A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 2×09 (I think that’s the first time there’s LITERAL dark matter on the show)

Dark Matter 2x09

 

SUMMARY

After Four and Nyx are revealed with having a one-night stand by Three, Five discovers Two unconscious and is brought to the sick bay. There she’s diagnosed with failing nanites which will result in her death in a short time frame. The crew travel to Earth where they attempt to penetrate Dwarf Star Technologies HQ by using an employee who once made a connection with Two when she was still being trained. Three and Six make it onboard via a space elevator but are quickly captured by Rook. Two, Four, and Nyx mount a rescue by using the blink drive on the Marauder and split up. Two is confronted by Rook who reveals a new prototype bio-engineered human who easily takes down Two and Nyx. Four rescues the others and kills the prototype just as Two loses consciousness. Six then removes blood from the prototype and injects it into Two saving her life. Back on the Raza, Six is suspicious of Three’s activities and with Two’s help capture him. They uncover a fluidic entity inside of Three placed there during an earlier interrogation and scramble to eject it into space. As things return to normal, the android goes to charge is later seen dreaming where she’s in a bed and appears as a human.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Dark Matter blinks through with more science-fiction madness and sincerity than any previous tales to date. The scope is brought down, but with tonight’s engaging story we’re left with a myriad of technical advances and scary optimism for what’s to come. Two path may seem like a call to answers, but I believe there’s something more critical at work here and its design has given us an initial glimpse into the horrific nature of Dwarf Star Technologies. As always, there’s teases and hard decisions permeating the air as Four draws closer to leaving his friends while the android embarks on another piece of her journey to human-being. Mark this one off as an astonishing push forward into Dark Matter’s limitless realm of possibilities.

 

THE GOOD

I’ll start by saying Two’s plight to save herself was a positive exercise in showcasing why the crew need her and why she’s their leader. Five and the android discussed their feelings on the matter as Six was more emotional toward that climactic moment when all seemed lost. The take-away here is that she’s the lynch pin of the show’s moving progress toward the final battle. She’s pushing the storyline by choice while characters like Five and Four very important roles to fulfill, but they don’t singlehandedly divert the plot into its primary direction. That’s Two’s job. She sees what’s ahead and guns for it, and in this case it was about making sure she survives and in doing so, begins a whole new plot in understanding the evil nature that is Rook and his company. The main character needs motivation and I’ll say Two definitely has it.

 

The creature that inhabited Three was our first real look something truly out of this world, nevermind the fact we’re in space. This isn’t necessarily the space that has encountered alien lifeforms or other such entities save for what black viscous screamed out through Three’s mouth. Is it another creation by Rook? Or does it have a home outside of our own cosmos? What’s important is there should be some buzz on what that creature is and what it was doing in the engine room where the blink drive is centrally located. I think it was a great introduction that capped off the last portion of the episode and I don’t think we’ve seen the last of it.

 

THE BAD

I was hoping for a prototype A meets prototype B fight, and though we got it I felt it was a bit of a let down. My hopes were of a sleeker opponent, not one that actually showed a stronger physical build. It was essentially a no-name opponent who looked more terminator-like than special as in Two’s case. Though it proved to be a dominant figure, it was quickly dispatched by several shots to the body and head, followed by a stabbing courtesy of Four. I wanted a more unique design and survivable purpose, but I understand the point was to get Two its nanites so she could survive. The scene served its agenda.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

There are some quintessential moments of dialogue that more than decipher the motivations and understandings of characters and in this case I was drawn in by Four and Six’s conversation about why Four stays and how close he is to leaving due to the war on his planet. I’ve been wanting development for Four this entire season and we’re finally given some insight as to the struggle he deals with and more importantly, how he justifies his time with the Raza crew. It may seem like a filler scene at first glance, but if you read more into it, you’ll see how conflicted Four really is and what it means for him to remain on the sidelines while things inevitably get worse back home. Great character development here.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Give this one to Two for refusing to stay locked down during her plight to stay alive. Going out in a flash was more preferable then decaying in the lab and understandably so. As a captain and capable leader she takes the riskier route and in this case prevails due to a loyal crew who care about who guides them on this long journey. And it goes both ways as she’ll do what it takes to save those under her as well as with Three seen at the climax of the episode. When its feet to the fire, she’ll burn herself to find the answers no matter what.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I found it pleasantly odd that we make it all the way to Earth and yet it feels no different to the crew as though it was just another planet in the vicinity. I suppose with FTL they can go to and from Earth as often as they’d like. I think now would be a good time to show us just how vast humanity has traveled and in what time period do they exist in.

 

The space elevator is an interesting tool to introduce and on Earth of all places as there’s a few valid articles roaming the internet that detail plans to create such a road to space in real life. I like the parallel concept and am glad they’re using elements and inventions that are drawn from real life in episodes like these.

 

Those guard uniforms were sharp but I can’t help but see them as armed waiters. The collars just reminded me of bow ties as well as the vests. Very pristine.

 

I don’t want to seem too negative here, but the fling between Four and Nyx, though situational, feels unnecessary at the moment. This is the second occurrence between two characters who sleep together and don’t make it a thing, Two and Three being the first. I wouldn’t mind the coupling if it actually led to something real between the two and as stated both Nyx and Four don’t want to make it a big deal and there was no evidence supporting either one actually cared about the other. I get that these drive-by relationships can be common place with their fluctuating lifestyles, but on a show with a small crew, it’s important to relay momentum and progress in feelings between characters and if Four and Nyx aren’t going to become an item, then don’t tease the possibility. Who knows, this could build into something more down the road, but I still don’t know if Nyx knows that Four suggested her brother commit suicide. If she doesn’t know, that information would likely put him in a bad spot. If she does know, then apparently she’s already forgiven him.

 

The final scene depicts the android waking in some virtual environment likely brought on by the upgrade she received earlier this season. If it’s a paradise for androids that can congregate it’ll be interesting to see who she interacts with and how. I’ll look forward to her character branching out more in human-like fashion. Plus the hot chocolate scene was cute if not a sign that she’s becoming more bold in her personality.

