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.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 2×05 (Looks like we got ourselves a real bonafide Lost Girl reunion)

Dark Matter 2x05

 

SUMMARY

With the help of the android and her new personality upgrade, the crew of the Raza track down Jace Corso to a planet to exact revenge for the death of One. Meanwhile, a chief inspector of the Galactic Authority (Kris Holden-Reid) tracks the crew to the planet in hopes of apprehending them. Two, Three, Four, and Nyx find Jace who momentarily escapes and causes the abandoned settlement to destabilize and crumble, separating everyone. Four is caught under rubble and found by the Chief Inspector while Two finds Jace and forces him to dig for their escape. The android takes the Raza to the surface to avoid detection from the GA while Five, Six, and Devon search for the crew. Even though Jace warns Two that someone they don’t know hired him to kill One, Two shoots and kills Jace anyway. The Chief Inspector is found by his group as they apprehend Four, but are eventually surrounded by Three, Two, and Six who finds and pilots the Marauder. Four is released and the crew return to space as the AI confronts the android over a mistake made in their entry and exit of the planet stating that she is flawed and has been flawed for quite some time.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Dark Matter returns to settle the score between the shady Jace Corso and the crew who demand retribution for the death of their friend. For the first time, we’re given insight into the android’s new personality upgrade that helps put a soul to the banal form that the android had been established with since day one. It’s a welcome new form that I think should fit right in with the crew’s rambunctious and volatile state of mind. While not overtly technical with its plot, the real surprise comes with Two who manages to filter out any signs of mercy by dispatching the man who killed One even at the cost of finding out who’s pulling the strings. There are several highlights that help solidify this outstanding episode that may seem like filler but actually helps dignify the role of the crew by giving them something to hunt passionately. And bonus points for Kris Holden-Reid’s inclusion to the series, a fine addition to the stellar cast who I hope makes more than just one appearance this season.

 

THE GOOD

Let’s start with the android and her personality upgrade. Anything that helps define her characteristics and play toward the ongoing mission to quantify and explore humanity is a good trait to have on the show. The crew will now be able to move past the awkward sense of objectivity and be more relatable now that she has sass and wit to match. It couldn’t have come at a better time and I think it’s fascinating that her upgrade isn’t just a one-shot piece of the puzzle but rather a stage in her plight to feel more comfortable and accepted by the crew. I’ll dive more into her scene with Four and the swords, but suffice it to say, I’m hopeful that her upgrade is more permanent and not a factor in whether she continues to use it or not in the future. It should be integrated into her system unless there’s a plot to explore a defect or penalty for its long term use.

 

I always seem to be picking on One and his counterpart, Jace for a certain lack of depth and remorseless attitude that always seems to be coupled with a softened demeanor, but I have to say, for his final performance, I think Marc did an excellent job with Jace this time around. There was something more brutally honest in his performance and not just some avid mercenary that shot and enjoyed killing as a two-dimensional villain. I wasn’t expecting him to be counted out this soon, but that’s the form this show plays in that part of the process is to deal with the nature of change and identity. Two is always establishing herself as the leader who needs to make the hard calls and for the sake of One, she made a difficult choice, and for the moment the easier one rather than trust the snake who will say anything to stay alive. If this is Marc’s last appearance on the show I’d say farewell, but something tells me we haven’t seen the last of him or some form of One.

 

THE BAD

Not too many complaints on this quadrant. The story was easy to decipher and follow with the exception of the news exposition that Four observed, serving to tell us of the war to come. If you haven’t followed the exterior plot too closely, it may seem a little confusing to hear and tune out because it has no real bearing on the episode itself, but it’s a minor gripe in an otherwise fantastic episode.

 

One slight setback is the way the android handled her infiltration of the GA outpost. It was a cute and relatively harmless segment that she handled with ease but I think the writing could have been a little more tight and creative rather than rely on a few coffee trips and a dimwitted officer who should have realized his cup was empty as suspicious. It didn’t give any real tension and served as only a mechanism to keep the plot moving forward without any bumps on the way. Other than that, the android handled herself quite well.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Two shot Jace. It wasn’t about enjoyment of his come-uppance but rather how Two handled the situation as the core of the show. A leader has to make tough calls and even though Six warned Five that killing for revenge was no easy task, Two pulled the trigger because leaving Jace alive was too much of a liability in an already uncertain world. She made not only a tactical call but a simplified one, opting for the quick solution rather than the complicated twist that normally would have served the plot better. Jace wasn’t meant to be integrated into the crew’s structure because his lone-wolf mentality and dark nature as a villain was inexcusable and down right unforgivable in the eyes of the crew. He wasn’t sorry for what he did, and neither was Two when she shot him. I won’t expect her to lose sleep over it, but I can imagine it was tough to look at the face of the man who resembled her friend and shoot him in the head. In the moment, she trusted her reasons and followed through with them, and that’s what leaders in this environment do.

