With his old memories integrated, Four and the Raza crew capture a Zairon vessel led by Drago, a trusted ally to Four. With his loyalty re-established, Four uses him to reunite with his step-brother, Hiro as the two come to understanding over what really happened to their father, Ishida Tetsuda. Hiro agrees to relinquish the throne back on Zairon, but his mother, with the aid of Hansmeed capture Hiro and set a trap for Four, who travels to Zairon alone. Once under the thrall of the empress, Four is publicly tried for the murder of his father and sentenced to death. Meanwhile, the crew set on a rescue mission and are seemingly captured, all but Five who finds and releases Hiro while the android uses the Raza to lay waste to the city. Hiro arrives in the court and declares his mother the murderer of Tetsuda. As Four is proclaimed the new ruler, he enacts swift justice and orders the deaths of his step-mother, Hansmeed and his men, as well as Hiro. With the Raza crew stunned, Four assumes his original name and declares himself emperor.
Dark Matter’s penultimate episode delivers an opus of blood and retribution as the resident warrior of the Raza reclaims the throne of Zairon. If it’s a bittersweet victory, I for one embellish the carnage that came with it as it was greatly needed to fuel the finale’s dark descent into uncertainty. While this wasn’t the first time Four made dangerous decisions by killing those who swore allegiance, Five’s doubts about Four prove correct and now the second “betrayer” is all but standing in a throne of blood. I’m excited for what’s to come and felt this episode tops the season with a wicked arc and a cliffhanger more extreme than any this season has met with.
Four’s plight to regain control of his homeworld was rightly saved for the near-end of the season, an epic struggle that nearly exceeds even Two and her personal war with Rook and Dwarf Star. Each crew-member has something necessary to fulfill and tonight, Four cut right to the heart of Zairon and squeezed it dry. Even with the help of the crew, Four remained ruthless and steadfast and now, looks to accomplish all he set out for with the exception of the war itself. Everything Four went through was solid and intriguing right down the massacre he ordered at the end, a fabled tragedy marked by a promise to rule. Most all elements exceeded expectations and the crew rightfully acted in a shocking display of confusion as to what will happen next.
I actually really liked that Hansmeed was paired up with the empress as this show doesn’t combine its villains nearly enough and there’s so many. With Drago not a traitor it was somewhat difficult to ascertain if the loose end would be dealt with and it was, which also puts to rest Nyx’s knowledge with what happened to her brother, Milo. Everything came to a head quickly but in a manageable way that shifted a few emotional states back and forth, including the silent Misaki who confessed an old love for Four but a stronger duty to the throne. Very well placed points of interest and reveals all leading to the bloody finale of the episode.
It’s more preference rather than nitpicking, but I always wanted to see more development of Zairon and utilization of sweeping dolly shots and larger atmosphere’s showcasing this grand-scale planet. Some of the exterior shots were very beautiful, but it was too easy to tell where the shots had to remain tight and closed in and since the show uses slow-motion so sparingly, there’s wasn’t a lot to accentuate, but again, it’s a just preference because Zairon is more fleshed out than most any other planet and that includes Earth. The culture is rich and I just felt we never got enough of it to understand everything with why Zairon is in the war its in and what they really represent in the galaxy.
The last scene. I’d almost argue that Four’s scene with the android was both warm-hearted and fascinating to watch and should have stood out as the best scene, but that last moment of death was the clincher to seal this episode into a dramatic shocker. I wasn’t expecting Hiro to be executed as well, but again, Four will kill anyone who essentially was against him to destroy any and all chances of an uprising and quite frankly, it’s wicked ruthless but appropriate for his stature as the returned Ryo, a maelstrom of death.
It’s all Four from beginning to end. He painted a picture of multiple tones each based on the person he was with, notably with Nyx and the android, but also Six, Two, and Misaki. He got to interact with almost everyone to a degree that had his character died, this would have been the episode to have that send-off. But it was all toward a singular goal, one he exploited by using the crew and those who found new trust in him. Does that trust stand? I’d say the crew will probably let this one go and move on to the bigger war at hand, but if Ryo wants that blink drive, who knows what he’ll do to get it. Awesome performance from Four, he stole the show tonight.
Regarding what Four knows about Three. I want to suspect it has something to do with previous plot threads that still haven’t been solved such as “Who killed One’s wife,” and other such things that possibly involved Three, but there’s also a stronger possibility that to push the series into further strangeness, Four probably knows something we haven’t been introduced to yet. I don’t expect it to be earth shattering, but it should be enticing enough to warrant a flashback of some kind.
We’ve gone this far and we still don’t know who hitched a ride from the other dimension. If I were a crazy betting man, I’d say it’s a long shot that the Four in this episode is really the Four from the other dimension, disguised and hell-bent on ruling Zairon from any dimension. Maybe the real four is out of action somewhere, who knows. I know, it’s a real long shot, but it would make for an interesting twist. Otherwise, I wouldn’t hold off on that reveal into season 3, let’s find out in this next episode.
Nyx finding out Four’s involvement in Milo’s death should put an end to any further relationship those two might have had moving forward. I don’t mind that, their scenes just didn’t hold enough gravity for me to invest in, but I will say, Four did a better job of telling her that he didn’t care than Three did telling Five and being called out on it. This won’t be something Nyx forgives easily if at all and I don’t blame her.
With as much time as we spent on Zairon and with Misaki in the mix I’m actually disappointed we didn’t see more sword fighting. The infiltration of the Raza crew was handled well enough, but I would have been perfectly fine for another Misaki and Four combat scene at least to truly declare who was the better fighter.
The promo for the finale doesn’t address Four or the plot of this episode suggesting that the crew and Four are going to part ways assuming Four doesn’t steal the blink drive for himself. Whether he’s a villain of his own making remains to be seen, but I can’t imagine he’ll put the crew through any suffering as they did help him get back the throne. It’s okay that he’s shedding his Four persona because he has the memories to be who he needs to be and now he can focus on the part of the war that effects him the most. He’s a silent believer in consequentialism where the ends justify the means and moving forward, he’ll probably continue with that mindset regardless of who opposes him.
9 out of 10. Strong opening and strong finish. Dark Matter shows the sci-fi world how gritty it can get with its pulse-pounding and frenzied violence softened only by the compassion the crew has for one another. Four dominates the penultimate episode by securing his place on Zairon and disposing of all his enemies in classic fashion. This flawless act promises a critical finale that should hopefully keep pace with the plot and give us a startling end to an incredible season. And as always, the Raza gets more and more detail in it’s CGI glory with plenty of flyby shots to entice. Looking forward to one more run with the crew as we near close out another spectacle in space. Bring on the rest next week and thanks for reading.
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