Dark Matter: Season Three Catch Up – All the Time in the World (Review)

DARK MATTER -- "All the Time In the World" Episode 304 -- Pictured: Zoie Palmer as The Android -- (Photo by: Stephen Scott/Dark Matter Series 3/Syfy)

Despite missing the boat a bit (or in this case “the Raza”) we have done a bit of binging to catch up on all that has transpired in season three of Dark Matter. A lot has happened since the explosive finale of season two with everything reaching dizzying heights of excitement and more than a touch of mystery in “All the Time in the World.”

Season three has rung in some amazing, as well as disturbing, changes in this world we have all grown to love. There have been losses. Nyx is dead and Six, aka Kal Varrik, has left the Raza to stay and guide a revolution. Two new crew members are on board – and Shockley’s interaction with Marcus (Three) provided one of the funniest moments in episode 4 “Deal! Ahhhhh!” while Ryo has shown that underneath all that cold exterior there beats the heart of a lover.

Episode four takes a now familiar plot line (a temporal time loop – aka “Groundhog Day”) and stands it on its head. Three, Marcus Boone, is reliving the same day over and over. More importantly, he has been doing it for some time.

We are allowed to see only a small portion of this repeat cycle – to hilarious effect – and this adds to the riff on this plot device. Initially this loop affects only Boone, who is rebooted when he sleeps or when Shockley knocks him out. Later it also affects Adrian and even later The Android.

It is The Android who manages to steal the show full stop with her mind numbing, and, in places, damned terrifying, five second trip into the past. The journey takes the robot to some dark and disturbing scenarios one of which entails The Android being told solemnly that the scientist who has dissected her is not a monster – while she looks at the various body parts removed and placed by her side.

Lemke, who shines in this episode more than most, does what he does best; he acts his little cotton socks off…effortlessly. Straight-faced and completely serious he faces his own personal Groundhog Day with an aplomb that speaks volumes about this man’s talents.

Stand Out Moment:

Marcus trying to remember the name of the particle accelerator and getting the name wrong repeatedly after each reboot. “Reboot…Sh*t!”

Other Matters:

Palmer manages to keep up with Lemke throughout. She does, however, speed past her costar with ease in that short and upsetting montage with her very short trip down memory lane.

(Kudos to Ferland in those last moments of that five second trip. Her aged and creepy Five, complete with milky eyes that dart suspiciously as she tells The Android to destroy the device, is top notch and a throwback to those old days when creepy kids were her forte.)

Mallozzi and Mullie have managed to ring in the changes with scary ease. They have taken an almost stock plot in this latest episode and managed to make it new. I found myself second guessing (incorrectly) throughout  and was completely surprised at the end to find that what caused the loop fell outside of my list of choices completely.

Final Thoughts:

There are indications this season that the blink drive from season two may be the spanner in the works that upsets everything. It has clearly  introduced parallel worlds, or at least parallel lives and times. The “jumps” made by The Android provokes a number of questions about the verse and its temporal stability in general.

The biggest question, of course,  being whether or not the original crew of the Raza are not still working together in another dimension. A verse where One is not dead at all and Ryo (Four) has not gone against his comrades.

Dark Matter is still addictive television and, along with Killjoys, one of the best things about SyFy on Fridays. Despite this shows move into a dark and more disturbing direction this season, Dark Matter still has the ability to make me laugh and cry; often at the same time.

 

CAST:

Guest Starring:   Ellen Wong  as Misaki Han-Shireikan,  Torri Higginson as Commander Truffault, Natalie Brown as Sarah

The Expanse: Godspeed – Eros Shrugs (Review)

The Expanse - Season 2

The Expanse “Godspeed” manages yet again to make blood pressure levels rise as the Nauvoo is launched toward Eros and the Roci responds hostilely to another ship found to be attached to the space station. Chrisjen outmaneuvers the deputy secretary and Julie Mao’s father and despite the best laid plans of Col. Johnson, and the OPA belters, Eros shrugs its way out of the Nauvoo’s path.

This episode manages to put enough suspense in the last few moments of the destruction of Eros that it turns into a nail biting exercise. Miller’s decision to die while  holding the damaged explosive device and its timer was enough to keep everyone on the edge of their seat.

The action building up to the move to blow Eros into a million little pieces of protomolecule space debris shows the mechanization behind stopping a war and the decision to control the spread of the new life form.

Chrisjen shows once again what a masterful games person she is. Deftly playing Jules-Pierre Mao against Deputy Secretary Errinwright. She does such a good job that later in the episode Mao reveals to his accomplice Sadavir Errinwright that she knows they are working together.

Mao cuts off the partnership after telling Sadavir that he is too concerned with his own governmental position to be useful.

Miller has convinced Col. Johnson to destroy the Eros using the Mormon “ark” Nauvoo.  The two eject the religious denizens and using the OPA troops outfit the ship and set it up for blast off.

