Welcome back to Defiance!
After more than 10 months of waiting, Defiance Season 3 Episode 1 and Defiance Season 3 Episode 2 allowed us to find out what happened to Nolan and Irisa, who had jumped into a Votan escape pod just as the mine and caves collapsed around them.
While it was not a big surprise that Nolan and Irisa survived without much in the way of injuries, it became apparent very quickly that the show's budget wasn't so lucky.
Allow me to start by saying that there were so many things in this episode that bothered me, I actually had trouble deciding where to start.
But, in the end, what cut the deepest had to be the pointless and brutal "house cleaning" deaths of Rafe, Christie, and Quinten McCawley. Their deaths would make Game of Thrones proud with their story and plot stopping power.
I was shocked, but understood when Quentin was shot in the head out of nowhere. I could even understand Rafe making a desperate run into the house and being shot to death in the process. But when Christie died, I knew that all of these deaths were being done for budgetary reasons.
Because unless you are George R.R. Martin, there is no story or plot reason to kill off the entire McCawley family line other than making room in a shrinking budget for new characters.
Which leads me of the the second thing that bothered me. After killing off multiple pillars in the Defiance storyline, the best new character idea the writers could come up with were space-fairing vampiric Drow (dark elves for non-gamers).
Apparently so. The newest residents in Defiance are T'evgin and Kindzi, the last surviving members of the Omec race. They are the equivalent to the Boogy Man, Dracula, and Freddie Kruger all rolled into one (if the other Votan races are to be believed).
We got to see this first hand when Doc Yewll was brought in to treat Kindzi's injuries.
Conquer! Kill! Devour! Put it on a T-shirt so you don't forget.Doc Yewll
Finally on the list of annoying things at the start of the season, we come to our new protagonist, in the form of Votanis Collective General Rahm Tak. A Castithan who has a deep hatred for humans, yet love for human conveniences. What I don't understand is why anyone feels the need to make Rahm Tak overly brutal?
We already disliked him when he captured Rafe, Stahma, and Datak. And then we hated him even more after he casually shot Quentin in the head, so what was truly gained in the story by him requiring Stahma to kill Christie?
Oh right...budget for the space vampire dark elves.
Did anyone besides me notice that there was not a single mention any of the alien beasts that are supposed to be out in the world? In all the comings and goings from the mine, there wasn't one mention of (or a concern for) hellbugs. Similarly, with Datak, Stahma, and Rafe, there was no concern given for any deadly animal life that might be around. I suspect this is another victim in the budget reduction, as "flavor" items like wildlife are one of the quick and easy ways to cut cost.
In all fairness, I can't completely fault the writers or show runners on their choices from a story arc point of view. The Omec, a feared alien race with an exotic look, will most likely be more interesting than a 70-year-old miner and his two kids.
I will say that as much as I dislike Rahm Tak from a character design point of view, T'evgin and Kindzi grew on me as the episode went along. I'm curious if being around another father/daughter combo like Nolan and Irisa will lead them become supporters of Defiance instead of wanting to conquer it.
In the end, the episode had a very different feel from previous seasons. From the cast changes, the destruction of New York, the lack of E-Rep forces, and wildlife, the scope just felt small overall. Then again, maybe we will get lucky and Christie, Rafe, or both can still be saved somehow and that would bolster the show some. But, I suspect that is just wishful thinking on my part.
What did you think? Are you excited for the new cast members? Are you disappointed in the loss of Rafe, Christie, and Quinten?
Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.