 

OVERALL SCORE

The ninth episode gets a 9 out 10. The return of a main villain marks a dramatic shift in storyline development, namely Two’s resurgence and the entity that claimed Three for a short time. It’s departure is questionable as is the true nature of Dwarf Star’s plans in space. The selling point here is the growth the team is making as a family and the lengths they’ll go to for survival, something that shouldn’t just be communicated by Six and Five alone who are the heart and soul of the crew’s moral compass. Four is finally reaching his limit with choosing loyalty versus family and I say it’s about time that happened. The blink drive was cleverly utilized and not forgotten about and we got a very beautiful look at our home planet which by first glance has the notion of being utopian. But maybe not all is at it seems as Two intends to dive further into Rook’s involvement with experimental objects and entities. Now is truly the time to get hyped for what’s to come. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 2×08 (Stop me if you heard this, two androids walk into a Raza…)

Dark Matter 2x08

 

SUMMARY

The crew land in a parallel universe where their counterparts side with the Ferrous Corporation and flee from an attack by Commander Truffault. With a damaged blink drive, Two deals with Truffault personally as the android surmises they are in a parallel dimension. With the appearance of two Raza’s, Truffault agrees to assist Two regain the other blink drive as Four helps lure the resident Raza by appearing as Ryo the emperor. As Portia and Boone are captured, Two and Three attempt to access the drive but are caught in another mission set by Jace Corso involving a dispute with a mining colony wanting independence from Ferruos Corp. Unable to diffuse the situation, Two tries to stop Corso from detonating a nuke on the planet but is unsuccessful. Once back on the ship, the other android helps Two and Three subdue the crew. Truffault tries to double-cross Two, but with the help of the android, they foil her plan and allow Portia and Boone to return to their ship sans their blink drive. Once installed, the Raza crew return to their dimension only to find a stowaway marauder detach and flee to another sector in space, its occupant(s) unknown. Later, Two experiences another episode with dizziness and collapses in her room.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

A delightful venture into experimental technology results in Dark Matter’s first profound arc into the sub-plot of parallel dimensions. Not withstanding a few kinks in the hull, this episode collectively straddles the space-fence with a fresh plot and sees the return of characters long distant from the series. Though earnest in its tale of “what if the Raza went bad,” tonight’s storyline left more questions than answers, most certainly with who stowed away from the other dimension? But was “Stuff to Steal, People to Kill” just a one-off or will this parallel world be a foot-hold into more crazy cross-overs in the future? I guess it all depends on what story is ultimately being told, the corporate war, or a ship just trying to save the universe.

 

THE GOOD

I’ll admit, I was waiting for someone to explain time-travel as the thesis of this plot only to find that they broke a hole into another universe which is certainly a more fitting abstract considering the drive’s function. What’s interesting to note is the reference to the cosmic microwave background, something not often discussed in sci-fi dimensional hopping. It’s temperature had a variance which gave the suggestion of a separate universe and if the android was able to detect that within the active field then such a determination is possible. I would have liked if the android dived further into that premise but with Two probably not prepped for such a conversation, it would have fallen to the lamen observer. In any case, I applaud the short but prompt explanation as to their departure and arrival to another universe and felt it sticks within the paradigm their telling.

 

There’s also a reoccurring theme of alignment shifts within the main cast, mostly Two, Three, and Four at this point but the show continues to inform us that under any other circumstances outside of Five’s influence, the crew would be essentially anarchistic and murderous without relent. Twice this season we’ve been treated to the “Bad” Raza crew either in the form or another and it stands to reason that the struggle with staying good-natured is still very much real within the crew’s lives. For Five and Six it’s different, but what I like about the theme is that there’s no way of knowing for sure if those that have been labeled as good characters will inevitably turn evil for one reason or another, such as when Six betrayed the crew in the finale or when we see Corso running around as the opposite of One. I wonder if we’ll see an evil Five wreck havoc in her own way one day.

 

THE BAD

A few missed opportunities, mostly interactions and dialogue with the doppelgangers. I would think Two and Portia would have more to discuss about their physical design and origin than anything else especially since Two had been suffering from those strange jitters would came back in full force in the final scene. I think Kal’s demise was handled a little too ubruptly, but as Boone had shown, they don’t keep prisoners or traitors alive I imagine. The trip down to the mining colony was to my view a futile plot point, something we’d seen before and really didn’t need to witness again. I would have preferred a different kind of mission the Raza was sent on, but the Ferrous Corp tend to wrap their sights on colonies like the one Corso lit up with a nuke. I suppose not too much could inevitably change in a parallel world.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When they returned to their own universe only to find a separate marauder escape. Those kinds of loose threads help evolve an already complicated plot and without knowing who’s on the ship, fan speculation could go in all sorts of directions. I have my own suspicions which I’ll get into in a short moment. Needless to say, there was a consequence for stealing another blink drive and soon, the crew will figure out who that consequence will be.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I think Two deserve most of the credit here tonight. She tried to diffuse and stabilize multiple situations and save lives even though it was another universe entirely. She still felt the responsibility to safeguard anyone that was in conflict with the evil crew because it mattered. She doesn’t like messes and tries to clean up everything. It’s the sign of a good leader even if some decisions turn out for the worst. She still tried to make right and even let her wicked double go probably knowing they would still be up to no good on their side.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

As to who came back from the other side, I want to say the answer is simple; Jace Corso. It’s more about keeping the actor on the show than anything else, I believe and it fits that he would stowaway while the others weren’t looking. Does that mean Wexler and Tash made it as well? Possible, but they weren’t characters that made a big enough impact in my opinion, I think it was one and one alone.

 

The second android made an interesting comment about Portia making her the way she is and owing her because of it. I felt there should have been more there, something to entice the conversation further or at the very least make Two and her android suspicious of something. Who knows, maybe it was the other android who stowed away on the marauder, with a mission of her own. That was my only guess at the moment.

 

If the Raza essentially accidentally broke into another dimension with a drive that wasn’t adjust properly, then how did the android know how to reproduce the same effect to get them back home without damaging the drive? Kinda minor but that also leads me to wonder how Portia figured that part on her own unless there’s been some parallel dimensional hopping that we don’t know about by a previous party perhaps?

