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In the first episode of SyFy’s Defiance we were given a glimpse at the show’s approach to large scale sci-fi action. Last week’s episode gave us a terrorist plot/political landscape storyline. This week, SyFy offers us a murder mystery with some expansion on Irathient culture. Defiance is gearing up to be a truly versatile show that can easily blend other genres into its science fiction base with entertaining results. SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT!

The episode starts in a very classical horror way with a jogger making a trek through the forests of Defiance and suddenly being drug through the forest screaming by some unseen being. His body is soon found here and there with his *ahem* gender identifier found behind a tree. Another man, in a scene that blends the Food Network with BDSM with calamari as the safe word, is killed in a similarly gruesome fashion. An investigation of the scene reveals that someone is using Hellbug pheromones as a weapon. But to what end?

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The plot allows the show to develop the plot of Datak Tarr and his wife’s plot to work their way into ownership of the McCawley Mines when Rafe McCawley’s daughter Christine is attacked by a couple of the alien scarabs. It also allows for the show to expand on the Irathient race’s belief system and a religious practice that reminds us of some Native American traditions. It ends with an Irathient leader acclimating his people to peaceful existence within the town, though it seems they may have their own ulterior motives for doing this.

We are presented with yet another angle in this show and a display that SyFy put a lot of thought and work into building a three-dimensional world. Performances from the cast, especially Grant Bowler’s as he starts to feel alienated by Irisa toward the end of the episode and Stephanie Leonidas’ as Irisa struggles with being an Irathient raised as a human, are probably the best of any of SyFy’s orginal content. In the end, we remain quite happy with this show and strongly suggest it to anyone looking for a good original science fiction series. “The Devil in the Dark” is a great episode filled with character development and top-notch world building. 

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