Dark Matter: But First We Save the Galaxy – Explosive (Review)

 Dark Matter - Season 2

Dark Matter closed out the season with an explosive finale that made last year’s ending episode seem quite tame in comparison. With most of the crew caught in a life or death situation on Eos-7 and Nyx poisoned on the Raza, things look pretty dire in “But First We Save the Galaxy.”

(On a sidenote: Melissa O’Neil gets to say what may be the coolest line yet in Dark Matter.  After promising Three that they will pull a heist after this “job” she gets all “Mumsy” and tells the big kid, “But first we save the galaxy. Got it?” Just brilliant.)

Of course this is Dark Matter. Neither Mallozzi nor Mullie will allow this to go smoothly, there are too many things going on here.  All paths lead to Eos-7 and their convergence has a Humpty-Dumpty effect on the plan.

More characters are evolving in interesting, and in the case of Five, kick a**  ways. The littlest crew member proves that she can go solo, with a little help from an Android on the station. (Played by Between actor Kyle Mac who just killed it.)

Raza’s Android is still changing. At the end of the episode she seems to be expressing anger as she crouches over Nyx.

After last week’s bloody reassumption of Ryo’s throne, the remaining crew members head to warn Truffault about the upcoming summit at Eos-7. In the alternate reality, the station is blown up causing an intergalactic war. They want to stop it.

Truffault teams up with the crew and unfortunately for everyone who want to stop the war, people and events have conspired to keep this from happening.

There are no less than two different factions who want to blow the summit to bits. Ryo and Commander Neiman from Ferrous Corp have arranged for an explosion. Five stops the Ferrous Corp bomb (it was The Android who rescued her earlier) and the robot spaces itself to save the station.

Ryo, however, has also set up an explosive event which succeeds. (Loved the nod to Event Horizon here with Kierken as Smithy, finding the “bomb” too late to save anyone.)

 

Four/Ryo asks Nyx to join him as his empress and although she refuses to consider, it signs her death warrant as Misaki overhears the conversation.

Apparently Ryo’s childhood friend still has feelings for her new emperor.

The plan to stop the explosion comes unstuck almost immediately when Ryo spots Five soon after she arrives. He sends guards to check on what she is doing and The Android she met moments earlier steps in.

Raza’s Android finds a way for the rest of the crew, sans Nyx, to board the station. Once again, fate steps in  and scuttles things when Kierken grabs Six almost immediately.

Dark Matter - Season 2
Zoie Palmer as The Android, new and improved?

Sidenote: The humorous highpoint of the episode was Five putting all that pain on Three. He cries out when she punches him in the throat. What were you doing, she asks. I was trying to keep you from screaming, he replies.

“Like you just did?”

“That was not a scream, it was a manly shout of pain.”

Shortly after this comic interlude, Neiman’s men beat Three to a pulp leaving him unconscious on the ship’s maintenance deck. Six pleads with Kierken to check on the bomb. Despite telling Varrik that he does not believe him, Kierken does what Six asks.

Ryo boards the Raza and shuts down The Android. As he goes to steal the blink drive, Misaki guards the bridge. Nyx encounters Ryo’s head of security and the two fight. Misaki cuts her opponent with a poisoned blade and Nyx goes down.

Back on Eos-7 Two is the only crew member actively working on the plan.

Ryo reactivates The Android on the Raza and has her warn the crew to return to the ship. She does so but Two cannot contact her fellow crew members. As the  explosion begins tearing the station apart, Truffault takes Five, Three is just waking up and Six has no comms.

Out of the the four crew members on Eos-7 it looks like Portia Lin and Five may be the only survivors.  With no comms Six is as helpless as Three and they may join One as “former” Raza crew members.

(Fans of the show may believe that the crew will make it out of the exploding space station alive. For those that see this,  just remember Jace Corso, aka One. Both Derrick Moss and the original Corso ended up taking that big dirt nap. No one is safe in this universe.)

