[This is a review of Defiance Season 3, episodes 1 and 2. There will be SPOILERS.]
As season 3 opens, the world of Defiance has taken a definite turn for the worse. Think along the lines of Battlestar Galactica, 'Occupation' worse. Okay, maybe Defiance has not quite reached the levels of Battlestar Galactica oppression, but it is getting close. In the seven months since Nolan (Grant Bowler) and Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas) have gone missing and are presumed dead, life for the remaining inhabitants of the city of Defiance has become desperate.
As seen in 'The World We Seize' and 'The Last Unicorns,' Amanda (Julie Benz) is barely holding the town together, and she is nearly shot during a robbery at the Need-Want. In fact, Defiance is on the verge of socio-economic collapse; it is defenseless without the gulanite mine, which is needed to fuel the Stasis Net, leaving it at the mercy of Votanis' encroaching death squad. Also initially unknown is the arrival of another father and daughter duo, the last remaining survivors of the Omec, who are determined to mine the gulanite for their own nefarious plans. It is interesting that Defiance chose another father-daughter dynamic to oppose Nolan and Irisa in Season 3, which should illustrate that such a bond can be a powerful weapon for both heroes and villains.
With so many characters at odds and at cross-purposes, it is a wonder that Nolan and Irisa are able to navigate the thorny politics of Defiance at all, what with its simmering resentments and disparate factions. Yet even awakening from their deep slumber inside the life pods does not make Nolan and Irisa exempt from the brewing hostilities or even forgiven for their prior trespasses. Irisa's crimes have marked her for death in the eyes of local Defiance residents, but her usefulness - and the fact that Nolan will kill anyone who attempts to harm his daughter - is cause for a temporary reprieve on Irisa's death sentence. (Irisa's plight echoes the Defiance season 2 opener, where her propensity to kill to fulfill her own personal agenda also had long-term ramifications.)
But just how can Votanis' Collective be deterred and stopped before the city of Defiance falls? It is with Nolan's quick-thinking and Irisa and Amanda's steadfast support, as well as a swift-armed response that turns the tide. Nolan ultimately convinces the Omec to aid him, and he barters a deal that tentatively guarantees both sides get an equal stake in the remaining gulanite. Unfortunately, if only Nolan knew just how the Omec were going to use the gulanite, he might have been less hasty in making the seemingly fair agreement.
What Nolan does not know is that the Omec are using the gulanite to awaken their sleeping Omec army, which intends to descend upon Earth and quickly subdue and enslave it; for, as Doc Yewll (Trenna Keating) forewarned, the Omec think about only three things: conquer, kill, devour. As a race of cannibals intent on enslaving entire planets for their own needs, the Omec are not allies on any level and season 3 seems to be setting up the Omec as Defiance's overarching nemesis. It has been enough to this point that Earth's remaining inhabitants have been warring constantly amongst themselves and fending off the occasional intergalactic threat. But an entire alien invasion is entirely different. Can Earth withstand a full-frontal assault by a superior alien army?
Even with the city of Defiance working together again and with the gulanite mine operational, it is still a small town of disparate factions that can rarely agree on bar tab rates and punishment for small infractions. It seems unlikely and unreasonable to expect that its inhabitants will set aside their differences to work together to fight off the threat of an invading alien force. So will the various Votan races and humans be able to work together to face their common enemy or will their inability to work together be their downfall?
Nolan and Irisa may appear to be just a devoted father-daughter duo, but they have proven time and time again to be formidable in volatile situations and in persuading others to join their cause, when necessary. Given the threat facing all humans and Votans on Earth, it is foreseeable that Nolan and Irisa's unique abilities will be required once again. Yet with the Votanis' Collective anxious to usurp any peaceful alignment and to strike when it suits them best, one should expect that the death squad will pose the greatest resistance and threat to uniting the humans and Votans for the common good. Similarly, there always seems to be the rogue element of spiteful and greedy entrepreneurs who lurk within Defiance's borders and, surely, someone has not forgiven Irisa for her mass-murder of New York and will also seek blood-for-blood as season 3 unfolds. As it stands now, Berlin seems like the perfect candidate to put a bullet in Irisa's head when no one is looking.
Unfortunately, just because Nolan, Irisa, and Amanda have a strong moral code, does not mean that the rest of the population of Defiance does. So, simmering under the surface of a seemingly friendly face could be the next threat waiting to strike. The city of Defiance knows that it may need Nolan and Irisa, but it is doubtful that everyone will remember how it is in their best interest to keep them alive. As such, life in the crosshairs continues for our heroes, and Irisa more than anyone else will need to watch her back all season long.
Another dangling storyline addressed as season 3 opens is the fate of Alak (Jesse Rath) and Christie's (Nicole Munoz) child after both Christie and Rafe's lives were forfeit in trying to protect the child. The final fate of the baby still seems in flux. It is the one thing that everyone seems to want, but only at the price of taking a life. So who else is going die in the name of the child? The death list seems to be growing since her birth. Horribly, perhaps there is a good reason humans and Castithans do not ever commingle their races: the price is too costly. But with Pilar McCawley (Linda Hamilton, aka Sarah Connor) on her side, the baby just might have a fighting chance.
Defiance remains a fertile tale of testing human survival, as well as exploring the bonds forged in war and in peace. Accordingly, season 3 guarantees more upheaval, more vicious fights to the death, and uncertainty in who can and cannot be trusted. It all makes for an intriguing and gripping season ahead. Plus, I am curious to find out just why the Omec are called the Enchanters. It offers another tantalizing mystery to be solved.
Defiance continues next Friday with 'The Broken Bough' @8:00pm on Syfy.