A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 1×13 (Why was 6 afraid of 7? Because 6 was faking it!)

Dark Matter 1x13

Answers may have been given, but reasons are far from visible in the tumultuous season finale of Dark Matter. Rather than go epic, explosive, and death defying, we return to the root that started the show off with its categorical mistrust that settles on one question: Who is the real betrayer among the crew? That answer is seemingly given but again, we know so little about why and what that we’ll be left speculating for the coming months. The good news, season 2 has been green lit, so there will be a reckoning with our resident Raza team.

Elements worked very well in this finale while a few stuck out like sore thumbs. The guessing game can be both uplifting and frustrating at the same time because suspicion breeds all kinds of crazy scenarios with misdirection and red herrings. I can’t say I’m satisfied with the ending because I don’t understand the root of the problem as it was introduced many episodes prior. Do things make sense? Certainly not, but we’ll dive and see what we can see.

After the crew discover the android has been incapacitated, the crew search the ship for who they think is a corporate unit that never left. Their sweep yields nothing and they conclude the party responsible is one of them. Distrust is sown between all members as one by one, members begin to fall to an agent passed on by both injection and water. Four is the first to fall, followed by Six. Three and One constantly accuse the other and Five is left worrying that it’s truly Two who turned on them. While being locked away in the bridge, Five encounters the hologram who reveals her function and that the android is in fact defective. Five has the hologram delete itself and then escapes the bridge. The remaining are caught in the hallway with Three and Two training their guns on One. Five arrives and accuses Two of being the traitor until a pair of gas canisters knock them all out. An authority ship arrives and commandeers the ship, taking each of the crew away with Six revealed as the culprit who set them up. He’s seen the last leaving with the authority team.

Well, there we have it. In Five’s recording, Four and Two were referencing Six being the one who had to die and Five is essentially responsible for mind-wiping the crew but not necessarily with that intention in mind in order to stop them from murdering someone. It…sounds cut and dry, but that does leave plenty to speculate. For example, was Six working with the authority the entire time as a spy and infiltrated the General’s group? Was his revenge really genuine against him? Probably so. Does he still care about the crew? Or is he playing for a third party that has yet to be named?

My first and only real issue with this episode was the first 15 minutes. We all knew, and I do mean we ALL knew that there wasn’t a stowaway on board and I don’t think we needed 15 minutes for the crew to realize that. It just took too long to do those sweeps and even longer for the vent scenes that felt very “Alien” in retrospect. Aside from that I was pleasantly fine with how events unfolded. The right amount of distrust came about, characters playing for and against others. Natural tendencies came out and obvious retaliation came at the expense of tying up loose ends from previous threads. The plot held pretty tight until that the end and though it can be argued that Six should or shouldn’t have been able to wake up from his own injection, it’s a minor point. Why never gets answered and that’s fine too because this show is all about cliffhangers and that’s easily the biggest one to date. Will Six ever be trusted again? Surely he owes Five if nothing else and who knows, maybe this opens the door for the crew to unofficially work for the authority. Just because they wear dark Jason masks doesn’t mean they’re the bad guys, right?

One possible continuity flaw is how Five is so easily convinced that Two is the culprit. True there’s undeniable evidence that she conspired with Four to kill “someone” on the ship, but it was never proven that anyone might have retained their memories from the mind-wipe. She jumped at that conclusion first then tried to piece everything else together and it’s unfortunate that all of Two’s trust and friendship really didn’t count for anything after the fact. Maybe it’s a flaw of the human spirit and not so much the logistics of the technology involved. People can turn at the drop of a hat and Five is no different considering the circumstances.

FAVORITE MOMENT

The ending. Cluster moments laced in W.T.F when dealing with “who dunnit?” plots are always mind-numbingly awesome because one can spend so much time rewinding facts and scenes in your head making you second guess yourself until the truth is revealed. It’s psychologically exhausting but can have really sweet results if written right. Dark Matter sold most of the delivery on this and Six did stand out as a character who ideally shouldn’t be a traitor. What kind of a traitor has yet to be seen. I’m not writing him off as a villain yet because we just don’t know enough about why. After all, he was on a ship full of cutthroats before the mind-wipe occurred. Who were the actual villains in this case?

CHARACTER MVP

Well let’s just go with Six because he did dupe the crew and probably a great many of the watchers. As soon as the gas cans hit, my brain activated and cornered on Six, I’m just annoyed I didn’t guess it earlier. I like to be fooled so I usually turn my brain off during episodes or movies like these but those intrusive guesses still make their way. In any case, kudos for Six on fooling the lot.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Like a few, there was that moment when the hologram showed up that we could have easily believed the whole thing was orchestrated by her. She did say she was running on default parameters which suggested some old programming could be making her manipulate events. But it wasn’t the case. She really was just something the android conjured and now only Five knows the truth about her “defective” nature. I don’t think she fulfilled anything since Five made her delete herself, but who knows, maybe there’s something more the android will need to find out that will make her reinitialize the program later.

If Six was truly responsible why pretend to hold his gun like he’s looking for someone once he was outside of Five’s field of vision? Maybe he just took advantage of the situation before injecting himself which is fine. Minor nitpick here.

I would have liked to have seen Four and Six duke it out. Have a moment where they both wake up and then realize they both know and then they tear the place up before Six gets the upper hand. Aw well.

