two strengths are a large part of why I’m enjoying Dark Matter so much, even though it’s often quite generic in a lot of ways.

You can really tell this show is the work of writers with a great deal of experience and mastery over the craft.

Overall rating: 7.1/10

2 thoughts on “Reviews: Defiance, “Where the Apples Fall” + Dark Matter, Episode Five

  1. Loved Alak’s deadpanning in this episode. and yeah, the Omec were already creepy and just became way more so…

    And in Dark Matter, of course it couldn’t be a smooth job. If things went smoothly, they’d be boring. On the other hand, as you noted — this was insanely predictable. Made more so by the fact that before the characters had any reason to think it wouldn’t be a milk run we were treated to a montage of them doing the maze crawl while ominous music played, so of course they had to have something jump out to give the viewers a payout for the music building the suspense. And I think 2 healing like Wolverine there lends more weight to my “super-clone” theory that I mentioned a week ago.

    Nice that the crew all knows about the vault now. Will be interesting to see what happens if/when they finally crack it.

    I’m partial to naming the android “Dee.” They’re all numbers, so she’s a letter, but “A” sounds like an actual word, while “D” (for Droid) is actually a name I’ve used for a few different people in my life, much less other’s I’ve heard of. So… humans get numbers, the Droid gets a letter. there is symmetry!

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