A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 3×04 (Nihilistic Existentialism never fears the repeating day)

Dark Matter 3x04

 

SUMMARY

Three relives the same day over and over until he finds a way to convince the crew of his condition. During one instance, they arrive at a station and Three is attacked by one of Ishida’s bounty hunters, Ash, who has technology that allows him to phase through matter. Returning to the loop, Three and the crew run the same routine but attempt to capture Ash. Adrian tries to use a clock he took from Tabor during a time when Tabor collected items from a scientist as collateral. The clock is responsible for the time loop and adds Adrian with Three who together convince the crew to try and capture Ash again. When they arrive at the station, Ash confronts Three having been affected by the time loop as well. He is eventually killed when he attempts to phase through a wall while unconscious. Afterward, the android attempts to correct the time loop problem by adjusting the clock which hurtles her through several key moments in the future including a time when Five is old and on the ship alone in the outermost reaches of space. Five tells the android to destroy the clock when she returns, which she does, allowing everyone to resume normal time. Three finally meets with Sarah and accepts her situation as a conscious being within the dataframe. Back on Zairon, Ishida informs another member of his hired group of Ash’s failure as he attempts to once more gain access to the Raza’s position.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Dark Matter journeys into familiar territory but more than revitalizes the art of the time-looping plot. The reoccurring day is one of my favorite sci-fi themes and has since been seldom used in cinema and television as of late. But fear not, this isn’t a quasi bored theme, but rather an intense and humorous look into the mindsets of a both Three and the android. Three provided the beats we’re all familiar with, but the real gold was witnessing the android’s short but vital trek through the cosmic access of time. Part of science fiction is gaining knowledge of what’s to come, and that’s often never paired with the time loop theme unless it’s to defuse the situation of the moment and not the portents of things to come. Not only have we been given some fascinating glimpses into the android’s ever-shifting future, but we ultimately know Ishida’s fate as emperor. Let’s get started, again and again.

 

THE GOOD

If you put every crew member of the Raza up against a wall and wondered which would take to a time-loop the best on paper, that person would be Three. He was the right choice, because anyone else probably would have solved the issue the second or third time around. What sets Three apart from some other characters that have gone through this scenario is his inarticulate and foolish methods to remember facts and unique problem solving, including learning a language, which seems funny considering his inability to remember what was wrong with the ship in English. He’s also the only character who rightly needed a situation like this to get past some hang-ups including his attention toward Five and more recently, his reunion with Sarah. The moment they shared at the end was probably one of the more tender moments this show has ever produced.

 

THE BAD

In the sci-fi world of storytelling there’s an old saying, “Everyone gets one thing that doesn’t have to be explained and the audience just has to accept.” For example, in “Inception,” we’re never told “how” the dream-sharing-conscious machines work, they just do, and we have to accept the technology and move on. In this case, we’re given a clock with a brief and semi-convoluted past. No real explanation on how the technology functions, it just does. For the most part I’m okay with it because knowing really does nothing for the plot at hand. But in situations like these, I often wonder if writers can challenge the status quo and come up with a real interesting concept with how their written technology functions. A “deal with it” clock just seemed a little too glossed over to sell the idea. At least it wasn’t mystical in a world of technology.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

There’s a lot to choose, but I’d like to go with the android, in her goth-form, conversing with an elderly Five, who gave the android several key moments that will shape the fate of the crew and aspects of the galaxy. I’ll list what those time periods were below, but the important thing is here is our understanding of the radical effects the crew will have and the down slope they’ll be going through as the seasons progress. But Five will be fine, she always is. The androids future outfit was very cyber-punk appropriate, and I hope we get to see her again in that form soon.