I loved that ending theme when the crew were being dragged out and Six struts outward past the camera. Good reveal and well placed music. I applaud.

Did Six really need a shock-stick to take out Two? On second thought, yeah probably.

If you’re going to stealthily look for someone who might have stowed away on your ship, it might be best to not bring up earlier plot points to your paired teammate if you’re going to get the drop on that stowaway.

Looking back, remembering Six’s conversation with Five makes a little more since considering he basically tried to convince her to leave the ship because she really wasn’t a part of the crew. In a way if he was duping them all from that point, what he was doing was trying to save her the hassle of being caught by the galactic authority. Or maybe I’m reading too far into it.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Again, very impressed with the plot and twists, but the first quarter of the episode had my eyes rolling because it was more about the characters taking their time deducing the situation when we knew from the start what was essentially happening. I’m very glad the show is greenlit for a second season, otherwise I’d be scratching my head forever trying to understand Six’s role in all this. As a whole, this first season is keeping me inserted and I look forward to the next season when it airs. The cast is doing good work and I’m sure they have their work cut out for them in future installments. Whether Six remains a part of that structure remains to be seen. Great season and thanks for reading. Until next time.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 1×12 (The great great great great great grandson of Dr. Isaac Parrish lives on)

Dark Matter 1x12

With the planet’s destruction a seemingly negligible concern, all plots push forward to reveal Two’s sordid past within the company known as Dwarf Star, led by Science-Fiction alumni, Wil Wheaton. The crew perform a daring rescue operation with Two’s life in the balance. Five discovers a shocking secret regarding the crew before they were mind-wiped and someone on the shop finally makes their move in secret.

Two’s questions to her status as truly human or not is the main theme of this episode and it came during the penultimate episode. It fits in at the opportune time and deals with an interesting concept about the human condition and what having a flawed brain really means. This is somewhat paired with the android’s quest to rationalize her own behavior as a machine with friends. Both duality compliment the rescue plot and this stands as one of the better balanced episodes of the season. Wil’s performance as the cocky but subtle Alex Rook helped inject some sci-fi star power into this brand as well.

After the planet was destroyed The crew discover the device was used as a means to further white hole technology which acts in opposite of natural black holes. Calchek then communicates them about a job to rescue a scientist who is working for Ferris Corp. They take the job but it’s a trap set by Alex Rook who leads the company, Dwarf Star on the planet they landed on. Two is apprehended and shut down due to a dampening field that affects her nanites. Alex explains to the crew what Two (Rebecca) is and promptly sends them on their way. The crew plan a rescue attempt using the android to infiltrate the facility while Alex performs a diagnosis on Two. After Two attempts to escape, Alex concludes she’ll need a new brain to reformat and they proceed with the surgery. Meanwhile, Five discovers a listening device she planted under the dining table before she was mind-wiped and collects it. At the facility, the android successfully shuts the field down and Two kills the surgical team before blowing the facility up. Alex, however escapes and is later seen visiting an old man in a solitary room connected to a machine. He declares Two and her crew will need to be dealt with because they know what she is. Alex also refers to a prototype that will replace Two. Back on the ship, the crew settle in as Five discovers on the tape she found that Two and Four agreed to kill one of the male members on the ship before they went into stasis. Later, someone is seen taking the shock stick and using it on the android, shutting her down.

The human condition as it relates to superior forms of life including androids is a staple of science-fiction storytelling. It deconstructs and analyzes thoughts and emotions that conflict with logical beings as well as beings that are inherently flawed when they’re supposed to be in effect, perfect. Two asks a barrel of these questions before finding out where she came from, and further still, long after she escapes. What I think the scientists on Dwarf Star fail to realize is that a flawed brain is exactly what a human brain is. When you create a human mortal, there is no such thing as a flawless brain. They were looking for issues like psychopathic problems of a sort and weren’t finding anything because the human brain is meant to be unstable in unique ways. What I think they were truly looking for was what it took to create a subservient soul that physically had no flaws and had the mind perform specific functions like a robot. Emotions flair this up all the time and it goes to show that just because Two murdered a lot of people doesn’t mean she preferred it or would always fall to it. Alex warned the crew that eventually Rebecca would turn on them, but I think it’s easy to disagree with that assessment because the power of friendship tends to overcome all, usually. In any case, it was a good start to a new path that Two is now facing. Let’s hope she can own her own actions and not feel compelled to lose herself to the rampage that she’s accused of being drawn toward.

The android’s holographic devil’s advocate returns and offers more candid thoughts on her position and status as the ship’s relevant synthetic life-form. In her passive way, she’s attempting to prove to a stronger more logical program that friendship is necessary, yet the hologram makes a point. The android looks human and humans are drawn to other human-like things. This isn’t always the case, because a voice in the machine works just as well in other storylines to build connections, but it can be argued a voice is just a human as any physical construct that appears the same. What’s significant is her drive to want to be accepted. It’s not that she doesn’t understand it, it’s that she’s persevering in spite of opposing information. Her act with shutting down the dampening field is a good analogy in that her struggles to shut down what keeps Two docile is the same as what’s keeping the android from breaking her own shackles on becoming more human-like. It’s good development, although I still question the use of a hologram duplicate. The same could be accomplished for any one of the crew members. Even Three could be ideal, mainly because he doesn’t care.

