This Dark Matter review contains spoilers.
Dark Matter Season 3 Episode 13
Fans of Dark Matter know by now to expect an action-packed finale with at least a partial cliffhanger ending, and they certainly got exactly that once again this season, to no one’s surprise. Bringing together many of the disparate plots from earlier episodes is another trademark of the show, and this year’s finale was no exception. The main difference this season was that there wasn’t a true sense of completion, no real closure for anyone. As a result, the season 3 finale felt a bit unfulfilled despite its overall excitement and enjoyable action.
Ryo got the closest to achieving a full story arc in season 3, and it was wonderful to see him acting more like Four again. His demeanor, his stance, his meditative state, and his facial expressions seemed more Four-like, even as he insisted that Two carry out the execution voted on by the Raza crew. The fall of the House of Ishida brought perhaps only a temporary conclusion to his rule as emperor, a situation that could evolve in future seasons, but his rise and fall felt complete… much moreso than some of the other storylines.
The eleventh hour assistance from Teku and his Zairon loyalist ships was a great way to bring the Raza crew together with their former mate, and the battle outside the Project Phoenix shipyards was visually quite spectacular as well. Plus, Teku’s information about the tracker on Boone’s Marauder provided the only means for the crew to discover that Two had not died from the nuclear attack last week. The logical associations between episodes does actually tie the stories together quite well, even if they didn’t wrap up neatly at season’s end.
Not that all of the plots have to be tied up in a bow, but one or two would have been nice. Instead, we got disconnected scenes like the one with Three wandering around inside Sarah’s virtual environment, reminding us that her involvement with Victor and the sentient AI contingent is still up in the air. Likewise, the Android’s unlocking of the Kryden files which will no doubt lead to a quest for Two’s daughter in season 4, is left hanging.
Needless to say, the corporate war was a pleasant distraction from these dangling threads. The exclusion field, the white hole device (great season 1 callback), the plan to use the blink drive to deliver a decisive blow, the Traugott double-cross… it all unfolded quite satisfyingly. Even the appearance of Wexler was timed perfectly to provide levity to a troubling situation, regardless of whether viewers trusted him to actually help or not.
One of the most expertly executed plot twists was with Two and her interrogator, who at first seemed inexplicably reckless leaving Two unguarded for Six to discover. The fact that the interrogator was actually an alien who had corrupted Two is not only a delightful turnabout; it also provides the powerfully ironic moment when Six quizzes Two to make sure she isn’t Portia. “How smart!” we all thought. “Good call, Six!” Nope… he forgot about the aliens, as did we.
And it’s not as if the corrupted Two starts acting strangely right off the bat. The plan to use the blink drive to tear a hole in space isn’t immediately suspicious until she disregards the loss of innocent lives aboard the station that would result. Many viewers likely put two and two together regarding how the rip might benefit the aliens, but the anticipation was still an enjoyable aspect of this finale.
One question: why did Two have to disable the Android, who was going to remotely operate the shuttle, forcing Six to sacrifice himself instead? Was the alien-ified Two just taking out the opposition in advance of the arrival of the Black Ships? Leaving Six’s fate in the balance is especially cruel given his regular involvement in season-ending cliffhangers of the past. Perhaps it’s just fan concern talking, but his sacrifice didn’t feel justified this time around.
The Black Ships were great, though, right? Huge! Imposing! Promising a new alien threat in season 4! So why does the mind drift to details like the fact that Alicia Reynaud, a nearly forgotten minor character, is the adoptive mother of Five’s long-lost sister? And what’s the deal with Three getting captured by Portia Lin? These would be great moments for a regular episode, but in a finale filled with so much focused excitement surrounding the war and the arrival of aliens, the extra details upset that focus.
As enjoyable and entertaining as the Dark Matter season finale was, the many loose ends leave it feeling incomplete. If only one of the crew’s story arcs had found a satisfying finish or at least turned the page to a new chapter, it would have gone a long way towards rounding off this otherwise excellent season ender. This is the kind of wrap-up that, should the show not be renewed, would be tragic in the extreme. We can only hope that a renewal will help bring about the resolution the finale itself lacked.