 

CHARACTER MVP

The android made the biggest impact with her new personality and willingness to dive in with the crew on their quest to track down Jace. She proved physically capable of handling herself and smart enough to blend in which should put the crew at ease over her decision to be more human. Her path makes sense and it helps truly distinguish her from the dull counterpart in the AI, who in my opinion still represents some evil facet on the show, I just haven’t quite figured out what yet. Though her flaws are starting to show, she has depth and quests to undertake not tied to the overall plot and that’s something I like that this show provides, reasons to like supporting characters outside of their normal functions.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Regarding the android’s kata with Four’s swords. It was probably the most interesting scene they filmed based solely on how elementary they tackled the art of control through routine and precision. The android described unusual patterns that formed which Four easily transcribes as “changing her state of mind,” but doesn’t really explore the thought further. That’s a shame because I think Four should have dueled with her to test how she reacts when it comes to her idea that the routine made her feel “powerful” while Four thinks of it as “relaxing.” This could have further led to the flaw that she wants to feel more than just the sum of her programs. That and I would take any excuse to see character sword fight on this show.

 

The chief inspector (whose name I can’t quite spell out correctly) represents a more straightforward member of the Galactic Authority, someone who isn’t ruthless but rather takes the side of justice and order as a means to prove to us that not all people against the crew are inherently bad, just on the wrong side. Kris is a great actor to take on this role because of his natural tendency to be a likeable person. He’s generally charismatic no matter what role he plays and doesn’t waste the scenes that he’s in. I’m hoping he’ll serve as a vital piece of the puzzle moving forward, someone who eventually comes to understand the crew’s plight from a different point of view and maybe even help them when the real trouble comes. I’m a little sad he didn’t get to share a scene with Zoie as the two were very familiar with each other on “Lost Girl” back in the day. I always like when characters reunite and share that “look” that they knew each other from another existence but never quite know why. Maybe next time.

 

It may get shelved for the time being, but Two has at least some thread of intel that could propel her into following up with who hired Jace to kill One. In all honesty, it’s not that necessary that I know unless it tied to the corporate war, which I’m certain it will, but more importantly, it will hopefully put to rest who killed One’s wife, something that’s still relatively glossed over. Not knowing this piece of the puzzle is the only that that tells me that One isn’t truly dead, but I’m also very suspicious of main character deaths on any show because I’ve been duped quite a few times in the past with random returns and surprise entrants by those we thought to be dead. I wouldn’t put it past this writing team to give us a resurrection of the science-fiction variety.

 

Nyx once again side-stepped some explanation as to the nature of her abilities and knowledge of certain weapons and structures. She’s turning into a convenience plot character which isn’t a good sign. Someone who just happens to know things that help propel the crew or the plot forward. She’s clearly hiding something and making it very obvious to us with her random looks away while feigning ignorance of why she knows what she knows. Maybe she’s also an android in disguise, maybe she’s from the future, or maybe she’s a plant and works for a corporation we haven’t seen yet who wants the key card as well. She’s not there to just help the crew, that much is certain. Only time will tell whether she’s truly good or bad.

 

It’s minor but Devon held that rifle in a very secure and appropriate way that suggests he either has military background or some kind of authoritative role. Maybe the actor learned how to hold the gun properly, but as a “doctor” with a criminal record, I just thought it was odd he would hold the gun more correctly rather than down by the hip which is how most people carry weapons who don’t really know how to hold them properly. Outside of that, his “drug” addiction is a constant theme and should be handled soon because eventually it will spell the disaster of a fellow crew member when they least suspect it. That’s usually how addictions of that nature work.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Dark Matter efficiently straddles the line between the nomadic space-lifestyle and the periodic quest of revenge and self-identity. The crew will constantly be at war with both who they truly are and who they’re up against in this space opera. Tough choices were made in dealing with an old enemy and the android is one step closer to becoming unified with the crew. We never forget that uncovering conspiracy is the heart of this show’s ever consuming plot while outside the center are character driven aspects of self discovery that should hopefully put us in exotic places and situations that help solidify this show’s place in the sci-fi realm. What’s also important are how these factions and warring sides are more grey than just evil which should help blur the lines between survival and retribution, not just for the soul, but for the status of cohesion in outlaw space. I’m continually supportive of this direction and hope their ready to start turning up the stakes soon. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 2×04 (I hope the war is between psycho-kinetic androids and time-traveling hell-demons)

Dark Matter 2x04

 