Five’s discovery sheds a little light on the crew’s prior personalities, and it goes to show that everyone aside from Six was basically in jerk-face mode before going into stasis. Four seemed to be somewhat in charge and was the deciding factor on Five staying on the ship. Afterward, he converses with Two about one of the male members needing to be killed. So the question remains, are they referring to One, Three, or Six? As far as theories go, they all have equal reasons though One stands as the likely suspect because he’s not the real Jace Corso and finding that out could easily earn him a trip through the space doors. More importantly, someone took out the android and though one might easily suggest it was five, the height of where the shock stick struck the android suggests it was someone else. But was it the same person that Two and Four conspired to kill? Or does one even have to do with the other? Maybe it was the hologram! No one ever suspects the hologram.

FAVORITE MOMENT

The android’s entire infiltration from start to finish. I like it. They found a perfect use for her and she played an integral part in Two’s escape. She’s proving to be more than just an asset and is trying to grow on her own. Plus she can still kick a lot of ass and that’s always a plus.

CHARACTER MVP

This was Two’s centric episode and it stands that she should get the MVP this time. She couldn’t fight against her own programming and killed the scientists when the dampening field was released so in a way she was proving to Alex everything he suspected. But in that I think from an acting point of view she showed a lot of vulnerability and tried to defy her captors in spite of her nature to hit first and ask questions later. True she resumed being stone-cold later, but at the time it was interesting to see how she reacted when her mechanism to combat her problems was taken away.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Evil scientist mocks the victim by slowly carving into her head. It’s classic but a little futile. I don’t think we needed a moment try and feel sorry for that particular guy because he lost a bunch of friends who Two killed. He’s a scientist on the villain team, he’s evil, nothing more needs to be described.

The white hole concept was pretty fascinating and I was hoping that’d play a bigger role in this episode, but hopefully it’ll come back in future ones.

If I were Alex, I would have killed the crew and not invite them for dinner and explain everything that Two is. I get the pleasantries and finding out what the crew knew, but he’s the kind of character that would have made that call instead of waiting for an old man to tell him what he basically already knew.

And speaking of the old man, is the prototype meant for him? What is the connection between Rebecca and him and what’s the endgame here?

Is one of the crew actually playing possum and remembers everything before the stasis? Seems arbitrary, but whatever the case may be, it’ll be interesting to see if someone actually genuinely betrays the crew or if this is all just a simple misunderstanding.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Pretty solid episode all around. Questioning one’s own human condition is necessary sometimes and with Two and the android they share something in common that I think supports the overall plot. Wil did fine for his bit part, hopefully he can make more appearances and be an enjoyable villain. No real nitpicks this time around. Not a perfect episode but it did leave us hanging as usual, which can be frustrating when you want things to wrap up smoothly. In any case, only one more episode left. We’ll see what secrets are unveiled and where the crew goes from here. Thanks for reading.

A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 1×11 (Never create something technological with the word “hole” in it!)

Dark Matter 1x11

Continuing straight from the last episode, the crew of the Raza deal with their loss of Two as Wexler and his team attempt to rendezvous with another corporation to sell off the device. An unexpected problem with the ship’s FTL causes problems that result Five stepping up her game and the return of Two, who finally begins to understand what she is.

This was a vast improvement over the last episode in several ways, most notably the actions of an almost Terminator-like quality of Two, and Five getting her hands dirty but saving Two in the process. Shots felt tighter and flowed better from scene to scene along with some innocuous speech giving moment by One in an effort to rile of the men of the Raza. The action was pretty solid all around as well, making this a very well-rounded episode leading into a cliffhanger segment that’s sure to put the crew in dire straits from here on out.

After Two is jettisoned in space, Wexler apprehends One and attempts to gain information on loot that Jace Corso revealed to have stashed somewhere far away. One doesn’t know and Five is brought in with the threat that she’ll be tortured or worse if he doesn’t tell them. Wexler’s crew, however discover that the FTL drive is non-operational and Vons leaves in a space suit at Five’s suggestion to find and fix the problem. Vons is then somehow subdued and killed as Two makes her way back in the ship, unharmed. Meanwhile, One tries to convince Three, Four, and Six that they need to continue fighting if they are to survive. Another corporation arrives and boards the ship as Two and Tash engage in a brutal fight with Two killing her. She then begins systematically taking out the corporation team and is eventually caught by Cain, but Five kills him with a gun she had hidden away. After the corporate ship departs, Two forces Wexler to give her the code to open the vault and then spaces him not knowing what she really is. Later, the android informs her that she is some kind of bio engineered construct and will likely be hunted down if her true nature is discovered. All but One are shocked at her secret but later the device is handed over to the planet that needed it and after activating the device, it pulsates but something goes terribly wrong resulting in the planet’s entire destruction. The Raza crew barely escape but now are forced to content with this new development.

Two’s surgical strike was for me the highlight of this episode. Knowing she’d return because “main character” didn’t really detract from what she did after she was spaced. Knowing now that she’s an engineered being of course still raises questions but at least she doesn’t have to wear that bandage anymore. I do believe she’s at the crux of her character’s growth in that now she can question everything about her existence and will have to make some kind of call on how she’ll act form here on out. I think her connections with most of the characters will probably wane except with Five who she’s always looked after like an older sister. She can always choose to ignore her abilities and try to remain as human as possible, but that’s the point is we won’t know until she does it. It’s good that we finally got some information on her after all this time.

