Defiance, S2 Ep09 – Painted From Memory

If you’re a huge Kenya Rosewater fan and were beyond happy to see her return in last week’s episode of Defiance, I hope you were prepared for a huge shocker before watching this week’s episode, “Painted from Memory”. The episode, as most would assume, begins with Nolan questioning Kenya about her recent kidnapping experience. His attempt is all for naught, since Kenya seems to have amnesia and only remembers certain Defiance-related memories and details on her masked captors. Nothing on where she was prior to getting kidnapped and where she was after she was poisoned by Stahma. She can’t even remember Stahma killed her.

Defiance - Season 2

Yewll knows something.

So, right off the bat we are delivered a lofty mystery. Stahma is convinced she killed Kenya and has every reason to, since she did bury her dead body in the forest, but she has to be sure and decides to check Kenya’s grave. While Stahma and Datak dig up the Lavender-overtaken field where Kenya was buried, Kenya herself continues to try to refresh her memory. Although Kenya’s memory is shot, Amanda is of course ecstatic to have her sister back.

Then two weird developments occur in relation to Kenya’s apparent revival. Through some dialogue between Yewll and Pottinger, we discover that they did something to Kenya and they can’t have Amanda learning about it. The second development occurs when Stahma and Datak find that Kenya’s corpse still lays in her grave where Stahma left it. So, who’s the Kenya in Defiance? A clone? That’s what I thought, but the truth may be even more outlandish.

It turns out Kenya actually isn’t the real Kenya or a clone, but an Indogene (Yewll’s race) made to look like Kenya (with science). Through EGO technology, she contains all of the memories Amanda would know. Pottinger and Yewll were behind it the whole time, though Pottinger’s reason for hiring Yewll on this project seems unclear. It seems he just wanted to learn of Kenya’s and Amanda’s memories to get closer to Amanda. The episode concludes with Amanda and Nolan learning Kenya isn’t Kenya, Pottinger getting away free with no one knowing his secret but Yewll and Kenya, fake Kenya leaving a distraught and confused Amanda in Defiance to go live out the remainder of her short life in San Francisco, and Yewll seemingly going into hiding.

The clone theory would have sufficed, but would have also felt very obvious. How many times has a science fiction series done the old clone switcheroo? The twist that fake Kenya was actually an Indogene is much more surprising and compelling. I felt sad for her since she now knows she’s not who she thought she was, and she only has months to live. I also found it amusing that Stahma spent so much time and energy wondering about the new Kenya in town, digging graves, and even telling Amanda, after discovering the body, that she heard the new Kenya is not actually her sister. She could have said and done nothing, and would have been fine since fake Kenya didn’t know the real Kenya was poisoned. This little tidbit of information practically ruins Stahma and Amanda’s friendship, and might actually end up incriminating Stahma if Nolan decides to ask her how she knew. She should’ve listened to Datak when he said to let the dead rest. Jaime Murray, who plays Stahma, also does a great job at dealing with all the emotions her character faces during this whole situation. Her portrayal of Stahma continues to be one of my favorite aspects of the series.

Defiance - Season 2

Stahma tells Amanda what she can

I thoroughly enjoyed this entire twist of an episode, but kind of wish they saved the big revelation for a later time. This would give us some time to get used to the new Kenya and make us feel that Kenya truly was back on the show, making it that much more heartbreaking when we find out the truth. All that being said, there’s no reason she can’t return. Maybe Yewll will be able to help her and she won’t end up dying in a couple of months, but I don’t expect that to happen. Kenya’s gone and even Amanda and her friends at the NeedWant decide to move on and hold a memorial service in her honor.

Overall, “Painted From Memory” was another decent addition to Defiance‘s superior second season. Also, I never talk much about the music in Defiance, which is usually chosen very well, but this episode featured a nice, partly Castithan rendition of “What’s Going On” by 4 Non Blondes, a 90s classic. An instrumental rendition of the song even made its way into the score of the episode at one point. Some other notable occurrences in “Painted from Memory” are when Tommy punches Nolan for practically bragging about his new sexual relationship with Berlin, a very brief scene of Irisa beginning to lead a “pilgrimage” (more on that in the next episode, hopefully), and the big reveal at the very end. Rafe McCauley’s son is the man who kidnapped fake Kenya. What?

Next week’s episode will be titled “Bottom of the World”. Check out an official sneak peek from Syfy below and feel free to let us know what you thought about “Painted from Memory” in the comments.

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