 

Just so everyone knows, when you’re evil, that means you dress your ship in darkness and red lights all over the place, because evil. I actually preferred that design but I can see why it wouldn’t last on the normal Raza ship.

 

This is also the second time we’ve ended an episode on Two’s body fluctuations. I did peek at the preview for next week and I’m delighted that Wil Wheaton will be back to extend a “helping” hand as Rook. As to what’s ailing Two, I’m certain is has to do with either a fail-safe in her system caused by Rook or possibly a breakdown in her genetic structure, something she needs that only Rook has. We’ll see next week.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Dark Matter continues to pull away at the veil of exploited technology and puts the crew in a perilous plot to save themselves or suffer at the hand of their evil twins. Six’s scene with Five proved to be the most relevant as time and time again we’re made to understand Five’s importance on the show as a crucial one. We don’t truly know if this is the first of many trips to this universe or different ones can be traveled to down the road, but for now we’ll contend with an evil stowaway and a working blink drive that is at their disposal. Devon’s fate is still unknown as Nyx will likely rejoin the crew next week while Two faces her ailment head on. It’s getting hotter in space as the Raza climbs higher into trouble cosmic-waters, but so far, it’s a kickin’ journey. Keep up the good work and thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

 

 

A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 2×07 (We all know what happened last time…liberate tutemet ex inferis)

Dark Matter 2x07

 

SUMMARY

The crew apprehend Tabor Calcheck to assist in locating Alicia who knows what the key card they have can do. On the way, they purchase three transit stations to allow them to transport cloned versions of themselves into Alicia’s headquarters. Three, Four, and Five enter the transit and find the portable drive that with the missing key card will allow for instant transport of a vessel which is faster than FTL. During their mission, Devon reveals to Nyx how he was on drugs during a colonial transport that suffered damage and operated on a young girl who didn’t survive. Back on the mission, Three and Four are captured but Five remains hidden long enough to return and kill the clones. Two and Six retrieve her and the drive on the roof as the Raza is attacked by another vessel. Once returned, the Raza escapes and later take Tabor back to the station he came from. Devon leaves the Raza and is accompanied by Nyx who believes he needs her help in adjusting from his tragic past. Afterward, the crew attempt to activate the drive and disappear in space. Devon is then confronted on the station by Hansmeed and his men who are looking for Nyx. Unwilling to help, Devon is stabbed in the gut and left for dead leaving Nyx alone in a bar waiting for him to return.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Dark Matter successfully escalates its episodic drama by giving the crew literal keys to the kingdom of superior inter-galactic space travel. Now, with the power of a prototype they journey into the unknown and leave us truly guessing as to the status of their next step in the universe where everyone wants what they have. There are captivating layers of dramatic bonding that sees our supporting characters fleshing out their issues more-so than our main characters which is a rare element to witness. It helps bridge the gap but also laments in the possible departure of our resident physician who was last seen defending the crew by refusing to help an enemy. Mixing in a few gorgeous shots of space and the vehicles that occupy it, this episode marks for a radical expansion of importance and intrigue as the crew embark on a new tale of survival.

 

THE GOOD

This was an excellent example with how to balance each character and make them all feel important to the plot at hand. Everyone, including Nyx and Devon felt integral to the plot and there were no wasted characters, with the exception of Tabor who was entirely too ecstatic, but managed to bring it down to a manageable level once he spoke to the android about her emotional upgrades. This balance also includes the right amount of humor and emotional moments that tethered the episode’s overall performance. Very well written and proved to be one of the better turning points of this season.

 

The caper itself seemed rather cut and dry, but I found the unique points are what stood out, especially when Five returns to kill the clones of Three and Four and the dialogue between Three and Four respectively before, during, and after their shoot out. Little things like throwing the single gun back and forth and Three not noticing Five leave after he tells her to are what stand out in an otherwise procedural action sequence. Even the red coats were better to see than typical white ones that signify who is a scientist and who clearly isn’t.

 

THE BAD

My only negatives are drawn from a lack of follow through on Alicia’s apparent fixation on Five outside of her obsession with the portable drive. I would have preferred Five and Alicia had some scene together on the roof before the Marauder shows up to at least entice us further on some connection they may have together. But if there truly isn’t one to be had then I understand why it wasn’t so. Outside of that, my complaints in this episode are minor and more related to continuity than anything.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Less action and more preparation, I actually enjoyed the scene where the crew decide who was going to go on the mission mainly in reference to how exposition and backtracking functions on a TV show. Every episode it’s necessary to remind viewers certain aspects of character relationships, previous episode plot points and overall missions expanding throughout the seasons as a whole. I felt the dialogue flowed in a healthy way that didn’t feel bogged down when Three reminded Six he was on probation or when Six recalled to Two why it would be inadvisable to go on the mission based on her nanite-fueled body, something that’s been rarely talked about this season. It felt healthy if not for characters reminding other characters what issues they had, but considering they’re all still working out the kinks of their trust it stands to reason this kind of preparation would keep them discussing old topics and current flaws. I liked it.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Though Devon took one for the team, it was Nyx who surprised me by never taking the pills that Devon gave her earlier in the episode. She took accountability for her state of mind and ownership over helping Devon recover from his tragedy and that says a lot about a person who empathizes with someone who suffered emotional trauma. Though I feel it was more about getting her off the Raza for the original crew to disappear, I still think it was interesting that she went as far as to give up her weapons and dedicate this time off in assisting Devon and retaining his secret. Good on her.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Two continuity issues I had were the following:

  1. Why show Two having jitters in her limbs at the tail end of last week’s episode and never once recall that in the next episode following? It’s not that I’ll forget, but normally when you supply a cliffhanger like that, you come back to it in some capacity by the next scene or at the very least in the next episode. Seemed odd.
  2. Assuming it was just one ship attacking the Raza, in one shot the ship was directly underneath them being shot at and in the next, the enemy ship is to the right and at the same height as the Raza right before they went to FTL. Seemed like an awkward CGI jump cut where the enemy ship was in one location and then directly in another right after.

 

I was glad they kept Kris Holden-Reid on but his part was so small and insignificant, I’m surprised it was necessary to have him in the episode at all, just to identify that the Galactic Authority were still searching for the Raza crew. I’m hoping for something more expanded the next time he’s on the show.

