Dark Matter - Season 3 Episodes 1 & 2 Review

Dark Matter Review: The Raza Crew’s Smash and Grab

The EOS-7 space-station going ka-boom was just the start of our anti-heroes’ troubles. Dark Matter’s Season 2 finale separated the gang, but I was really hoping they’d reunite sooner rather than later. Thanks for that Joe and co. 😉

I mean, I get that separate storylines serve as an interesting plot device, but not for an entire season. You know what I mean? Five escaped with Commander Truffault’s help and they quickly made contact with the Raza. Is it me or was Android being uncharacteristically pessimistic? Talk about crushing Five’s hopes, jeeze. Of course, we the audience, knew that Two and Six had made it off the station in a pod. Three was alive as well with Lt. Anders. Yup, the Galactic Authority Lieutenant is back. Only Ryo Ishida (formerly Four), with his memories intact, is not going to be playing nice with the others.

DARK MATTER -- "Being Better Is So Much Harder" Episode 301
Courtesy of Syfy
In a way, Four was always the outsider/lone wolf, but will he actually be the show’s antagonist this year? Ryo’s clearly not messing around and if killing the Seers, Empress and his half-brother Hiro didn’t prove it… I don’t know what could. He is Emperor of Zairon now and his people come first, which has already caused him to butt heads with his former crew. Ryo has the advantage of his memories, so the others are playing catch up. You know? They’re holding on to an alternate version of themselves, whereas Ryo’s path is clear. It’s going to make for an entertaining dynamic this season.

By the way, I wasn’t a huge fan of Dark Matter in its first season, mostly due to the fact the characters had amnesia and didn’t know who the hell they were. Last year, the writers started fleshing our anti-heroes stories and I found myself much more engaged. I was watching weekly, rather than binge-watching three or four episodes at a time as with Season 1. Killjoys managed to hook me right away, since I fell for Dutch, Johnny and D’avin as characters. Two, Three, Four, Five, Six (and Android) have had to grow on me. I still miss One, and found the way Marc Bendavid was written off the show just odd. I get that removing the nice guy or “the one that brought others together” created drama. However, it also eliminated one of the most likable characters from the show. One and Three’s dynamic was a blast, as was One’s tension with Two. Executive Producer/Co-Creator Joseph Mallozzi reminds us that “anything can happen, this is sci-fi,” so he might return.

Nyx (Melanie Liburd) wasn’t so lucky, as we learned she didn’t make it (nice to see her for a bit though), and Doctor Devon died pretty randomly last season. Which just goes to show you, don’t fall too hard for the newbies as their chances of survival are nonexistent. Poor Nyx and Devon were red shirts from the start.

I was happy to see that Two and Six managed to contact the Raza about a quarter of the way into the episode. Their circumstances would make it hard to reunite, but at least the characters knew the others had survived. Well, all except for Three who was quickly handcuffed by Lt. Anders on some remote planet. By the way, how about the VFX work? Brilliant stuff! I should be used to the high quality of visual effects on TV these days, but I’m still blown away at times by the work on The Expanse, 12 Monkeys, Dark Matter and Killjoys. I am pretty sure Krypton is going to be impressive as well.

DARK MATTER -- "Being Better Is So Much Harder" Episode 301
Courtesy of Syfy
The attack aboard the Raza was thrilling, but it was the moment Android popped out of that crate shooting in all directions that was priceless. I loved Zoie Palmer on Lost Girl, but her Android has never really worked for me. She’s got the glassy-eyed distant look down, but the monotone voice… yeah, she doesn’t quite sell it in the same way Brent Spiner did as Data on Star Trek TNG. Still, the character is a’ight and she doesn’t bother me enough to stop watching. If the writers give her more “Bot-in-a-box” moments like this one, I’m good.

DARK MATTER -- "Being Better Is So Much Harder" Episode 301
Courtesy of Syfy
How hilariously awkward was that scene with Three on top of Lt. Anders? Ha! It’s great to see Jeff Teravainen back, and here’s hoping some of that chemistry I was talking about between One and Three begins to develop here if Anders is given a meatier role this year. Teravainen has also appeared a handful of times as Agent Stack on 12 Monkeys. He always makes the most of scenes, so I hope to see him pop up on another Syfy series soon.

