Dark Matter: Episode 10 (recap and review)

The Raza crew interact with their guests
Just when it seems there is a discernible pattern to Dark Matter, the show features a “game changer” that will shock and upset you. If you have not watched all of episode 10 stop reading now or the surprise that occurs before the end credits roll will be lost. After a show where Two kicks another mercenary team leader’s a** and breaks his wrist. (And badly bruises his left testicle a fact that The Android helpfully shares with the group.) Two apparently becomes a first season casualty.

Or has she?

Watch the episode carefully and listen to the beaten leader’s little speech while he gloats at defeating Two who is shut in the air lock. He actually reveals that one reason he and his group have double crossed the Raza crew is for the collective bounty. (He also tells Two that they get to keep the ship as well, “it’s what I like to call a win, win…win.”)

While this “eviction” may result in a character’s death, one that we have yet to learn everything about, it will, at the very least, be a talking point regardless of whether Two survives or not.

The episode itself started right where episode 9 left off;  the Raza surrounded by three Ferrous ships who have ordered the ship to stand down or be destroyed. They have 30 seconds to comply.  The Raza’s FTL drive is broken, due to missile damage and as the crew and The Android talk options the opposition launches a nuclear missile aimed at the Raza.

Two tells The Android to speed up and head toward the 20 megaton nuclear missile. The plan is to get close enough to the launching ship that they will be caught in the blast causing them to disarm the nuke. The plan works. Before it does, however, the men of the Raza are pretty alarmed.

After the missile is disarmed, three more ships drop out of FTL drive that are Mikke ships. Commander Truffault from the MCS Murakami boards the Raza and after talking trash about the mercenary’s reputations, something that prompts Four into offering to cut her tongue out, she asks the group to do a job for the corporation  stealing something from a research facility. Truffault refuses to tell Two what the item is and she turns the job down.

*Sidenote* Loved the nod and wink to the 2013 science fiction Tom Cruise film “Oblivion” and the character of Sally, “Are you an effective team?” (Played by Melissa Leo in the film.) While this may not have been intentional (although with Joseph Mallozzi there can be no coincidences)  when Truffault states, after essentially questioning the teams reputation, that she is just trying offer them an opportunity to prove they are still an effective team it certainly feels like a Melissa Leo (Sally) moment.

Truffault is an annoying character, as played by Torri Higginson the commander is a smarmy and condescending a**, “See, we’re finishing each other’s sentences already,” she coos while trying to convince the mercenaries to work for the Mikke corporation.

Most of the episodes of Dark Matter have peeled back the apparent personalities of each character to reveal fascinating backstories. As each reveal is made, the crew become more real and three dimensional. Whether the information shared is through a past experience or through some action that is part of the episode, each mercenary member becomes more visible.

In episode 10, Five reveals that her talents as techno-girl are deep. The segment also shows that the team have become attached to the teen. Surprisingly it is Three who sings Five’s praises, sounding quite proud of her accomplishments. Clearly, after initially distrusting the teenager, Five has become a convert. When Five volunteers to join the heist at the Traugott research facility, Six is upset while Three supports her move.

The men on the team have a meeting and decide to over through Two’s decision. Cue a comedy moment where One is picked on by Three and the rest about his relationship with Two. He objects that just because he and Two are an item, that they do not have to be “together on everything.” When One tells Two about their group decision she does not take it well. In fact she tells One that they may just have to rethink their “sleeping together.”

*Sidenote* During their conversation, Two reminds One about what happened the last time they took a “blind” assignment. “Remember what happened,” she says. One answers in the affirmative and he references the still bandaged “healed” wound on her neck. “How is that healing by the way,” One asks. Two, still lying about the now nonexistent injury, says its “getting better.” Question: Will this “ability” to heal so quickly somehow influence the outcome of Two’s being ejected from the Raza sans spacesuit?

The team meet up with Truffault and her second team of mercenaries. The second group are not “as nice” as the Raza team and it is obvious that there will be friction. Meanwhile, back at the Raza, the Android creates a simulation of herself to record and observe her behavior. Android’s simulation is more robotic than she is, and in keeping with her “flaws” Android has set up the simulation to report only to her. When the Android replica asks if Android will tell the crew if something is not right with her programming, the robot lies and says yes. Just as she lies to Five who asks if Android is talking to someone.

The two teams are briefed and Three is alarmed to learn that they will not have weapons. Wexler (Ennis Esmer) is to break into the vault holding the target of the theft. He foolishly agitates Two and she ends up putting him out of action and into the infirmary.

*Sidenote* As usual the choreography of Two and Wexler’s fight is spot on and looks convincing. We have no doubt that the female leader of the Raza can and does defeat big mouth Wexler. Later in the research facility when Three, One and Cain (Conrad Pla) fight the security android the fighting also looks realistic, as it can when fighting a robot.

Kudos are in order for the comic exchange between Three and Five. Three, who has his own bad memories of fighting another android, calls it a robot, “It’s an android,” Five corrects him. As the fighting commences, Three states that he “hates robots,” again. “Android,” Five shouts. “Whatever,” replies Three.

The three men fight the android until Five zaps it into submission. She then breaks into the vault, not using the battery, and Three is proud of her. Earlier in the show, Five was a bit upset at having to “hide” from the other mercenary crew. After Two puts Wexler out of commission she had to ask Five to step in for him. Cue a little gloating from the teenager who then excitedly accepts the invitation. Six, needless to say, is not pleased.

After the heist is over, the other team doublec-ross the Raza crew and Wexler locks up Two in the airlock. He zaps The Android on the Raza like Five did the security robot (sorry, Android) on the research facility. When the other team take the crew hostage, Cain uses Three’s gun and he is not happy.

Wexler threatens to shoot Two out of the ship unless the combination to the the ship’s storage vault is disclosed. He then reveals that if they do not give up the code, they will then “do the kid.” Wexler counts down and as the Raza crew all look increasingly desperate Three crumples and tells Wexler the combination just before One starts to mouth the code. “Maplethorpe,” Three says, “The code is Maplethorpe. With an e.”

The code works and Wexler opens the airlock anyway releasing Two into space.

This must be the most jaw dropping episode thus far. The sight of Two shooting out into the black void leaves the viewer speechless and horrified. While we may not know too much about her backstory, there is something about Two that inspires empathy. This woman can kick butt better than anyone on the Raza, with the possible exception of Four, yet when she killed in front of Five, she was horrified.

We can only hope that Two survives what appears to be certain death. This disparate group of outlaws who are all desperately trying to “do the right thing” has a tycoon who wants to catch his wife’s murderer but continues to blur the lines of who he really is and a kid who desperately wants a family, even if they are cutthroats and thieves. It also has an android who may be the most human of the lot.

Dark Matter is part of SyFy Friday and ranks as one of the best shows on television do not miss this show.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

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