The men weren’t really given a lot to do in this episode but deal with being locked away. Although One did convince them to work together even in the face of futility, it was unfortunate that they didn’t fashion their own means of escaping or even finding more secrets in the vault. As much as I appreciate One’s attempt at sounding like a leader, I can never get past him always sounding like he’s whining. It’s hard to know if this is just a character flaw or if the actor just doesn’t have the range to change his style. Even the real Corso seemed like a silly attempt to show the actor’s ability to be gruff and serious. In any case, it was Three’s obvious denial that he cared that much for Two that helped put things in perspective. Wise moves that will hopefully continue to pay off in the future.

I’d like to think that this will be the last time anyone tells Five to hide in the vents. She’s holding her own and even under certain threats, she still manages to utilize what she knows or has access to to help her fellow crew members. Now that’s she actually killed someone I doubt she’ll suffer too much for it, but it’ll be interesting to see if maybe that changes her demeanor slightly. Her quest to belong is finally realized, but whether there’s a downside to it remains to be seen.

The ending scene suggests there’s some drastic repercussions to be had. Was that planet fully populated and what was the device designed to do? Was there instability within the planet and the device corrected it or was it designed to augment existing properties on the planet and then malfunctioned? Either way it appears the Raza will likely take the blame for this tragic event because you don’t just walk away from a planet exploding and not look like the culprits who caused it. It’s possible this ties into the last two episodes of the season, but then again, they could very well just move the Raza crew right along like nothing happened.

FAVORITE MOMENT

The fight between Two and Tash. It was just really well done. They didn’t pull any punches and it looked like both characters knew what they were doing. This kind of choreography should be a standard for all future one-on-one fights, plus I like how Two just threw Tash to the side after breaking her neck.

CHARACTER MVP

Between Two and Five I think Two gets the edge. Five did a lot of good things, but development wise, Two is undergoing an overhaul and is finally coming to terms with what she is. By choosing to space Wexler, she’s ignoring some of her more human aspects because right now it’s pointless to feel guilt or compassion toward villainous characters when she herself doesn’t understand what she truly is. Moving forward, I’d expect she’ll become more distant for the sake of not connecting emotionally, but it’s entirely possible the opposite could occur.

ENDING THOUGHTS

That android hologram wasn’t re-addressed in this episode so I imagine they’ll do something with it before the finale. It seemed like a great idea, but if it’s just tossed to the side as a meaningless plot point, I’d be surprised.

Whenever you need to accentuate a villain’s irritating personality, just stick a toothpick in his mouth, works every time.

Watching Four meditate within the vault while the carbon-dioxide built up reminded me of a Gundam Wing episode where Wufei did the same thing in a similar situation. Both popped up when the door opened too.

I’m actually really glad the corporate team’s armor actually absorbed/deflected Two’s bullets. It’s so rare to see an enemy’s armor do that these days, you know, function like it’s supposed to.

In bringing up Three’s feelings for Two, does this mean we’ll be seeing that love triangle they’ve been off-and-on teasing since this show began? Two may not be interested in either though at this point.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Everyone was on point in this episode and it was shot with precision and care. I didn’t feel there were any significant moments that didn’t fit or should have been dialed down. Two and Five continue to impress themselves and each other while the guys attempt to build on their camaraderie. The ending was literally explosive but I don’t know enough about this universe to understand if planets exploding is a thing or if it’s pretty unheard of. One way or another we’ll find out. Thanks for reading.

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A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 1×10 (Why can’t we all be frenemies?)

Dark Matter 1x10

Just when you thought the Raza would be boarded and its crew interrogated and tortured, they swerve and give us a thieving plot. The tenth episode of Dark Matter pairs our notable crew with another team, charged with stealing an unknown but important device from a station. After both teams encounter an unhealthy amount of drama, the plan is set in motion while the android begins a new assessment on her program by creating a holographic version of herself designed to track her every movement and decision. It’s a smash and grab with plenty of both to seal within this mostly standalone episode.

For the past few episodes we’ve been given ample backstory and intriguing plot to push our knowledge of the crew into expanding territory. Every now and again we’re given an episode that’s outside of that scope but keeps intact enough character development to move personalities along and maybe keep some things lighthearted along the way. Two’s attitude remains the same when confronted by overzealous masculine types while Five is given a chance to assert her worth on the crew. Technically the episode can be skipped based purely on over-arcing plot development, but with all episodes ending it snafu cliffhangers, it’s best to enjoy the episode for what it is: hijinks and mayhem.

The Raza avoid a nuclear strike against a pursuing vessel and are aided by the corporation that backed their play during the mining colony plot. They are given an assignment to remain sponsored and are told to steal a device with the help of another team. Both crews travel in the Raza and their leader mistakenly tries to pursue Two and ends up physically injured. This allows Five to take his place with her knowledge of electronic engineering. Once inside the station, both crews perform as intended and after a few hiccups along the way leave with the device in hand. Later on the ship, the other crew double-cross the Raza team and steal the ship and the device for themselves. In the final scene, Two is jettisoned into space.

