Dark Matter Episode 11 and Beyond (A Fanboy Discussion)

Dark Matter promo shot
Sometimes you have to take off your journalistic cap and write as a fanboy. This, is one of those times where third person just does not hack it. Simply put, I adore this series and watch each episode numerous times. Dark Matter, to me, is brilliantly put together and completely addictive. It also has enough nods and winks to other things in the genre, like the Pandorum-like episode, where Two was bitten, and the (in my opinion) nod to the Mass Effect verse last night in episode 11.

I have to say that I practically cheered when O’Neil came back on board as Two, aka Portia Lin, or Lynne. When Two was shot out of the air lock last week, the expression on my face matched that of the crew members on the screen. Open mouth shock-face describes it best. That this take-charge, kick-arse character had just been “killed off,” stunned me and, to be frank, upset me.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, I watch each episode numerous times and on my second, or third, viewing realized that Two was most likely going to survive and said so in my review. Of course she has now popped back up and while I was off the mark as to why, I’m glad I was able to read between the lines.

That Mallozzi and co are able to shock me like that is one reason I keep coming back to this verse and eagerly await the decision to have another season approved. For instance, Episode 11 had two shock points in it (three if you count the exploding planet at the end).

The return of Two, who turns out to be an engineered person, and Five killing Cain.

*Sidenote* I did not see that one coming. Granted, I’ve been concentrating on each episode to see what would be revealed about each character. The “Man” himself, Joseph said that as the season progressed more would be shown about each person on the Raza and he didn’t lie. I also did not foresee Five shooting anyone. Cue more “shock-face.”

While Two being her usual deadly self was pretty cool, the underlying theme of the show; that the crew are bonding brilliantly, was just as noteworthy. One motivating his fellow male members, as they choke to death on carbon monoxide, was entertaining and touching. That this tycoon who is not a mercenary at all could pump up Six, Four and Three into following him shows just how much these folks have grown to care for one another.

The other theme from the episode, which really started from the pilot, was that these memory wiped mercenaries are intrinsically good people. The chance to compare “our” crew to Wexler’s band of merry murderers was brilliantly timed. Since the crew of the Raza came out of stasis, memories gone and ship crashing, they have all strived to “do the right thing.”

Some, think Three here, more reluctantly than others, but they all ultimately do what is right. Two, who really got her wish last night, really wants to change. Perhaps with good reason. While Four appears to be, on the surface, the ultimate fighting machine, Two is the deadliest. Take the casino mass killing in front of Five in an earlier episode. The commander of the Raza did this almost effortlessly and without having to think about it.

This begs the question, was this why Two was engineered? Is she a better weapon? Time will tell.

The killing by Five was just as shocking as Two’s being shot out into space last week. This “loss of innocence” (seeming, loss) is an interesting twist on the image projected of pickpocket and petty thief waif. Sure this waif is a computer wiz who is desperate to be a member of the crew and wants the mercenaries to be her family, but she apparently lived on the streets as small time homeless criminal before turning up on the Raza.

This brings us to the message that runs through the show. “Bad guys,” when given the chance, want to be good. Even Two who, after bitterly telling Wexler that she is nothing like him, coldly pops the mercenary leader out of the airlock once she gets the code to the vault.

I get the feeling that Two has a lot of searching to do.

*Sidenote* I love the exposition speech by Five to the rest of the crew after the vault is opened. You have to admire the ability of the Trevor Finn and Paul Mullie to work in a quick and dirty run down of what happened to Two when she was outside the Raza. Just as clever was the interchange between The Android and Two, more exposition but done smoothly and wittily, “You did not ask.”

Amusingly, the four male members of the team still have doubts about Two, probably even more so since she survived what should have been certain death, and they still have issues with her leadership. With the episode ending on the stolen device “killing” a planet, things have been set up for the mercenaries with a “collective” heart to get in more trouble.

Overall, Dark Matter could be described as an ensemble “buddy picture” type series. Each episode tests the boundaries of the crew and either shores up or tears down relationships between the members. The casting of this show is spot on and given American audiences the chance to see some dynamite Canadian actors go through their paces.

The only two performers I was familiar with out of the show were Jodelle Ferland and Roger Cross.

The 20 year-old Ferland has made a career out of playing the creepy little kid in more productions than Carter has little pills. She has a great attitude to being cast as the scary one, in one “making of” featurette Jodelle laughingly describes going for “comedy” roles only to be cast as the creepy kid.

Cross has been in a slew of films and television shows including The Chronicles of Riddick, X-Men 2 and television series like Arrow and Continuum.

Anthony Lemke has become a firm favorite as have Zoie Palmer, Alex Mallari Jr. and Mark Bendavid.

Now I will admit to a certain snobbishness when it comes to American television. There. I’ve said it. I lived in a country that, even though I loathed the TV license, had award winning television to show for it. The UK have consistently knocked it out of the park in terms of quality shows. Not always, but an awful lot.

