At long last Dark Matter is returning to our screens. Co-creatorJoseph Mallozzi has kept his promise from last year’s interview with Mike’s Film Talk and kept the mystery burning bright. The show’s season two premiere airs tomorrow; 1 July on SyFy and while it may be a tad slow, compared to last year.s finale it does manage to be pretty shocking.
Looking at the first two episodes, but not reviewing them yet (That would be spoiler city and very unpopular with everyone.) fans are in for a treat with season two. The gang are all back and we learn more about their past lives.
Six is revealed to be a law enforcement official and the rest of the Raza crew are split into criminal and “not-criminal” quarters. Two, Three and Four are all placed in with the general populace while One and Five are in protected custody.
The Android is in a tech lab and proving to be a handful.
The first episode is slow, it is, after all, setting up this new predicament for the crew and it is a bit stationary compared to the fluidity of space. This is prison and it entails rules, gangs and “fitting in.”
All the characters, with the exception of Six, are exactly as we remember them. Three is irascible and quite comfortable in the stir. Four and Two are equally at home in this prison environment.
More is learned about the bombing, which so disturbed Six when he suffered from double memory loss. There is a lot going on behind the scenes and it looks like a few more people may be joining the Raza crew.
Brit actress Melanie Liburd is Nyx; an inmate who appears to be a match for Two, seems to be on board. Although things get off to a rocky start initially. Gang leader Arax Nero, played by Mike Dopud, is also supportive after starting out on the wrong fool Nero and Nyx may be “on-side” but their motives are a tad unclear at this point.
There are a number of well known performers turning up in this season of Dark Matter. Keep your eyes peeled for Franka Potente to make an appearance. The Run Lola Run and Creep actress (who was spectacular as the hit-woman in The Bridge) shows up and knocks it out of the park.
The actors all continue to deliver in spades. Even in this new setting they all maintain their characters and the paths they walk. One crew member, however, shows a new side. This surprising turn also shocks a little.
One slight word of complaint would be that there was not enough Zoie Palmer in the opening episode but that is rectified by episode two. Before then the crew learn that there is much more going on their arrests and imprisonment. A device must be found in order to stop a corporate war.
Dark Matter airs Fridays on SyFy. Tune in and be ready for a slow open but pay attention! If you have forgotten last season a lot of hints are hidden in plain sight in this show. Do not miss this season two open. In the mean time let your excitement build and watch this trailer. One more night…
Last week’s episode of Dark Matter saw an entire planet blown to pieces by the tech stolen by Wexler and the crew from the Raza. The episode also had Two coming back on board after being blown out of the air lock the previous week. Things in the verse are getting even more interesting and this week, Five dreams about what things were like when she was caught on board the Raza as a stowaway.
Five remembers what the crew were like “pre-memory” wipe and (with the exception of Six and One) no one was overly keen about keeping her on the ship. Two states clearly she does not want a “child” on the ship and leaves the deciding vote up to Four (Rio she calls him) and he votes to allow Five to stay. “Welcome aboard little warrior,” he says, “Just don’t give me any cause to regret my decision.”
After her rather unenthusiastic welcome, Five puts a recording device under a table in the dining hall/room. It has remained there, uncollected and forgotten, until her dream and Five goes to collect it. On the recording, Two and Four are talking about killing someone, “him” before they head to the mining colony and after they get out of stasis.
Meanwhile Calchek contacts the group and tells them Ferrous Corp has hired them for a job. A simple “snatch and grab” he says. A scientist has been kidnapped and is being held on a small “backwater planet.” In and out, he says.
It is a trap.
Two is the objective here. Alex (Will Wheaton) wants the engineered human back, he calls her Rebecca, and the “scientist” forces the remaining Raza crew members to leave (after hosting a dinner for all those who arrived with Two and providing an explanation). The crew of the Raza now have to figure out how to get “Rebecca” back. The Android comes up with a plan and Five (who gets a gun shoved in her hand) stays on the ship.
Rebecca has been “disarmed” all her nanites shut down via dampeners which weakens her considerably. She is restrained and due to be studied. One scientist is particularly nasty as he had friends at the facility where she escaped. (Two killed 43 technicians and scientists while leaving and some of the victims were friends of this snarky chap.) Later he tells Rebecca that he is going to “test your pain receptors,” as he starts up the electrical bone saw.
This first half of the season finale has The Android going above and beyond for her fellow Raza crew member much to the consternation of her computerized self. “Rebecca” tries to escape and Alex orders her destroyed. Android does a “Captain America” and walks off the back of the shuttle.
Android infiltrates the facility to turn off the dampeners. After a comic entrance, Six has just told the rest of the crew in the shuttle Android will silently enter the place and on screen the robot noisily dispatches the security guards she encounters. After the men have been neutralized, she moves to find the dampener. The controls are working on Android as well and she has to struggle to finish her task.
The robot actually goes to sacrifice herself for Two. Androids willingness to “die”, is oddly human and, even with her flawed system, it is impressive and touching. When the program she created lectures her on leaving the ship, Android explains that she is saving her friends. The program reminds Android that it is a machine. “A machine with friends,” Android replies.
After almost dying, or more accurately, ceasing to function, Android meets up with Rebecca in the dining hall of the facility where Two has reads message left by Alex “Maybe next time.” The villain with the beard beat a hasty retreat when Two escaped before they could remove her brain. Chillingly, but in a very satisfying way, Rebecca told the scientists in the room that she would kill them all and she does.
On the shuttle, the men are getting impatient. Three gets the line of the first half of the finale when he questions why Android has not blown anything up, “It’s not rocket science,” he says. Android shuts down the dampener and Rebecca gets out. The two then blow up the facility.
