The idea of a derelict ship containing a deadly virus is hardly new in science fiction, but Dark Matter executed the trope beautifully in “Episode Five.” With new mysteries to unravel and the continued pressure that comes from a lack of resources, the show has reached its comfort zone in spite of (or perhaps because of) its claustrophobic setting. The key to this episode’s success, and by extension that of the season so far, are the puzzle pieces it places before the audience with subtle grace. As long as the show continues to play on this strength, the sometimes all-too-familiar scenarios will likely serve to highlight the more intriguing details.
The most important of these would seem to be the infection and subsequent recovery of Two. The partially destroyed ship the team has been sent to salvage had visited a research facility attempting to create an immortality drug from the cell structure of long-lived trees. Instead of discovering the fountain of youth, a deadly pathogen was created that made its way onto the Far Horizon, turning its crew into cannabalistic zombies. When Two failed to show symptoms and revealed a completely healed bite wound, I definitely got chills! What could it mean?
When combined with Five’s mysterious circuit board, the existence of which she only shared with the Android, some interesting possibilities arise. Putting aside the fact that the part was found near the dead boy (another enigma from an earlier episode, on the shelf for now), its apparent use is as part of a machine used to access pockets of inter-dimensional space. Could our heroes be from a parallel universe? Would that explain the two Jase Corsos, for example, and provide an oblique reasoning for Two’s immunity and accelerated healing?
Obviously, I could be in the land of crackpot theories here, but the fact that Dark Matter is raising these questions in me is a great sign. Speculation is an excellent fuel for viewer interest. Questions like: who is the crew’s overbearing employer, played by Stargate alum, David Hewlett? And what’s really behind that big door anyway? Now that the secret vault is known to the whole Raza crew, what steps will be taken to crack its alphanumeric password, lost along with their memories?
As some members of the crew suggest, the vault might contain valuable resources the team needs, and for several weeks now, they’ve had to make sacrifices to keep their ship running. I love this “dwindling supplies” dynamic, which worked well in both Battlestar Galactica and Stargate Universe. With another failed mission this week, will they have to resort to piracy, as Three suggests?
And speaking of Three, why on earth did he turn down a roll in the hay with Two? Not to mention: is Two really that desperate? The relationships and characters have really strengthened the foundation of this show, and with mysteries building on top, Dark Matter is headed in the right direction. Even One has resolved not to be pushed around by Three knowing the secret of his other self!
I’m on board, Dark Matter. Take us to FTL.