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Defying Gravity – And now whatever way the story ends

Defying Gravity Cast Photo

Well, we’ve come a long way in thirteen episodes, haven’t we? Defying Gravity started off strong in my eyes, but for most it took some time before it finally hit its stride. Ironically, the episodes that remain unaired by ABC have probably been the strongest. Viewers who have tracked them down all seem to stand by the idea that the series certainly left too much potential on the table to have been cancelled (sure, I know the ratings were rough — I’m not disputing that).

Once again, before you dare “clique” through to the rest of the article, know that MAJOR SPOILERS lie ahead.

There really wasn’t a whole lot of doubt that Zoe would make it to the Gamma object without much problem, but making it back was always going to be the trouble. She ends up making a fairly big sacrifice in order to bring the object back. Sure, it’s a leap of faith that she’s really not making on her own. Being “tricked” really isn’t the right terminology either, but instead of Gamma standing up and saying, “Yo, can I get a ride?” it motivated Zoe in other ways. When she finally got back to the ship, she was in a world of hurt. I think, though, she’ll benefit from some healthy living with Beta and Gamma onboard, and heal rather quickly.

As far as past Zoe goes, I just don’t get the whole pushing Donner away thing. Sure, intrinsically I understand that Zoe needed to be her own person, but doesn’t she know that Arnel is going to lose his leg soon and they’ll need a replacement ASCAN? (That is obviously an assumption on my end, but a logical one I think.) Their whole relationship feels like a devolution back to middle school, when the only response is “Boyz & Girlz R Stupid.”

The crew on Antares had different reactions to Zoe’s adventure. Jen delivered an impassioned speech to Zoe about coming back, but it came across rather weak, and more about her abandonment issues than anything else — though did she eventually see the object when Zoe was holding it? She obviously couldn’t see it at the end. She did eventually fill in the blanks once Zoe let the “our baby” slip. Nadia just sort of flipped out about Donner not leaving on time. Paula’s reaction was, in my opinion, the most true, as she had to put the front on for the cameras.

There were a couple interesting beats about probes that Zoe walked by. One from the Chinese in ’43, and others later from America. Were all three sent to this location on purpose — indicating that others on the planet are aware of, at least, the Gamma object — or were they pulled there? Plus, what was the bit between Arnel and Rollie about them being launched from (an apparently under water) Cape Canaveral? Real or not, cover up or true story, I was a bit confused by all of this.

This episode infused a lot more religion into the show than we’d seen before. The story of Job is a great source to juxtapose their current situation against. The next logical question in that chain, though, is what are the objects testing the crew, and thus humanity in general for? If you ask me, they’re really going out of their way. They should have just called Q from Star Trek.…

There was some resolution to Paula’s vision. She blocked out some kind of sexual assault as a child by her father (or some other father like figure; it wasn’t very clear). In the grand scheme of things, I think it was an unnecessary bit of color to the character that I don’t yet understand. Maybe more time in future seasons would have had that make more sense.

In general, it was a pretty damn good episode. I don’t think it stacked up well as a finale (series or season), as I think early on we expected Zoe and Gamma to make it back to Antares (relatively) safe and sound, but much of the drama of the hour was based on that question. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: It’s a damn shame that this show wasn’t put in a position to succeed, nor was it strong enough early on to bring in the viewers to overcome its position. We as an audience are surely missing out on what was to come.

How do I know that? Because Keith McDuffie has got an exclusive interview with Defying Gravity creator James Parriott running later this week. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it.

Other stuff:

  • I do wonder how good the SFX are, as the quality of what was available doesn’t show them off too well
  • “Gamma baby” was a little creepy, Aly McBeal style, if you know what I mean.… Just waited for him to start to dance to “I Can’t Stop This Feeling”
  • “Actually, I’m here right now, so that makes me mid-Eagle, too.”
  • Why was Donner required to get the vasectomy before the mission that he did voluntarily after Mars?
  • So, other than the baby crying, did the end-game on Venus relate back to the visions that Donner and Zoe were having in the beginning?
  • Did Zoe’s burns slowly begin to occur during the end of her walk, or did they just kinda show up later?
  • In an hour of pretty damn good television, the moment where Ajay flips out and goes off on Arnel was easily my favorite
  • I wonder if Donner’s stumble when reentering the ship was scripted, or just a nice bit of serendipity
  • Donner’s need to get a tattoo didn’t work for me, but “a bucket” on the foot was a little bad ass
  • Rollie owning up to the accident wasn’t much of a surprise, especially with all of the “stand up guy” from Jen in the flashbacks
  • Arnel, on the other hand, solidified his doucheyness by tipping off Trevor to the “black boulder”
  • I don’t know if anyone noticed (OK, I know one or two did, Jenn), but I had tried a little post naming convention. In the beginning, all of my posts’ names were lyrics from the roadway musical Wicked, which featured a song titled Defying Gravity. For this final post, I went back to the well, just as a little shout-out for those that had been playing along at home.
Photo Credit: ABC