 

CHARACTER MVP

This was all Three from top to bottom. He wasn’t the one to solve the time-loop crisis, but he helped get everyone into a position to understand what to do. His hilarious romp through a repeating cycle was orchestrated with his mental state in mind. He’s brash and rude in some aspects and very thoughtful in others. His mixed bag approach was often met with logical conclusions, but in the long run, he’s better off for the experience. His decision to meet with Sarah was the real evolution of his character and I for one am glad he’s survived this long to see her again. Now, if only they could construct an android equivalent and download her into its core memory processor. Okay, okay it’s been done on Eureka, moving on.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

The android’s time jumps are as detailed:

  1. On the bridge with Two held up in a section of the ship and Three silently shooting the android.
  2. The android in a house within a snowy mountain (like in the emotional construct world) crying and being told by Two that’s she’s feeling grief.
  3. The android on a table, severed in parts, speaking to a man working for Elektis (sp?) Corp. explaining the GA captured her and interrogates her about the android liberation front.
  4. The android is modified in the far future and finds an elderly Five on the bridge. She warns the android of the following sequences of events:
    1. The Dwarf Star’s conspiracy
    2. The double-deception
    3. Kryda and Corrina, the accelerated
    4. The fall of the house of Ishida
    5. The meeting with the android’s creator
    6. The black ships

 

There’s an evil method here at work considering how these events will be talked about and theorized, but the key here is both the order in which Five tells them and how they may pertain to this season or the next few seasons. If I were a betting man, I’d say all of if not most of these events will all encompass this season in some way. We never know how many years Dark Matter will run, so each event being in one season at a time suggests this show is 6 years away from finality. I’m thinking these events will happen sooner than that and the key is what happens to House Ishida. I’m confident that will be resolved this season which also suggests everything above it will occur at well.

 

Then there’s which events Five mentioned tie directly with the android’s time jumps. Is the double-deception event involved with Three betraying the android? Is the scientist working for Elektis Corp a part of the Dwarf Star conspiracy or something else? And are either of these “accelerated” characters Five’s sister? She’s still very much an unspoken fragment of this season’s many mysteries, and let’s not forget the multitude of unanswered questions left back from the last two seasons including the stowaway from the alternate universe. One thing is for certain, I’m hooked on trying to find the answers.

 

Oh, and thanks for putting Five near the edge of the universe, I’m glad someone out there was listening =)

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. Dark Matter has found its formula, and its path toward telling its greatest stories to come. The key to some science fiction plots is borrowing old themes and redesigning them to birth new ideas within the current realm. The time loop was a roadmap into the chaotic and costly events of the Raza crew’s future. The one question that must be immediately asked when time travel occurs is, “Can the future be averted or is time truly fixed on one path alone?” Dark Matter wants us to think real hard on that answer before they reveal to us their thoughts on it, and it’s an encouraging premise into some wild and fantastic episodes that may or may not inhabit this current season. Tonight’s episode carried with it an even balance of humor, excitement, thoughtfulness, and darkness to come. These characters will become the shapers of the universe and some will most definitely not survive to see what it will become. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

 

 

 

 

A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 3×01 (We’re back, in outer space!)

Dark Matter 3x01

 

SUMMARY

As the station nears destruction from last season, Six finds two and helps her get to the Marauder. They survive the explosion but are left adrift with minimal power and communications. Meanwhile, Truffault helps Five get off the station and back on board the Raza while Three is taken by Anders to an abandoned facility on a rogue planet. On Zairon, Four (Ishida) releases his old teacher from imprisonment and offers him an advisory role much to the dismay of Misaki who distrusts him. As the android makes contact with Two and Six, they are attacked and boarded by a Ferrous Corp ship. With the help of Trufaullt, the Ferrous Corp intruders are all killed while Three helps Anders deal with a drone threat and explains he’s the lesser of two evils amidst a Corporation war bound for greater problems. Anders allows Three to escape when the Galactic Authority arrives. Just before the Raza finds the Maurauder with draining life-support, Two has a hallucination of Nyx who suffered poisonous wounds inflicted by Misaki, an act Two believes Four perpetrated himself. After the crew are reunited, Truffault expresses she will remain neutral until they’re ready to strike, leaving the crew of the Raza to deal with Four and getting the blink drive back.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

