This Dark Matter review contains spoilers.
Dark Matter Season 3 Episode 4
Melissa O’Neil and Jodelle Ferland have always gotten a lot of credit for the strength of their acting on Dark Matter, but Anthony Lemke, who plays Three, has always been lurking in the background giving us one of the most lovable ne’er-do-wells on TV since Firefly’s Jayne Cobb. Giving Three his own Groundhog Day episode was not only perfect for his character, it provided the perfect vehicle for us to meet the latest Raza crew additions, witness another foiled Zairon counterattack, and even speculate about the eye-popping potential futures revealed through the eyes of Android.
Concealing at first what was causing Three to re-live the same day over and over again was a clever choice given how incidental Talbor Calcheck’s acquisition of the misunderstood device was and how logical albeit mundane Three’s tampering and snooping were that led to his predicament. Humor and insight were doled out in equal measure as Three tried to escape the loop, and Two’s disbelief in her dishonest colleague’s explanations felt as necessary as the more heartfelt moments with Five and Sarah, balancing the episode nicely.
Favorite humorous elements included the masterful montage as Three tried (and failed) to memorize the techno-jargon explanation for the ship’s problems and the quite believable attempts at learning (and later singing) French. Misha Thébaud, who plays the inept Calcheck replacement, Adrian Maro, has a little way to go to equal David Hewlett’s smarmy charm, but his sudden inclusion in the time loop was both an interesting twist and a refreshing variable to the repeating formula.
And speaking of repeating, the scene between Three and Five where he tried to break her out of her funk seemed strange at first. Was she really just upset about Six’s (still inexplicable) decision to stay on Cepheus-5? And why wasn’t she responding to his honest attempts to reassure her? But when he simply was there for her without trying to mansplain her problems away, it just felt right, almost as if the audience were learning a little something along with Three, who appeared justifiably pleased with himself.
The scenes with Sarah were a little bit more difficult to parse. Yes, there was a similar lesson to be learned about sympathizing with her plight, given that she awakened inside a lonely virtual world, but each visit also brought Three closer to reconciling that this recorded brain scan residing in the ship’s database is essentially the same as a living, breathing Sarah. The chemistry between Natalie Brown and Lemke is palpable, and the touch that they shared was electrifying, even though their initial interactions were awkward and lacking resolution.
The addition of Ayisha Issa as Adrian’s bodyguard, Solara, brought back the best elements of having Four or Nyx as the “stoic fighter” character on board, and her interaction with Adrian and Three was almost as much of a pleasure as watching her six-foot, Amazonian bad-ass self pummeling Ryo’s phase-shifting assassin. Issa came to Syfy viewers’ attention in season 2 of 12 Monkeys and almost makes us forget we’re missing so many original Raza crew members here in Dark Matter.
As for Ryo’s attempt to take back the blink drive, it does seem awfully fortuitous that the time-looping device came into play just as the phase-shifting technology could have given Ryo the upper hand, but because both tech tricks were so cool in their execution, all is forgiven. Ryo’s role, however understated, kept this week’s installment from being an inconsequential bottle episode, but hopefully either the corporate war plotline or Ryo’s galactic conquest will start heating up soon.
In the meantime, Dark Matter superfans will no doubt obsess over the details of Android’s “future glimpses,” as the elder Five calls them. Will we see Three shoot Android at some point? Will she feel grief and cry? And will the futures where she’s dismembered or speaking with Five about a “double deception” or “black ships” come to pass, or has she prevented those futures by destroying the device? A wonderfully intriguing ending to an enjoyable episode!