The first few things to stand out are the resourcefulness of Two and Five with how Two handled the nuke missile and with how Five adapted through the issue with powering the door. Collectively they are showing their capabilities and proving why they are where they need to be on the crew. Most everyone else really didn’t come through with any particular “save the day” moments, but for the sake of hilarity, Four was best being put outside the group overtaking the door. He would have decimated the android easily had he been there, but no one knew. I thought Wexler might have touched on something about Two’s method for choosing mates, but ever since she started fraternizing with One, her attitude has been more monogamous as of late. Either way, his attitude earned him a beaten body proving even in space, some men are complete douche-bags.

There’s also a bit of relationship woes dividing One and Two up ever since he confronted her about speaking to the crew before her about the job. He gets some not-so soundly advice with how to treat their captain and she reacts by dismissing any future acts together for the time being. There are always some irrational behaviors in the drama that are relationships and as such One is realizing he can’t just cop an attitude with Two and not expect there to be some kind of retaliation. Every male that attempts to assert their dominance over her tends to be quickly squashed in one form or another.

The act of the job itself had its moments, mainly with the android problem which I thought was handled a bit poorly between everyone, but that was the point. When it was stated there’d be no weapons on the job, I thought something like this would occur, but the crew can’t always rely on weapons, good lesson to learn. Not knowing what the device really is is disappointing mainly because it doesn’t wrap up all the plot points in the same episode. It’s a typical formula to maintain watching episode to episode, but I would have liked to know something more than that a corporation desired to have it.

The android’s unique idea to create a holographic version of herself to assess her functions was a cool approach. One the good side, she’s learning to diagnose herself and is also proving to be resourceful just on her own, but the bad side is that it keeps her isolated and away from any plot that takes the crew outside of the ship. This gives her something to do and to stay relevant, but I’d like her to be more useful when its possible. The hologram’s quick vanishing act when Five came in does raise a question or two.

FAVORITE MOMENT

The android attack. This is the second time (that I remember) when they’ve used a fight sequence to trade banter between characters. It deflates the seriousness of the situation, but allows the crew to deal with the problem without being too eccentric or serious about it. I like that dynamic because it’s not often the jokes seem very spot on except in these kinds of skirmishes.

CHARACTER MVP

I think Two gets it for this episode. In dealing with the nuke attack, the new crew and of course the overlapping relationships between her friends, she’s been playing a constant balancing act while keeping her secret still at bay. It can’t always be easy for her, and the strain will eventually cause her to slip up on that secret, unless she comes clean before that happens. Still, she’s fighting the good fight, playing it safe when she needs to and conforming to the crew’s vote as well. Her renaissance nature showed in this episode.

ENDING THOUGHTS

It’s a shot in the dark, but did the android imagine her holographic twin? If so, could that be a side effect of her programming, or is the hologram just not supposed to be seen by anyone? Could be simple, but I still wonder.

That hipster Lannister pair were an odd bunch. Just when you thought they started to show some character, they didn’t. Shame.

I honestly don’t mind seeing Two spaced. I know something creative will happen that will allow her to survive, probably involving her genetic make-up, but if this show does have any moxy, they might afford to put away a cast member by season’s end. It doesn’t have to be Two, but it could show there’s no safety net on the show.

I don’t know why but I liked that Three was the one who gave up the code. I would have expected either One or Six to have done it, but that’s how you give jerk-like characters more substance by having them do unexpected things, usually compassionate in nature.

Five gets pass on her goggles this time, because she actually used them in a way that made sense.

OVERALL SCORE

This felt very average to me. The backstories and main plot were essentially put on hold to make way for a standard crew vs. crew tale which saw the double-cross a mile away. When shows can’t afford to put aside main arc plots, it’s compelling television, but when writers have to throw in these kinds of stories, I’m not as intrigued. Still, it allowed for some light-hearted moments and helped give Five something to do. The end showed promise for the next episode, but that’s what cliffhangers are designed to do. I know we won’t be spending an entire episode trying to search for a spaced Two, but it should move forward her ability which is something I’ve been clamoring for the last few episodes. 6 out of 10. Again, I’m not knocking the episode for doing what it did, it was just overtly dull to me. Thanks for reading.

No more words

Dark Matter and Hannibal reviews delayed

Hello all,

Apologies in advance, but I’ll be out of town for a while and won’t be able to get to my reviews for the remaining episodes of Hannibal and Dark Matter until I get back in early September.

When I get back, I’ll retroactively pick up where I left off and knock them out as normal. Again, sorry for the quick update for those that have come by each week and for any newcomers who have just discovered me.

See you soon.

A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 1×09 (If Three was reading GOT, he’d still be waiting for book six, and crying)

Dark Matter 1x09

In the wake of learning our lesson that trust and honesty must be maintained by the group, Four acts just as Six did previously and leaves the crew to handle his father’s assassination personally. Upon being ceremoniously captured, Four and his former master must traverse a violent forest while recalling their once proud mentorship. The crew search for Four whilst dealing with the next stage of their trust issues including One’s secret grudge against Three and Six’s self-loathing over his own past which negatively impacts Five and her continued attempts to bond with the crew.