This explosive ending to season two of Dark Matter peeled back the layers to reveal that Four, aka Ryo, cares about his people first and foremost. He has betrayed his friends, although he does attempt to save them, for his country.

 Dark Matter - Season 2
Ryo/Four

“But First We Save the Galaxy” brings up the question of fate.  With the storyline encountering alternate worlds it seems that regardless of which universe the players are in certain events will still occur.

In the other universe the corporate war was being fought in earnest. It was caused by the explosion on Eos-7.  The crew try to stop the same thing happening in their world and fail. Apparently there was going to be a corporate war regardless of whatever actions they took.

This was an impressive season finale. A high-powered cliff hanger that will keep fans squirming until the next season airs.

Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie have just “dropped the mic.”

CAST:

Guest Starring  Ellen Wong  as Misaki Han-Shireikan,  Torri Higginson as Commander Truffault, Kris Holden-Ried as GAI Kierken  and David Richmond-Peck as Commander Neiman 

Dark Matter: Ep 11 & 12 – Two Hour Sucker Punch (Review)

 Dark Matter - Season 2

Kudos to Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie for pulling off a masterful two hour sucker punch.  Rather than opting for a two episode bang up for the finale of season two, Dark Matter did a back-to-back for a penultimate rug pull.  Softening us up for the kill, literally, with a great tale of redemption and further bonding between Five and Three in episode 11.

“Wish I’d Spaced You When I Had the Chance” had the crew enjoying some R&R on a space station. Five is kidnapped by “white slavers” or the space version of traffickers in human flesh. Three goes after the youngest Raza crew member.

This episode proved just how far Marcus Boone has come since the memory loss.  While still canny enough to sneak up on the space station “rednecks” Three manages to get wounded pretty badly.

After saving Five, she then “saves” him. The rest of the crew do their cavalry impression and arrive to keep the GA from taking Boone back.  The crew are also saved from the cloned cops by Five via a well placed missile launcher.

Episode 11 softened things up for the viewer.  Once again, at least one fan was surprised into schmaltzy tears during the exchange of the Three and Five. Although it was obvious that Three was not buying the whole “Wish I’d spaced you when I had the chance,” drill. The fact that Five thought it could work spoke volumes about how he feels about the littlest crew member.

The entire plot line was a set-up.  It took our minds off of last week’s surprise ending where Four asks The Android to give him back his memory.  In fact the last few episodes have lulled the audience into a false sense of security.

Building up the idea of The Android being a friend of all the crew, and showing how tight they have all become was a trap. Even Six has been accepted again.  Then Four’s request to The Android and, like a martial arts expert scarecrow, Ryo Tetsuda has gotten his brain, in the form of those old memories.

After the amusing end to episode 11, “Sometimes in Life You Don’t Get to Choose” takes Dark Matter into an uncomfortable place. (While taking time to show Five smiling shyly as she rescues Hiro, played by Karl Ang.)

Dark Matter - Season 2
“Your highness, I’ve come to rescue you.”

While the previous episode managed to keep us off-balance it is episode 12 that delivers a brilliant jaw dropping  moment.  The sucker punch ending stunned and may have had more than a few fans slamming fist into palm and exclaiming “I knew it!”

After Four has the implant uploaded into his brain, it all seems to be a little too good to be true. He has, as The Android claimed could happen, kept his new memories.  But there are two sides to the new and improved Ryo.

He plans to take back his throne and starts the steps necessary. He forges an important ally and then speaks with his brother. Hiro, then gets his mother to confess she killed the emperor. Ryo and his brother plot to put Four in charge of their people.

It does not go to plan. Every step Ryo makes is overshadowed by someone who seems to know what he is planning. On the Raza, Four is nice to Two, Six and The Android. He smiles and is complimentary to all. Five avoids him, as she remembers all too well what he was like before.

Four, however, does not approach Three. This should have been a warning that something was up with Four.  Boone believes it is something from his past that Ryo knows.

Dark Matter - Season 2
Boone looking for Five.