Meanwhile Diogo and Miller are put together, along with more Belters, to help the Eros to detonate with some well placed explosive devices. The former cop and the lad who sold water before still have that fluctuating love/hate relationship.

When Miller opts to stay behind and manually blow up the last device however, it is clear that Diogo’s estimation of the ex cop has gone up considerably.

As Holden and his crew oversee the operation they find  another ship tethered to the Eros. A group of medical personnel have landed, they say, to offer aid to the suffering people on the stricken space station.

The leader of the group recognizes that the Roci is a Martian vessel and thinks that Holden and his crew are Martians. Holden tries to bluff the man into leaving.

Miller finds one of the medical staff from the ship in an airlock on Eros. The man has been infected with the protomolecule and now Holden must stop the medical ship from not only transmitting what they have found but stop them from leaving.

With a threat of more contamination from the medical crew, Holden blasts the other ship into oblivion.

Even with the slow build up to the final moments of “Godspeed” the ending, with the slow near miss of the Nauvoo and the realization that the Eros space station dodged the collision, was tight and darn near exhausting to watch.

After getting set to see Miller self destruct via the explosion of Eros, it was surprising to see him get a reprieve. (It was also a surprise to see Holden and his  crew ready to risk their lives to save Miller.)

The Expanse has managed to continue on the same vein as season one. It intrigues, entertains and sets the pulse racing in the quiet of space. The protomolecule has clearly moved the space station out of  harm’s way and it is, apparently, getting stronger and more intelligent by the moment.

The series airs Wednesdays on SyFy. Tune in and catch this popular and addictive show about Belters, Martians and folks from Earth all on the  edge of going to war while a new life form threatens everyone’s existence.

Cast:

Face Off: All Stars ‘Snow Queens’ – Snowflakes (Review)

Face Off - Season 11

This week’s challenge borrows from “Narnia” and “Once Upon a Time” to present a theme of Snow Queens. The Face Off All Stars come to the lab to find that while it may not rain in Southern California, it can snow. At least with the aid of McKenzie Westmore and the magic of Hollywood.

The group are pretty excited by the snow, some of them, like Emily Serpico have never seen the white stuff in real life so feelings were pretty amped even before McKenzie dropped the challenge on the group. She explained how each queen would be based upon a snowflake hidden in the snow and that they only had two days to create their frozen masterpiece.

Before the design phase though a spirited snowball fight was in order and Keaghlan Ashely almost lost her trousers after an attack. One contestant who did not want to get involved with the cold wet stuff was Gage Hubbard who made threats if any snowball came in contact with him.

After the over exuberant battle the design work began with each team coming up with a cross section of creations that included, dark, evil and one vision “under ice.”

It was then time to shift into the sculpting phase. Ben and Evan have issues as it seems that each team member is sculpting to a different design. Ben is worried. This “disconnect” has caused both men to question their approach.

Michael Westmore comes in and dispenses advice. Telling one team beware of using too much ice cracking for fear of making the model look like a jigsaw puzzle. Michael tells another team to leave out the teeth and yet another to be careful of the weight of their cowl.

The teams move on to the molding phase. Gage and Rachael opt for a lighted icicles feature. Niko and Cat have their work cut out for them as they both are not overly skilled in fabrication. And Emily admits that she has never seen “The Breakfast Club” much to the amusement of her fellow All Stars. This prompts everyone to try and find out just how many “iconic” films she has not seen.

She finally snaps, “No. Shut up,”  when asked about “The Lost Boys.”

Face Off - Season 11
Emily Serpico

One new technique used a lot in this challenge was the vacu-form process.  This went toward making icicles and a snow queen scepter. Logan and Adam have a molding crisis when their cowl cracks in the back. Despite the chance of leakage, the two opt for silicone for that translucent look.

Cat realizes that the quick turnaround time of the challenge is making her start to second guess her decisions.

On application day the models arrive and Keaghlan is pleased with the work that she and Melissa have done so far. Stig and Evan have to work overtime to get the paint sorted before applying that translucent silicone face piece.

Ben is still worried about their creation though and when the time has ended for application Evan is concerned that they have not done any of the required makeup. This means that their work in last looks will be intensified.

At the end, Niko is worried that their creation may not work as well as he and Cat anticipated.

Face Off - Season 11
Glenn Hetrick, Ve Neill, Neville Page

After the judges had a closer look at the creations Logan and Adam, Keaghlan and Melissa, Cat and Niko and Emily and Tyler were the best and the worst this week. Everyone else went backstage as the four teams were questioned by the judges.

All three judges loved what Adam and Logan did with there creation and the stencil effects. Cat and Niko did not fare well at all in their cross examination while Emily and Tyler blew the judges away with their design and its execution.

Keaghlan and Melissa’s creation sent mixed signals to the judges who felt it looked too masculine. The judges then went on to discuss their findings. Clearly Adam and Logan as fell as Emily and Tyler were neck and neck favorites.

