This Dark Matter review contains spoilers.
Dark Matter Season 3 Episode 7
Six’s welcome return to the Raza in this week’s Dark Matter was an interesting mix of fascinating revelations and predictable subterfuge, but on the whole, “Wish I Could Believe You” was an admirable step forward toward bringing the corporate war into sharper focus. The dream-within-a-dream format had some easily discernible flaws in the deception but in the end was successful because of a few unexpected elements thrown in for good measure. By the time the strangeness with Sarah at the episode’s conclusion was introduced, the audience’s heads were probably spinning too much to even absorb the full impact of what just happened.
Having characters doubting their own reality can be a tricky thing, but Six was wonderfully savvy in navigating his virtual interrogation. His supposed rescue and desire to warn the independent colonies about possible chemical attack was completely believable — memory flashbacks and all — all the way until Five starting doubting his adherence to protocol. Two urging Six to give her coordinates for the summit meeting wasn’t nearly as unbelievable as Five laying on the guilt, worrying that Six might change like Four if he got more of his memories back. That was the first red flag.
Maybe the flashbacks themselves should have been a warning, but it seemed believable that the neurotoxin might be unlocking Six’s suppressed memories rather than the invasive nature of the mental probe — and maybe it was, who knows? The details about Kal Varrick’s life as a GA cop added a nice bit of extra spice to the story just when it started to become predictable. The wife and child he left behind when he went on his mission of revenge adds depth to the already rich character of Six, even if (and perhaps even because) he is unable to reunite with them.
The trickery becomes pretty obvious once Six is rescued again from his Ferrous Corp captors, mainly because the Raza crew showed up way too early, having just received the tip from Anders about his whereabouts, and truthfully, some of the clues, such as the unreadable medical readouts and medicine labels, were a bit heavy-handed. Granted, it does make a certain amount of sense that the interrogation specialists couldn’t possibly know that Three would never try to persuade Six to help the outer colonies nor would he call his wife by name. But so many obvious mistakes at once spoiled the fun a bit.
Six pulling a fast one on one of his interrogators was a nice touch, however… didn’t see that coming. Seeing Six shot dead on the floor was disorienting at first, only because we were used to seeing the false world play out exclusively in his mind, but bamboozling the scientist into divulging the Ferrous ship’s coordinates by pretending to be an angry Commander Nieman was the perfect way to call in the real Raza and allow us to feel confident that we were finally dealing with reality.
Not that reality is any kind of return to safety for Six. Not only does he have to confront the fact that the wife and child he left behind have a new father figure in their family, he’s also making the understandable but disconcerting suggestion that he and his shipmates “start running with Mikkei” rather than sitting on the sidelines. So while clearly his time on Cepheus-5 was narratively geared towards getting the Raza involved in the war, his return to the fold feels much more natural than his dedication to the independent colonies ever did.
Saving the big mystery for the end of the episode as usual, Dark Matter surprised everyone by revealing ever so subtly that Sarah knows something bad about Three’s past that even Four, once he turned back into Ryo, decided to protect him from. The loneliness Sarah expresses to Two portends future desperation, and if we’re to believe that Sarah was somehow able to commandeer Android’s recharging chassis in order to put a gun to Three’s head, things could be getting very dangerous and emotionally charged very soon.
That comparatively small part of the episode was what really smoothed out any bumps that may have existed in the earlier plot, and Dark Matter has been using the same “surprise ending” strategy for weeks now. Honestly, the Sarah plotline is almost more suspenseful than the always-approaching-but-never-arriving galactic war. Not that a team-up between Truffault and the mercenaries against Ferrous (what’s up with Zairon anyway?) wouldn’t be cool, but the secrets within the crew are much more intriguing. Either way, surprises are ahead, and that’s never bad. After all, it’s Dark Matter’s trademark.