My current must-see programme is Defiance (Syfy, currently half way through season 2). It’s proper sci fi, with a wild west kind of atmosphere (there’s even a sheriff). It takes place on a future Earth that’s being shared by humans and a variety of alien species, all of whom are brilliantly imagined and portrayed. It’s also got more than its share of kick ass women, from the witty, super-intelligent Doc Yewll to the feral, mysterious Irisa. But the most kick ass of all is Stahma Tarr (Jaime Murray).
She’s ethereally beautiful, with her long white hair, pale eyes and tall, graceful figure. Her manner is serene and courteous and she’s the mistress of the correct ways to behave befitting a Castithan woman. In company, she’ll lower her eyes deferentially, smile and say something soothing and calming.
And if you cross her, you’ll most probably be dead by sunset.
Stahma kicks some serious ass. Not in a brute force, kung fu kind of way. Her power comes from cool intelligence and ruthlessness.
This week, following a quick basic lesson in Earth-style feminism from Amanda Rosewater, Stahma dropped in on a little meeting of Castithan lady embroiderers. She very delicately floated the idea that perhaps they shouldn’t be content with their accepted role as subservient to the men. If they’d agreed with her and started discussing plans to overthrow the patriarchy, who knows what might have happened? But they didn’t, so Stahma helped them all to a cup of her special tea. The next time we saw them they were all dead. They were just part of a bigger plan to get at a priest who’d threatened Stahma because she’d usurped her husband as head of the family’s businesses. The lady embroiderers were simply a means to an end.
Stahma may be a sister, but she’s definitely doing it for herself.