 

Big guys who are sent in to torture people by beating their faces senseless can still suffer some radical knuckle and overall fist damage regardless of the gloves they wear. Next time, stick to something other than their hands to do the job, like a futuristic bat, or an electrical prod of some type.

 

The prospect of folding space and time is one of the more radical theories in space travel and it actually fits very well here when considering the art of vessels being in strategic places faster than others. It’s like having an airplane in the 1800’s while everyone else still rides on horseback. Where things will get interesting is whether the Raza will be trapped in their initial voyage or if everything is safe and sound on their trial run. Yeah right, bring on the space demons!

 

I can’t stress this enough, I really loved the opening shot of that space station. I wasn’t expecting that level of detail and was pleasantly surprised by how intricate it looked. Kudos to the designers of that station, I really felt that fit the paradigm perfectly.

 

OVWERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Dark Matter is headed in the right direction now that the crew have their hands on the most critical piece of hardware in the galaxy. With the right blend of humor, action, and dramatic backstory, I was intrigued from beginning to end including the rough exit of Devon and the uncertainty of the Raza as it blinked out of sight. The pressure is more certainly on to capitalize on this centric plot and uncover more radical themes that push the crew to their breaking points. Very much looking forward to next week’s episode as our cliffhangers are getting substantially more demanding. Until next time, thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

 

A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 2×06 (And the circle of eventual betrayal begins again)

Dark Matter 2x06

 

SUMMARY

Before pursuing Alicia and her goal to acquire the key card, the crew follow Nyx’s plan to board a ship and steal their cargo, a drug known as “shadow” that will help pay for fuel and supplies. After boarding the ship, Nyx finds and releases her brother, Milo, who had been mentally connected to a series of men and women who, under an old experiment started by a long beaten corporation can effectively predict the future based on large scope data analysis. The crew of the Raza are hesitant to trust Nyx over the deception to release her sibling as the ship she came from pursues them. After a failed attempt to sell the drug, Six and Three are separated while Two attempts to outsmart their enemy who want Milo returned. After successfully retrieving Three and Six, the ship returns and threatens to destroy the Raza. Milo willingly returns to the ship, but later takes his own life after Four gives him the suggestion which would essentially save Nyx from being pursued again. Later, Two is preparing for the night when her hand inexplicably begins shaking.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

I’ll immediately state that this episode took a rather strange dip into a subplot that I should have been detrimentally fascinated by but found the bizarre tale a bit dry and cumbersome. It’s not for any kind of dislike for Nyx because I think she finally came into her own as a useful character on the show. Rather, it was the illogical dissonance caused by a “seer” like character that beat us over the head with how important the Raza and its crew will be in the coming war instead of letting the idea gradually come into being. It’s too soon for the crew to undertake the “Only we can save the universe” struggle when they’re still in the “mercenary for hire” mindset. This episode should have played more with fate versus free will, but fled that premise for a flat game of the unpredictability model. Surprisingly, Four had the most to offer tonight in his simplistic manner and patterns of thought, but outside of that, I wasn’t as into this and previous episodes.

 

THE GOOD

Getting Nyx’s history out of the way now was probably the best time to do so just as we cross the half-way point on the season. Her ability to sense physical moments in the future while her brother was more on the mental side of predicting played at the dynamic in a balanced way that on the surface made sense. Moving forward, Nyx should hopefully be less wary of her how she’s directing herself and more in tune with what the crew is becoming to build more on the assets she carries within her. Her story may have been short and dramatic, but it didn’t overcomplicate the plot and slow anything down. Now we know she’s not evil, yet.

 

I like the initial concept of a mind-force that when linked can absorb and translate data into predictable models and future tellings. The theme of it translates just fine, and I appreciate how innovative their getting with the grey side of manipulating the human consciousness. It’s sometimes easy to conclude that the knowledge and power go hand in hand and most power corrupts even the genius who attempts to understand the universe beyond petty rivalry. There was some practical ingenuity with creating a villainous force that knew what you were going to do before you did it. Unfortunately, that’s where the execution didn’t pan out.

 

THE BAD

Hansmeed (sp?) and the nameless crew were anything but interesting as an opposing force that required their strongest cog to complete their macro look on the universe. It’s almost as if they didn’t have enough time to be fully rendered as demi-gods of the future and just ran around as inefficient drones incapable of fluidly predicting events instead of adapting to it. Minor moments of philosophical conundrums did air up from time to time but they just weren’t capitalized in better ways due to short time frame of a single episode. These aren’t bad guys I want to see appear again on this show.

 

I don’t agree with Milo’s death and the application of it. Whether he was truly coerced by Four or if the act was Milo’s idea to save his sister based on empirical data he had on future events, it’s not 100% certain, but the deed was done regardless. The only element of note is how his former masters didn’t predict such a selfless act because they were working on “old data” as the term had been passed around. Essentially, Milo was in the episode to serve as a conduit for us to learn that the Raza crew would be heavily involved in the fate of the corporate war and that once more a crewmember would betray them sometime in the future. The latter felt very much like a cheap play to renovate last season’s shocking finale with yet another “who is it going to be this time?” trope. Thoughts on that further down.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

This may be over analyzing but the scene where Four went to talk to Milo was by far the most interesting moment for a few reasons. Metaphorically, it showcased Four attempting to give Milo an apple, and biblically the apple (usually red) represented forbidden knowledge, and Milo refused it because he wasn’t hungry. What I think he was actually saying was “I have all the knowledge I need” because of his hyper state of mind. Four takes a piece for himself and leaves the rest for Milo as sort of a breadcrumb to learn about the crew and what they’re all about. The knife in the apple of course was the real foreshadowing of Milo taking his own life and he himself being casted as the apple with the knife in it. Subtle but interesting to take away while still making the show as a whole very grounded in science and science fiction.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I’ll give it to Nyx tonight mainly because she put everything on the table and though she lost her brother, she’s really integrated into the crew’s mission, whether she’s truly accepted it or not. She’s finally moved beyond the stage of concern over whether she’s good or bad, and lays the groundwork for some interesting developments based on her physical capabilities and her willingness to absorb the Raza’s mission.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

This could be misplaced inconsistency, but I found it interesting that earlier, she complained to Four that practicing fighting prevented her from activating her intuition to predict her opponent’s moves but later toward the end, she returns to Four’s dojo and resumes practicing with him anyway. Granted, she was in a surreal state of mind having lost her brother again and probably needed the distraction, but still, is it counterproductive to go against how the system works for her? I’m probably over-thinking it.