After a 32 year absence, I now have the standard “yank” telly to watch and lets face it, most of the shows on offer are abysmal drivel. (Interestingly, most of my favorite shows on telly right now are Canadian, something that immediately makes me think of Holland, The Littlest Hobo and Night Heat.) Which takes us nicely to a wrap up as Dark Matter is, Canadian.

*Sidenote* My second wife and I would consistently burst into gales of laughter each time a Dutch announcer would do a lead in on the Canadian cop show. The chap would always mangle the name,but he did so with an excited pronunciation that indicated he too was a fan of “Det. Giambone.” (which was always pronounced Jam-bone-ee.)

I always write every review, and recap, of either a television show or film from the viewpoint of a fan. Albeit one who has worked in the industry (very little over the years but I’ve met and worked with a load of folks, including Ian McShane, Alexis Denisof and a number of others along the way) and who worked as the Entertainment Editor of an online publication that had over 7 million views and visits each month.

Regardless of how I might be watching any production, big or little screen, I just pass on what excites me and what does not. But not nastily, if I can help it, this is someone’s baby and that, if nothing else, deserves a modicum of respect.

Dark Matter was a lovely discovery. I became an instant fan from the first few frames of the pilot episode. I became even more of a fan when the show creator started tweeting me on Twitter. (Only one other show creator has taken the time to acknowledge what I write. Both these gentlemen are stars in my opinion.) I can only hope that the show is brought back for more seasons.

Episode 11 (Bet you thought I’d forgotten ey?) was a great blend of events, information and satisfying conclusion. Pretty much like every episode of the series thus far. If SyFy do not opt to renew this show and opt instead for the inane and stupidly popular Sharknado franchise, I could go right off the network.

Dark Matter is great TV, I know it is because I end every review with a variation of that statement as fact. Tune in and enjoy the last two episodes, the show airs as part of SyFy Friday.

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.

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.

Dark Matter: Episode Nine Review

Akita and Four
Ah Dark Matter…How do I love thee? Let me count the ways, while there may not be nine, as in episode nine, events in this week’s installment, there are a few that stand out and make this show worthy of the deepest devotion. These moments are what make this series special, network deities take note, and combined with the plot, they scream out for a second season.

Before picking out specific moments, kudos to the writers this week and to show creators Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie for managing to get so many comic, and endearing moments in what could have been a very sobering show. Minutes into the episode and Jodelle Ferland’s character came out with the “Also, I got these welding goggles that are both practical and cool.” Three’s “remembering” the whiskey that Two forgot is an excellent follow up. The crew then discover that Four is missing and the action heads to the planet where he has gone to meet his brother Ryo.

Cue a bit of very satisfactory sword play, of the ninja variety after Four discovers that his step-brother has not shown up, but Akita his tutor has.

Back to those “ways.” On the bridge, Two and One are discussing Four. One’s take on his fellow crew member? “Most of the time he blends into the background. You don’t notice him till he speaks up or takes the last of the carrots.”

Six and Three enter the bridge. Discussion about Four continues and Five points out that he may just want some time on his own. Six states, after they find Four’s comm on the ship, that it is apparent that he wants them to leave without him. Five points out that Four seemed to be happy here.

Which brings us to another “ways” moment. Three, Anthony Lemke’s character, says “He seemed nothing. That guy was harder to read than that book he gave me.” “That book is a classic,” One retorts. Three then proceeds to pronounce judgement on Charlotte’s Web, much to the disgust of One “Whatever. The pig’s a wimp and the spider’s a know-it-all.”

What makes this all the more amusing will come later at the end of the episode where the “tough guy” who pronounced the pig was a wimp, is shedding a tear, or two, while reading the book. These are the moments that bring this show from just entertaining to brilliant. Touches of humor amidst the mysterious plot line that unravels a little more each episode.

As the show progresses each crew member has something exposed about their makeup. Three, we have learned, is the “heel with a heart” and also more than ready to jump into the fray, even if it means that he will not be the victor. Six is an idealist who hates the man who made him a mass murderer. (He is also, perhaps, one of the wisest of the crew members, he reveals to One that his quest for revenge was unsatisfactory and that he merely redirected his anger…to himself.)

One is a rich man who wants to catch and bring to justice his wife’s killer. He reveals this fact to Two and she asks the pertinent question, “Do you even remember her?” While this is a good question it is not the most important thing at work here.

The show’s creators are asking a bigger question. Can a group of career criminals “go straight” if their memories are wiped? On top of the theory that people are really good until forced to go bad, another query is apparent. One, who is not a criminal, starts to take aim at Three during the firefight later in the show. As he appears to contemplate killing his wife’s suspected killer, a man from the opposing side shows up and takes aim at Three. One un-hesitantly kills the enemy.

