This review contains spoilers for the most recent episode.
Can one character’s mystery be superior to another’s in Dark Matter? They’ve all got their secrets: One stole the appearance of another mercenary; Five stowed away aboard the Raza; and Six is bent on revenge against his terrorist former leader. Aside from The Android’s unexplained emotions, though, none can measure up to Two’s mysterious healing ability, which has kept me guessing for several episodes now. The Raza leader’s victory in Episode Eleven was spectacular to say the least, and it was merely the highlight in an otherwise quite enjoyable story.
As the second half of the heist plotline from last week, the drama did not let up for a second as Two’s shocking expulsion from the airlock devastated her companions. Jodelle Ferland, who plays the young Five, does a particularly good job showing her grief, and her character really shows her strength this week. Despite being completely honest to a fault with her captors, she’s ultimately able to secure a gun and actually defeat the enemy firsthand. I was happy to see her take this step away from the sidelines.
Her cooperation with the mysteriously resurrected Two was satisfying on many levels, not the least of which were the amazing fight scenes for television newcomer, Melissa O’Neil, who displays admirable talent in combat choreography as Two. But the best part: the women rescuing the men! As One gave voice to the stereotypes of many sci-fi shows, with their damsels in distress and their swashbuckling spacefarers, the irony of his delirious call to arms for the “men of Raza” was not lost.
I appreciated other character moments in the vault as well. The same hypoxia that inspired One’s speech also brought him tantalizingly close to telling Three the secret of his revenge motivation for stealing Jace Corso’s identity. On the flip side of that, Three’s feelings for Two were clearly apparent, and I’m definitely enjoying the depth of emotion hidden inside the biggest merc-jerk on the ship.
The rival team of thieves was appropriately malicious although predictably short-sighted. Keeping the prisoners in a vault with limited air when the idea was to keep them alive seemed an odd choice (not to mention the spacing of Two in the first place), even with the leverage it temporarily gave the gang’s leader in the end. I did like the use of the power coupling repair as a callback to an earlier, less enjoyable episode; in fact, it strengthened the previous storyline as a foreshadowing of this episode’s events.
But it all boils down to Two’s undeniably intriguing development. Her reappearance in the airlock was no less surprising even though some may have expected or at least anticipated it, and the protective nannite layer that covered her skin was a very cool effect. The mistrust of her shipmates that sprung from learning her very unusual secret should make for an interesting new dynamic on board, and Two may share their trepidation anyway given her callous spacing of the rival gang leader. She professes that she’s better than these common criminals, but is she all that different? I love such journeys of discovery.
And that’s really what Dark Matter is: a peeling back of layers of questions and revealing answers that contain new mysteries. As the show concludes with a two-hour finale next week, presumably following the aftermath of the destroyed planet, it certainly has proven itself as a series that can command attention and deliver well-paced story arcs in spite of its shortcomings (and it does still have those). What secrets will carry over into next season, assuming there is one? Join the speculation in the comments area below.