While not as generally impactful as last week’s episode, the stakes were nearly as high but on a more personal level. Feelings were more intimate and hurt while the build up toward Two’s inevitable secret will cause the most blowback when fate calls on it. Some elements were done very well and as always, they candidly wiggle in a moment or two of ironic humor. There are a few aesthetic concerns, but they only really tied to the episode at hand and not as a global problem of the show. All in all, a satisfying episode with a mild but decent shoot out and probably an unnecessary death scene, but I’ll get analytical on that later in the review.

After a supply run, Four leaves the crew to meet presumably with his brother on a remote planet but finds his old mentor and his soldiers there waiting for him. Four dispatches the soldiers but is taken captive by Akita. Meanwhile, One reveals to Two that he believes Three murdered his original personality’s wife and is harboring a grudge about it. Six feels miserable and self-loathing over both The General’s escape and his role with him and takes his frustrations out on Five, who laments she’s just as much a friend to the crew and everyone else is. Three and the android share a brief moment regarding her self-diagnostic and thoughts toward rebooting her system if she can’t find or fix the flaw in herself. Back on the planet, Four and Akita encounter local bandits but dispatch them. Once Akita’s other forces arrive to take in Four, the crew show up and a shoot out occurs with only Akita’s men suffering casualties. Akita decidedly lets Four walk his own path but promises to take him in should they meet again. Four then kills his mentor and returns to the ship. In the final scene, the Raza is subdued out of FTL and surrounded by three larger ships.

I’ll start with the moment that caught me off guard which was Four killing Akita at the end. This act can be viewed a couple of different ways and as such try to dig as deep as I can having just recently viewed it. My first rationalization was that Four can’t afford to have Akita return home and tip his hand about Four’s suspicion that his step-mother killed his father. This could inexplicably put his step-brother in harm’s way as I don’t think Four truly believes his brother had a part in his father’s death. That seems like the easy explanation, but I know there has to be more than that because I certainly don’t think Four needed to kill his mentor. Honor can be thrown about with what it means to surpass one’s own teacher, giving an honorable death in combat, and of course having owned his life since it was revealed Four saved Akita from execution all those years ago over a bad call during a battle we never got to see. Four certainly didn’t hate Akita and the two did share a form of father/son relationship based on Four’s inability to understand his own father and his harsh teachings. So what was the real motivation behind the kill? Was it to save face with the crew, or did Four think the crew would have killed Akita anyway? I think if that was the case, Four and Two would have had that talk during their last scene in her quarters. In my honest feedback, I’d say Four was wiping away all of his past connections to deal with moving forward on reclaiming his throne. Akita was, at best a neutral figure in this struggle and Four needs people he can fully trust. By telling Four he would bring him to the emperor if they met again, he was in fact sealing his own fate.

One and Three’s macho showmanship reached a pivotal moment, one that Two now has context into which is good because, when it comes to everyone else’s problems she can rationalize quite well. When it comes to her own, she just can’t deal with anyone’s input or judgment, at least not yet. When two characters genuinely dislike each other but keep saving each other’s lives, on purpose or not, it creates the ultimate buddy cop effect. These two share that dynamic and that’s good because without it, Three is just a solitary smart-ass and One is just a whiney kid with a high-school crush. Keep them on one another like this episode did and they’ll eventually become great allies. It displayed the subtext of friendship and camaraderie, something that both Two and Five mentioned to Six and Four. Their alliance is necessary for survival, but more than that, it’s imperative they start to become a family that looks out for one another, at least until Two’s secret blows everything out the airlock.

A few minor nitpicks as usual, but they’re again aesthetic and don’t distract from the overall tale. Four’s subplot has been given a lot of screen time and thus far has the most impact considering if it is resolved then Three’s judgment was right, they’ll have a powerful and influential ally with the resources to probably fix all their problems. Which is why I can’t imagine everything going as planned, or at the best, being postponed due to more critical concerns like being boarded by three large ships that have been searching for them.

FAVORITE MOMENT

I didn’t like it, but it I understood why it was done and that was Akita’s death. He was a fascinating character that had just as many layers as four did and Four killing him just seemed so villainous and the exact moment it happened. After reflecting, it made the scene more genuine because of all the subtext and flashbacks built in to get us to care about a character who wanted to do right but was locked in a position he couldn’t really get out of. If they can keep writing characters with this kind of complexity it will serve the show much more.

CHARACTER MVP

I think Akita should get it. He’s a minor character but one created on the foundation of maneuvering Four into those moments of character growth. He was a necessary catalyst and treated Four with dignity and respect while still proving to be a more capable opponent, which is always good to help measure a main character’s ability and prowess. Good acting and all around a tough character with honorable roots.

ENDING THOUGHTS

The weight lifting cracked me up and not in a good way. Watching One handle that puny 15-20 pound dumbbell in frustration was comical. Did he just steal that from the weight room or does he have a stack of those by his bed? Do you even lift, bro? And as for Six, you call those hammer curls? Your form was all wrong and Five has to be completely off her senses if she thinks surprising Six while he was benching what looked like 255 was a good idea. Safety first people.

As much as I appreciate the cuteness and the look of Five adding steampunk-flavored goggles to her already rebelliously flamboyant clothing style, I’m going to have to have to shake my head on that cliché and hope they don’t become a part of her outfit. I know, I know, I’m harsh, but they don’t need to sell her personality with any more flair, it’s fine the way it is.

