A Well Respected Man is the fourth episode of Defiance (5 if you count the pilot as 2). So far the show has been mediocre at best and tedious as worst. Luckily this weeks episode turns that around. It is quick, brisk and has a lot of character development. It also manages to portray some events from the pilot, such as Luke’s death, as a bit more mysterious than what it might have been at first glance. I like this episode, I hope you will too. If Defiance can live up to this weeks quality than I say we have one damn good show to watch for the foreseeable future.
As for the story of ‘A Well Respected Man’…
Nolan intercepts a shipment of weapons being transferred by two of Datak Tarr’s men; unknown to both Nolan and Amanda, the town council had made a deal with Datak to arrange for weapons to be delivered to the town after the loss of the shield generator. Nolan’s relationship with Amanda’s sister Kenya develops, somewhat to Amanda’s displeasure. Kenya and one of her girls are kidnapped by Ulysses, the bioman employed by Datak as a prizefighter; he is kidnapping street people and taking them to a human lab technician, Miko (guest star Robin Dunne), who is harvesting their adrenalin to use as an illegal drug. Nolan and Amanda clash with Datak to get her back, but he refuses to help; Stahma Tarr suggests to Amanda that she show respect to Datak by making him a member of the town council. With grudging help from Datak, Nolan locates the lab; meanwhile Kenya has realizes that her wanderings in a maze, pursued by a Volge, are a virtual reality, escapes and kills Miko. Nolan, Irisa and Amanda arrive in time to save Kenya from the Ulysses. Rafe and Quentin descend into the sealed shaft where Luke had found the strange object, and discover a set of disturbing cave paintings featuring the object. Datak takes his seat on the council and Nolan realizes that Stahma is the more dangerous of the two.
‘A Well Respected Man’ is an excellent episode of Defiance that furthers the story for pretty much all of the main characters. For Datak (Tony Curran), McCawley (Graham Greene) and Amanda (Julie Benz) this is certainly true. Not only do we learn more about them they now also have a likeable edge to them. However, the focus on multiple characters also means that the episode makes some big jumps.
After Datak’s nocturnal tirade against Nolan and Amanda he is suddenly his calm self again the next day. By the end of the episode Datak becomes one of council members for Defiance which is quite a leap from the start of the episode. McCawley meanwhile transforms from a xenophobic man with a big mouth into a father figure with a can-do attitude. As for Amanda and her sister Kenya (Mia Kirshner). Their past problems with their mother during the war may be gripping, but it does seem that the audience gets a lot less out of it because we don’t really know them well enough. It is a story you would expect to see just before the finale of a season and not so early on.
As for sheriff Nolan (Grant Bowler), he is being his normal likable self. He seems to be able to carry the show even if he is not center stage. It was a shame that his daughter Irisa did not make an appearance in the episode.
As for the alien races collectively knows as the Votan, we don’t really know enough about them yet and when actors refer to them I do have problems with visualizing them. Something in the viewer experience is lost because of this.
One major visual problem with the episode is that it was clear that Tony Curran (Datak Tarr) wasn’t wearing his white make-up below the neck line. Jaime Murray on the other hand seems to have taken up body painting ever since the shows pilot. Her character Stahma has so far remained my favorite on the show. The shear level of depth the character that she portrays will take numerous seasons to fully unravel.
Score; 8 / 10. Excellent episode though some characters are spread a little thin.