 

On a minor subplot, Three and Six seemed to have hashed out their differences after Six admitted he was wrong for betraying them. I think this subject could have been better tackled in a more centric-plot involving the two, but Three had been holding onto this grudge for long enough and it’s high time the two were on the same level again. Maybe one of them should have punched the other for all-time’s sake.

 

I thought Five meeting with Milo was entirely meant to build on Devon’s lie that he was using the drug to help Milo adjust easier off of it, but it was completely untouched after the fact. Once more, we’re given Devon’s post-traumatic affairs with grief or guilt depending on how you look at it. This is another plot thread we need to deal with rather quickly because it’s dragging on too long. Eventually Devon is going to completely become unglued if he doesn’t get these fixes in check. Not to mention, he’s stepping up his game on usage and type and will probably be looking for something stronger the next time around.

 

I also appreciate the consistency with Four and his thoughts on using Milo to help predict the future events of his homeworld, something he wouldn’t just forget about just because we haven’t focused on him as of late. These little reminders help us remain fixated on the larger issues still unresolved.

 

As far as who will betray the crew in the future, I can respectfully rule out Six because that would be repeating the same event twice and that wouldn’t be the wisest approach. Five is probably highest on the list because she has sights on the bigger picture more than any other crew member with the exception of the android who at this stage is very unpredictable given her decision to remain emotionless on the ship and not when on a mission. I still think that will lead to some damaging atmospheres to come. Two could wig out again but I think an act of betrayal has to be more internal than external when pushed to do something like that. My money is on Five for the time being because sacrifice trumps betrayal and she’ll be in that stage eventually if she sees an opportunity to save her friends over something catastrophic that could appear as betrayal. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

 

OVERALL SCORE

6 out of 10. I don’t consider this a finely crafted episode due to the nature with how it was told and who represented the opposition. There were definitely sparks of interest intermixed with some clever dialogue and exclusive metaphors, but beyond the meat of understanding predictability, the effort to tell Nyx’s origin story in the present wasn’t the most fantastic of the season. Even Two seemed disinterested with the plot when she was reaching for suggestions on how to get their next score. Milo was a passionate player but stricken from the supporting cast list far too early in this storyline. What could have been an interesting seer who spoke in riddles and half-truth’s fell on his own sword to keep the crew truly guessing as to what happens next. We all know the corporate war is coming and now the crew knows it too. There’s still a lot left to discover, but from here on out, every episode has to matter more than the last. As always, thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 2×05 (Looks like we got ourselves a real bonafide Lost Girl reunion)

Dark Matter 2x05

 

SUMMARY

With the help of the android and her new personality upgrade, the crew of the Raza track down Jace Corso to a planet to exact revenge for the death of One. Meanwhile, a chief inspector of the Galactic Authority (Kris Holden-Reid) tracks the crew to the planet in hopes of apprehending them. Two, Three, Four, and Nyx find Jace who momentarily escapes and causes the abandoned settlement to destabilize and crumble, separating everyone. Four is caught under rubble and found by the Chief Inspector while Two finds Jace and forces him to dig for their escape. The android takes the Raza to the surface to avoid detection from the GA while Five, Six, and Devon search for the crew. Even though Jace warns Two that someone they don’t know hired him to kill One, Two shoots and kills Jace anyway. The Chief Inspector is found by his group as they apprehend Four, but are eventually surrounded by Three, Two, and Six who finds and pilots the Marauder. Four is released and the crew return to space as the AI confronts the android over a mistake made in their entry and exit of the planet stating that she is flawed and has been flawed for quite some time.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Dark Matter returns to settle the score between the shady Jace Corso and the crew who demand retribution for the death of their friend. For the first time, we’re given insight into the android’s new personality upgrade that helps put a soul to the banal form that the android had been established with since day one. It’s a welcome new form that I think should fit right in with the crew’s rambunctious and volatile state of mind. While not overtly technical with its plot, the real surprise comes with Two who manages to filter out any signs of mercy by dispatching the man who killed One even at the cost of finding out who’s pulling the strings. There are several highlights that help solidify this outstanding episode that may seem like filler but actually helps dignify the role of the crew by giving them something to hunt passionately. And bonus points for Kris Holden-Reid’s inclusion to the series, a fine addition to the stellar cast who I hope makes more than just one appearance this season.

 

THE GOOD

Let’s start with the android and her personality upgrade. Anything that helps define her characteristics and play toward the ongoing mission to quantify and explore humanity is a good trait to have on the show. The crew will now be able to move past the awkward sense of objectivity and be more relatable now that she has sass and wit to match. It couldn’t have come at a better time and I think it’s fascinating that her upgrade isn’t just a one-shot piece of the puzzle but rather a stage in her plight to feel more comfortable and accepted by the crew. I’ll dive more into her scene with Four and the swords, but suffice it to say, I’m hopeful that her upgrade is more permanent and not a factor in whether she continues to use it or not in the future. It should be integrated into her system unless there’s a plot to explore a defect or penalty for its long term use.

 

I always seem to be picking on One and his counterpart, Jace for a certain lack of depth and remorseless attitude that always seems to be coupled with a softened demeanor, but I have to say, for his final performance, I think Marc did an excellent job with Jace this time around. There was something more brutally honest in his performance and not just some avid mercenary that shot and enjoyed killing as a two-dimensional villain. I wasn’t expecting him to be counted out this soon, but that’s the form this show plays in that part of the process is to deal with the nature of change and identity. Two is always establishing herself as the leader who needs to make the hard calls and for the sake of One, she made a difficult choice, and for the moment the easier one rather than trust the snake who will say anything to stay alive. If this is Marc’s last appearance on the show I’d say farewell, but something tells me we haven’t seen the last of him or some form of One.