It has to be pointed out that the music in the first half of the season finale is more than perfect. A driving, mechanical beat of techno music that feels…right. After Two is back onboard the Raza we learn about who Rebecca was made for. A weak and apparently old man is on a hospital gurney and on life support. He asks Alex how old the body is that he occupies. “24,” replies Alex.
After ascertaining that the whole crew know what Rebecca is, the “old man” orders the entire crew to be killed. Before this order is given, back on the ship, there is a celebration and afterward Five listens to the recording again. At the very end of the first half, someone collects the crowd control taser and zaps the Android putting her out of commission
There are a number of things revealed here, one being that Will Wheaton’s character is more lackey than big bad and Five can program. Of course the biggest reveal is that Two and Four were ready to kill a member of the Raza crew way back in episode one.
The second half of the episode begins with the discovery that the Android has had her neural link removed and that someone else has control of the Raza. A lot is revealed while the crew start losing members and trust flies out the airlock. Rather interestingly, the last two members who trust each other and team up against One are the two who voted to boot Five off the ship in her dream/memory at the beginning of the finale.
This is where we learn who wiped the crews’ memories (Five) and why (to save the person that Two and Four were going to kill). As pointed out by Android earlier, the code was crude and rushed and as Six points out, wiping everyone’s memory was not the intention, nor was it done to harm anyone. It was, Six says, done to save someone.
Two and Five find that the Android grabbed a patch from her attacker, it looks as though it is from the soldiers who boarded the ship earlier (episode 11). The crew then search for any left over soldiers and Three gets the “line” of the second half as well. “Nobody messes with my robot.” Two and three team up and she tries to thanks him for giving up the code when she was in the airlock. He messes up her “thank you.”
One and Four team up to search the ship and Four reveals he plans to go home and claim his throne. Six and Five are the last pairing and she tells Six that she feels part of the team. Six tells her that it is ironic as they have all been trying to be more like her and they failed, that in the end they can only be themselves. Five responds that is not true that they are now family.
Five searches the vents and finds nothing. It is finally decided that there is no one else on the ship, the person who zapped Android and took her neural chip is one of the crew. Two realizes that the stun device that Wexler used on Android before is missing and only the Raza crew members know the code to the vault where the taser was kept.
Six recommends that they all stick together but Four goes to his room to train. Three gives One a vote of “no confidence” while talking to Two and he tells her that the man cannot be trusted. One goes to see Four and tells him who he really is and why he came on board as Jace Corso. He tells Four that it must be Three who is the culprit.
Five is convinced that it is Two who took out the Android. She believes that something happened to Two on the planet while Alex and his scientists had control of her. The crew meet in the dining hall to talk strategy and after Three and One have a go at one another, Four tells his shipmates that he will be in his room training. After drinking a glass of water, he passes out.
The next to go down is Six who is injected with something that knocks him out. Five is given a gun and locked in the bridge. Two and Three force One into his quarters and lock him in. One calls Five and asks her to get him out. Five meets the program that Android created to observe her and after learning that the computer generated version of the Android will recommend that the robot be put back to her factory settings, Five orders the program to delete itself.
Two and Three learn that Five has gotten out and the remaining crew members meet in a standoff situation. Two and Three have their guns trained on One, who has his gun on Three and Five has her gun trained on Two. The girl attempts to tell everyone that Two is behind all the problems because she came back from the planet different. Five insists that they, the scientists, did something to Two.
In the meantime another ship comes out of FTL and it is a Galactic Authority vessel. The cops have arrived. As the four Raza crew members face off, the doors either end of the hallway close and two canisters are thrown in; emitting smoke. The four armed crew members crumple to the floor and Five tries to open the doors but passes out.
GA troops flood through the ship and before the end credits roll, the entire crew sans one are carried off by the authorities. The one crew member still standing, and walking behind the rest, is Six. Cue shock face.
The second half of the season finale was a proper whodunit. Fingers were pointing to a number of suspects, between the crew, and for a long while it appeared that Five was behind the whole thing. Six as the “mole” (or turncoat, or traitor…) was a complete shock, although if one watches the episode again there are clues…
It is interesting to note that after the episode where Five shot Cain, everyone seemed to be shoving a gun into the kid’s hand. Just as interesting is the effect that recording had on Five and her trust levels. Admittedly, Two was not such a nice individual in the dream/memory and if Four (Rio?) had not voted positively, Five would have been history.
Rather interestingly, the trust that built up over the first season fell apart with the attack on Android and the family lose their cohesion.
This season finale had a brilliant reveal. Six was the traitor and the signs are there, although the money here at MikesFilmTalk was on Five as the one who sabotaged the Android, and a number of other things, but it was obviously Six. Kudos to Roger Cross whose facial expressions and dialogue hinted that he was the one who “gave up the crew” before the reveal.
Kudos to Anthony Lemke, Zoie Palmer, Jodelle Ferland, Mark Bendavid, Alex Mallari Jr., Roger Cross and Melissa O’Neil for bringing their respective characters to living breathing life, or in Palmer’s case mechanical life. Honorable mentions go to Pinstar David Hewlett and guest star Ruby Rose as Wendy “dunking the cosmic donut” pleasure robot.
Dark Matter ended on one heck of a cliff hanger and the ultimate reveal of the season and now all that remains is for SyFy to renew the series for another season, and another and another. MikesFilmTalk spoke with show runner/creator Joseph Mallozzi about the season finale and the show in general and that will be up shortly on the site. The Time Zone Deities have yet to work out Alex Mallari Jr.’s schedule but hopefully he will stop by for a chat as well.
Let MikesFilmTalk know what you thought of the season finale in the comment section below.
[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.