With Two captured and held on Zairon, Ishida maintains his need to gain the blink drive in exchange for her safety. The crew agree to meet on the planet but as clones while the android learns of Chase’s plot to overthrow humans within the upgrade of her emotional data card. On the planet, Ishida speaks to each member telling Three that he was responsible for Sarah’s sickness, showing Five a picture of her sister, and informing Six that he was betrayed as a GA officer by someone within GA. After two failed assassination attempts it is revealed that Misaki is responsible as she tries to implicate Teku as the conspirator. Teku helps Two and the other escape as Ishida battles Misaki himself. Five and Six return to the ship with their memories intact while Three allows his clone to be killed which erases the knowledge of his part in Sarah’s death. Two intervenes on Ishida’s behalf and kills Misaki leaving Ishida little choice but to join her on the Raza as the people of Zairon revolt against the throne. On the Raza the crew reach a stalemate on Ishida’s fate with Two deciding the casting vote. She goes to Ishida’s cell and prepares to kill him as he tells her that she has a daughter somewhere in the care of someone. Two raises her gun toward Ishida with his fate ultimately unknown.
The tense atmosphere surrounding Zairon explodes as Dark Matter reveals everything to its temperamental crew. While the audience may agree or disagree with the crew’s voting system, one thing is for certain, it was a hell of a ride this week from top to bottom. Ishida tried to hold all the cards but came up inexplicably short in the foretelling that we all knew was coming. Still, he wouldn’t quit and neither would the crew. Could Ishida truly save himself or was he resigned to let old friends cast eternal judgment on him? I can’t wait to find out next week as we reach the end of our penultimate episode in this favored third season.
When you look at Ishida, there’s a real complicated struggle that has him jumping back and forth between sensible leader and wicked emperor. What made his actions speak so loudly was this gratifying sense of camaraderie that he wanted to feel again with the crew yet never being given the chance to truly make peace with anyone. In the end, a determined Misaki tried to ruin him forever which wasn’t really surprising but seeing him defend himself against her was really the scene we wanted to view and we got it. There was always a smug style to his delivery, the way a leader needs to be when trying to influence the decision of others and I liked how he maintained a moral code by never lying to his friends who had all but given up on him. You could say Ishida has come full circle with his beginning and if he has passed on, it’s understandably written well, but for the fan’s sake, he better not be gone for good.
To my own personal amusement, I enjoyed once more the clash of swords and the slice and dice of it all, the most personal way characters can duel given the rampant nature of gunplay used on this show. It will always be an art and when Dark Matter utilizes it, they do it elegantly.
Misaki’s eventual betrayal didn’t really have the impact I was hoping for. I don’t think we ever doubted Teku’s loyalty, but Misaki’s nature was always volatile and with it came a strong need to see her fall, which we did at Two’s hands. Knowing she was likely responsible for the recent assassination attempts or at the very least complacent in watching the populace rise up against the throne, I can’t imagine she really had a long term plan thought all the way through. Somehow she gained the support of multiple guards and was even able to implicate Teku to be working for an enemy outside the planet, yet she could have made so many different decisions at different times to win that throne for herself. She ended up waiting too long and didn’t capitalize much earlier in the season when she could have. Her poor strategy cost her her life and though she put up a valiant effort, it was time to see her expire as most one-track villains do.
I’d normally say the fight between Misaki and Ishida but I was more impressed with Ishida handling his “execution” with grace and humility. In a big way, he proved to Five and Six’s side that while he may not be redeemable, he isn’t beyond sympathy and a moral compass. Four was an instrumental catalyst in the crew’s earlier adventures and for one small moment, he became that character again if only shortly. His gift to Two may not have saved his life, but he didn’t break down or attempt to escape which speaks volumes to his character overall, a proud and stalwart individual who may have lost everything, but didn’t lose his core at the end.
It’s easy to say Ishida is the star of tonight’s episode. He could have made the crew’s lives very difficult and chose instead to appeal to their greater interests rather than make harsh threats and diabolical schemes. It may have been hard truly grasping what Ishida was all about, but by this episode, it made sense that his goal was always to preserve his planet and people. He didn’t end up compromising his values to get that goal and probably buckled under his own pressure to convince the crew to aid him when he could have made them suffer just for the effect alone. At the end of the day, he should be judged by the company he keeps and the actions he elicits and my expectations on his decisions were settled by the episode’s end.
There was another golden opportunity missed here I thought the show would spring up on us involving Misaki. Her fight with Ishida occurs roughly around the same time Chase mentioned to the android that the “revolution” of androids over humans had already begun. What a wicked swerve this would have been if Misaki had turned out to be an android and that her attempt to usurp Ishida’s throne was based on that and not her own machinations. Sadly, that doesn’t look to be the case here but would have merged both plots nicely if they had done it.
Three’s actions toward forgetting his involvement in Sarah’s demise was very interesting to see. I shouldn’t be surprised that he’d make a call like that considering the guilt he must have been feeling over learning the truth, but I also see this as a major step back for his character. Three, understandably is still having a hard time differentiating accountability between his former ego and his current self. Whatever he was responsible in the past, he won’t own up to it and face the present. There could be more than that going on in his mind, but for simplicity’s sake I see him avoiding looking Sarah in the eyes and having to tell her that her original life ended because Boone was returning to old roots. If Ishida dies, then that secret will never be unearthed again which is why I’m hoping that there will be a chance for Three to confront this revelation with Ishida once again telling him what happened, should he live.
Judging by Five’s reaction to seeing a picture of her sister that this may be a character we’ve already seen before, otherwise, why not show us what she saw? I’m not honestly too sure what to make of it because the issue isn’t brought up again later on. I’m not convinced we’ll know anything more next week either which means this is more a “season 4” plot point, but either way, at least Five knows enough to move forward in whatever direction she decides to take it.
I feel like we’ve already moved on from Six’s involvement with the GA and everything that happened on his cover and eventual outing. I realize Ishida needed to have something for all the crew members to entice and influence with, but I felt Six’s information was the weakest of the bunch. If there are any more practical theories that point to anyone other than Anders or someone we’ve met before, I’m open to those thoughts, otherwise, this will have to wait to next season to dive further into.
9 out of 10. The rise and fall of Ishida’s empire erupted into an epic showdown filled with deceit and rampant chaos. Enemies and allies clashed as secrets were revealed and Ishida’s fate left in the air while we FTL our way into one last episode of the season. Misaki joined many other villains into the quiet void of comeuppance while an android revolution looms in the background. Next week’s episode could spawn in several different directions as several threads have yet to be cut, but the crew will be up for every challenge no matter the pressure. Ishida showed his true colors and helped put the crew on a path of introspection which is the best thing a supporting member can do. All that’s left is find out whether his story is done or just begun. Thanks for reading, we’ll see you one more time next week.
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