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 3×02 (That’s one way to take out a clone)

Dark Matter 3x02

 

SUMMARY

Five is able to access a memory from Four’s past which helps detail the location of a research station that contains the blink drive. When they arrive to board the station, Four is shown on board through clone transport. As they try to escape by using the drive on the station, they transport into a pocket of null space that slowly begins to shrink down. Meanwhile, Five begins suffering reoccurring memories of her past while being under the care of an old tech engineer whom her local friends don’t trust. They make plans to leave the planet citing that her caretaker betrayed them to the Galactic Authority. In the present, Two, Three, and Six board the station and discover Four. Unwilling to compromise a truce, Three kills Four only to find the body is a clone. As they negotiate with one scientist, the other kills the first feeling betrayed. Two and Three find the last scientist and kill her to get the blink drive back. They return to normal space linking it to the Maurauder while the real Four discovers from communicating with the android that Nyx has been killed. He confronts Misaki who accepts her fate but warns him it was for the good of the empire. Back on the Raza, Five learns in her memory she has a lost sister but is permanently blocks from her old memories due to her deteriorating condition. Stable for now, the crew decide to leave the blink drive  inert until they learn more about it.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Back to back with the premiere, the crew of the Raza find Four’s hidden research station and with it a new problem involving the blink drive and it’s highly volatile nature in the wrong hands. The most standout moment came at the end when Four rages on Misaki after discovering she had fatally wounded Nyx. We know he won’t kill her, but it was a close call and there’s no telling how broken their trust may be moving forward. While the blink drive plot was the main focal point, I was much more fascinated by Five’s journey into her own past including a brief moment where she encountered Sarah who when we last saw her had died. It may be unfortunate that her access to everyone’s memories are severed but with it comes a new goal, one of locating a missing sister who resides with some rich family, hopefully to be revealed later this season. Just remember, this isn’t the crew that want to bring Four back into the fold, they simply want to kill him and I for one can’t wait for that inevitable 4 on 1 fight scene when it happens.

 

THE GOOD

We’re seeing more random qualities within the blink drive and I’m guessing we’ll be seeing more chaotic responses from it as time goes on. Within the confines of space-time, there are still numerous outcomes the crew can go through with that device and I hope we get to see more of that flux this season.

 

The height of our drama right now is how Four and Two are dealing with Nyx’s death. Now that Four knows Misaki killed her, he’s angry and very nearly killed Misaki out of principle. Two may still think Four killed Nyx if the android didn’t already update her on Four’s confused state. I think they’re saving that for later though since this path gives Two something to strive for in the vengeance department regardless of Six’s speech that killing Four won’t bring Nyx back.

 

THE BAD

I really wanted clone-Four to duke it out with Two and Three. Maybe that’s too soon, but they better deliver on something of that caliber in the future. I suppose since they don’t store swords on a research vessel, Four wouldn’t have had much of an advantage anyway.

 

There was zero follow up when Five was in Sarah’s presence. I’m guessing it was a precursor to the memory problem Five would endure throughout the episode, but the way it was delivered almost tells me that Five has Sarah’s consciousness stored away, and if that’s the case, why didn’t we have some residual return to it by the end of the episode? To the casual viewer, this may be an easily forgotten moment if it isn’t addressed soon.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Essentially when Four confronted Misaki. I very much wanted him to learn about it sooner than later. Granted, earlier means that Misaki won’t be a casualty of his anger but more of a watchful subordinate from here on out. He may restrict her privileges, he may do nothing, but hopefully he won’t forget how devious she’ll get when she feels she has to protect the throne beyond Four’s ability.

 

CHARACTER MVP

In a big way this was Five’s episode, complete with the most growth and backstory than anyone else. I was certainly intrigued with her dream-like memories and how she interacted with them knowing they were essentially reruns, with predetermined outcomes save for the old man’s reveal that Five had a sister. If you really dive into the quantum physics of that kind of time-displacement memory revealing, it’s be near impossible to explain how she knew in a memory that she had a sister at all let alone be told by a character who should have been running like a script.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Five’s sister may be a mystery but I’m excited to see who and how she’ll be introduced. We don’t know if she’s older or younger so any new female who shows up from here on out will be immediately suspected until the proof shows itself. Will she be similar in virtue or will she be corrupted? I think it’s very possible we’re going to have a good sister and an evil sister, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

 

This episode feels like it drew inspiration somewhat from the episode “Remember Me” on Star Trek-The Next Generation, when Dr. Crusher found herself in a similar collapsing reality. I like the concept of the shrinking universe as it adds a lot of tension and rampant thought processes on how to escape. There has to be at least a few studies on the phenomenon in our own time.

 

I’m not sure of Jodelle’s acting range, but I would have liked to have seen her portray her memories as the other crew members in their respective tones and mannerisms. It would really add to the depth of her integrated experience and somewhat humorous to see her be like one of the other cast members.

 

Four may be showing a lot of restraint, but how he intends to focus on the war after the station’s destruction and his own council at each other’s throats will determine whether or not he’s destined to be Emperor for the long run or if we’ll eventually see him deposed and back on the Raza just like Six was during season 2. I think it could go either way, but the conflict is certainly palpable and unseen enemies can be very close by. I’m hoping he’ll make enough clever decisions to keep everyone guessing including those he trusts, but if he continues to make sacrifices and takes on more villainous quests, he may in fact turn into the actual season 3 bad-guy. I’d be okay with that either way.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. Ishida’s struggle is truly beginning as the Raza crew rip and tear into his territory in an attempt to take back their stolen tech. Five discovers a sibling has been lost to her since birth and Misaki has been left with a threat of death if Four decides to take action after learning the truth about Nyx’s murder. Tonight’s episode stuck to the basics of Dark Matter’s mercenary-style storytelling and super-charged it with a collapsing singularity, very synonymous with the big crunch theory. The more the crew have to deal with the random chaos of the universe and its volatile laws of physics the better these stories will get. While the corporate war will no doubt serialize the plot, I’m much more fascinated with the Raza’s day to day as they fly into the unknown and shoot their way out of it. Until next week, thanks for reading.

 

 

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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