It is however, more likely that Ryo felt Boone may sense he is not quite and benign as he appears. Four plans to make copies of the blink drive and outfit his country’s ships and win the war. Six vows to  stop him which Four ignores. For now.

Ryo is ambushed in the palace by his stepmother’s supporters. Hiro has been locked away and the evil woman has taken over the throne. The crew come to the rescue while Ryo and Misaki talk about old memories. (She loved him when they were children.)

The childhood infatuation does not, however, stop her from starting to execute Ryo when order to by the Empress. The entire crew of the Raza, sans Five, are captured and Ryo, after being found guilty of his father’s murder, sentenced to death.

The Android shows up in the nick of time to save her friends and Hiro, who shows up with Five, accuses his mother of murder and abdicates his throne. He names his brother Ryo as the real ruler of their people.

He then asks the lead “seer” Hansmeed, played by Daniel Fathers  to tell him what will happen next.  (It was the seers who almost foiled his plot..) Hansmeed predicts that the former empress will be exiled, Hiro will be placed on the cabinet and the seers will work as allies to Ryo.

Ryo tells the man he is wrong. Issuing an order, Misaki and her security force kill the empress, Hiro, and all the seers. Tetsuda puts on the royal ring and declares himself the new emperor.

Sucker.

Punch.

The rest of the Raza crew look on in shock. Cue end credits while the music plays out the episode.  Mad props to all the cast for killing it in these two episodes and as alluded to above, “Mssrs. Mallozzi and Mullie, we are not worthy…”

So far, this second season of Dark Matter has revealed so much more while deftly changing the direction of the show. Last year’s season finale was a shocker but it has paled compared to the events in this second helping of the show.

While the mind races trying to figure out the meaning of the last episode of season two “But First, We Save the Galaxy” the excitement of wondering where season three will lead us is almost too much to consider.

Dark Matter airs its season two finale next week on SyFy and Space. Do not miss this brilliant show’s concluding episode.

CAST:

Guest Starring  Ellen Wong  as Misaki Han-Shireikan  

Dark Matter: Take the Shot – Butterfly (Review)

Dark Matter - Season 2

Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie answer the question about  whether Androids dream in “Take the Shot.” Dark Matter this week had a splendid bit of misdirection that kept everyone guessing right till the end.

There was a brilliant nod to “Solaris” and perhaps a wink to Event Horizon as well.  Both films deal with people who were not really there and each had characters who could physically interact with these “visions.”

The storyline takes up where last week’s episode left off. The Android is in a nightgown and in a bedroom surrounded by a snowy forest.  This time the dream includes the other Android who offered  her the upgrade in episode four, Victor.

All of the dream takes place while The Android is on the charge pad.  When she wakes up, The Android tells Two about the dream.  She then tells the crew  of the Android “simulation” and about  her mistake.

Both the simulation and The Android act like Tweedledum and Tweedledee during the briefing. The quibbling between the two annoys Three and the rest of the crew are not keen on this behavior either.  Two talks about rebooting The Android and Three argues that would be tantamount to killing the robot.

The crew decide to put The Android back on the charge pad and she retreats into her world of dreams as her friends decide on what to do with her. The simulation does a system diagnostic.  Here is where the misdirection begins.

Once  The Android steps into the charger bay and closes her eyes, Four experiences flashing lights and sees someone walk past his door. It is Misaki Han-Shireikan and as the lights continue to flash in the Raza, Four follows the woman and they fight.

Misaki chastises Ryo for not helping his people. She also calls him a coward. Ryo protests that without his memory, he does not know who to trust.  Throughout the fight, Misaki is kicking Ryo’s arse and she ultimately wins the fight.  Ryo is left slumped on the floor having been run through with Misaki’s samurai sword.

We are as stunned as he is.

Two also has a “dream.” Rook’s technicians have caught up with  her on the Raza. They capture her and are about to torture her.  Five calls Six and asks him to check on their leader as she cannot contact her on the comms link.