A split crew and a race to save two of them defines our return to Dark Matter and its ragtag group of space-faring bad guys. Our ability to perceive every main character’s survival left our plot as much a formality than a driving focus on new territory, but nevertheless, each member of the Raza dealt with their own personal growths including a trust game with Anders and Two’s guilt toward Nyx’s death. Our corporate war has been kicked off, but for now there’s no telling how much of it the crew will experience as Emperor Ishida on directly on the Raza’s path. I’d like to highlight Three’s ability to stay level-headed while a gun-toting Five ups her A-game, no longer a member of the crew who needs to hide all the time. The team is back for more sci-fi ass-kicking!

 

THE GOOD

It’s an aftermath where the pieces must be picked up before everyone can successfully move on. Each crew member had a concern and a moment to flesh out their personalities for the season and I think they did it well. Two faced her guilt in the form or Nyx who showcased an interesting action by kissing Two goodbye. Six remained the voice of his own regret in reflecting on his treatment of the crew last season. It’s not necessarily tired, but I’d wager this is the last time he has to confront his betrayal and should be able to move on from there. Three was more cavalier with Anders during his capture, but somehow he’s adopted a more cool-minded approach and actually helped barter his freedom. Is Anders the new Kierkan of the season? I’m thinking no, but we’re still not sure what Anders is all about. Five showed a fiery spirit by helping dispose of the Ferrous Corp henchmen. She’s going to continue growing in confidence and ability, and that path is already starting. Our resident Android maintains her illustrious wit and now apparently she’s an expert chef who seems more than happy to make the meals. Four is a little tricky because he’s showing patience and trust while trying not to lose sight of his position and what it means to be Emperor. We know he’s not a “villain” but right now it’s important we see him continue to be benevolent to an extent so we don’t immediately side with the Raza crew when they inevitably clash.

 

THE BAD

My investment in the corporation war isn’t quite there yet. It was basically prophesized that it was coming and it’s essentially started, but it feels very much like an epic war poised forever in the backdrop of a mission by mission storyline for the Raza crew. We don’t have enough villainous faces to really see who they’re up against except for specific self-serving bad guys who already have personal vendettas from the crew. I want to see more of the corporations influence and how much space they really occupy. With the station destroyed, the chaos will no doubt be rampant, but I’d still like to see how many total we’re dealing with and where they fit on the alignment scale.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Quick and to the point, when the android popped up and merc’d the remaining Ferrous Corp team. Her exhale on the smoke trails from the barrels was an interesting feather in the cap as we’re seeing more and more attributes assimilated by the android even when others aren’t around to witness her. She’ll continue to showcase moments like these I’m certain.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Everyone had an equal amount of screen time, but I’d like to give it to the unlikely Trufaullt. She didn’t betray the Raza crew which actually says a lot and even helped Five get back as well as help defend the ship showcasing she’s a decent threat when her survival is threatened. She understands the pros with staying out of the main fight and isn’t hindering Two from staying on their own course. I’m beginning to like her more and more and maybe in the future if she continues to make these kinds of decisions, things will work out for her, unless she pulls the ultimate betrayal card at the end, then her life is forfeit.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Did Three tell Six that Anders was still alive? Would that make much of a difference to Six either way? I’d like to think it will, but what influence will Anders have on Three or Six in the future when they cross paths again? He’s their only “ally” in the Galactic Authority but even now we’re not sure what that even means. The next move will be on Anders himself.

 

It will be interesting to see how news of the stations destruct will affect the lives of the crew. If Ferrous Corp or anyone else spin the disaster into an attack perpetrated by the Raza, then they’re in for some serious setbacks in the near future, otherwise we may not hear much about it except that the destruction indeed led to some fierce corp. war that will seemingly be in the background for the immediate time.

 

I realize Two would probably keep all this grief to herself, but it would have been nice to see some kind of funeral send-off for Nyx considering the effect she had on Two. It’s almost funny that no one else really batted an eye-lash with the exception of Six, but we all know his reactions are over the top emotionally driven.