By now I have to imagine that someone else on the crew will catch or find Two without her bandage on which will spark the debate on her attitude toward being honest with everyone. Five can keep a secret and Four likely won’t care, but it’s better if Six or Three finds out about it first. One just seems obvious, but since they’re kind of sort of being bed mates, you’d think he’d find out first just because.

I liked the brief take on Two and Three’s deduction with who realistically could have been the “bad guy” and wiped their memories, but the more they pinpoint it absolutely having to be one of the crew members I find it’s painfully obvious it was either the android (since she was purposefully not mentioned) or someone we haven’t met yet that’s either still on the ship or got off to avoid suspicion.

I keep seeing Wil Wheaton on the guest star list for this show but he still hasn’t shown up yet. Is he perhaps on one of the three ships that just overtook the Raza in space? He’ll fit right in. He start out in space after all.

Okay, here was my biggest nitpick of the episode. Twice, Four is surrounded by people who just casually walk into a circle from outside the woods. This is not smart choreography. Both Four and Akita are trained soldiers. They should spot enemies surrounding him from a mile away especially if they walk up and super casual like. Even the locals barely made the effort to appear as a threat. I just think if these guys dropped from the trees or I don’t know, used the land in some way to mask their arrival that could have made them a stronger threat. When Akita, a trained badass gives warning that the forest is full of problems worse than wild animals I was expecting something more than tiresome looking forest-folk who are just looking for some boots and money. Granted he said “after dark” but still. K, rant over.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Four’s storyline is one of my favorites because I like when they blend past and future cultures together. It’s not perfect by any means, but I like where it’s going, I just wish the step-brother was smart enough to understand that his mother blatantly spelled out for him that she killed the emperor. It’s okay, I’ll let that slide. Tonight’s episode had some decent sword fights and everyone on the ship is starting to get the picture that they are turning into a real focused group that depend on each other. Keep up this pace and they’ll be a really likeable crew in no time. I’d like to see if Six develops a drinking problem or falls off the deep end with his attitude, but since he’s already made amends with Five I doubt we’ll see him slip in any bad territory again until his enemy resurfaces. Overall, I like the episode, not quite as catchy and lavish as last week, but still a positive piece of the complete pie. Thanks for reading.

A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 1×08 (It’s official. Four is a reincarnated ninja turtle)

Dark Matter 1x08

All space-hell breaks loose when the crew discover Six’s agenda with The General, which inadvertently reveals a secret One has been keeping. Mealworms are the cheaper food product and it turns out the android may have untapped feelings giving her a leg up on Data. The clone transit system plays a large role in tonight’s episode and by the episode’s end, we’re given a short glimpse into new problems which will undoubtedly test the crew’s vigilance in trust and companionship.

Hands down the best episode thus far. The very breadth of Science-Fiction really saturates this episode and it’s mystery sub-genre attacks and reveals new elements to our amnesiacs that really sell the need to keep watching and find out the truth. Some of the comedic elements were rather hit or miss, but the core of the plot and the substantial tail-end cliffhanger bumpers were handled with care and intrigue. Other nitpicks will be looked into later, but all in all, I had a lot of fun watching this episode. Let’s dive in.

Six is taken to a criminal group who have ties to The General, who he’s seeking. The group attack Six and are forced to kill him, though his body dissolves revealing he’s a clone. Flashback a few hours and the crew arrive at another space station for repairs and supplies. Six goes to a clone transit facility alone and travels to another station to find The General. After he is killed, Six goes back in for another search and this time infiltrates The General’s base. The crew send One and Four through the clone transit process to find Six. Four then discovers that One’s true face is different and that at some point in the past, One was surgically altered to look like Jace Corso, a memory or piece of knowledge he somehow retained. Six finds The General and kills his men then strangles The General to death revealing his nemesis is also a clone which dissolves. Back at the Raza, Two lectures the need to trust each other and not keep secrets but later is called out by the android, who after healing suggests that One tell the crew about her healing. Later, Four confronts his step-brother through a call and One researches his DNA match and discovers his original name along with a tragic history involving the murder of his wife and the suspect being Three.

As a Six-centric episode, I wasn’t as sold at first with his particular story, mainly because it’s the most cut and dry out of everyone on the ship. However the means by which he comes to and from are what really makes this episode fascinating. We finally get a look at how the clone-transit system works and a lot of questions get answered. For any who might have thought One was a clone that somehow beat the clock on longevity, that theory has now been squashed, which is fine, because sometimes guessing correctly too early can make mysteries a bit disappointing. Although, I did think there’d be side-effects if a clone went in to clone itself again and that’s why he looked different on the other side. Still, good job on the reveal.

Rolling back to Six’s plot, I think they missed a great opportunity to have a nasty fight between Six and The general. Instead, Six loses the hand cannon and strangles his enemy without a lot of fight. They could have capitalized on this scenario, but I understand the need to keep things simple. If The General had been a real person I would have found that ending very anti-climactic, but as it stands, good job on putting him one step ahead of Six. And it was a good point that Six not feel apologetic to the crew about what he did. It was personal and he didn’t want anyone involved. Even Two should have respected that kind of decision, which leads me into my next touchy subject.

