This Dark Matter review contains spoilers.
Dark Matter Season 2, Episode 11 & 12
On the surface, there’s not much that connects “Wish I’d Spaced You When I Had the Chance” with “Sometimes In Life You Don’t Get to Choose,” this week’s pair of Dark Matter episodes that comprise the penultimate lead-in to the finale. However, while there was an air of inevitability around events like Kierkan’s return or Ryo’s coup, intriguing threads of character details were woven throughout the exciting and suspenseful narrative that enriched and deepened the stories being told. Few shows do these little moments quite as skillfully as Dark Matter.
Nowhere was this combination of natural storytelling and character depth more noticeable than with the tale of Three and Five falling prey to a nasty clan of backwater-planet ruffians. It almost seems surprising that the scrappy but ultimately vulnerable Five hasn’t been captured before this, but when it finally happened, its obviousness felt undeniably right rather than predictable. It made total sense that she’d get grabbed, and of course she’d find a way to fight back, however futile. But it was still enjoyable to see it played out as it should.
Add to it the sour fruit prank, the coms being unavailable, and Three’s brutally efficient rescue, and you’ve got the perfect formula for close-quarters bonding. Viewers most likely noticed the mention of five family members with only four dispatched, but the tension caused by the wounding of Three was the perfect vehicle for Five to step to the fore. And how perfect was her seeing right through Three’s attempt to make her leave by insulting and hurting her? It made the eventual rescue all that more triumphant.
It took a moment to realize why Three allowed Kierkan to keep his clone’s memories of the failed attempt to bring the Raza crew to justice while destroying the drone that took his testimony. The expert deduction skills of the Galactic Authority investigator make him an interesting character, and it’s certain he will return for another try. But now he knows that Truffault, Mikkei, and Traugott are involved, and perhaps he will at some point be won over by the truth behind the Iriden 3 disaster.
The first hour also delivered insightful glimpses into the redemption of Six and the dilemma of Four wanting his memories back. Although Six is still one of the most underused characters in the show, it was nice to see him back in the Marauder’s pilot seat. On the one hand, it makes sense that trust was not won back too easily, but on the other hand, it’s high time for him to rejoin the fold. Four, though, is on a whole different journey which requires the restoration of his memories: a nice transition into the second episode of the night.
His path back to Zairon was just as inevitable if not moreso than the actions of the previous storyline. Reclaiming the throne was a given; it was the how and when that kept it on the back burner. A successful coup required knowing whom to trust, and only Ryo’s memories could provide that. As many doubts as the Android may have had about her decision to help Four regain his lost self, who could blame her? Two admirably didn’t.
The subtlety of his transformation, though, caused a pleasant dissonance in the viewer’s perception. Some, like Five and Nyx, did not like the change, while others, like Six, may not have noticed much difference. What really stood out in the end were the smiles, an expression rarely seen on Four’s face. And despite the massacre at his hands, he still showed compassion for the Android and gave her a clue to her own past and why she was made different – magnificent!
The involvement of the Seers in Ryo’s initial failure to regain the throne was a nice twist, although in retrospect it should have been obvious. It was also extremely satisfying to see the stepmother’s confession, subsequent rise to power, and eventual fall at Hiro’s admonition. Another nice touch was the reminiscence between Ryo and Misaki, which emphasized both the change in Four’s personality and the surprising emotions their now-shared memories brought to bear.
Perhaps the Seers couldn’t predict Ryo choosing to kill them all along with his betrayers and — shockingly — his beloved stepbrother because their predictive model was based on Four rather than Ryo Tetsuda. Certainly the viewers and the Raza crew would have hoped for a more peaceful ascent to the throne. One could have almost hoped for Six’s idea for using the blink drive to bring down the corrupt GA and the warring corporations could come to fruition with the help of Zairon forces.
It could still happen, but as unlikely a happy ending as that may be, it leaves viewers wondering what might happen in the finale. Given the episode title, which will not be spoiled here, it definitely seems like Two might take Six’s advice to heart – but how? And who will be the main opponent in the final battle? Truffault? Kierkan? Rook? The finale, like the rest of the series, will surely defy expectations while still brilliantly following its unwaveringly logical narrative path to a tee. It wouldn’t be Dark Matter if it didn’t.