A frozen astronaut wakes up in the future? Sounds like an episode of countless ‘80s scifi shows (or, in the case of Buck Rogers, the whole premise). But whether Defiance’s “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” is a delightful homage or hackneyed retread, HOLY SHIT DID THE DUDE THAT PLAYED THE ASTRONAUT BLOW.
I’m sorry, but the whole episode is centered around Gregory McClintock, Super Hero Astronaut and Commander of the International Space Station Who Died in Space in 2013. Everyone knows his name, the Defianciancians want his autograph, he has books written about him, a movie about him, etc. So even if he’s young, he should have a little gravitas or charisma about him. Instead, we get Channing Tatum’s Dumber Younger Brother.
It’s the gigantic, beefcake-y fly in what is otherwise a pretty solid episode. Nolan and Tommy go digging in the Arc that crashed last week (which as you'll recall Sukar managed to keep from hitting the town). They find McClintock in a boil-in-a-bag astronaut meal, rescue him, and take him to Defiance.
McClintock handles the news that it's 2046 and aliens now live on Earth pretty well, after a minor freak-out when Doc Yewell examines him and he seems to have flashbacks about being experimented on by Indogenes, even though he shouldn’t have known they exist. I’m sure this will not be a significant clue in figuring out what happened to McClintock, though. Nolan decides to take him to what would be the most traditionally human place on Earth — Rafe McCawley’s house. It’s a solid idea, and a good time, if you don’t mind all the gushing over McClintock. Nolan, Amanda, Rafe and McClintock get really, really drunk and reminiscence about the Earth of old. And then, in the middle of the night, McClintock tries to strangle Amanda.
Rafe and Nolan stop him just in time, but McClintock has no idea what he was doing or why. Nolan has Irisa throw him in jail, where McClintock has yet another freak-out, throws himself against the prison wall, and starts bleeding silver, like an Indogene. Nolan storms immediately into Doc Yewell’s office, knowing that when she scanned him earlier, she should definitely know he's not actually human — and Doc confesses. The Votan did steal a few humans for study before formally arriving, and the Indogene in particular tried to make a few living weapons — creating Indogene that looked like humans, had the memories of humans, but were sleeper agents to kill people in positions of power of Earth (Mayor Amanda being as good as he could get, apparently). Nolan wants to know why she didn’t admit this in the beginning, but she has a pretty good reason — human and Votan relations are in the crapper, and if the Earth Republic hears that the Votan abducted humans before the war, it would be just the reason the E-Rep needs to declare new hostilities.
This is especially a problem because Amanda’s ex-beau and current E-Rep representative (E-Rep-rep?) Connor Lang is back in town, trying to woo her away for an E-Rep job. Although clearing working for the “evil empire,” as Amanda puts it, Connor is not nearly as much of a slime this time. It’s clear he still cares for Amanda, and apparently it was her trust issues that tore them apart — and perhaps even cost them a family? (At least Amanda doesn’t deny it after he says it).
On the other hand, when he hears about McClintock and what happened to him, he demands to take the astronaut/hero/weapon back as proof of the Votan’s evil-doing. Alas, while Doc Yewell is explaining to McClintock he’s not actually human but an Indogene bio-weapon with the memories of McClintock, he freaks out (not in a sleeper agent kind of way, just in a really-upset-I’m-an-alien-weapon kind of way) and escapse. Shortly, Rafe McCawley hears an alarm indicating someone has broken into one of his mines.
McClintock has decided to end it all, but not before Rafe gives the young man a little heart-to-heart, mostly about if he feels like McClintock, and has all the memories of McClintock, then he might as well be McClintock (he’s kind of glossing over that whole “I will kill people in positions of power who are in close proximity to me” thing). As McClintock pines over his now 30+ years older wife, living in Alabama, Rafe also says that if they love each other, it’ll be okay, no matter what’s happened or how old they are. Alas, McClintock’s decides to toss himself down a mineshaft anyways. With only Rafe as the sole witness. It only takes Nolan twice as long as the audience to realize the truth, and he and Rafe drink a toast to the “deceased” astronaut as Elvis Costello plays and McClintock finds his wife doing what appears to be a Little House on the Prairie LARP.
But that’s not quite the end. Nolan heads to the infirmary to interrogate Doc Yewell some more — he recognizes she knows way too much to not have actually been part of the experiments — but before he gets anywhere, a young girl from California bursts in and immediately collapses. Diagnosis: PLAGUE.
• Hearing that Robert Pattinson played McClintock in the movie of his life — and Mayor Amanda, as the only human girl in the room, is the only one who remembers whether Pattinson played the werewolf or the vampire in Twilight — is a fun touch.
• Meanwhile, Datak has turned cartoonishly cruel again — when he stops by the NeedWant for a session with Kenya and discovers that Kenya has pawned off a replacement, he hurts her to show his displeasure. In case you were getting too fond of Datak, it’s a nice reminder that he is pretty damn shitty to anyone he thinks beneath his station who has wronged him. Since he clawed his way up from the bottom, it’s understandable. Still evil, but somewhat understandable.
• Why has Kenya stopped fucking Datak? Because she thinks it hurts Stahma’s pride when Datak sleeps with another woman. Stahma — who is still meeting Kenya for free sex — points out this is a terrible idea, because it only makes Datak mad and suspicious. Besides, Datak is one of the most powerful people in town, and certainly the one with the least scruples. Refusing to take his sex business is moronic, and I feel like Kenya is smarter than that — or is supposed to be.
• Also: Are we supposed to read anything in that Kenya completely jumped ship from Nolan to Stahma? Is she afraid of her feelings for Nolan and thus ran into the arms of another? Is she truly done with Nolan and is Stahma a truer love? Is Kenya just a woman in love with love who consistently gets into these serious relationships with people she should be charging for sex? Or do the writers have no idea what to do with the character and just keep tossing her around to see what works? I admit I’m pretty sure it’s the latter.
• Seriously, I am not a professional sex worker, but it seems to me Kenya lets her personal feelings affect her business decisions waaaaaay too much.
• Last one: Kenya really takes the “pro” out of “prostitute.”
• Doc Yewell seems genuinely surprised/annoyed that McClintock’s programming would somehow include mayors.
• Also meanwhile, Irisa still pretty much hates Nolan for killing Sukar last episode, albeit not enough to leave Defiance for some reason.
• At one point, McClintock bemoans something like “Could she [my wife] love me… like this?!” Oh, you mean like a young, super-fit male stripper? Yeah, I bet your 58-year-old wife could somehow handle that.
• Can you announce a plague when only person has it? I don’t think you can. Can you?