SUMMARY

A flashback details Three’s childhood involving his parents being killed by a man who took Three in and raised him to become a criminal. In the present, the Raza dock at a station as the group split to accomplish separate tasks. The android finds a group of other androids who blend in the community and have chips that allow them to mimic human behavior. The android is later given a similar chip and information that she was designed to exhibit human-like qualities. Meanwhile, Nero contacts Alicia and meets with her after presumably stealing Five’s stolen keycard that can open trans-dimensional gates. Three assists his old crew in a heist only to find that they are ruthless and he’s forced to kill them. Later, he meets with his old mentor and discovers his parents were murdered by him and takes his life for both revenge and to save a child who was kidnapped during the heist. Back in the ship, Devon is seen taking a drug concoction of some sort in order to handle the surgery he performs on Six which heals his wounds. After Alicia discovers the card Nero stole was a fake, she converses with man on a monitor that stresses the importance of the key card and a war that is coming.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Dark Matter continues to treat their characters with careful precision as this time, Three is under the microscope of character development. His journey from the a-typical snarky merc for hire into a compassionate member of the Raza is best seen in tonight’s episode where his past is finally unlocked for us to see. If ever there were doubts on his ability to redeem his persona from last season, they’ve been successfully squashed. The show also continues to hit marks and strides with Five and her ability to be resourceful as the crew inch closer to an inevitable clash of powerful adversaries. With the exception of a few minor detractions, namely Nyx and Two’s subplot, the show has maintained a steady course toward what appears to be a war that the Raza will be dialed into sometime soon.

 

THE GOOD

There are a few classic moments that help solidify Three as a capable bad-ass. His confrontation with the old crew and his mentor are two of them, but his relationship with Five is, to me what’s really standing out. It may seem casual, but he helped build trust with her which is something he never cared about before he grew a heart. With One no longer a distraction of any type to him, Three is free to fill a stronger role where maybe he’ll be a better big brother to Five than Six was. It could instigate a rift later in the season with Six, but for now I like the direction Three is going.

 

The hidden android group is new to the show, but not necessarily new to the sci-fi realm. What’s interesting here is the lack of conflict, it was more information sharing and opportunities given but with so much other conflict bleeding into the main story plot it was nice to see the android discover something new without the risk of being switched off or terminated by some run-of-the-mill bad guy of the week. The fact that she’s still pondering put the chip into her system means there’s hesitation that it what she wants, and more importantly, that it can do what the android says it can. This will lead to some speculation further down the review.

 

THE BAD

Four is arguably the best melee fighter on the ship who currently isn’t swimming in technology or designed. Nyx’s off-handed ability to be his equal just by picking up random weapons spells a lot of hogwash that I’m not truly buying into. I’m hoping her origin is more rooted in lies than in similar plots to Two because I’m not convinced she should remain a good-natured character on the ship. She’ll betray the crew, it’s just a matter of time. I wish four kept the edge of ability over her, just to prove that his training does count for something.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Three faced down the old crew and gunned them down, ala old-west style. I liked the long far shot, the gun echoes and all the details in-between. It’s not something I’ve experienced much on the show in the past and it helps us breathe in some of the story without being too hammered by quick cuts and loud choreography. Three never even took a wound which is even more amazing that he faced such odds and came out unscathed. A very satisfying moment to watch after what the group did earlier to the father who was forced to help them.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I really liked Three’s performance tonight. There was a strong sense of moral justice laden in his expressions and even though he wanted to be the man he once was, there was no denying his mentor was a poor reflection of what he’d become if he returned to his old ways. In some fashion, he destroyed his past so he could move onto his future, guilt-free and with some sense that his parents received justice, something One was still lacking with the death of his wife. I don’t think we’ll get another episode like this for Three in the future, so it’s good that we see it now before decimation arrives for the Raza.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I wonder if what the android received is truly going to make her more human-like or if it will conflict with her “design” that has already shown to give her some moral objectivity and human considerations. I imagine, it’s a vessel to help fill the gap with the android’s vanilla personality so that we can see her interact with more distinction, something I think Five would really appreciate.

 

Now that Six is back, I fear that he’ll remain reserved and apprehensive over jobs and situations that call for a robust behavior. This is indicative of his personality last season and I want him to grow into a stronger more reliable character for both Five and Two’s sakes. He can still be the heart of the crew, but he needs to also believe in what they’re doing for that to work.

 

This is the third time we’ve been given a hammer of information detailing the death of One, which tells me more and more that he’s not really dead. That in itself is an eventual causality that is likely unavoidable, it’s just a matter of knowing whether One prepared for a situation like that, or whether someone saved him in the nick-of-time, and is keeping his survival under wraps. Time will tell if we’re too cold on this theory.

 

Devon’s reliance on drugs means there’s a story to tell which could swell up in the next few episodes. He reminds me of the strong-hearted supporting friend that is the last person you’d suspect to betray you…and then does. Whatever dependance issues he has, he doesn’t trust the crew enough to reveal them which means Five or Six will likely find out on their own. Six has a sixth sense on these things and Five is just good and stumbling into problems that ultimately become her own.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Classic redemption story that worked for Three who seemed like a lone gunmen who wants to quit the old trade and be loyal to those he trusts. I can get behind that because we need to like our characters more and more as the series progresses on. Dark Matter impresses with a dark origin and brings to light last season’s key-card debacle that solidifies its importance due to an incoming war. Never forget that Dark Matter doesn’t forget it’s clues and sub-plots from last season, everything connects and everything will be made known in its due time. We’re almost half-way done and I still feel like we’re just getting warmed up. Hopefully Four will have a stand-alone episode soon because I like these sword fights they keep throwing at us. Keep them coming! Thanks for reading.

 

 

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