Six takes Nyx and they find Two standing in a corridor. She is frozen in one spot and not responding.  When Six touches Two she attacks  and begins choking the life out of  him. In her mind, he is one of Rook’s men. Nyx knocks Two out.

Dark Matter - Season 2
Portia Lin stands transfixed by her vision

Three finds that Sarah (Natalie Brown) has returned from the dead.  The love of his life urges him to kill himself so they can be together.  Five asks Six to check on Three saving his life. 

(Three’s dream was interesting, and emotional, as he tries to take control. He realizes this cannot be real but his love is so deep for Sarah he almost kills himself.)

All these dreams take place while The Android is in her own dream.  The robot, however,  knows she is “dreaming”  and Victor attempts to convince her into staying in his world. He mentions Zhuangzi and his butterfly dream.  Is The Android dreaming of the Raza or is she really dreaming of Victor and his world.

Back on the ship the simulation android reveals that the ship is infected with a system virus. The hacked computer is taking over all functions. It is, says the simulation, The Android trying to take control of the Raza. The  program urges the crew to “kill” her “real” counterpart.

It also reveals that the dreams, or visions, were caused by the neural uplinks with the ship’s system. Two orders Four to erase the uplinks to prevent further issues.  The simulation android begins to pressure the crew to destroy The Android.

Five argues that The Android has not infected the ship nor would she try to harm them.  The robot has a loyalty not only to the crew but, as they learned in the parallel world, to Portia Lin for making her more human.

The simulation becomes strident in her commands to kill The Android.  Three, even after being told to “take the shot” cannot bring himself to pull the trigger.

Inside The Android’s dream she sees a news broadcast. A news anchor reads that the crew of the Raza are under attack and that the ship is helpless.  The robot makes the decision to leave her dream and save her friends.

The virus floods the Raza with a poisonous gas and all the crew, sans Two, head to the Marauder.  Two and The Android take on the simulation and the program tries to kill Two.  Five is the first person Two sees when she regains consciousness and the youngest Raza crew member has once again helped to save the Raza.

Dark Matter - Season 2

We learn that the parallel universe’s Truffaut infected the ship when the Raza crew stole their version of the blink drive.  It is interesting to note, that while Two and The Android defeated the virus and saved the ship and crew, it was Five, one again, who was the voice of reason.

This explanation rings true as all the affected were hit with their weaknesses.  Ryo for his guilt at leaving Zairon in turmoil, Portia’s fear of Rook and losing her power and Marcus’ love for Sarah.

Five is, despite being the youngest member of the crew, the “adult” in this scenario.  She often is the one crew member who stands up for what is right.

Initially the dreams or visions seem to be some sort of blowback from the other universe. Then the connection is made to The Android’s dreams. In the end,however,  it was the all powerful Commander Truffault from the alternate universe  who caused the dreams with her virus.  This was a brilliant look at bending reality and the effects it would have on this world’s crew.

Although, at the end of the episode, it is revealed that some blowback has indeed taken place. Ryo/Four, after seeing his other self ruling the Principality of Zairon, has not erased his brain implant. His vision and his guilt may prompt him to return and reclaim his throne.

It appears that this Raza crew may lose Ryo as well. Will he talk his shipmates into helping him regain his throne? More importantly, will he be able to after getting back his old memory.

Dark Matter airs Fridays on SyFy and Space.  Tune in and see what happens to the crew of the Raza next.

CAST:

Guest Starring Brendan Murray as Victor and Ellen Wong  as Misaki Han-Shireikan  

Killjoys: How to Kill Friends and Influence People – Season Finale (Review)

 Killjoys - Season 2

Killjoys has really shaken things up in their season finale.  “How to Kill Friends and Influence People” kills off at least one long term character, if not two.  At long last, we learn why Khlyen wants Dutch to kill Aneela, his real daughter.  The true offspring of Khlyen is madder than  a box of frogs and dangerous with it.