 

I’m not expecting Four’s teacher to last very long on this season. In fact, I’d wager Misaki finds a way to kill or exile him within the next 4-6 episodes. He’s the only new supporting character on the show and since they’re not likely killing any more main characters, he’s very high on my list for the next big death.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. After a lengthy break, Dark Matter returns with a strong foothold in the height of its cliffhanger madness. The crew of the Raza survived with the exception of Nyx and now the race is on to reclaim their stolen device and exact a comeuppance for one of their own. There were very little loose ends taken care of from last season giving us a bit of time to let our characters breathe and deal with the next onslaught of episodes we’re getting for the next several weeks. We’ve caught a glimpse into their role as a family onboard a space-ship and now time will tell if this family can pull together and save the galaxy from all the corporate fallout happening in their very midst. One thing is for certain, the more whacky tech they find, the brighter the bulls-eye will be on their exhaust ports. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 2×12 (Thank you!)

dark-matter-2x12

 

SUMMARY

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.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

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.

 

THE GOOD

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.

 

THE BAD

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.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

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.

 

CHARACTER MVP

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.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

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.

 

OVERALL SCORE

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.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 2×11 (Little did they know, bears do not exist on planet LYx29)

dark-matter-2x11

 

SUMMARY

While shopping for supplies on a rural planet, Five is kidnapped by a group of locals planning on selling her to those who would pay. Three embarks on a rescue mission while Two, Four, and Nyx are identified and pursued by the Galactic Authority led by Inspector Kierken. Meanwhile the android maintains orders to keep Six on the ship when he attempts to help as the crew still don’t entirely trust his intentions. Three finds the Danker family and manages to kill them all but is wounded. He and Five escape on foot into the woods as Two and the group return to the Raza and prepare to go back to retrieve Three and Five. Kierken and his men discover the Danker house and follow a trail to Three who forces Five to leave him alone. As Three is caught and interrogated, he reveals his part in delivering the white hole bomb to Iridin 3 but leaves the Raza crew free of blame. Unconvinced, Kierken orders the incoming Maurauder to be shot down from the sky but Five manages to find one of their missile launchers and blows it up nearby. Two and others find Three but leave Kierken with the knowledge of what he learned about Iridin 3. Back on the ship, Three recovers as Four wakes from an anxiety dream about home and goes to the android to have his old memories reintegrated back into him.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Though set in a frosty and rigid environment, Dark Matter engages in some heartfelt moments that continue to connect the main cast together while the universe around them continues to disrupt into eventual chaos. I wasn’t entirely sold on the first half of this episode given the campiness of the kidnapping plot and Three’s heroic venture into a wounded state, but something about second half really helped bring the episode around and give it a flair it richly deserved to have. Three and Five’s moment of desperation was the subject of hurtful honesty, one that we and Five easily saw through but needed to see. The consistency of this sci-fi world and its technology maintains high value while some specific character interaction is questionable given the run time. All in all, I’d say there’s just enough balance to regard tonight’s episode as a solid run with some bruises that will need mending.

 

THE GOOD

Three and Five’s relationship took a dramatic turn for the better. Never mind Three’s rigorous sense of humor, what’s important to note is the lengths he’ll go through to keep his crew safe. It can be argued that he folded slightly to give Kierken some aspect of the white hole plot he can use against the corporations, but more so is his demeanor that if Five hates him for being mean, at least she’ll be alive. He’s effectively shed that tough-boy armor in exchange for some necessary valor and it’s good to see it continue to build over the season.

 

As I stated earlier, I’m enjoying the consistent use of the tools this show has provided, in this case it was the transfer transit stations utilized by the Galactic Authority. The aspect here is understanding how both sides use the same devices and how it played into the offbeat decision that Three made in letting Kierken retain his memories. I think it was more for Three’s growth than anything else that he chose to let Kierken’s clone live rather than dispose of the body as any of the other Raza crew would have based on what that fallout might lead toward. It’s as if Three was playing his own game of chess for once which is normally not his forte.