On the bridge, the crew talk about Four’s defection and Three states that the man should be left behind. Two tells the group that there is something they need to know about the missing man. Back on the planet, Four is defeated by Akita and placed under arrest. Two reveals that Four is royalty and in line to the throne of Ishida. Three rants about all the secrets and asks that if there is anything anyone wants to reveal. Two does reveal something, as much as she wants all the crew to trust one another and not keep secrets, she instinctively touches the bandage on her neck that covers a wound that healed itself ages ago.

Amusingly, Three wants to go back for Four. The rest of the crew agree that being Four’s friend could be a good thing. Six and One have that talk about revenge and agenda’s. On the desolate, and lawless, planet where Four went to meet his brother, Akita and Four spend time discussing their mutual past and move to meet the ship that will take Four back to trial. They also encounter that lawless element mentioned by Android earlier in the episode.

Another “let me count the ways” moment. Three and the Android talk. Android is watching the diagnostics on-screen display while she runs the program on the ship’s systems. Three asks her why, when she is attached directly to the ship, she is reading the display. This prompts a discussion of her “flaw,” that Five pointed out earlier. Android tells Three that she will reboot herself if the flaw bothers him. After asking what that would entail; a complete memory wipe and a personality matrix change she tells him, Three says emphatically that he does not want her to change.

“So you are satisfied,” she asks, despite the “abhorrent” behavior? Three grumpily responds, “Hell no. But I’m damned if I’m going to start over with a whole new robot.” He leaves the room and Android resumes looking at the on-screen display. “That’s kind of him to say,” she says quietly.

This episode followed One’s struggle with his newfound knowledge as well as Four’s attempt to tell his brother Ryo the truth. It also deals with two’s almost desperate attempt to get the crew to bond and trust each other. There is also clarification on the backstory of Four and his relationship with Akita. Two and Three talk betrayal and realize that only they, and One, can be considered as suspects in that area.

By the end of the show: We learn that Four’s step mother is still murderous b*tch whose son is full of denial. One will not kill Three just yet and Six and Five clear the air…twice. One decides that Three is “rotten to the core” but…could someone that bad cry at Charlotte’s Web?

Not likely.

Later Four and Two clear the air and the former tells her that he appreciates his “true family.” Things go back to “normal” and the ship is stopped by three Ferrous Corp destroyers who take out the FTL drive. The ship cannot move and the crew look to be in big trouble.

This whole series is about appearances and how deceiving they are. It is also about characters that have depth and backstories that shows what they really are. Four, for example, is not just a cold assassin he is man whose sentimentality towards family left him open to be framed for his own father’s murder. He is not above killing Akita to pass a message on to his brother, he says, but we know he means his step-mother.

This is a brilliantly presented show. Each character is like an onion, with different things underneath each layer, as each episode peels off that little bit more. We are learning more about each crew member each week, but Two and Five still must be taken at face value.

On the surface, Five may be a sort of technologically skilled Artful Dodger, but her need to be a part of this adoptive family still needs to be explored. Two is the one we know the least about full stop. Certainly we know she is deadly and fast. She, like Five, is desperate for this group to be family while she hides her own secrets.

Secrets that we have yet to learn.

Dark Matter is part of SyFy Friday and is compulsive viewing. This group of disparate characters, who become more complex and real with each episode, are fascinating and entertaining as well as three dimensional. Simply great television but not a simple storyline. Watch this to see how it should be done.

Dark Matter: Episode Eight (recap and review)

Dark Matter: Episode Eight (recap and review)  Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 17.26.55
Last week in Dark Matter a huge chunk of Three’s backstory came to light and an entertainment Android almost killed the whole crew. In episode eight, the layers continue to be peeled back and there are some surprising revelations. The issue of One, being a copy, comes up once again. Six attempts to get a little payback on the man who made him a mass murderer and Android learns that her programming is flawed.

This show continues to surprise and delight with all the slow reveals of the characters. Three was shown to be a “heel with a heart” in the previous episode and the crew’s past came up to bite them in the butt with the evil android who was controlled by a disgruntled former victim of the mercenaries. In terms of amusement and backstory surprise the episode ranked very highly.

Transfer Transit 2.0, which was introduced early on in the series, Dark Matter’s version of Rekal (Philip K Dick – We Can Remember It For You Wholesale/Total Recall) but using clones and memories and not just memories, features heavily in this episode. Six, who learned in a prior episode about being made a patsy for a the revolution uses the TT 2.0 to continue his journey of revenge.

At the start of the show, he is seen meeting with a group of criminal’s who are going to lead him to the general. Things go south and Six is shot dead. As two of the group discuss the events, the body disappears in a puff of ash and smoke.

The Android, who was shot at pointblank range last week is still out of action while nanites repair the robot. Two lands the ship for repairs and the crew head off for supplies and some R&R. Three, who is still upset about last week’s death, has to be talked into going by Four.