This season has seen the death of Pawter Simms and now we see the man that Dutch loves to hate die;   done in by his own hand.  This sacrifice play makes his death a heart breaking affair. There is also another character that we love to hate, Seyah Kendry, who may be taking a dirt nap as well. (Although Seyah was still breathing when last seen in that Old Town alleyway.)

For an episode that ends on such a downer;  Khlyen dead, Seyah dying and Johnny heading off with Clara (Stephanie Leonidas),  and  Alice her weaponized arm, there are a number of amusing moments.

(There is even a “Wilhelm Scream” in the scene where D’Avin and Fancy Lee face off the bank’s security guards.)

Killjoys continues the brilliant repartee between Lucy and Johnny. D’Avin uses Level Six Fancy Lee as a human shield, “Human shield b*tches.”  Dutch fights off the lion’s share of bank guards while Khlyen watches and Lucy gets very upset at the black goo  spilt on her decks.

In terms of action, “How to Kill Friends and Influence People” is chock a block with some great sequences. Johnny has an epic fight with two Black Root fighters and Dutch and Khlyen with those extra guards.  D’Av and Fancy Lee also take out their fair share of guards. Each reluctantly admiring the other’s work.

Alongside this change in direction which results in a splitting up of the team and the destruction of some of the green plasma, there is a bit of backstory. We learn why Khlyen zeroed in on his “little bird” and why Aneela went stark raving mad when she encountered the plasma. (She was too young.)

Khlyen develops a plasma “vaccine” which will kill the green stuff and not only free Old Town but will take out a slew of Level Six soldiers.  He and the Killjoys head off to find the source of the plasma. Destroying that will kill the remaining green goo on Arkyn.

Dutch finds the tree after ripping a page from Alvis’ book. The holes in the page work as a star map. The Killjoys find the tree and kill the source, using Khlyen as the delivery system.  The death of the Level Six upsets Dutch and she is comforted by Johnny.

Killjoys - Season 2
Dutch and Alvis

The destruction of the goo “cures” Fancy Lee and he is no longer a Level Six. Johnny and Lucy say goodbye after he shoots Seyah Kendry and Dutch believes that Aneela is still alive.  She plans to start a full fledged war and defeat all the Level Six’s.

This was a cracking end to the second season of Killjoys. It was a culmination of what makes the series work so well.  A touch of comedy, plenty of action and sudden shocking death.

The death of Khlyen means that the splendid Rob Stewart will no longer be part of the show, except for the possibility of flashbacks.  Stewart is a personal favorite so hopefully there will be plenty of walks down memory lane in season three.

Delle Seyah Kendry may not be dead.  Johnny shot her in the abdomen at close range but…

The woman is too strong to die so easily. Our last glimpse of the Qresh noblewoman in that alleyway shows the beginning of a smile.  She may yet survive to plague the Killjoys and hunt down her attacker Johnny Jaqobis.

As for John, it will be hard to imagine Lucy without her in-resident nerd.  These two have been brilliant this season. Tamsen McDonough  brought levels of depth to Lucy in season two  that  resulted in the character becoming more than human and touchingly funny. 

Season three will presumably focus on the battle between Dutch and Aneela, at least according to show creator Michelle Lovretta who said as much in an interview with  blastr.com.

Killjoys - Season 2
Aneela

Killjoys ended on a somber note but the possibilities are wide open for next season. Johnny with a new sidekick and Dutch declaring war on the entire Quad  means that this should get  even more  interesting.

CAST:

Guest starring   Mayko Nguyen as Seyah Kendry

Dark Matter: Going Out Fighting – Do Androids Dream? (Review)

 Dark Matter - Season 2

What a rollercoaster ride “Going Out Fighting” was. Four and Nyx having sex, Three knowing about it,   Rook returning, Two dying,  Six saving Three’s life again and that scary-arsed thing inside of Three. Dark Matter managed to provide enough adrenaline fueled terror inside that stasis pod to last the whole season. But what about The Android? Was that a dream there at the end?