 

THE BAD

Not overtly impressed with the first half of this episode. The kidnapping plot felt very weak and random with hardly any noticeable villainy that stood out from the norm. The wilderness family saw an opportunity to view Five as an object and tried to capitalize on it, which gave three all the motivation in the world to pursue and terminate accordingly. Perhaps it was a little too cut and dry for the plot, but there were no underlying connections made to Five being taken to those who have stronger ties to the Raza and as such won’t be remembered when thinking back on this season. I’m honestly surprised Five didn’t escape on her own given the intelligence level of the Danker family.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Without question when Three attempted to force Five away by regarding her as someone who should have been spaced when he had the chance. In a way it gave Five more justification to call him friend based on such a food hearty attempt to push her away and it showed by her tears of course. Instead of a hug, they merely touched fingers as she willingly left him for a the short term only to come back and once more save the entire crew from certain death. Five is more the glue for the crew now more than ever.

 

CHARACTER MVP

It should go to Three given the screen-time and sensibility he had in standing his ground and giving Kierken just enough to understand what may be at stake without giving up the crew. Also, notwithstanding, he clearly showcased his badassery by infiltrating the Danker family and annihilating each one in standard fashion given his abilities and strengths. He’s a tough character to kill and doesn’t give in to sentimental passion if he can avoid it, but since Five sees past the shell, it’s hard for him to maintain such appearances. Still, he’s grown plenty this season and he deserves the top spot tonight.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Let’s dive back into the issue with Four and Nyx. One second they’re in a casual fling, the next they agree to maintain a respectable distance and then end up back in bed together without very much context or scenes to help us figure out their motivations or intentions. It would almost be cute if it wasn’t so drastically discreet that even we the audience can’t see the events transpire as they do. I get that we need to care about this coupling, but it’s too invisible to make sense with what we’re seeing on screen. They simply need more manageable time together outside of guessing what color money is under the bowl.

 

With Kierken returning again I was hoping for a more dignified role that would have at least saw some ounce of respect between the Raza crew and the authority, but when Kierken ordered the Marauder to be shot down I was met with some confused thoughts. Throughout the season, he’s been relatively straight forward that he intends to capture the Raza crew, not kill them, so unless he was convinced sending a missile to bring down the small ship without killing them, the order feels like it goes against his own principles because he’s not a corrupt officer…so far as we know.

 

Six had the right idea with using the transfer transit units to go to the planet, but the crew didn’t follow through with that approach. Everyone went into the Marauder which effectively put them all at risk of being shot down. I would have probably split the crew up to take advantage of that idea and maybe limit the casualties more, but for time I understand why they didn’t do it.

 

I’m no doctor, but the area where Three was shot should have still punctured some of his lung, not to mention it was barely an inch or two away from his heart. Give the man a gold star for surviving a shot like that, but realistically he should have died from it, cauterized wound or not.

 

I’m hoping by this point in the season we can move past any distrust the crew may have for Six. It seemed unfair he had to be put through another layer of suspicion and of the android of all people who had just been accepted fully by the crew including Six. At least at the end it looked like she was sort of letting him try out his plan before things changed on the fly. No more distrust. Six is a part of the crew, he won’t betray twice in a row…right?

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. Dark Matter sought to draw out more of Three and Five’s relationship at the expense of doing something more critical and grand, but the result manages to elevate the two as the crew continues to be drawn into the corporate conflict that will ignite presumably in the finale. Four’s final moment on the episode promises the next to hopefully settle a season long scratch that entails the resurgence of old-school Ryo, something I’m looking forward to. Not the kind of episode I was expecting this late in the season, but it brought out more heroism in Three that perhaps may have been missing previously. And with Six’s idea to becoming a singular unit enforcing order in the galaxy, we’re off to a fascinating journey into the penultimate episode coming up shortly. 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 2×02 (Anyone else get that Kill Bill vibe with Misaki’s entrance?)

