Dark Matter: Episode Nine review

Despite a lackluster continuation of Four’s story, Dark Matter explores the issues of identity and family with amazing aptitude.

This Dark Matter review contains spoilers.

I’m not sure when I stopped caring about the specifics of Four’s back story, and I guess it’s not accurate to say I’m disinterested in it entirely. Perhaps it’s because there’s so much more being shown of Four’s tale than that of any of his shipmates, which makes it feel imbalanced. Maybe the Japanese stereotypes like the samurai armor and the talk of emperors has painted the revenge tale with too broad a stroke.

But most likely it’s because I care more about finding out other secrets and exploring far more interesting themes.

For instance, Four’s unexpected departure from the group brought up a question that’s been lingering in the background: how much do these people really owe each other? Two’s been talking about honesty and trust without revealing her own secret, but she has a point when she says no one else will be looking out for them besides each other. Until all the facts are on the table, their most solid position comes from circling the wagons and developing a strategy while trying to survive.

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Two’s conversation with One about his discovery last week that he assumed Jase Corso’s indentity to exact revenge on his wife’s killer serves to prove this point. It also brings to the surface the question of identity; who are they really? Are they the people they were before or the product of the deeds they perform since the memory wipe? Three may have a clearer idea of their true relationship: One is one point ahead in the unspoken competition of saving each other’s lives. Isn’t that the true measure of reliability, dependence, and trust?

Another great illustration of this concept is The Android, who has embarked on a quest to discover why she’s been acting irrationally and emotionally. When presenting Three with the option of erasing herself and starting over, he once again has the most logical concept of how to proceed: deal with the robot you know, the one that exists now. Anything else would just be a headache. He’s right!

Who’d have thought I’d agree with a jerk like Three? I mean, the guy cried while reading Charlotte’s Web; how bad can he be? The only other person who seems to get it is Five. Her desire to be a part of the crew even after finding out she was a stowaway that had nothing to do with the Raza gets at the heart of the issue. Six may find his purpose by concentrating his anger on the general he failed to kill, but his identity shouldn’t be defined only by his guilt. His family on the ship matters.

And that, of course, is the conclusion Four comes to in the end as well, despite being completely scary about his laser focus on regaining the throne. His true family came to his rescue, and he regrets having left without telling them. Cool fight scenes notwithstanding, I could have done without the rehashing of the evil stepmother, overbearing father story, but the purpose was served.

The payoff was the final scene, and my hopes are high for some honest-to-goodness world-building as the galaxy-spanning corporations come back into play. Ferrous Corp would no doubt be seeking its revenge from early in the season, and I’m thankful to see them return to set up next week’s episode. Whatever follows will be a test of the “family” concept this episode explored, and it’s a great opportunity for Dark Matter to shine. Let’s hope the writers take full advantage of it.

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4 out of 5