Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Idiot Box: Defiance 1x03 - "The Devil In The Dark" Review

This is more like it. Last week I was a bit worried that some of the luster had come off of this show in the sophomore outing, which didn't exactly bode well for the rest of the season, but thankfully now that we're far enough away from the immediate consequences of the pilot and can focus on some new and original stories, we're back to the kind of show I always hoped and expected this would be. From giant subterranean bug monsters to kinky food fetishism, any and all doubts I might have had concerning my continued enjoyment of this show have, at least for the moment, been assuaged.

Sexily assuaged

The Devil In The Dark introduces the Hellbugs, a now common hazard on this terraformed Earth that burst out of the ground and right out of an H.P. Lovecraft story just long enough to eat through you while you're trying to get some strange at the local bordello. Just in time to learn of their existence, we also learn that their pheromones can be turned into a weapon, setting up a murder mystery that digs into the strained relationship between Defiance and the Irathients and introduces a new side of Nolan's adopted daughter, assuming this wasn't something I just failed to pick up on in either of the last two episodes.

I was always a big fan of the television show Angel, but one of my biggest problems with that show in the early years was its over-reliance on the use of prophetic visions as a driver of the plots week to week, and how it was often a crutch used whenever they didn't have a better way to get an episode going. Seeing that same element introduced here was a bit disheartening, but I have faith that this show has enough going on with it that it won't fall into the same trap, and even if it does, I can't imagine it would annoy me enough to stop watching. As it stands, the suggestion of supernatural abilities among the different aliens beyond what we've already been shown is intriguing, even if it presents a lot of potential for hoaky failure.

I have to be honest, the Romeo and Juliet subplot between the albinos and the miners is getting a bit boring at this point, if only because the storyline doesn't seem to be advancing all that much from what we already saw in the pilot. Granted, this episode featuring an awkward family dinner interrupted by Hellbugs did provide an excuse for Datak to bring out his badass laser knife again, which is now revealed to be extendable into a badass laser sword, but still I wish we'd get a little more. I am a bit surprised that with everything else being stark white in their house, that they don't eat bleach colored meat for dinner every night too, and while I commented last week that I enjoyed the visual motif, I must say it isn't always easy on the eyes.

The sexin' grease just makes him tastier.

Overall this was a much better episode than last week's, and if only for suggesting more Irathient carnage to come, it holds a lot of promise for the rest of this inaugural season. We get some more of the town's history fleshed out, and a climactic battle that is maybe a little too quick for my tastes, but probably about as large scale and epic as you can expect for a cable TV budget. While I was probably bound to stick with this show for the rest of the season even with my reservations from last week, this week definitely left me with the sense that I'll ultimately be rewarded for my efforts. What I've heard from critics who've seen previews suggests it gets even better from here, and if every episode is as fun as this one, I won't have a problem.

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