A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 3×05 (The scammer with a heart of meh)

Dark Matter 3x05

 

SUMMARY

During a transmission call made by Adrian the Raza become entangled in a plot to save Adrian’s would-be girlfriend by trading her for a data file containing the location of Project Phoenix, a shipyard for a Ferrous Corp. armada. After a failed attempt to retrieve the file at Tabor’s last known whereabouts, Five and Adrian board a station with a vault, but are captured by the security force working for Ferrous Corp. The android breaks them out and they head to a planet where Tabor was rumored to hiding in. Once there, they are again captured by the local sentry android but Three and the android intervene and retrieve the file. Adrian makes the trade for the woman, Ambrosia, but she double-crosses her captor in an attempt to sell the file herself. The crew subdue her but Adrian convinces them to let her go. On the Raza, the crew discover the shipyard is empty suggesting the Ferrous Corp fleet is already operational. Meanwhile, on Zairon, Ishida is suffering heavy losses with defending a sector that is spiritually important to his people and when he discovers an assassin in his ranks, he enforces fear rather than love to subjugate loyalty from his people. Elsewhere, Commander Nieman makes a log reciting an escalation of events and a certainty of victory in the corporation war. He also mentions an Agent Zero, someone who will be necessary to deal with the outer colonies as he reviews Six on screen.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Dark Matter continues to push the corporate war into the next phase while giving us more back-story on Adrian and Solara, the two newest recruits to the Raza. While enduring Adrian’s wild-goose chase regarding the data file on Project Phoenix and subsequent deception by his crush, we’re also given a wider spectrum on Ishida’s slip into a more darker rule as the “Fall of Ishida” begins its domino effect. Some aspects of this episode stood out very effectively while Adrian as the main focus kept us from diving further into another character’s subplot, Solara, but we’ll get to her later.

 

Five continues to showcase her new talents of bad-assery and the android once more got to strut her emotional stuff which continues to beg the question, why doesn’t she just leave the augment on? Entertaining episode, but not necessarily the strongest of this season so far.

 

THE GOOD

Dark Matter knows the pieces it’s setting on the board and with every episode we’re given just a snippet of the whole, this time the firepower of Ferrous Corp and an ominous threat of a character known as Agent Zero. And before we theorize that Six is a triple agent it’s more likely that Nieman will be sending this agent to neutralize Six as a threat. Hopefully this agent has the fortitude and charisma to be someone other than a single-episode villain, because this show needs more villain mainstays and Nieman isn’t the end all be all for this show, at least I hope not.

 

Ishida’s darker turn is frustrating to watch, but in a good way. If I were a betting man, I’d say Ishida should take on the role of the main villain for at least this season, because we’re being given a gradual slide into that side of him that will do whatever he must to preserve his stature and ability to be emperor of Zairon. But, realistically, he’s more likely a symbol of how being negatively influenced can ruin someone’s career and role. I wouldn’t normally expect his character to lose everything and once more join Raza’s cause, because that would be too textbook, but if he does have a final part to play against Ferrous Corp, he’ll need the Raza and her crew to make things right for himself and his people.

 

THE BAD

This came right out of the gate, but I was certainly intrigued by Solara’s back-story and would have expected some circular tie-in as a means to deal with her grief with what happened at the temple she trained in. Yet we weren’t given any subplot surrounding it, and for the moment I understand that there is nothing to really bring out since she murdered everyone who killed the monks, but that doesn’t mean we can’t capitalize on her grief and make these situations where she has to deal with similar circumstances. The episode simply moved on to Adrian’s plight and I wasn’t really as interested in seeing his development as I was Solara’s.

 

While Adrian proved to be a man of conscience, he doesn’t seem any more capable of being an asset to the team except when it comes to random levity and an occasional reality-checking voice. I’m hoping Solara won’t have to actually give her life to save Adrian in the future unless it made him a stronger person for it. If we’re going to build him up, let’s do it with purpose unless he turns out to be more cannon fodder.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

I think it’s done with a reserved fashion, but I’m beginning to appreciate more and more the android’s style when it comes to her emotional side of things. Not just in her character personas she’s capable of emulating but even in casual conversation like she was having with Three which makes me yearn for her character to just leave the damn upgrade turned on so she can exist as a real heartbeat on the show. Nevertheless, I do enjoy these moments where she gets to unleash her human side and I do hope we see more in the future and not just in situation where she has to pretend to save the crew.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I’m giving this reluctantly to Adrian for two reasons. For one, he didn’t give up Five as a Raza crew member to the security force that captured him and again for wanting to let Ambrosia go even after she betrayed him. At the heart of it, Adrian is a decent person isn’t really out to scam anyone so there’s no reason to believe that sometime in the future he’ll do a double-cross himself, unless that’s what the writers want us to think…hmmm. In any case, he had growth or at the very least confirmation that he’s not a real imbecile, just extremely gullible.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Just a couple of definitions, but I need to keep track of all these sectors and stations more because there’s just so many. The name Bellerophon (The planet they went to) is in reference to originally a greek hero who slayed the Chimera. When Adrian mentioned “Oslo syndrome” what he was referring to was Stockholm syndrome, albeit a more general idea of it.

 

With tensions rising between Misaki and Teku, I’m thinking Misaki will learn from her past transgression and continue to manipulate Ishida into having Teku killed rather than killing him herself like she did with Nyx. Sometimes I’m having trouble understanding her motivation since technically everyone wants the same thing for Zairon, she just wants to be more closer to Ishida in influence and proximity I imagine. In our eyes, she’s a “villain” while Ishida isn’t proving to be as smart or resourceful as we might have thought in the past given his status. He’s making Grade A mistakes that are going to cost him his fleet and the war as a whole. But this is the point and the story of his downfall, something we already know is a sure bet.

 

I’m actually a bit surprised that nobody picked up on Ambrosia and Goren’s plan being a trap for Adrian since he’s the one that made the call first only to find out she was being “held hostage”. Generally in a plot like this someone like Goren or Ambrosia would be the one reaching out to bait the person in question. Otherwise Goren and Ambrosia were literally sitting around waiting for an opportunity to drag Adrian around space looking for the data file. What if Adrian didn’t call that day, or that week, or that month, what would they have done?

 

Sometimes I think the show is looking for strange reasons to put a wig on Jodelle. They’ve all made her look relatively distinguished, but is her green hair really going to be a dead giveaway to people that she’s a Raza crewmember at this rate? Or is it more simply that unless she looks professional and mature that no one will take her seriously? She’s already managing in a lot of ways to be more than capable of acting, both on instinct and in planning so what are the wigs really doing for her visually? Go with red next time!

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. Dark Matter took us around several locations to show how big their newest member’s heart is. In the midst of finding out the firepower of Ferrous Corp, we’re given more insight into Ishida’s role as emperor and Misaki’s over-arcing influence which will inevitably lead him into a downward spiral. The android once more proves to be a reliable and entertaining asset to the group and we have an ominous character making their way to the frontlines in the name of Agent Zero. More pieces to the puzzle are put in place with plenty on the way. Now it’s time to get a little crazy on the show with more science-fiction mayhem. Bring on the weirdness! 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.

 

 

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