Dark Matter 2x02

 

SUMMARY

With One presumed dead, Six begins to realize the Galactic Authority he works for may be bigger criminals than those he turned in. Meanwhile, Two, Three, and Four are encouraged to reveal details about their involvement with delivering the white hole device that destroyed a planet. Unwilling to cooperate, the three ally with Nyx and Arax to escape using a shuttle that was sent to retrieve Four. Three is also approached by their only corporate ally who helps smuggle in a schematic of the prison. Once a planned riot ensues, the group make their escape as Five is brought to the android to convince her to relinquish her files. Six cuts the power and Five orders the android to kill everyone in the room. Together, the prisoners escape though Six is wounded and put in stasis on the Raza. Afterward, a woman who has been monitoring the events from afar declares she intends to retrieve an asset from the Raza, presumably Five (Emily).

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Dark Matter extends its crew manifest as they perform a superb escape with the help of Six who had an expected change of heart. In a stunning display of teamwork and bravado, the crew are finally back to where they need to be, in their ship. While this is still a world where most everyone is a different shade of villainy, the theme of loyalty rings ever true among this space faring crowd. All that’s left is to see where they’ll differ in priorities and how they’ll save themselves from an eventual corporate war. I’m continually fascinated by the lengths this show will go and how it overlaps its concurrent plots, peaking and dipping when the times are right. As we move forward, I look to see how this adaptive crew will operate under this new struggle.

 

THE GOOD

Getting them off the prison was the first great step in a series that will no doubt follow now that they’re free. Four’s family plot may have looked convenient for the necessities of getting their hands on a shuttle, but what we got out of it was a new layer to Four’s relationships including Misaki who is an accomplished swords-woman. I’m certain we’ll see her again.

 

The fate of Six has been put on literal ice as his wounds are too severe to be fixed in the ship alone. His crises of conscience came at the opportune time and though it may seem too heavily driven as a means to keep Six with the crew, this stasis will allow for cooler heads to prevail and set the stage for his return to the Raza, formally. Two and Five will undoubtedly vouch for him while Three remains skeptical of his turn.

 

THE BAD

Nyx and Arax have yet to truly impress. Nyx is capable and smart, but is already too closely riding alongside Two’s personality and style. The two should theoretically clash again, but is likely more trustworthy than Arax who shouldn’t be trusted too far along the journey. Hey may seem gung-ho at first, but with connections come plenty of opportunities to betray the crew as this show is commonplace for such occurrences. Adding new members to the crew should be temporary and with the exception of Devon who should remain as their physician, the others should have short stays if the dynamic of the original crew is going to be preserved.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Four and Misaki dueled leading to her getting blown away by Five’s massive weapon. As stated last season, I gravitate favoritism to sword fights whenever any combat scene emerges and Dark Matter does them with enough justice that I prefer to see those rather than blaster skirmishes. Plus, Five using that weapon was a great foreshadowing that she’s beginning to turn into a very confident fighter, capable of handling herself.

 

CHARACTER MVP

It goes to Five this week. It’s important to note that she’s developing faster and sooner than the others in season 02. While Six has undergone the duality of duty versus loyalty, it’s not necessarily new for him while Five is gaining a new spirit that isn’t reliant on her abilities shown back in last season. She may not be pulling triggers to end lives quite yet, but she’s certainly adjusted with telling others to do the job as when she ordered the android to kill everyone in the room including the commander. Whether this will affect Five as she hopes to protect the crew in the future remains to be seen.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

We’ve been given no reason to doubt that One is truly dead, but as a sci-fi show, the allure and illusion of death is somewhat murky at best. He could have survived given the technology around and if someone found him maybe he was saved. Devon mentioned to Two that what they needed to save Six wasn’t on board their ship. Given where One was, why wouldn’t there be a means to save him from his injuries. Not that I’m rooting for this, I still hope and expect One to be dead from here on out.

 

I hope this is the season where Four finally deals with the events that led to his father’s death. He has no allies back home to speak of, but I think out of all the unresolved plots of last season, his was always the most alluring. It’s too outside the great plot of the corporate war soon to come, but there can always be a way to weave such storylines together if need be.

