This Dark Matter review contains spoilers.
Dark Matter Season 3, Episode 1: Being Better Is Much Harder
Dark Matter Season 3, Episode 2: It Doesn’t Have To Be Like This
The return of Dark Matter for season 3 could have easily been the 14th episode of season 2, so seamless was the transition. However, although the action surrounding the sabotage at the multi-corporate summit will certainly have its consequences in the long term, the series seems to have pivoted into new territory, especially when the two episodes of this double premiere are taken together. Whatever shape the coming season takes, though, Dark Matter is right in its stride from the very start.
Interestingly, the impending corporate war only provides the backdrop for the initial danger posed to the Raza. With Truffault and Five joining the Android in their disabled ship, it’s uncertain whether the point of the encounter was to emphasize Ferrous Corp’s role as aggressor in the conflict or to highlight the growing trust between the Mikkei executive and the Raza crew. Although Two reluctantly thanks Truffault, the gratitude and sense of mutual benefit does seem to be genuine for the time being.
It was nice to see the various members of the group separately recovering from the explosion on the station in different ways. Having Three on the planet, Six and Two on the Marauder, and Five and Android on the Raza allowed each story to develop on its own providing a multitude of perspectives on the group’s new situation. Each group had to overcome its difficulty in its own way, and each “escape” illustrated a necessary quality of the characters involved.
Three’s story not only served to remind viewers and Anders that the mercenaries are not THE bad guys, even though they’re technically criminals. Having Anders alive again allows him to have the same awakening that Six had about the corrupt Galactic Authority, but instead the loyal soldier learns more about the honesty of Three himself as they confront a rogue security drone together. This speaks to Three’s character and perhaps allows Anders, who lets Three escape, to be an ace up the team’s sleeve later in the series.
Meanwhile the dwindling life support on the Marauder gives us a glimpse of Two’s guilt and worry over her ability to lead the group. Her time spent with the hallucination of Nyx was both a nice visit with the deceased character and an inspirational way to get Two back on the horse. Intriguingly, though, it’s Truffault that tells Two that “as a commander, you can’t let the responsibilities you bear weight you down because if you do, you will never move forward.” A fortuitous pep talk to start off the season!
One element that ties the two episodes together is the new minor character of Teku, Ryo’s trusted advisor who proves his loyalty to the new emperor while drawing the ire of Misaki. Showing Teku in Five’s investigation into Four’s memories was an effective way to deepen his importance both to Zairon and Ryo. It will be interesting to see how this character will be involved in the overall arc this season.
And speaking of Five’s trip down memory lane, the additional details about a long-lost sister are bound to provide an interesting journey for her character. The momentary threat that she might have her mind erased again was a scary thought that emphasized the importance of memory on not only individual personality, but also the importance of the shared experience of friends and family such as that on the Raza.
The shrinking pocket universe was also a brilliantly compelling plot device that really upped the stakes while making yet another innovative use of the transfer transit clones, this time for the Zairon emperor. Getting the blink drive was an important first step in slowing the spread of Ryo’s dominance, but it also created a surprising opening to allow the Android to inform him of Nyx’s death at Misaki’s hand.
Revenge is not clear-cut, this Dark Matter premiere seems to say. Whether it refers to the Raza crew going after Ryo, the corporations going after each other, or the emperor chastising Misaki, indulging vengeance isn’t always the best course. The Android points out that revenge was sought for One last season, but this season seems to be taking a more nuanced approach. Reveal small details; lay the groundwork; and tease new elements. So far, so good!