Two is a complete control freak. Not that this wasn’t cornered earlier on the show, but it really resonates with a lot of evidence this time around. Even though I was rooting for One to finally have his passionate moment with Two, I find I’m regretting this decision for him in the act now that she wants to keep things “business”-like and even twists his arm to prove how full of anxiety she is. This is an important piece of her puzzle, I think because it shows how contradictory she can be, something One hasn’t really figured out yet. If she boasts about trust and relenting on spilling secrets, then why does she get to be the one who hides her own from the team? And if she’s trying to trust the crew, why is she in attack mode when she has to know that One is essentially the affectionate boyfriend-type? It’s great that she’s very perplexing as a main character, but this time her attitude had more negative qualities that everyone hasn’t quite caught on yet, except the android.

The final scene revealed a short summary of One’s past which I think has substantial value, not quite higher than Four’s past, but definitely up there. In the short moment of reflection he finds he had a wife and that she was murdered. He’s essentially a rich character as well but on the run and Three is the suspect in question. Now, the obvious routine is that Three is a red herring and either One is responsible himself or the evil party has yet to be introduced. One thing is for certain, he’s going to think twice before trying to kiss Two again now that he knows what he knows. Will he follow her advice and tell the crew what he knows, or keep it secret because that’s what people are prone to doing?

One other minor heartfelt moment is when Five explains to the recovering android that she essentially has feelings even though the android certainly doesn’t think so. They share a hug and for once I actually want to care about this synthetic character. I was never a fan of Lauren from Lost Girl, but this is different and she’s slowly adjusting to make sense. Were her feelings something that purposefully got buried or is she just acting on another subroutine to mislead the crew? Five continues to be her conduit to emotional ties and even understanding so it’ll be interesting to see how she evolves in the coming episodes.

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Four discovers One has a different face after they emerge from the Transfer Transit pods. It was a good twist in that for a moment, we didn’t know what to think. Was it surgery? Was it a clone gone wrong? Was it a clone of a clone? And then Four punched him in the face. Great moment all around. I still don’t understand how he can just “know” that he changed his face to look like Corso, but I’ll let it slide unless I missed the exact explanation of it, in that case, cool.

CHARACTER MVP

Slightly tough. The episode was about Six, but I don’t think Six really came through as the top actor. I think this week I’m giving it to Four. He did two uncharacteristic things tonight that generally go against his nature and add a bit more layers to his standoffish attitude.

  1. He’s the one who convinced Three to rejoin the crew for R&R. Since Five had to have her moment later with the android, Four was essentially the only other one who had any solitary time with the guy and he took it upon himself to coax Three into leaving his quarters.
  2. He took the discount by admitting he and One were “a couple.” It was supposed to come off as funny, but there wasn’t that extra moment where they have to awkwardly prove that they were. It fell flat, but the point is Four was trying to save money and that really isn’t something I expected him to care about considering at this point they seem to have plenty of it.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Four has practiced with a sword, sais, and nunchaku. Throw the staff in there and he’s essentially skilled in the weapons of the ninja turtles. Plus his number is “Four”. Just throw in a pizza joke and we’re all good.

Why can’t Wendy be reprogrammed to be a good android like the other one?

If the clones can only exist for a few days, does The General essentially run to and from his transfer-transit facility all the time or was this just a one off because he knew Six was coming after him?

Okay, if I calculate the projected year Star Wars: 36 came out and I allow three years between each movie since SW07 that puts SW36 at about the year 2102. If it’s a “classic” that usually adds about 30 years making the year of Dark Matter present at 2132. Hmmm, no that still doesn’t sound right. I’d probably throw in another hundred years easy, but then again, they still use typical thin screen monitors on their PC’s so 2132 does still seem like an easy bet. Nah, it’s probably at least 2300 or so.

The same news-lady seems to keep reporting all their interesting news stories. Coincidence? Or sinister game afoot?

The monitor screen with Derrick Moss’s info reads as follows:

“CoreLactic Industries President and CEO, Derrick Moss, heir to the Moss fortune, headlined a charity drive for the galaxy’s underprivileged children last night on Alpha Centauri Bb. Along with his wife Catherine, Mr. Moss encouraged attendees to donate generously to the cause. The Mosses themselves have donated a whopping 10 trillion bars, and through their influence, CoreLactic Industries has donated an additional 30 trillion.”

“Mr. Moss said in his speech that, “85% of children in the galaxy live in poverty, entire families subsisting on less than a bar a day. It is the responsibility of those of us in positions of political and financial power to try and eradicate galactic poverty in whatever way we can.”

“Outside the event a crowd of anti-corporate demonstrations gathered to protest the event, holding signs and chanting anti-corporate slogans. One demonstrator, who declined to give her name, explained that, “the multi-corps are to blame for the disparity in the first place. They need part of the galaxy to stay poor. Events like this are all spin.”

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. It’s a high score because I really felt this episode had a lot of substance, and though some of the jokes were a bit miss for me, I respect the need to give these characters lighthearted moments because they’re wound up pretty tight from episode to episode. The transfer transit system is a vital piece of technology and I like the concept of it. It allows for a lot of cat and mouse games that were demonstrated tonight and I’m certain it will be utilized again in the future. I expect one of the characters to suffer from it’s overuse but it’s hard to say which one it will be although Six is a good candidate. You don’t just casually mention the side effects without injecting it into a plot later on, right? All in all, enjoyable storyline though I would have liked a more epic fight between clone general and clone Six. Until next week, thanks for reading.