 

This season could be another serialization of their space adventures or it could be a seasonal plot involving them clearing their names at the cost of several conspiracies merging together to undo their plan. Either way, I’m hoping for more episodes that string the complex plot from one to the next. I don’t want this to be a show that I can watch out of order, but rather through a strict guideline of chronological events. Those are my favorite.

 

As the title card suggests, will there be measures to include more fantastical science-fiction with the corporate war in-between? Can we expect to see things like dimensional hopping, time travel, or other theoretical constructs that could highlight their adventures further? I for one would like to see the crew completely out of their element as space is a kind of darkness never truly exploited on this show as of yet.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Dark Matter shoots out of the gate with a daring escape and maintains a strong theme of loyalty for the crew. Now that they’re together again, will it be for out for themselves or will they find and fight for a cause bigger than their own? One and Six’s fate are currently up in the air while new crew members entice some likely personality conflicts in the Raza in due time. As the corporations track them down, their true tenacity and fortitude will show what they’re really capable of. As complex and driven as Dark Matter is, it remains curiously grounded in keeping the fan base loaded with more questions as each episode ends. Until next week. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 2×01 (Emily, or Five? Well, there’s five letters in Emily, so Five it is)

Dark Matter 2x01

 

SUMMARY

Two, Three, and Four are placed within the general population of a moon-based prison near a planet while One and Four are held separately. Six, having returned to his duties as an agent attempts to rationalize his actions based on the information he uncovered while on the ship. Meanwhile, Two, Three, and Four each discover aspects of the prison in order to plan an escape. One is returned to the planet where the CEO of his father’s company greets him allowing One to pursue the only lead regarding his wife’s murder. When the lead turns up dead, he begins to suspect a bigger plot. Meanwhile, the android is impounded and may suffer a memory wipe if her files are extracted abnormally. Six later gives Four a coded file to decrypt that shows the GA group he worked for knew about the bomb that created a smear campaign against the rebels. As Six escorts Four off the planet, she is taken by an investigation team and Six is relieved of his duties. In his room, One is confronted by Jace Corso who shoots him multiple times, leaving him for dead.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Dark conspiracies run rampant as the crew of the Raza deal with external factors in separate groups. Once the voice of reason, now Six (Kal) wrestles with his betrayal whilst finding out the very group he works for has an agenda of their own. The sci-fi cloak and dagger reaches new heights and delivers a shocking cliffhanger where death is all but guaranteed in this second season premiere. Given the large gap between seasons, it’s best to either give season 01 a quick binge watch session or run the risk of forgetting who did what, where, and why. It’s unapologetic explanations allow for the premiere to run right into the next phase of the crew’s plot without reconditioning all the plots from earlier. It saves on time but can be jarring if certain past episodes were a blur. In any case, it’s fresh to see the crew encumbered with a new threat and no ship to navigate in. All in all, a satisfying start to this space-action drama.

 

THE GOOD

Apart from Five and Six’s broken trust, the cast is more of less intact as full-fledged allies with a bit of bickering still apparent. Six’s problems with his choice is that he making the best call given the information he has making him the most effective pawn in a gambit of stronger players. The prison aspect is an old trope classically rehearsing lines such as “No has ever escaped” and “inmates running things from within” but they do try and add elements such as the holographic isolation programs and the high frequency anti-riot tactics. A somewhat new mysterious prisoner offers an alliance that could mean addition to the series, but for now, it’s important to note that Jace put several bullets in One and seemingly killed him. It’s a age-old tactic to convince us a main character has fallen, and though it’s doubtful it’ll stick, I appreciate the effort in trying. If it does stick, I’m perfectly fine with the choice, however given our unresolved mystery into One’s death, I doubt he’ll be dead for long.