Once they disembark, Six heads off on his own, much to Five’s disappointment, and the rest of the group go out for a meal. After discussing what the burgers are made of (meal worms asserts Two) they change from solids to liquids. *Comedic moment.* One stops eating his burger and Three, who decides that meal worms are not an issue, says, “You’re not eating that,” and grabs One’s burger and takes a large bite out of it.

Later, when the crew have gotten a bit drunk, Five shows up to tell them about Six and his visit to Transfer Transit. The mercenaries decide to search his room on the ship to learn where he has gone. Three heads for a closet and finds that Six has been hoarding the green food strips. “He lied,” exclaims Three, “I knew it.” When they try to hack into Six’s computer terminal by guessing his password, Three suggests trying “lying hoarder” as he eats a green food strip.

Five agrees to hack the system and the crew learn about the terrorist attack that he was responsible for. Six goes back to the group that killed him before. Despite his clone dying before transferring the memories, Six has worked out that the group were dangerous and kills them all before forcing the female leader to lead him to the general.

Back at the ship, Four suggests that they follow Six and find out what he is up to. Three characteristically refuses to be cloned and left “gift wrapped and helpless” for the GA. Five volunteers, but Two says she has to stay on the ship since the Android is out of commission. Four says he will go and One is ordered to go with him by Two.

Four and One learn what they must do to used the Transfer Transit, and reluctantly One agrees. *Sidenote* Cue another great comic moment. Even Ishida assassins will fight for the discount. When the sales person asks if Four and One are a couple, One says no. Four asks if there is a discount. When she says there is a 10 percent discount, Four replies, “Well then yes, we are a couple.” One looks completely embarrassed and nonplussed.

Six has found the general’s location and is led off to meet with him.

One is clearly terrified of the technology and keeps asking questions until the woman forces the lid on the pod closed. At the other end, as he dresses the camera avoids One’s face. Four enters the room and immediately hits One in the face. Four begins asking the clone, who looks completely different, who he is. One starts relaying information about the rest of the crew to a disbelieving Four. He finishes his description of the other mercenaries with “Three is an a**hole.”

“It is you,” Four says.

Five goes to visit Android and wakes her up. “I’m sorry,” she says. The Android asks why she is sorry and Five tells the robot that it was her fault that Android was hurt. What follows is a discussion between the two where Android says that she is a logic based program and after Five explains her reactions to Wendy and others, Android says that her programming is flawed. Five tells the robot she has feelings and congratulates her with a hug, an expressionless Android looks over Five’s shoulder as they interact.

Four and One learn where Six went. The general meets with Six and the two discuss their past. The leader is unapologetic about the killing of women and children. As they talk, he reveals that the things that made Griff a good soldier now make him a threat and he plans to kill him. He mentions that he knows Griff is checking the time and says he will be dead before his friends can arrive.

One and Four can be seen on a monitor heading to where Six and the general are talking. Six’s shuttle explodes, he set the ship to “critical” just for that reason and in the confusion kills everyone in the room and finished by choking the general to death. As the other man expires, his body disappears in a cloud of ash and smoke, like “Griff” the man is a clone.

Back at the ship, the mercenaries question One about his identity and Three is also in the doghouse because he lied about his shipmate not being the real Jace Corso and then blackmailed him. Two tells him off for both actions and she then has a go at Six. The leader is not happy that the crew are not trusting enough. They must, she insists, try harder.

Two and The Android discuss the rest of the crew after the robot’s diagnostics are read out. Two explains that the morale on the ship is low and they cannot trust each other. The Android asks Two why she has not told the others the truth about herself. Two looks concerned and unhappy.

Five goes to ask Six if he wants to see a movie on the station, “Star Wars 36 remastered.” Six turns her down. Four gets in contact with his brother Hiro, the new emperor of Ishida and One learns who he really is; Derrick Moss, heir to a fortune and a man whose wife was murdered. The main suspect is Three, aka Marcus Boone.

Dark Matter keeps stripping back the layers to show what each “number” is hiding. There are still a few crew members left who have had very little exposure in terms of backstory. Two for example. The Androids question at the end of the episode makes it seem that Two may have wiped the crews’ memories. Five still has a lot of history unrevealed and little is known about the Android.

Anthony Lemke is fighting Zoie Palmer in the comic relief stakes and these two really make this show work. As an ensemble piece Dark Matter works almost flawlessly and each week another crew member is allowed to carry a portion of the show. In terms of characters, it still seems that Five, Jodelle Ferland‘s character, knows a lot more than she is letting on.

Each episode moves the story forward while simultaneously shedding more light on each character and generating still more questions. This formula ensures attention levels do not wane and keeps the viewer guessing. Dark Matter is part of SyFy Friday and is great television that should not be missed.