 

THE BAD

Not too many complaints on this quadrant. The story was easy to decipher and follow with the exception of the news exposition that Four observed, serving to tell us of the war to come. If you haven’t followed the exterior plot too closely, it may seem a little confusing to hear and tune out because it has no real bearing on the episode itself, but it’s a minor gripe in an otherwise fantastic episode.

 

One slight setback is the way the android handled her infiltration of the GA outpost. It was a cute and relatively harmless segment that she handled with ease but I think the writing could have been a little more tight and creative rather than rely on a few coffee trips and a dimwitted officer who should have realized his cup was empty as suspicious. It didn’t give any real tension and served as only a mechanism to keep the plot moving forward without any bumps on the way. Other than that, the android handled herself quite well.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Two shot Jace. It wasn’t about enjoyment of his come-uppance but rather how Two handled the situation as the core of the show. A leader has to make tough calls and even though Six warned Five that killing for revenge was no easy task, Two pulled the trigger because leaving Jace alive was too much of a liability in an already uncertain world. She made not only a tactical call but a simplified one, opting for the quick solution rather than the complicated twist that normally would have served the plot better. Jace wasn’t meant to be integrated into the crew’s structure because his lone-wolf mentality and dark nature as a villain was inexcusable and down right unforgivable in the eyes of the crew. He wasn’t sorry for what he did, and neither was Two when she shot him. I won’t expect her to lose sleep over it, but I can imagine it was tough to look at the face of the man who resembled her friend and shoot him in the head. In the moment, she trusted her reasons and followed through with them, and that’s what leaders in this environment do.

 

CHARACTER MVP

The android made the biggest impact with her new personality and willingness to dive in with the crew on their quest to track down Jace. She proved physically capable of handling herself and smart enough to blend in which should put the crew at ease over her decision to be more human. Her path makes sense and it helps truly distinguish her from the dull counterpart in the AI, who in my opinion still represents some evil facet on the show, I just haven’t quite figured out what yet. Though her flaws are starting to show, she has depth and quests to undertake not tied to the overall plot and that’s something I like that this show provides, reasons to like supporting characters outside of their normal functions.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Regarding the android’s kata with Four’s swords. It was probably the most interesting scene they filmed based solely on how elementary they tackled the art of control through routine and precision. The android described unusual patterns that formed which Four easily transcribes as “changing her state of mind,” but doesn’t really explore the thought further. That’s a shame because I think Four should have dueled with her to test how she reacts when it comes to her idea that the routine made her feel “powerful” while Four thinks of it as “relaxing.” This could have further led to the flaw that she wants to feel more than just the sum of her programs. That and I would take any excuse to see character sword fight on this show.

 

The chief inspector (whose name I can’t quite spell out correctly) represents a more straightforward member of the Galactic Authority, someone who isn’t ruthless but rather takes the side of justice and order as a means to prove to us that not all people against the crew are inherently bad, just on the wrong side. Kris is a great actor to take on this role because of his natural tendency to be a likeable person. He’s generally charismatic no matter what role he plays and doesn’t waste the scenes that he’s in. I’m hoping he’ll serve as a vital piece of the puzzle moving forward, someone who eventually comes to understand the crew’s plight from a different point of view and maybe even help them when the real trouble comes. I’m a little sad he didn’t get to share a scene with Zoie as the two were very familiar with each other on “Lost Girl” back in the day. I always like when characters reunite and share that “look” that they knew each other from another existence but never quite know why. Maybe next time.

 

It may get shelved for the time being, but Two has at least some thread of intel that could propel her into following up with who hired Jace to kill One. In all honesty, it’s not that necessary that I know unless it tied to the corporate war, which I’m certain it will, but more importantly, it will hopefully put to rest who killed One’s wife, something that’s still relatively glossed over. Not knowing this piece of the puzzle is the only that that tells me that One isn’t truly dead, but I’m also very suspicious of main character deaths on any show because I’ve been duped quite a few times in the past with random returns and surprise entrants by those we thought to be dead. I wouldn’t put it past this writing team to give us a resurrection of the science-fiction variety.

 

Nyx once again side-stepped some explanation as to the nature of her abilities and knowledge of certain weapons and structures. She’s turning into a convenience plot character which isn’t a good sign. Someone who just happens to know things that help propel the crew or the plot forward. She’s clearly hiding something and making it very obvious to us with her random looks away while feigning ignorance of why she knows what she knows. Maybe she’s also an android in disguise, maybe she’s from the future, or maybe she’s a plant and works for a corporation we haven’t seen yet who wants the key card as well. She’s not there to just help the crew, that much is certain. Only time will tell whether she’s truly good or bad.

 

It’s minor but Devon held that rifle in a very secure and appropriate way that suggests he either has military background or some kind of authoritative role. Maybe the actor learned how to hold the gun properly, but as a “doctor” with a criminal record, I just thought it was odd he would hold the gun more correctly rather than down by the hip which is how most people carry weapons who don’t really know how to hold them properly. Outside of that, his “drug” addiction is a constant theme and should be handled soon because eventually it will spell the disaster of a fellow crew member when they least suspect it. That’s usually how addictions of that nature work.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Dark Matter efficiently straddles the line between the nomadic space-lifestyle and the periodic quest of revenge and self-identity. The crew will constantly be at war with both who they truly are and who they’re up against in this space opera. Tough choices were made in dealing with an old enemy and the android is one step closer to becoming unified with the crew. We never forget that uncovering conspiracy is the heart of this show’s ever consuming plot while outside the center are character driven aspects of self discovery that should hopefully put us in exotic places and situations that help solidify this show’s place in the sci-fi realm. What’s also important are how these factions and warring sides are more grey than just evil which should help blur the lines between survival and retribution, not just for the soul, but for the status of cohesion in outlaw space. I’m continually supportive of this direction and hope their ready to start turning up the stakes soon. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 2×04 (I hope the war is between psycho-kinetic androids and time-traveling hell-demons)

Dark Matter 2x04

 