 

THE BAD

The trouble with converging conspiracies is, it’s sometimes a heavy task drawing lines and parallels to the larger plot. Is One’s corporate storyline relative to Six’s? Does everyone know who and what Five (Emily) really is? Furthermore, how much will Six have to endure before he realizes the mistake he made before he helps bring the crew back together? He’s a very conflicted character because he tries to do right from a “justice” and “integrity” mindset but when it trumps the associations he’s made with people who call him friend it’s difficult to come back from that. Right now, it’s safe to say the universe is out to get the crew and while that’s a fitting element to keep alive, the threat of everyone as a main villain makes it hard to grasp who is ultimately pulling the strings. It’s time we put a real face to the one’s giving the crew the hardest time.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

The last scene. There’s something grossly satisfying when a rogue character appears out of nowhere and decimates their enemy in unrelenting fashion. Jace Corso can be ruthless and whether he was paid or whether it was personal, he unloaded on One and capped off the murder as a cold-blooded killer should. I still wished he had a more gruff look or voice to really differentiate between the characters. I’ll always blame the acting, but what can you do? Good note to end the premiere on.

 

CHARACTER MVP

The division of scenes was relatively well-balanced between the cast, but Six did show the most confliction, and attempt to convince himself and the others of his choices. He’s struggling to be a man of order and righteousness, and though we know it’s a horrible position to betray seasoned allies, he’s trying to mitigate the situation by at least saving those he feels don’t deserve any punishment for their actions. In his mind, he’s separating the good eggs from the bad ones and it can be seen in a noble light, but we’d rather if Six made the more justified call and help get the crew back on track again. He’s just as much a pawn in this state as the others, he’s just too stubborn to realize it.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I call shenanigans with One deciding to keep his face the one he woke up with. That’s terrible writing right there. It’s a subjective explanation which can be argued that he doesn’t want to represent his old life even though he’s knee-deep in his wife’s death plot, but to simply give an excuse like that wasn’t very believable to me.

 

The android seen felt incredibly short and mishandled. She’s not as adverse to saving the crew herself and was a little too accepting of her situation. We didn’t get a follow up seen to the realization she could lose her personality matrix as well as her state of being which puts her back into that cold state of “Why do we feel for her again?” Someone needs to remember that there’s an android out there that needs their help.

 

Two has yet to mention that she saw Six’s face right before she was taken out at the end of last season. Maybe she didn’t really see him, but that’s now how the scene seemed to play out. Neither Two, Three, or Four even mentioned who might have betrayed them or tried to guess based on who wasn’t with them. It wasn’t even brought up. They just moved right along to the “How to we escape” part of the plot, which leaves who put them there a little unfinished.

 

Was that really a sideways toilet in Two’s isolation cell? Or just some vent? And if Two was allowed to converse with other prisoners in a holographic world, how exactly does that make isolation an effective tool to subvert the prisoners? Making the world cold means making her cell cold if I’m not mistaken, unless the matrix made her think she was cold. And were they the only two in isolation at the time? Seems odd.

 

I know plot convenience means the Raza is parked and waiting for the crew to once more escape in it, but I’m surprised the ship was completely stripped down from the inside based on all the secrets it still carries, whether it’s tech, dead bodies, money, or plot devices that give the crew more mysteries to solve. At the very least, it shouldn’t be empty with just Six roaming around on it.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. For every mystery solved, there’s two more in it’s place giving season 02 plenty of juice to work with. And thought Six wasn’t as “Hydra” as he might have seemed in the finale, he’s definitely in a better spot to be the voice for the crew once he wakes up and realizes what he’s done and fixes it. The prison scenes were generally cliché with the exceptions of the isolation setup, but that was more plot convenience to get Two and the other prisoner talking and scheming and talking between cells wouldn’t have been as rewarding apparently. By next week, hopefully the crew will find escape and find each other though One’s fate could be left in the dark unless Six or someone else finds him hanging on by a thread. If the android escapes on her own I’ll be surprised, but she has managed some interesting feats before. All in all, a good start to season two and I look forward to some more crazy sci-fi tales from this crew. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words