After a long gap, Defiance season 2 finally made its way to television a few weeks ago. The much anticipated season picks up where the first season left off, also tying in with the short web-episodes that helped shorten the gap between the two seasons. As you can imagine, this article has taken its own sweet time to come to fruition, and with good reason. The first episode of Defiance season 2 definitely made an impact but the subsequent episodes started building on the story and characters in a way not seen in season 1. So, after perusing through a few more episodes, I can finally share my thoughts on the new season.
New Direction in Character Development
As I mentioned in my season 1 look back, Defiance created this magical world with an abundance of characters, one of the primary reasons you’d want to watch the show in the first place. Season 1 introduced us to the primary roster, a blend of aliens and humans that created the backbone for the interactions, scenarios and activities that take place within this complex world. ‘Balance’ was a key element when it came to the characters; you had a good balance between aliens and humans, male and female, and good and bad.
In season 2, Defiance cracks the element of ‘potential’ and makes it reality. Season 1 had so many characters that could have been stretched and built on some more to showcase their true potential and finally in season 2, that is becoming a reality for some of the characters. Doc Yewll, for example, showcased just how much planning she could do but never really demonstrated that out in the open. In season 2, she has become a strengthened figure, with so much story potential for the rest of the season and beyond. Tony Curran’s Datak Tarr has always been a menacing figure, causing nothing but pain and chaos. In season 2, we see that rage and power evolve, heading in a direction that may create a totally unseen outcome. On note about Castithan’s, Jaime Murray’s Stahma Tarr has had the most dramatic change yet. You always knew she was a calculating and manipulative woman, especially towards the end of season 1. However, in season 2, the alpha-female side of Stahma has been released, truly changing the way the characters in the story interact, and pushing the story in a very different direction.
I also do like how the politics of Defiance is being treated in the new season. The addition of Mayor Niles Pottinger – played by James Murray – to the political landscape has change the tone of Defiance and its political activities. While the politics in season 1 was strictly a battle between different individuals, season 2 showcases a more powerful and unknown side with the Earth Republic now running the show. Additional characters such as Pottinger’s assistant Jessica ‘Berlin’ Rai (Anna Hopkins) and his incredibly blue bodyguard Churchill (Rob Archer), further change the political and military tone.
The Love for Canadian Talent
Great characters need great talents to play em, and Defiance has a great selection of them. From Grant Bowler bringing the gritty 70’s to his eccentric Joshua Nolan, to Stephanie Leonidas’ and her ability to bring to the table an edgy and deadly Irisa, Defiance has picked a great cast with great chemistry. The one thing that always stood out in Defiance was the love Canadian talents got through the show. Season 1 showcased a mix of veterans and rising stars such as legend Graham Greene and rockstar Dewshane Williams. It also served as a platform for young stars such as Nicole Muñoz and Jesse Rath to really showcase their talents. All in all, Canadians were really getting the love, and that has been further extended in season 2.
The one Canadian that is a brilliant addition to the cast and crew is Anna Hopkins and her character Jessica ‘Berlin’ Rai, a soldier, documentarian and propaganda expert. The character is a unique addition to the Defiance world, bringing straightforwardness and blunt attitude to the way things are run in the city. Hopkins does a wonderful job presenting her on screen, layering the character with interesting traits and qualities as the season progresses. I do like the fact that not much is known about her, which opens the doors to great potential within the storyline. She may become more of an important character than meets the eye and I can’t wait to see what future episodes unveil.
Many more Canadians are set to play other supporting characters in season 2, and it will be great to see how they and their characters mold the story of Defiance.
Extending Defiance’s Borders
I think they read my mind. The one thing I made sure to mention in my season 1 look back was the simple fact that the production hasn’t limited itself to the title city, keeping the potential for other cities and worlds to be explored. Season 2 has done just that, showcasing the characters in different terrains and regions not before introduced by the production. It provides for an interesting layering of different sub-storylines that helps build individual characters. That in itself is a valuable experience for the viewer. If there is one criticism, more could have been done to showcase these cities, highlighting notable landmarks like they do for the Arch in Defiance. In addition, some locations are introduced so briefly, you are left wanting more. Hopefully that’s just for now, and we’ll see more of those cities as the season progresses.
Nothing Is Perfect
While Defiance has stepped up and accomplished much, especially bridging a videogame with a television production, it is not without its flaws. The one thing I hope changes – and it certainly looks like its changing since episode 3 – is the pace and intensity of each episode. The story is great, the characters are great, but not every episode leaves an impact. It doesn’t necessarily have to be dramatic or super exciting, but even calm and casual, like a cool conversation between key characters. This would make each episode more memorable, giving audiences nodes to reflect upon as the season continues.
Another criticism I have is the ease at which characters can be disposed. There were some really cool characters in season 1 that could have been major players in a larger storyline, but some were killed off so fast you were left genuinely scratching your head. As season 1 progressed, you were constantly crossing your fingers that a particular character wasn’t just “taken out”. That, I’m afraid, continues in season 2. I understand that the removal of certain characters is sometimes required for story development, which is fair. However, when a character is killed off and it has absolutely no effect on the outcome of that episode, it leaves you wondering if that characters potential was really even considered.
Season 2 of Defiance is still very much fresh on television, and it be great to see what happens in upcoming episodes. The production has alot of great elements, with a couple of great additions in the new season. I hope they continue to explore the potential of all characters, build upon a universe that has unlimited possibilities, and continue on a path to refine the greater story.
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Starts August 2017.