After last week’s collapse of Two, it was a foregone conclusion that Rook was going to make another appearance. (Of course it was signposted back in episode 204 “We Were Family” when the Dwarf Star Technologies station was sketched.) The smarmy villain that we love to loathe proved to be just as horrible as the first time he appeared.

The main story line was of Portia’s attempt to replace the nanites in her system.  There is an underlying thread of Ryo/Four becoming fixated with returning to his home The Principality of Zairon.  After learning of his parallel self ruling Zairon, Four has been watching reports of what transpires there.

He knows that without his previous memories he cannot return to rule. This may cause further problems for the skilled fighter.

Portia has a “tune up” performed by The Android so she can ascend the elevator to Dwarf Star Labs.  It is temporary and if she does not get “fixed” properly she will die.  Six and Three team up to help infiltrate the lab. Using retinal scan tech, the two men accompany lab technician Eric Waver (Jonas Chernick) to retrieve new nanites. 

Sadly, Eric is dispatched  after Rook catches the three men stealing the nanites. Three and Six are taken prisoner and Three has some tentacled thing put into him…

Two meets “Portia 2.0” who is, interestingly enough a male this time around, stronger better and more silent than she is.  He matter-of-factly kicks Two’s butt and when Nyx joins the fray, defeats her quickly as well. He is about to kill her when Four intercedes with some well placed bullets and a thorough skewering with his samurai sword.

Portia dies.

Three is acting strangely since being introduced the the boxed thing while Rook was questioning him and does not react to Two’s death. Six takes blood from Portia 2.0 and injects into the dead woman. It brings her back to life. The new and improved nanites start work immediately repairing and replacing the old ones.

Dark Matter - Season 2
Three, aka Marcus Boone

Back on the Raza,  Three is tampering with the ship when Six confronts him.  Three goes for his gun but is shot by Two.  They  put him in a holding cell and when Three wakes up, he begins  an alien sounding roar until he is shot by Two, again.

The crew put him in a stasis pod and the thing inside Three starts pouring out of him and gathering on the transparent lid of the device.  They move the pod near an air lock and after pulling Three free, space the creature left inside the pod.

Three is “cured” but The Android has an odd look on her face. She tells the crew she will be  charging. Shortly after, The Android is shown waking up on a bed, wearing a nightgown, and there is a snowy wooded vista behind her. Is she dreaming?

First of all, “Dark Matter”  reached new heights of fear in this episode. The black liquid escaping from Three, while making that unearthly scream, was damn near terrifying. (For some reason, it brought to mind The Thing, and that made it even scarier.)

In retrospect, it is unclear what was more frightening:  The idea of the tentacle, the possession of Three by the intelligent, and screaming, thing that came streaming out of Boone in the pod or the fact that it turned the man into a ren sleep puppet.

Secondly, the odd behavior of The Android brings up a lot of questions.  Is the scene at the end prompted by her new “upgrade?”  Was it related to whatever the possessed Three was doing?  Or was it triggered by using the blink drive after tinkering with it again.

The last theory seems a good fit.  Could  there be an Android in another parallel universe that is a nightgown wearing gal who has a dynamite bedroom? Or is this a world where The Android is a “real girl?” (Sorry could not resist the Pinocchio reference.)

While the blink theory is a favorite it does seem more probable that the upgrade is the real culprit here. The Android has been slightly “off” since the software was installed.  Her stealing Five’s hot chocolate, while funny, was another sign that things are not quite right here.

Lastly: Do androids dream? If they do in this verse, it is not of electric sheep but king sized beds in a lavish bedroom…

Dark Matter continues to flow smoothly into new territory, with the odd jolt of characters dying or changing dramatically. While Six seems more like his “old self,”  The Android is entering a new phase. This evolution of the quirky character should be more than a little interesting.

Dark Matter - Season 2
The Android. Evolution, metamorphosis, or something else?

The series airs Fridays on SyFy and Space.  Do not miss this brilliant show as it offers more in one episode than other shows provide in an entire season.

CAST:

Guest Starring Wil Wheaton as Rook