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Categories: | Episode Reviews | General | TV Shows |

11 Responses to “Defying Gravity – And now whatever way the story ends”

October 28, 2009 at 1:11 PM

it was a great show, i will miss it.

October 28, 2009 at 1:47 PM

I just can’t say enough about how the ending clobbered me emotionally. There was no way he would leave her (he loves her, and now he understands and feels her pain over the abortion) There was no way she was going to leave their “baby”. Their feelings for each other just jump off the screen beautifully.

Paula’s agony was palpable, but she had a job to do.

Arnel, what a bitter ascan he turned out to be.

The Job references were clever.

I’m looking forward to Keith’s interview with Parriott!

October 28, 2009 at 1:53 PM

Re: Job… The conversation originally made sense, but Evram mention it to Claire really surprised me.

October 28, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Surprised in what way?

October 28, 2009 at 2:39 PM

I don’t remember Ev being a particularly religious man.

They’d pretty much contained the integration and examination of religion as a part of this world to discussions between Wass and Paula, and it was surprising to see it come from a different character.

October 28, 2009 at 2:56 PM

Maybe it’s like the phrase – There are no atheists in a foxhole?

Evram is ex-military (vast majority are people of faith), and judging from his back he might have some reason to personally understand Job’s trials.

October 28, 2009 at 4:12 PM

with regards to the probe ruins on Venus … obviously the US had sent probes to look for Gamma in the past … If Florida is underwater it would make sense that people would be surprised if something was still launched from there. If the probes were looking for Gamma … then their being a secret makes sense … and launching them from somewhere inaccessible to the public makes even more sense.

as for the vasectomy … Donner got it because of the loss of whatshername on mars… as he didn’t want to do the family thing and lose someone else. As for the requirement on the Antares mission … I don’t think that they want any unintended pregnancies on a 6-7 year mission. No sperm … no babies.

As for Zoe’s burns …they were the result of shutting down the suit’s cooling system to give her more time … combined with the leak in her suit that probably let in some sulfuric acid (atmosphere of Venus) … I think the surface of Venus is something like 900 degrees F … so you can understand why she got burned when spending 30-40 minutes in a suit designed to fail after 20.

As for Jen … I wasn’t sure whether or not she could see the gamma object or just it’s light (like Beta) …

From your last paragraph it sounds like this show is going the way of Firefly and other poorly treated (by the networks) series.

Just imagine if SyFy had picked this up ala BSG … or any of the 93 stargate series.

October 28, 2009 at 7:59 PM

I believe Jen could only see the object as long as it was through the camera on zoe’s suit, once it’s on her direct eyesight she still can’t see it.

I thought this was a superb ending to the story arc for Venus, leaving still a lot of things open for thought and just enough unresolved storylines. It’s really sad they decided to cancel this amazing series.

October 29, 2009 at 12:37 PM

I can not wait for your exclusive interview with Defying Gravity creator James Parriott. There is so much I want to know about where the show was heading, etc.
Once again, a show I love is taken from me…
DRAT!!!!!

October 29, 2009 at 10:25 PM

Thank you for writing this!!! I also would’ve enjoyed seeing this show on the Syfy network!! Tsk’tsk ABC!!! I can’t believe if there’s not hi-definition action on the show Americans won’t watch the show…then again ABC has more viewers watching their channel than Syfy… I think!

I agree, this Great show has been poorly treat and overlooked just like Firefly. I too look forward to reading this interview with Keith McDuffie and John Parriot! I hope he’s planning to make this story into a book I can purchase and read! DG really captivated me!!

-Henry

November 15, 2009 at 10:10 PM

i too loved this show. i really hope James Parriott can get it back on tv, or as a miniseries or movie. i know i would be in line to buy that. this show was like no other i have ever seen. LOVE IT.