Dark Matter: Season Finale (review)

Dark Matter - Season 1

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.

Dark Matter Season 1

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 Pin star David Hewlett and guest star Ruby Rose as Wendy “dunking the cosmic donut” pleasure robot.

Dark Matter Season 1
“I just remember cooking and cleaning and dunking the cosmic donut.” – Wendy Episode 1.7.

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.




Dark Matter: Episode Seven (review)

Sara in Dark Matter
Last week in Dark Matter, episode six had Five taking an extended walk down memory lane and revealing a lot more about her crew mates. Episode seven follows on from that peek at those stored remembrances, which, apart from showing just how Six got to the party, cleared up the matter of that forgotten passcode; Maplethorpe which was a former teacher of Six’s and according to him, in the memory, completely unforgettable.

Once in the vault the crew discover weapons, lots of money, an entertainment android and a woman in stasis. Thus far in Dark Matter, each episode serves to reveal a little bit more about each mercenary. Four, for example, was the son of the Ishida Emperor and was framed for his murder; part of episode six’s reveal. Another layer exposed in that episode was that Five was not in a good place when she stowed away on the ship; she was a pick pocket extraordinaire living rough with a lot of other mini-Fagin’s.

This week it is Three’s turn under the microscope. Like each episode so far, his is the main story but there are other facets of the crew that come to light, One and Two with their apparent history and hesitant steps toward a possible reunion are also looked at. The Android, as usual, plays comic relief and Zoie Palmer should get an Emmy gong for her childlike and very literal robot with a heart.

Android could well be a distant relative to the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz but her role is similar to Five’s. She has a definite purpose. What it may be is not too clear at the moment, but like everyone else’s history on board, it too will be discovered.

Five has the code echoing around in her head and she runs through the ship shouting that she knows the code. One comes into Two’s room to pass on a status report and the woman gets dressed while he awkwardly makes his report. He is most definitely interested in the leader and tells Two that they have a damaged relationship. When she laughingly repeats his allegation, he says he meant relay switch. At the end of their conversation, he gets his signals mixed and decides she is flirting with him.

Six interrupts their “discussion” to say that Five knows the code to “the mystery room.”

After the crew open the door the woman found in stasis is held in observation and Android discovers that the woman is dying of Tataryn disease. The Android explains that there is no cure. Three wants to put her back in stasis and Two says they need to question the woman. One and Six find the entertainment Android and One decides to put her together.

One is quite taken with the new robot and he gets Five to “turn her on…I mean activate her.” The new Android is named Wendy and she talks with an Aussie accent and turns out to know a lot about the culinary arts.

Android wakes the woman and we learn that her name is Sara and when she wakes up, Sara recognizes Three immediately. “Marcus, she says throwing her arms around the surprised mercenary. He and Two explain about the stasis pod problem and the wiped memories.

Sara tells about how she met “Marcus” and that she knows what he is, a criminal and a mercenary, Three apparently was wounded on her planet. Sara treated his wounds and he apparently fell in love with the woman. They learn that she is dying and he took her on board and put her into stasis to save her life.

While this episode went deep under Three’s crusty and obnoxious exterior, the subplot dealt with Wendy, who apart form having a killer body and personality, also had an ulterior motive of revenge programmed by Cyrus King. Her deadly mission was set because the mercenaries killed his men “before memory loss” and he now wants their ship flown into a star.

Dark Matter this week dealt with a few issues, one of which was Android jealousy, at one point Zoie Palmer’s Android affects several different accents, Irish, Australian, English, Scottish and, somewhat hysterically, Jamaican; “Don’t worry about it Mon” she tells One after trying out a few. After a short conversation with Five, who had her hair done by Wendy, Android decides to welcome the new member of the crew, only to be shot for her trouble.

By the end of the episode, Three turns out to have a mushy interior, even if he does not remember it and Two finally hooks up with One. The backstory of Marcus and Sara was touching and cute. The fact that Three had found someone who accepted him for who he was only to have it threatened by a incurable disease explains a lot about where his character is at now. Granted he cannot remember it, but some knowledge must exist somewhere in his mind. After all, it was Three who insisted that Sara be woken up and he also demanded that she be put back in stasis after learning that she was dying.

There were many comical moments in the episode. The hysterically funny “dunking the cosmic donut” reference, which fascinated Six, One and Three, the orgasmic dining scene and Four’s massage from Wendy all hit the right notes. One’s decision to try out the entertainment Android and his mixed signals with the leader of the group as well as The Android’s attempt to get praise for fixing the ship’s cooling systems all made this week’s episode a real chuckle fest.

The power of the writing of this series is not just the comedic moments however. The real magic is the writer’s aptitude at effortlessly mixing amusing events with tear inducing parts of the story. There can not be many who did not at least get a lump in their throat when Sara succumbs to the disease.

Each episode is reveals more about the crew and each character is becoming well rounded and three dimensional as a result. Zoie Palmer is becoming more endearing with each episode as are the rest of the crew. Anthony Lemke rocks it this week with his heel with heart story and the entire cast are hitting their stride performance wise. Kudos to guest star Ruby Rose and to the writers who came up with the fight sequences at the end; both with and without head.

Dark Matter is part of SyFy Fridays and is compelling viewing. Do not miss this show.