Defiance: Season 1: Episode 2 “Down in the Dark Where the Dead Men Go” – TV Review

I catch up with Defiance’s second episode, and ask the question – is it better than the pilot?


Defiance S1x02

Despite the disappointing pilot, I thought that I should stick with Defiance for at least three more episodes to see if it impressed. However, I think it’s safe to say that the most appealing aspect of this show is easily the setting, as opposed to the characters themselves – even if episode two does improve ever so slightly on the pilot.

The second episode however still did its best to try and fix the character development problems that plagued its pilot, even if the way it attempted it wasn’t so subtle. We get to know who the villains are right from the outset, reinforcing the idea if people weren’t paying attention the first time. The characters are still archetypical, and their roles haven’t changed from the pilot, the rouge/good hearted lead who everyone wants to be, the daughter of the main character who also takes up the role of a sidekick, the conflict between two warring families and lovers caught in-between (Romeo and Juliet), as well as more. Some are fleshed out but others aren’t given as much attention in this episode – but it’s clear as to who the two main improvements are in this episode – Rafe McCawley, who gets to step outside of the archetypical character, reluctant father who’s having trouble with his daughter’s relationship, gets to shine, as does Nicky Riordan, who plays the role of the ex-Mayor. However, the rest of the dramatis personae are still one dimensional and not really fleshed out as well as they could have been.

The growing racial tension in Defiance is also explored quite well, with the Castithans delivering barbaric practices such as public torture thrown in there as well fairly in the beginning of the episode as it starts to become more of a focus. The action isn’t as on a large scale as the Pilot, and it’s interesting to get a rough idea as to where the series is heading, even if survivors in a post-apocalyptic world allows more potential for a wider range of stories than say Supernatural’s first season, which saw Dean and Sam Winchester spend most of their time hunting various monsters from legend in a scenario that seemed to become repetitive after a while. I’m not saying that Defiance is better than Supernatural however, and a more accurate comparison would probably be that this show feels at times that this is as close to a second season of Firefly as we’re ever going to get.

A few notable parts of this episode was the entire end sequence, featuring Rafe searching his dead son’s room and finding a mysterious artefact, as well as the fact that there are still other elements of St. Louis aside from the archway that are still standing. The ending is also nice at tying everything together, with Elah allowing Datak to hill him along with other scenes that help preventing Defiance from feeling less like a sci-fi cop show & more like a true sci—fi story, if a little bit cliché packed.

In order to improve however, they need to make the stories a lot more gripping and enthralling. There isn’t too much that’s memorable about Defiance and in order to maintain my interest it will have to have a stronger increase in quality in the third and fourth episodes. Having seen the third already, which has a stronger increase in quality, I can safely say that I will be sticking around for a while longer, especially as this series has been recently renewed for a Second Season, giving the writers more time to develop the show. But on the plus side though, this show is much better than JJ Abrams’ Revolution. 

VERDICT: 3.25/5

EPISODE GUIDE: S1x01: PilotS1x02: Down in the Dark Where the Dead Men Go, S1x03: The Devil in the Dark, S1x04: A Well Respected Man, S1x05: The Serpent’s Egg, S1x06: Brothers In Arms, COMING SOON: S1x07: Good Bye Blue Sky, S1x08: I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times, S1x09: If I Ever Leave this World Alive, S1x10: The Bride Wore Black, S1x11: Past is Prologue, S1x12: Everything is Broken

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