SUMMARY

A flashback details Three’s childhood involving his parents being killed by a man who took Three in and raised him to become a criminal. In the present, the Raza dock at a station as the group split to accomplish separate tasks. The android finds a group of other androids who blend in the community and have chips that allow them to mimic human behavior. The android is later given a similar chip and information that she was designed to exhibit human-like qualities. Meanwhile, Nero contacts Alicia and meets with her after presumably stealing Five’s stolen keycard that can open trans-dimensional gates. Three assists his old crew in a heist only to find that they are ruthless and he’s forced to kill them. Later, he meets with his old mentor and discovers his parents were murdered by him and takes his life for both revenge and to save a child who was kidnapped during the heist. Back in the ship, Devon is seen taking a drug concoction of some sort in order to handle the surgery he performs on Six which heals his wounds. After Alicia discovers the card Nero stole was a fake, she converses with man on a monitor that stresses the importance of the key card and a war that is coming.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Dark Matter continues to treat their characters with careful precision as this time, Three is under the microscope of character development. His journey from the a-typical snarky merc for hire into a compassionate member of the Raza is best seen in tonight’s episode where his past is finally unlocked for us to see. If ever there were doubts on his ability to redeem his persona from last season, they’ve been successfully squashed. The show also continues to hit marks and strides with Five and her ability to be resourceful as the crew inch closer to an inevitable clash of powerful adversaries. With the exception of a few minor detractions, namely Nyx and Two’s subplot, the show has maintained a steady course toward what appears to be a war that the Raza will be dialed into sometime soon.

 

THE GOOD

There are a few classic moments that help solidify Three as a capable bad-ass. His confrontation with the old crew and his mentor are two of them, but his relationship with Five is, to me what’s really standing out. It may seem casual, but he helped build trust with her which is something he never cared about before he grew a heart. With One no longer a distraction of any type to him, Three is free to fill a stronger role where maybe he’ll be a better big brother to Five than Six was. It could instigate a rift later in the season with Six, but for now I like the direction Three is going.

 

The hidden android group is new to the show, but not necessarily new to the sci-fi realm. What’s interesting here is the lack of conflict, it was more information sharing and opportunities given but with so much other conflict bleeding into the main story plot it was nice to see the android discover something new without the risk of being switched off or terminated by some run-of-the-mill bad guy of the week. The fact that she’s still pondering put the chip into her system means there’s hesitation that it what she wants, and more importantly, that it can do what the android says it can. This will lead to some speculation further down the review.

 

THE BAD

Four is arguably the best melee fighter on the ship who currently isn’t swimming in technology or designed. Nyx’s off-handed ability to be his equal just by picking up random weapons spells a lot of hogwash that I’m not truly buying into. I’m hoping her origin is more rooted in lies than in similar plots to Two because I’m not convinced she should remain a good-natured character on the ship. She’ll betray the crew, it’s just a matter of time. I wish four kept the edge of ability over her, just to prove that his training does count for something.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Three faced down the old crew and gunned them down, ala old-west style. I liked the long far shot, the gun echoes and all the details in-between. It’s not something I’ve experienced much on the show in the past and it helps us breathe in some of the story without being too hammered by quick cuts and loud choreography. Three never even took a wound which is even more amazing that he faced such odds and came out unscathed. A very satisfying moment to watch after what the group did earlier to the father who was forced to help them.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I really liked Three’s performance tonight. There was a strong sense of moral justice laden in his expressions and even though he wanted to be the man he once was, there was no denying his mentor was a poor reflection of what he’d become if he returned to his old ways. In some fashion, he destroyed his past so he could move onto his future, guilt-free and with some sense that his parents received justice, something One was still lacking with the death of his wife. I don’t think we’ll get another episode like this for Three in the future, so it’s good that we see it now before decimation arrives for the Raza.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I wonder if what the android received is truly going to make her more human-like or if it will conflict with her “design” that has already shown to give her some moral objectivity and human considerations. I imagine, it’s a vessel to help fill the gap with the android’s vanilla personality so that we can see her interact with more distinction, something I think Five would really appreciate.

 

Now that Six is back, I fear that he’ll remain reserved and apprehensive over jobs and situations that call for a robust behavior. This is indicative of his personality last season and I want him to grow into a stronger more reliable character for both Five and Two’s sakes. He can still be the heart of the crew, but he needs to also believe in what they’re doing for that to work.

 

This is the third time we’ve been given a hammer of information detailing the death of One, which tells me more and more that he’s not really dead. That in itself is an eventual causality that is likely unavoidable, it’s just a matter of knowing whether One prepared for a situation like that, or whether someone saved him in the nick-of-time, and is keeping his survival under wraps. Time will tell if we’re too cold on this theory.

 

Devon’s reliance on drugs means there’s a story to tell which could swell up in the next few episodes. He reminds me of the strong-hearted supporting friend that is the last person you’d suspect to betray you…and then does. Whatever dependance issues he has, he doesn’t trust the crew enough to reveal them which means Five or Six will likely find out on their own. Six has a sixth sense on these things and Five is just good and stumbling into problems that ultimately become her own.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Classic redemption story that worked for Three who seemed like a lone gunmen who wants to quit the old trade and be loyal to those he trusts. I can get behind that because we need to like our characters more and more as the series progresses on. Dark Matter impresses with a dark origin and brings to light last season’s key-card debacle that solidifies its importance due to an incoming war. Never forget that Dark Matter doesn’t forget it’s clues and sub-plots from last season, everything connects and everything will be made known in its due time. We’re almost half-way done and I still feel like we’re just getting warmed up. Hopefully Four will have a stand-alone episode soon because I like these sword fights they keep throwing at us. Keep them coming! Thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 2×03 (Pairing any bluetooth device while you have nanites in your system is never good)

Dark Matter 2x03

 

SUMMARY

After the android is unsuccessful with linking to the Raza, she undergoes a sleep repair cycle, but the result of her failed link prompts the computer system to activate brain scans which knock out Two, Three, and Four. They wake as their original cruel personalities and capture the new crew including Five. Convinced she can save them, Five escapes while Arax, Devon, and Nyx hold off Three and Four by gun fire. Meanwhile, Two links with the ship herself giving her control over its systems allowing her to recapture the team. Five, with the help of the android’s doppelganger AI persona, uses her personal link device to join into Two’s memories, specifically at a vulnerable state in her life and stops Two from killing the crew. Later, the old crew are returned to their previous selves and learn that their memories were never wiped but rather suppressed. While they hold off on merging their old memories with the new, Five returns a lock-box belonging to Three who inadvertently turns on a transponder device placed within the box, prompting a man in an unknown city to tell another that the transponder has been activated and belongs to Boone (Three).