At the end of the debate, Emily and Tyler were the clear winners with a makeup and design that reached heights of the sublime. As Ve Neill said earlier the creation could have walked right on to a film set.

Sadly, Cat and Niko let the side down with their “uninspired” choice of using the Statue of Liberty as their template. Although Glenn mentioned that their work is usually much better this time around their decision got them sent home.

Emily and Tyler now have immunity for the next challenge.

Face Off - Season 11
McKenzie Westmore

Face Off: All Stars airs Tuesdays on SyFy.

 

 

 

 

 

The Expanse: Static – Becoming (Review)

The Expanse - Season 2

The Expanse “Static” sees Miller ostracized for killing Dresden, Holden is furious and kicks the former cop off the ship. The Earth votes to destroy the Martian moon and does so. Lives lost are not overwhelming and Mars has not yet responded with violence.

The one scientist left after Dresden’s death,  Cortazar, eventually explains exactly what was going on with regards with Eros. The protomolecule is, according to the sociopath scientist, “becoming.” He also seems to indicate that Julie Mao, despite all appearances to the contrary, may not really be dead.

She is still haunting Miller, he saw a live and unsullied Mao in the mirror as he started cutting his hair.

Avasarala commits treason, as does Col. Johnson, with her attempt to stop the upcoming war, which will encompass Earth, Mars and the Belters, and the two strange bedfellows work well together. Frederick responds to Chrisjen’s call for help despite being threatened with death.

Meanwhile Alex has loaded up the battle into the simulator. His guilt over loosing 25 combatants in the pod keeps him re-fighting the battle over and over. Each time Alex tries to save the pod the ship is destroyed.

Holden and Naomi get closer and deal with the completed mission differently. Miller is adopted by the belters and he starts searching for ways to destroy the protomolecule completely.

In a disturbing development, the young belter who was shot in the face with a paintball in the prior episode, music has been made based upon the noises made by the protomolecule as it takes over its human host. Miller and Johnson become allies.

The ex cop explains that he killed the scientist because he was starting to make sense.

 The Expanse airs Thursdays on SyFy.

Cast:

Guest starring Carlos Gonzalez-Vio as Cortazar

Face Off: All Stars ‘Monster High’ – Mattel (Review)

 Face Off - Season 11

Face Off: All Stars this week is all about Mattel and their doll based animation franchise “Monster High.” The game’s company is thinking of expanding the universe into life action and the contestants on the show will have the challenge of creating life versions of the dolls.

This week the series judges; Glenn Hetrick, Ve Neill and Neville Page were conspicuous in their absence.  Due to the challenge and the uniqueness of the application, the creations were rated instead by a focus group. These uber fans of “Monster High” all critiqued the final designs.

McKenzie Westmore was joined by Natasha Berling (vice president for “High” designs) who briefed the contestants on the challenge. Later Natasha helped present the winning team with a round up of what they had won.

Design Phase:

Two designers stop by and help out the teams. They provide some insight on the character’s portrayed by each doll. George and Cig are at a huge disadvantage as they know nothing about Monster High.

Adam and Logan have some difficulties with their choice, the abominable snowman’s daughter, and immediately have issues. A lack of conceptualization is the first problem they encounter, despite a helping hand from the designer.

Sculpting Phase:

Adam and Logan are still having real issues with their choice. Both men decide to add simian features, which results in the design losing its cute factor. Logan says that he is really looking forward to any advice that Michael Westmore can send their way.

Unfortunately, Michael’s guidance shakes the team’s confidence and Logan considers redoing the sculpt from scratch. This is what he ends up doing and while it sets the two men back in terms of time they do not do that badly.

Application Phase:

Keaghlan Ashley and Melissa Ebbe have to take off the face mold that they developed for their character. It is a last minute decision that means the team have to rush and use paint and makeup to create their doll’s face.

Judging:

All of the contestants are stunned to find that a focus group will be judging their creations.  On the plus side, each team watch the process from  backstage. The group looks at their work, up close, and then sit down and discuss with McKenzie and Natasha what they did and did not like.

At the end of the episode, the two men who admitted that they had no idea about the franchise or any of the dolls that make up “Monster High” actually won the challenge. George Troester III and Cig Neutron also managed to pull of beauty makeup on their design. This was something else that they knew little to nothing about.

Amusingly they practiced putting eye makeup on one another. Their concept bowled over the focus group and Natasha Berling. The winners of this week’s competition got a special prize. This bonus include dolls from the “High” franchise.

George looked into the camera and stated emphatically that he would be playing with the toys that he and Cig won in this competition.

Emily Serpico, easily the most excited of all the contestants about this challenge, and her team partner did well and it was fun to see her enthusiasm Keaghlan and Melissa were also quite pleased with this week’s contest despite their last minute decision to remove the face piece.

George and Cig now have immunity for the next challenge.

Face Off: All Stars airs Tuesdays on SyFy.