This Dark Matter review contains spoilers.
Dark Matter Season 2, Episode 1
In the space of one episode, Dark Matter has broadened the scope of its world to a greater extent than in the whole of season 1. That’s not to say that the drama onboard the Raza wasn’t compelling; it just didn’t adequately give a sense of the complexity of the universe in which the nameless crew was operating. By separating the team into different storylines and bringing their non-number names to the forefront, “Welcome to Your New Home” initiated a satisfying new direction for season 2 while still picking up right where the story left off.
A refresher course in the previous season might be warranted for some viewers, but Six gave a nice synopsis for his motivations in taking his team down. Now called Kal Varrick of the Galactic Authority’s Special Investigations Unit, Six stayed true to his overdeveloped sense of justice in bringing the criminal element of the Raza crew to the prison moon. Even though it’s hard not to agree with Five’s assessment of his betrayal as going against his own family, the fact that One was spared incarceration because of his true identity’s apparent innocence spoke well of Six’s intentions.
In fact, One’s immediate acceptance as Derrick Moss, corporate heir, characterizes perfectly a new theme for Dark Matter’s second season: taking responsibility for one’s identity, reinvented or not. His suspicions that Marcus Boone (a.k.a. Three) was not actually guilty of his wife’s murder is perhaps not entirely surprising given what we learned of Three’s past in season 1, but there’s clearly something fishy about the company’s CEO. And, of course, the biggest surprise of the episode centered around Jace Corso’s return, perhaps to take One’s place as a true criminal that should be on Hyperion 8 with the rest of the Raza prisoners.
The prison plot is, after all, the most intriguing of the various storylines. Whether it’s the corrupt culture of the inmates and guards or the caper possibilities involved in a prison break attempt, the prospect of Two, Three, and Four working together is quite enticing. Although it’s puzzling why there’s a virtual “yard” interface in solitary confinement, the technology was cool, and the new character of Nyx Harper is a nice kick-ass counterpoint (ally or foe?) to Portia Lin (a.k.a. Two).
And what a tantalizing side plot there was for the Android (can she get a name, too, please?)! The analysis of anomalies in her programming and personality matrix became one of the most enduring mysteries last season, and it’s good to see that hasn’t fallen by the wayside. Her willingness to sacrifice herself and her reluctance to cooperate with the GA is one of the more curious and entertaining aspects of this premiere episode. A short subplot, but a good one.
The other big question mark that gets this season off to a powerful start comes with the character of Commander Shaddick, played by Run Lola Run and The Bourne Identity alum, Franka Potente. This is a recurring role that excites plenty of anticipation for what the GA will uncover in its investigation of the explosion on Iriden 3, the theft of the white hole technology, and the Raza crew’s role in all of it. The corporatocracy in the Dark Matter universe is one of its strengths that bears further exploration, and the Mikkei Combine/Ferrous Corp rivalry that motivated the heist will make great story fodder this year.
It will also be interesting to see how and when Five’s key to the pocket universe comes up this year, and there’s still the mysterious man who ordered the Raza crew’s death because they knew too much about Two’s bioengineered origins. But enduring mysteries are what Dark Matter is best at, and the pleasantly diverse set of stories for the show’s 7 heroes is a wonderful start to a new season of puzzles to solve.