Two and Six had their long overdue bonding moment. Portia (AKA Rebecca) made the right choice saving Kal’s life. I mean, though the Raza was dealing with their own set of troubles you knew her nanites would save the day. I always forget that Rebecca isn’t exactly human, but bioengineered by Wil Wheaton hehe. The character has softened up immensely since the Season 1, and after this first hour I like her more than ever. Her goodbye scene with Nyx’s ghost was so touching. Yup, I frakkin’ cried. Though I’ve not always been a fan of Two, Melissa O’Neil has done an outstanding job with the character. The way she delivered the installment’s title “Being Better Is So Much Harder” was perfect.

"Being Better Is So Much Harder" Episode 301
Courtesy of Syfy
Ultimately, everyone (including Three) were reunited and I found myself really enjoying the chemistry between Three and Lt. Anders. It was cool that the lieutenant didn’t give Three up. You think this is the start of an amusing new bromance?

While the first hour basically tied up the finale’s loose ends, Episode 302 “It Doesn’t Have To Be Like This” was all about getting the Blink Drive back and killing Ryo… Eeeek! Thankfully, my fear the crew would be separated too long proved unfounded, and our little family was good to go!

Though I wanted to rewatch Episode 213 to refresh my memory, the 302 recap reminded me that Ryo had commanded Misaki to use “non lethal force.” His commander is clearly out of control (if not a tad jealous and nutso), but Two blames Ryo for Nyx’s death. Their inevitable confrontation (sans clone) should be fun.

DARK MATTER -- "It Doesn't Have To Be Like This" Episode 302
Courtesy of Syfy
So, would the “smash and grab” work? The plan seemed too perfect, didn’t it? Would Ryo himself show up at the Ishida station to face off against his former crewmates? Yup, Ryo was quickly notified and appeared at the station. What?!? How?!? Ah clone bodies! Another Dark Matter bit I had forgotten about… traveling via clone. That would give us a body Two could destroy, without harming Four himself. I must say, I loved the clever twists the writers threw our way during the premiere. Could that massive space station “blink” out of there? Apparently… yes! The downside was that the entire nebula vanished creating a collapsing pocket of null space. No bueno.

Two and Three met Four on the station less than a half hour into the episode. The writers definitely have the pacing for the show down to a science now, unlike the oftentimes draggy first season. Unfortunately, the Ryo clone was quickly dispatched as the Emperor refused to budge by giving his old friends the Blink Drive. Sure, it wasn’t the big face off I was hoping for, yet it was satisfying nonetheless. It’s interesting to note that Two and Three didn’t know Ryo was cloned, so they have no issues taking out their former crewmate. There’s no question Emperor Ryo Ishida is cold, but what’s that scene say about Two and Three? Would Ryo’s scientists betray him to save their own skins? Plus, learning Nyx’s fate from Android wasn’t going to make him a happy camper.

Ultimately, our anti-heroes blinked out of there after acquiring the drive. I’m assuming all the scientists on the station died, right? Did I miss something or did our guys simply not look back? Hey, at least everyone’s together and the course for the season is set.

Verdict…

No complaints here that Syfy gave us a 2-hour premiere, which means the series will be on Episode 305 when Killjoys joins the Friday night line-up on June 30th. This way, Dark Matter, Wynonna Earp and Killjoys will close out their seasons at the end of August in time for Fall TV. The season’s actual story begins in earnest next week, as these first couple of hours were basically wrap up for Season 2. As I mentioned earlier the pacing was spot on, with tons of action and the characters are finally more likable than ever. Though I’ve had my gripes with the series, I think the writers have settled into a groove that works. That said, the issue with Five’s memories dragged a bit for me and I’m hoping it’s not a season-long arc. With Android mentioning “there’s a significant chance” she’ll lose her memories… I’m betting it will be an ongoing issue unfortunately. More importantly, does she really have a sister? The Ryo Ishida stuff continues to fascinate me, so I’m hoping for a big payoff there. Overall, I’m glad Dark Matter/Syfy Fridays are back… I’ve missed the anti-hero adventures!

Dark Matter airs Fridays at 9/8c on Syfy

  • Fiery Little One

    Yeah, the station’s crew died, partly because of the collapsing null space (the off screen group that Two and Three were trying to rescue), partly because one of them was too stubborn to see that living was better than any other options.