YMMV / Defiance

TV Series

  • Anticlimax Boss: General Rahm Tak is built up as the most threatening antagonist ever faced on the show, but he never gets his big confrontation with the protagonists, instead dying of instant vaporization to a Deus ex Machina. The only time he's even in the same location as the main characters is when Irisa and Nolan trash his base camp in the third episode. The intense, personal confrontation that seems to be built up is instead given to Lieutenant Bebe.
    • The trend is repeated with Kindzi, who is built up to be faster and stronger than any human and almost completely resistant to injury. She ultimately shows up near the end of the season finale, fights Nolan on even ground for half a minute, and briefly overpowers him only to get stabbed in the head after dropping her guard and thrown into a spinning engine blade.
  • Applicability: The backstory bears a resemblance to the European refugee crisis of 2015: an international coalition (Earth/the European nations) finds itself having to deal with large numbers of desperate people (the Votan/refugees and migrants).
  • Complete Monster:
    • General Rahm Tak, also called "The Beast", is the main villain for the first part of season 3, and a sadistic military commander formerly in service to the Votanis Collective. Despite a fondness for their culture, Rahm despises humans, seeing Earth as rightfully belonging to the Votans. After going rogue, Rahm sets out to destroy Defiance and slaughter its human population as part of a genocidal crusade to create a purely Votan world, slaughtering humans at will as he goes. Taking pride in his work, Rahm keeps severed human heads on display in his camp. Along the way, Rahm executes Quentin McCawley, has his father, Rafe, gunned down when he attacks Rahm, and forces Stahma to slash Christie's throat by holding Datak at gunpoint. Rahm later forces the Tarrs to act as his spies in Defiance, forcing their compliance by holding their son Alak hostage, then has Datak beaten in front of his family. After suffering a defeat at Nolan's hands, Rahm forces Datak and Stahma to destroy the St. Louis Arch out of spite. During Alak's captivity, Rahm forces him to dismember human corpses, while taunting him about his dead human wife (the aforementioned Christie). When Rahm's wife offers him clemency on behalf of the VC, Rahm murders her, desecrates her corpse, and sends her head back to his former superiors. After his men take hostages in the NeedWant, Rahm tries to force Amanda to surrender Defiance, ordering that the hostages be killed when she refuses. Rahm's men go on to slaughter random human families as a terrorist tactic, while Rahm's lieutenant, Bebe, infiltrates Defiance's militia, ultimately killing nearly all of them and leaving Defiance nearly defenseless.
    • Eksu Tsuroz Kindzi, the Big Bad for season 3 once Rahm Tak is dealt with, is a particularly Ax-Crazy and sadistic Omec. Starting out as a subordinate to her father, T'evgin, Kindzi considers the Omec to be superior to all other races, whom she views as little more than animals for the Omec to enslave and devour at will. When she and her father discover an unconscious Nolan and Irisa, Kindzi tries to eat Nolan before T'evgin orders her to stop. After being poked with a stick by a curious child, Kindzi responds by stabbing the stick through his eye, killing him. When T'evgin takes in a wounded Stahma, Kindzi terrorizes and even tries to kill Stahma, going so far as to reveal the Omec's plans in the hope of forcing T'evgin to kill her. When T'evgin begins seeking peaceful co-existence with Earth, Kindzi is disgusted. She goes on to create clones of Doc Yewll to hunt down and slaughter, moving on to citizens of Defiance when this becomes boring. When the real Yewll confronts her, Kindzi uses Omec technology to enslave Yewll and force her to act as Kindzi's Dragon. Kindzi also mutinies against T'evgin, planning to conquer Earth and use its population as slaves and food for the Omec. When T'evgin escapes and subdues Kindzi, she feigns surrender, then murders T'evgin while his guard is down. Forcing Yewll to imprison innocent people, Kindzi leads her followers in gruesomely devouring them. She later tries to eat Stahma's baby grandson right in front of her, solely to spite Stahma and her family. When one of Kindzi's lieutenants questions her, she kills him and forces other Omec to eat his corpse (a taboo in Omec culture; they see the predation of races they consider 'lesser' no different than we see eating the meat of cows, but other Omec? That's cannibalism and viewed no differently than humans view eating other humans), disgusting them. Confronting Nolan for the final time, Kindzi derides her dead father as "weak" before brutally beating Nolan and trying to eat him. And once when she had him captive, she outright raped him, and talked about keeping him as a pet.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Stahma Tarr and Kindzi.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In the first episodes of season 3, a book about Irisa's exploits is treated as a joke, between the Contemptible Cover and cheesy writing. In "The Beauty of Our Weapons," the Defiance militia nearly crumbles because they expect her to be a badass killing machine because of the book, and she doesn't want to be that, and can't because of PTSD from what she did that got immortalized in the book.
  • Growing the Beard: The general consensus is that the part of season 1 garnered a lot of negative responses (possibly a form of Hype Backlash), but from about the 9th episode, the show seemed to be finding its voice and getting better reviews.
    • Season 3 is getting even more positive reception than the previous two, thanks to a strong new antagonist, tighter episode plotting, and a high quantity of Wham Episodes.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Every single scene with Pottinger in Season 2 becomes this after Season 3's "Dead Air". That masked E-Rep soldier who raped Amanda in New York? She was working alongside him, sleeping with him, and confiding her darkest secrets in him for the better part of an entire season.
    • Deidre's friendship with Christie becomes harsher when you find out that Deidre is a Yandere who's obsessed with Alak, and all of her advice to Christie is intended to backfire and drive Christie and Alak further apart. And then she tries to ply Christie with poisoned food so that she'll suffer a miscarriage...
