After experiencing a vivid dream of being human and with Victor, the android wakes and informs the crew of the AI she activated to monitor and record her peculiar functions. The AI explains the android is malfunctioning which puts the crew in a cautious state with only Five defending her. When the android later regenerates, Two, Three, and Four experience hallucinations of enemies and familiar faces that attempt to kill or cause their deaths. As Six, Five, and Nyx aid their friends, the Android continues to dream with Victor eventually telling her that he’s the part of her conscious that is fearful of what the crew will do to her if she’s malfunctioning. The AI stresses to the crew that an uploaded virus is quickly taking over key systems in the ship and the only way to purge it is to kill the android. After the crew weight the risks and eventually decide against it, the AI sabotages the ship forcing everyone but Two into the marauder to survive. Two attempts to get to the core room but the AI stops her. Meanwhile, the android wakes and find two in a state of duress. Two orders the android to pull the core which forces the AI to electrocute Two, seemingly ending her life. After the core is pulled, the AI dissipates and Two recovers as her upgraded nanite technology saved her life. Five surmises that Truffault from the other dimension uploaded the virus before they escaped as the crew trust in the android to connect back to the ship and pilot it even though she may make another mistake in the future. In his quarters, Four opens a copied file onto his computer showing his brainscan that contains his memories, contemplating his next move.
Dark Matter takes a methodical yet introspective look into the mindset of its primary crew. Removed are the lighthearted moments that are replaced with fear tactics and uncertainty all pointing toward a confrontation with the station’s AI, something I was hoping would happen this season. The exploitation of doubt and subverted memories makes tonight’s episode less action-packed and more cerebral in nature. I found the hallucinations and climax of the episode to be the most alluring and interpersonal but manages to tie a nice bow on at the end with the crew silently aligning on the android’s place in their rag-tag group. Now they’re ready for what lies ahead.
There’s a lot to be gained with having our characters face snippets of well-guarded fears and anxieties. While not entirely consistent, Two, Three, and Four go through some potentially fatal wake-up calls with Four being the most affected by it. His subplot with wanting to return home has had the most enticing breadcrumbs scattered throughout the season thus far. By keeping us always focused on his motivations I feel the show has done a suburb job in getting us hyped for Four’s return to Zairon. I for one can’t wait for another series of great sword fights which are bound to happen.
The android’s place among the crew is no longer in question and it took one last look into her quiet dreams to really understand what she desires and why. There’s a polite yet abstract world buried in her processing core but it’s very intricate and yearns for that belonging more so than even Five’s. She may be flawed, but by being accepted for not being perfect, she’s in fact relating to the crew more now than ever. Five always had her back, Two needed to be sure, and Three struggled with trying to see her as a human versus a robot beyond the exterior which is a common trait in science fiction tales and properly handled in this case as well. The episode didn’t try and fool us into thinking the android’s dream world was real which was something I’m glad they didn’t do as that’s usually reserved for a main character of the storyline.
While the hallucinations were key in understanding what drives the fear and loneliness in our main cast, I felt only Four’s was the most appropriate given the circumstances. My issue with Two is that we shouldn’t need to travel back into her worry about being re-captured again. It may be fresh in her memory, but we should have gone a little deeper into her psyche. If there’s a chance she still blames herself for what happened to One then her hallucination could have centered around One attacking her for being killed. It would have made for a much more intimate tone than of a bunch of oddly dressed men who had no identities.
As for Three, I think what he went through was too critical. Two and Four weren’t in any real danger from themselves even though Four imagined a fatal strike by Misaki. I’ve no doubt he carries a deep sadness for what happened to Sarah and rightly so, but I find it too out of the box that Three would be convinced to end his life when on the surface he’s more of a survivor than anyone on the ship. As the scene played out though I would have thought an addendum to his situation would have helped at least define his mindset over what happened. If he’s still going through hardships he should be able to talk to someone, that someone either being Five or Six at this point. Missed opportunity but Four’s epilogue did take precedence so I agree with that decision.
The end when the crew remained silent in any objections to the android connecting back to the ship. If they had all replied in some unifying fashion it would have been fine, but here you can see a real sense of heart coming from the crew and they didn’t even have to do anything specific, just remain resolute and quiet. It was an extremely positive moment for the crew and more importantly the android who finally got the right impression from everyone as to her status on the ship. The crew have successfully been elevated into that next arc of friendship and trust that is very necessary when telling these stories. The more the crew believe in each other the more we believe in them.
Score another homerun by the android tonight. She played three distinct personalities even giving the AI a haunting and cold temperature to her normally bland tone. Her defining moment came when she returned to reality after trying to be convinced by an form of Victor that her snowy home was where she was meant to be. Sacrificing personal freedoms and unconditional comfort is often what is needed to show how much characters like the android can grow. It’s what you give up to help others that helps make you human and the android passed with flying colors.
I think it was too easy a sell for Five to say that alternate Truffault was behind the virus upload. I almost thought the virus was a red herring and the AI was hiding something else more sinister, but as it stands I think the real culprit is the eluded “season 2 betrayer” we were led to believe exists on the ship currently. Seems too much of a coincidence to be anything else.
Once again, thank you for incorporating another sword fight into the series. I’m a big fan of florentine fighting thought Four and Misaki did another excellent job of fighting. If Misaki really is that good I hope we get to see her perform again in the future.
Good on Five calling Two out on not being forthcoming about the android’s condition as Two herself kept her issues hidden. As the leader, Two has the prerogative to be keep appearances but Five knows better and should always be the one to confront her when Two is being stubborn and overbearing. Six does it too but tends to stay reserved while Five will pour her heart out if need be.
There is one minor flaw in one scene I have to point out for continuity. After the hallucinations ended Six recommends Four hand over his sword for his own protection and Four agreeably gives it to Six. I think Four should have given his sword to Nyx based on their past discretions. True Four and Nyx have been avoiding any residual feelings toward one another, but you can’t deny that they share a warrior-like bond as they’ve trained on multiple occasions. I maintain that if Four gave Nyx the sword that would have told us that maybe he does still care about her in an “honorable” way that we the audience could recognize. It wouldn’t need anything more than that subtle part. The rest they could pick up at a later episode.
Non-episode related but I recently watched “Cabin in the Woods” again and found Jodelle in the credits as a one-armed zombie. Sure enough, when I went back to look, there she was all pig-tails and rotted flesh. That was one of her early roles too. Now all I have to do is convince myself that the blonde security officer that got killed by the homocidal clown was Zoie because she looked just like her.
Another 9 out of 10. This was a near-flawless episode that dove right into the heart of the crew as it needed to settle their differences on how they felt about the android and what she means to them. Four is given yet another crucial piece of motivation to return home and save his empire and the AI was finally dealt with. All good elements that make tonight’s episode a classic one. Moving forward we’ll be getting to that penultimate plot really soon as we don’t really know what the finale will entail. While I’m excited I’m also cautious as to the plight they’ll be going through. Will this be about themselves or about a much bigger threat that will get them to save others? We’ll soon find out. As always, thanks for reading.
No more words