Dark Matter Episode Two Review
Joseph Mallozzi’s TV incarnation of the similarly named comic he co-authored aired its second episode yesterday. Usually, the Friday night slot is seen as the graveyard evening as people go out, watch sports and regularly do not bother to turn on the TV. It is strange that Dark Matter should air on Friday along with Syfy’s other new offering Killjoys (read the review here). Dark Matter follows the crew of six (plus a Android) of a derelict ship. The six have mysteriously had their memories wiped. During the pilot episode they did uncover they are a hit squad sent to wipe out a mining colony on a distant planet so a mining conglomerate can claim it. During this episode this storyline continues.
Our six decide to leave half the onboard weapons cache behind so the miners can defend themselves in the future. The reason to turn against the Ferrous Corp is summed up by Two when she declares to Das that she doesn’t have to be the person she was before the memories were wiped. Two lives by this creed when she refuses to use her real name Portia Lin.
Despite turning against Ferrous Corp both Six / Griffin Jones and Three / Marcus Boone raise an interesting dilemma. If they betray their contractors they will also be wiped out. Sure enough more Ferrous reinforcements arrive on the planet. After a tense standoff in which One / Jace Corso tries to reason with the conglomerate soldiers a fight ensues. Onboard the ship the Six woke on both Android and Two are forced to negotiate with the Ferrous commander for their save retreat. After Six, Three, One and Four / Ryo Tetsudo discover that their ship has left orbit they prepare for a last stand. Four shows not only his dedication to swordplay but also a fondness for torture when he questions the sole Ferrous soldier captured. Meanwhile on the ship Das manages to make her way through air ducts into four’s and opens his little box to uncover a ring. Could Four be the one that grew up in a palace as was mentioned in the previous episode?
Meanwhile on the planet a firefight escalates between the miners and Ferrous. Four has discovered Ferrous intends to blow a nuclear reactor, making it look like an accident. They manage to hold Ferrous off long enough while Six will attempt to blow up the Ferrous ship in orbit. The fighting dies down when Android, Das and Two return with ships from a rivaling corporation. Two made a deal with them. The rivaling corporation takes over the planet making mining of the asteroid belt uneconomical for Ferrous which thus removes their interest. During the final scene of the episode Two questions Das about who wiped their memories. Das gives a description of a dream of how it might have happened and says that one of the Six did it.
This episode did not proceed as I thought it would after watching last weeks teaser. The episode lacked tension. It was sadly all too familiar with plot twists that might as well have been placed on banners. Dark Matter needed some more characterization and while there was some mostly the actors acted out long established caricatures. Two exceptions were Roger Cross as Six and Zoie Palmer as The Android. Their depictions were deep. I especially liked Cross’s counter balance to Marc Bendavid depiction of a naïve and boisterous One / Jace Corso. However, what this episode really needed was not found on the planet. It needed more confrontation between the Six and their past. It needed characters grabbing hold of their past and trying to uncover the mystery of who and why their memories were wiped. In short this episode was mostly filler. Yes, it introduced more secondary characters and the guest appearance of Torri Higginson as Commander Delaney Truffault will be important in the future but it wasn’t what was needed. This was Dark Matter Episode Two Review and sadly the second episode of that failed to live up to its promise. I am beginning to fear the worse for its future.
Score; 7 / 10. This should have been the breakout episode, sadly it wasn’t.