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

It’s a dark day for Five as she contents with untrustworthy crew members and the old incarnations of her friends. This self-contained episode is a marker for personal trials and games of trust as arguably the most cherished character on the show begins another chapter in her growth. Smiles and betrayals run rampant throughout the vacant halls of their ship giving way to a realization that personality and one’s true self is sometimes the hardest test to take. I’m pleasantly satisfied with the amount of skepticism the crew maintained without over-saturating the plot with too many plot-twists. The key was making Five not just a resourceful crew member, but someone who believes in the personalities that have become her friends. With Six on ice, she has become the new moral compass on the show and deservedly so. All that’s left to discover is who did Three inadvertently contact, and how deep does Arax’s relationship go with Alicia Reynaud?

 

THE GOOD

The season needed a little breathing room after the intense escape from last week’s episode. Here, we’re given a old glimpse into the familiar halls of the Raza complete with its darkened corridors and grim colored-rooms. By and far we needed the comfort of knowing the ship hadn’t changed much and that the crew were still assessing their direction while taking on new members. We didn’t need more departures and cities to scour through, just a bit of rummaging through the old set and a sense that things are still far from normal even in the comfort of their space-home.

 

The basic sense of the plot centered around seeing how Two, Three, and Four reacted to waking from their old slumber. I doubt this is the last time we’ll see them in their original forms as they carried on without skipping much of a beat save for Two hell-bent on merging with the ship’s systems, an act even she wasn’t aware of until the moment it happened. What this episode tapped into toward the end was the realization that memories and traits are so incredibly important to one’s state of mind that any unlocking or merging of old memories would take away who they are and what they may try to accomplish in the future. In short, its a case of duality versus morality. If Five believes in the good morals of who she became friend with, then whoever they used to be, memories or not, don’t matter, and like her, deserve a clean slate. In this case it’s very literal, but as long as the crew struggle with keeping those memories far from their heads, they’ll stand to be in a better position then when they arrived on the ship.

 

THE BAD

Two’s persona as Portia was both a great look into the mindset of her merciless past, and a twisted portrayal into someone obsessed with opening and closing the doors on her ship with her own mind. Her smiles were less frightening and more self-absorbed over the possibilities of controlling the ship with a throught. While it was unique to see she had that dormant ability, I’m not convinced this was the right time to put her through it. The persona Portia is still very new and chaotic, but here we’re given a raw look into her megalomaniacal nature and we’re only three episodes into season 2. I guess where I feel it lost me was that how powerful can one truly feel when they’re linking to a ship’s system? This plot just didn’t seem the right time to throw that detail in the mix. Maybe further down the road when she’s in a real position to wreck havoc.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Five beat down on Two in the old memory. It was as strong as we’ve ever seen Five be and on her own she was able to reach out and humble the Portia personality which really shouldn’t have been an easy task. And against “evil” android’s insistence, Five made the better call and helped put the crew back in the states of mind she knows is better for them. Here’s hoping she won’t crawl into any more ducts and crawlspaces to escape her enemies, but rather face them head on.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Five is alive and kicking with serious conviction. She showed more guile and determination than in recent memory and is willing to fight for her friends when they can’t. She’s more than earned her place among the crew, and moving forward, I imagine they’ll put their trust in her when the times come. The pace at which she’s learning is perfect too, because she shouldn’t have all the answers right now, but certainly there’s ability and the will to see an action through to the end and she’s not shying away from that responsibility.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Five’s outfit seemed extraordinarily random tonight. I kept having Christmas themes stuck in my head with that color-scheme, as though any moment she’d sit down with a hot cup of coco and read by the fire once things settled down. Where would she shop for that stuff anyway?

 

I’m not sure if it was intentional or not, but every single line delivered by Nyx seemed like she was purposefully telling us she was hiding something. The most brutal example is when Nyx and Five ran into each other while Five was searching for Portia and Nyx completely sold this “I’m pretending to help you but really I’m not” attitude. Everything still seems off and awkward about her nature and given Arax’s ties to Alicia, it’s safe to say the true villain is…is Devon! No, kidding. It’s really evil AI android doppelganger lady. Marks my words.

 

I appreciate the show dipping back into season one plots that may have slipped off the radar such as Three’s relationship with Sarah both in current and Boone’s persona. Those small details should keep humanizing our heroes and keep them grounded as they venture off into this abstract missions with gun fire and blazes of glory. Plus, they’re continuing to show us that there are still secrets in the vault yet uncovered. Keep them coming.

 

I wouldn’t keep Six on ice too long. It was fine keeping him out of this week’s turmoil, but as someone who needs to find new redemption, we need to get him walking and talking again. Maybe he knows things, maybe he doesn’t, but if anyone else has something to prove to the crew, it’s Six now that he’s on his own from the Galactic Authority.

 

One detail I think might have been missed was Portia, Ryu and Boone never once mentioning One and Six as “missing” from the ship after they woke up. I could be forgetting, but I think they were all aware of each other right before they had their minds wiped and it stands to reason that them not being around would have given more credence to Five when she tried to explain how different things were. It’s a loose note, but something that caught my eye.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Keeping the plot central to the confines of the ship, Dark Matter engages the trials of conformity by returning to us the core personalities of three crew members. For an eyelash of time, we didn’t know where they would end up, once more complicating the arc with the agendas of those we know and those that were, not to mention the new crew who have their own things to hide. Two’s abilities stretch further than we might have guessed as Five did her best to save her friend. In every chapter of forming a family, there’s always the fear that who someone once was will creep back and destroy the ties that bind in the present. It’s innate but sometimes looming around the corner fighting for its right to exist. As the crew continues to unravel the new threads before them, their biggest challenges may not come from outside, but from within. A simple, but effective tale that captured the core of the ship and it’s plight of the crew. Until next week, thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words