Dark Matter: Episode 1.11 Review [UPDATE 2.0]

Two in Dark Matter

[UPDATE 2.0] Thanks to the sharp eye of @RobertMWalker2 the names/numbers have now been sorted and put in the right place/order. Apologies for any confusion that this inadvertent mixing of Three and Five may have caused.

Episode 11 of Dark Matter continues to peel back those layers. Two survived her spacewalk without a suit and Five showed that when the chips are down she can pull a mean trigger…repeatedly. Three really does have a gooey center and One wants to belong to the Raza crew even more than Five. Six, it turns out, is the grown up of the group.

Last week saw Two shot out into space by Wexler (A man who makes the average villain look like Mary Poppins.) and the rest of the crew put into the sealed vault. This week belonged to One as he gets targeted by Wexler. He also motivates the rest of the male mercenaries. Afterward Six congratulates One on his speech although he does say it was mostly the hypoxia talking.

The biggest reveal of the show was that Two, aka Portia Lin, is a “manufactured” human. The Android suspected something was up. “I had my suspicions,” says Android. “Wy didn’t you say anything?” Two asks. “You didn’t ask,” replied the robot. A splendid comic moment against the backdrop of Portia discovering that she is not a real little girl at all. She then asks the Android, “You mean I’m like you?”

“Not at all,” Android responds.

Turns out that Two has all the necessary parts to classify her as being human, “heart, lungs, kidneys, fluids” but, as Android points out, Portia was engineered. All her organs were “made to measure.” Her body is also patrolled by nanites that repair her body and this is what allowed her to survive sans suit outside the Raza and the same thing that healed the “Pandorum” type bite in the earlier episode.

It has to be said that all this feels very Mass Effect 2 (Think Miranda Lawson here.) although it needs to be pointed out that Miranda was genetically engineered to be perfect and did not have nanites performing reparation duties on her injured body.

*Sidenote* It is precisely these touches that makes “Dark Matter” so “in the groove” with nods and winks to other works in the genre.

Shockingly, Five shoots and kills Cain, one of Wexler’s evil minions. This marks what could be seen as her loss of innocence. Although, as has been previously pointed out via these recaps/reviews, we still have much to learn about the youngest crew member of the Raza. That she was a space age Artful Dodger was revealed in the memory episode but apart from that we have no real idea what makes this girl run.

Five has already proven that her expertise lies in electronics, computers and puzzles. She is also, as One points out, one brave kid. She saves Two’s life by killing Cain just as he is about to shoot her. Although, whether he could have killed her is debatable. Regardless of the Android’s theory of how Two survived her sojourn in space the fact is she should have died from lack of oxygen if nothing else.

Harking back to the littlest crew member we also know that she is desperate to be friends with all the Raza mercenaries, even, to a degree, Three who initially wanted to pop her into the airlock and out into space. She has a special closeness to Six and while she was very uneasy around Two/Portia Lin, for quite some time, Five has a tight bond with the engineered commander of the ship.

Despite knowing that Two is engineered and not a real girl at all, we need to learn who her “Gepetto” was. Who flouted the laws and braved having his/her creation destroyed (if found out) to “make” a woman. One who can not only repair any personal damage and kick major butt, but is also one fine looking specimen as well.

Show creator Joseph Mallozzi has promised that each episode would reveal a bit more about each character and he has delivered. Pacing is such that we have almost reached the end of the first season (and please network Deities bring this one back) and each show has had some splendid reveals.

Thus far we have learned everyone’s real names, except for the pistol shooting, knife packing, Five. There are now two episodes left. The penultimate, which is historically used to set up the season finale and the end show, aka the finale. Plenty of time to learn more about the now deadly Five and to find out more about the brilliantly quirky, and lovable, Android.

While this is more a review than a recap, the clue is in the title, perhaps a quick recap is in order:

Two, after disabling the FTL drive, kills Vons who goes out to fix the thing. She then gets back in the Raza and kills Vons’ incestuous sister Tash. She then dispatches the buyers who boarded the Raza. She later kills Wexler after telling him that she no longer knows what she is. The only evil mercenary that Two does not kill is Cain, who Three took out with extreme prejudice.

While this was going on, One is taken out of the vault and questioned, and beaten. Wexler does not know that he is not the real Jace Corso and a chap named Danny Bones told Wexler that Corso has millions buried on a deserted moon. When One cannot tell the mercenary leader where the money is, he takes Three out of the vault next. Initially he threatens to cut off her fingers and then something worse if Jace does not divulge the location of his buried booty.

Apart from Five and Two, One is the busiest Raza crew member in this episode. He motivates the other male members of the crew to jump Wexler’s team and he bonds even more with the rest of the team. It appears that despite his real reason for becoming Corso, to kill Three, he and Three are becoming good buddies.

Three, still does not know who the fake Jace really is or why he is there. As the two talk, while suffering from hypoxia, Three tells One that he has never felt enough hate to kill someone. One responds that Three should not be so sure. This is one storyline that has yet to be resolved. Along with why Two was engineered, who Three really is, and what does the Android really have to do with all this.

Standout Moment: The destruction of the planet where the scientist is testing whether the stolen device works or not. Very impressive.

Kudos again go to Jodelle Ferland as Five, Anthony Lemke as Three (never disappoints this chap) and Marc Bendavid as One just rocked it in this episode. As did Melissa O’Neil as Two.

Mad props to the stunt coordinators John Stead and Steve Wilsher for making O’Neil’s fights look so impressive and real. These two gentleman, and their stunt performers, have gone all out to make the fights in the show look solid, believable and damned entertaining.

*Sidenote Two* It will be interesting to see if Two mentions her newfound status as an engineered being. She may have taken off that bandage but this commander’s love of her own secrets, while asking everyone else to tell the truth, probably means that no one apart from the Android will know of this most recent development.

*Sidenote three* Hands up all who believe that the crew of the Raza will get the blame for this destroyed planet and that their bounty just went up.

Dark Matter is the best science fiction thriller/mystery on television. Those who love the show will now have to agonize over SyFy not letting its viewing audience know if the show is coming back for a second season. Until we learn the fate of the series, Dark Matter can be found, for two more episodes at least, on SyFy Fridays.

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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