This Dark Matter review contains spoilers.
Dark Matter Season 2, Episode 5
In a story designed to bring One’s character (or at least the actor) back to the forefront and to introduce a more human version of the Android, this week’s Dark Matter managed to bring quite a few surprises to an episode that otherwise didn’t move the overall mission forward much. With some repeated character details for Nyx and Devin and some new twists for Six and Two, it was hard to judge whether the episode was treading water or swimming deeper into the widening ocean of season 2.
The highlight of the episode was the Android’s transformation into a very companionable member of the crew, providing both an awakening for the character and an improvement in Zoie Palmer’s performance. The cold open felt slightly out of place, but it was worth seeing the Android kick everyone’s ass a second time. And thankfully, it didn’t feel like a gimmick, especially when the red-frocked, simulated Android pointed out that with the human mannerisms come inaccuracies in her more machine-like programming. Can’t get something for nothing!
But the prize for most shocking moment goes to Two, who, after an episode in which she displayed her mercy and understanding for Six’s regretful betrayal, actually executes the killer of One. Clearly, the unexpectedness of the assassination will have consequences for the reformation she’s trying to undergo, and the comparison to the audience’s recent glimpse at the real Portia Lin provides a sense of who she might become despite herself.
But all that aside: does this mean Marc Bendavid, the actor who plays One/Jace Corso, is done? It seemed as though the writers were getting rid of the rather bland Derrick Moss in favor of bringing the tougher Corso into the team somehow, but apparently that’s not the case. He certainly delivered a key bit of information before he died: that someone other than Traugott, the corporation that tried to get them killed in prison, hired Corso. Could Derrick’s conniving CEO be in the mix somehow?
The references to Nyx’s uncanny ability to anticipate things certainly pique audience curiosity, although it seems strange that she should lie about it to Three after having revealed her powers to Four last week. A less welcome repeated element is Devin’s drug addiction, which is intended to give his character an interesting flaw but which actually comes across as an overused plot device. Why should viewers care? Everybody’s got problems!
Six meanwhile barely has to speak to garner sympathy. Although he made a colossal mistake in trusting the Galactic Authority, it’s painful to see how he is shunned by Three, even though Five and Two seem to have cut him some slack in “voting not to space you,” as the episode title quips. Luckily, Six’s hard-fought rescue mission should win him some points.
It seems he wasn’t the only one who had doubts about the GA, though, as viewers get a new and compelling character, Chief Inspector Kierkan, to wonder about. Kris Holden-Ried turned in a powerful performance as he reunited with his Lost Girl cast-mate, Zoie Palmer, as an officer who seems principled but perhaps, as Four points out, a bit naive. Fortunately, executive producer Joseph Mallozzi confirmed that Kierkan is a recurring role.
Dark Matter continues to do what it does best, meticulously doling out clues to a larger conspiracy. The pacing of this show has never been a problem really, but it certainly hasn’t ever gone at a break-neck speed either. Its strength has always been in its characters and in its intricate puzzles, both of which it still has.