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: A former soldier with a past he's ashamed of, trying (as of the end of season 1) to save his superhumanly gifted daughter from being abused and exploited by unscrupulous forces sent from a place called Columbianote ... will they eventually come to a lighthouse?
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: The last five minutes of "My Name Is Datak Tarr and I Have Come to Kill You." DANG.
  • Les Yay:
    • Between Stahma and Christie, which is especially played up in "In My Secret Life", where Christie joins Stahma and Alak in the family bath.
    • Canonically between Stahma and Kenya.
    • Berlin and Irisa have some chemistry, even if they hate each other. Berlin gets right up in Irisa's face (like... inches away) and gives her a pat-down. She later ends up pinning her against a car.
      Berlin: Irisa's a real pretty name. It'll look good on the arrest report.
    • Christie and Deidre, the girl Alak hires to handle the record-playing on the Arch. Of course, it later turns out that Deidre wants to kill Christie so that she can have Alak all to herself...
  • Magnificent Bastard: A few.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • In-universe, Nicolette killing Hunter Bell was this for Yewll, who broke ties with her after that. Sending the Volge and trying to irradiate the town certainly weren't nice either, but the last straw, for Yewll, was killing Jarred the bartender to cover up the former. Yewll killed her to stop her from doing anything worse.
    • Datak's slaughter of the Spirit Riders was pretty bad, but he hits it in-universe when he scars Alak's hand for betraying him. Stahma had him beaten to a pulp and took over his business outright for that.
    • Pottinger may be slimey and ethically-lacking, but he really tops himself in "Painted From Memory". He paroled Yewll for the purpose of using her skills making Indogene spies that look human to create a convincing copy of Kenya, whom he would then "find" and present to a grateful Amanda. Since the process severely reduced the copy's lifespan, "Kenya" would then die and he could woo Amanda while she was vulnerable. Even Yewll found the idea sick, though she wasn't in much of a position to object. The worst part is that it worked out for him in the end, even though it didn't go exactly as planned. And then in "Dead Air", he's revealed as Amanda's rapist.
    • Scraping off Doc Yewll's skin to save an Omec in the name of the greater good of restarting gulanite production qualifies, since it means Nolan and Amanda have pretty well broken any trust she has for them. In addition, this could backfire badly as her medical skills were instrumental in helping commit atrocities during the Pale Wars, which the VC are all but openly aiming to reignite. Suppose she sides with them as a result?
    • Even for an Omec, Kindzi crosses it when she murders her father. In the eyes of the other Omec, forcing them to cannibalize another Omec is the final straw.
  • The Scrappy:
    • As of season two, Tommy earns a place on the scrappy heap after becoming an E-Rep collaborator.
    • Nolan gets some hate during the second season as well. His jerkass nature has been amplified by his search for Irisa, and finding her again hasn't really helped.
    • Minor character Gail the miner is rather easy to hate, due to being a violent and volatile racist and an all-around Jerk Ass with no redeeming characteristics.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • Unusually for a show like this, with consistently good and creative special effects, the Castithan makeup can be spotty at times. Sometimes you can see where the pale makeup ends and the actors' actual skin color begins (usually around the neck).
    • Season 1 implemented CGI in some bizarre ways, such as Ben Darris fleeing in an obviously CG version of his Impala, which is wrecked in CG.
    • Season 3 has the destruction of the St. Louis Arch, which features some of the most obvious CG in the series. Made more bizarre for the fact that it's such a powerful moment otherwise, and that it happens in the same episode as the below-mentioned Visual Effects of Awesome at Camp Arrowhead.
    • In the final episode, most of the scenes aboard the Omec ship are obviously cheap green screen, and Kindzi's demise just looks off.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The shows effects are movie quality, and that's a huge compliment for a television series. If nothing else, because a game is being made along side it, there's likely some cross-contamination of digital assets. On the other hand, some assets are show specific - the entirety of the mines in "Down where the Dead Men Go" save for the entrance itself, interior and exterior, were CG as seen here.
    • The Season 2 finale has the destruction and terraforming of New York City by the Kaziri's terraformers.
    • Season 3 has the destruction of Camp Arrowhead.
    • "My Name Is Datak Tarr And I Have Come To Kill You" packs two in quick succession: Datak lopping his arm off in a horrifically realistic close-up and the stasis nets exploding and vaporizing Rahm Tak's camp.
    • The Season 3 finale gives us a whopper: the Omec ship taking off with Nolan at its helm, followed by a surreal final scene following its trail through the universe. Some of the most impressive special effects work in the series, saved right for the end.

Video Game

  • Goddamned Bats: Hellbugs. Their existence is one of the game's most annoying cons. It's bad enough that they tend to pop up when fighting other enemies, but each of the different enemy types is powerful yet boring to kill: the swarmers are brittle but small and fast, the armored bugs can take a LOT of damage and explode when you finally hit their weak points (oral, boobs, and butts, and these are sometimes armored), and the archers are surprisingly weak but also surprisingly annoying with their emp / tar spitters.
  • The Problem With Licensed Video Games: The game's launch was rife with bugs, server issues, and lack of content, getting mediocre reviews from critics as a result. Updates have alleviated the issue to some extent.