A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 3×12 (Serve no master but your own ambition)

Dark Matter 3x12

 

SUMMARY

With Two captured and held on Zairon, Ishida maintains his need to gain the blink drive in exchange for her safety. The crew agree to meet on the planet but as clones while the android learns of Chase’s plot to overthrow humans within the upgrade of her emotional data card. On the planet, Ishida speaks to each member telling Three that he was responsible for Sarah’s sickness, showing Five a picture of her sister, and informing Six that he was betrayed as a GA officer by someone within GA. After two failed assassination attempts it is revealed that Misaki is responsible as she tries to implicate Teku as the conspirator. Teku helps Two and the other escape as Ishida battles Misaki himself. Five and Six return to the ship with their memories intact while Three allows his clone to be killed which erases the knowledge of his part in Sarah’s death. Two intervenes on Ishida’s behalf and kills Misaki leaving Ishida little choice but to join her on the Raza as the people of Zairon revolt against the throne. On the Raza the crew reach a stalemate on Ishida’s fate with Two deciding the casting vote. She goes to Ishida’s cell and prepares to kill him as he tells her that she has a daughter somewhere in the care of someone. Two raises her gun toward Ishida with his fate ultimately unknown.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

The tense atmosphere surrounding Zairon explodes as Dark Matter reveals everything to its temperamental crew. While the audience may agree or disagree with the crew’s voting system, one thing is for certain, it was a hell of a ride this week from top to bottom. Ishida tried to hold all the cards but came up inexplicably short in the foretelling that we all knew was coming. Still, he wouldn’t quit and neither would the crew. Could Ishida truly save himself or was he resigned to let old friends cast eternal judgment on him? I can’t wait to find out next week as we reach the end of our penultimate episode in this favored third season.

 

THE GOOD

When you look at Ishida, there’s a real complicated struggle that has him jumping back and forth between sensible leader and wicked emperor. What made his actions speak so loudly was this gratifying sense of camaraderie that he wanted to feel again with the crew yet never being given the chance to truly make peace with anyone. In the end, a determined Misaki tried to ruin him forever which wasn’t really surprising but seeing him defend himself against her was really the scene we wanted to view and we got it. There was always a smug style to his delivery, the way a leader needs to be when trying to influence the decision of others and I liked how he maintained a moral code by never lying to his friends who had all but given up on him. You could say Ishida has come full circle with his beginning and if he has passed on, it’s understandably written well, but for the fan’s sake, he better not be gone for good.

 

To my own personal amusement, I enjoyed once more the clash of swords and the slice and dice of it all, the most personal way characters can duel given the rampant nature of gunplay used on this show. It will always be an art and when Dark Matter utilizes it, they do it elegantly.

 

THE BAD

Misaki’s eventual betrayal didn’t really have the impact I was hoping for. I don’t think we ever doubted Teku’s loyalty, but Misaki’s nature was always volatile and with it came a strong need to see her fall, which we did at Two’s hands. Knowing she was likely responsible for the recent assassination attempts or at the very least complacent in watching the populace rise up against the throne, I can’t imagine she really had a long term plan thought all the way through. Somehow she gained the support of multiple guards and was even able to implicate Teku to be working for an enemy outside the planet, yet she could have made so many different decisions at different times to win that throne for herself. She ended up waiting too long and didn’t capitalize much earlier in the season when she could have. Her poor strategy cost her her life and though she put up a valiant effort, it was time to see her expire as most one-track villains do.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

I’d normally say the fight between Misaki and Ishida but I was more impressed with Ishida handling his “execution” with grace and humility. In a big way, he proved to Five and Six’s side that while he may not be redeemable, he isn’t beyond sympathy and a moral compass. Four was an instrumental catalyst in the crew’s earlier adventures and for one small moment, he became that character again if only shortly. His gift to Two may not have saved his life, but he didn’t break down or attempt to escape which speaks volumes to his character overall, a proud and stalwart individual who may have lost everything, but didn’t lose his core at the end.

 

CHARACTER MVP

It’s easy to say Ishida is the star of tonight’s episode. He could have made the crew’s lives very difficult and chose instead to appeal to their greater interests rather than make harsh threats and diabolical schemes. It may have been hard truly grasping what Ishida was all about, but by this episode, it made sense that his goal was always to preserve his planet and people. He didn’t end up compromising his values to get that goal and probably buckled under his own pressure to convince the crew to aid him when he could have made them suffer just for the effect alone. At the end of the day, he should be judged by the company he keeps and the actions he elicits and my expectations on his decisions were settled by the episode’s end.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

There was another golden opportunity missed here I thought the show would spring up on us involving Misaki. Her fight with Ishida occurs roughly around the same time Chase mentioned to the android that the “revolution” of androids over humans had already begun. What a wicked swerve this would have been if Misaki had turned out to be an android and that her attempt to usurp Ishida’s throne was based on that and not her own machinations. Sadly, that doesn’t look to be the case here but would have merged both plots nicely if they had done it.

 

Three’s actions toward forgetting his involvement in Sarah’s demise was very interesting to see. I shouldn’t be surprised that he’d make a call like that considering the guilt he must have been feeling over learning the truth, but I also see this as a major step back for his character. Three, understandably is still having a hard time differentiating accountability between his former ego and his current self. Whatever he was responsible in the past, he won’t own up to it and face the present. There could be more than that going on in his mind, but for simplicity’s sake I see him avoiding looking Sarah in the eyes and having to tell her that her original life ended because Boone was returning to old roots. If Ishida dies, then that secret will never be unearthed again which is why I’m hoping that there will be a chance for Three to confront this revelation with Ishida once again telling him what happened, should he live.

 

Judging by Five’s reaction to seeing a picture of her sister that this may be a character we’ve already seen before, otherwise, why not show us what she saw? I’m not honestly too sure what to make of it because the issue isn’t brought up again later on. I’m not convinced we’ll know anything more next week either which means this is more a “season 4” plot point, but either way, at least Five knows enough to move forward in whatever direction she decides to take it.

 

I feel like we’ve already moved on from Six’s involvement with the GA and everything that happened on his cover and eventual outing. I realize Ishida needed to have something for all the crew members to entice and influence with, but I felt Six’s information was the weakest of the bunch. If there are any more practical theories that point to anyone other than Anders or someone we’ve met before, I’m open to those thoughts, otherwise, this will have to wait to next season to dive further into.

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. The rise and fall of Ishida’s empire erupted into an epic showdown filled with deceit and rampant chaos. Enemies and allies clashed as secrets were revealed and Ishida’s fate left in the air while we FTL our way into one last episode of the season. Misaki joined many other villains into the quiet void of comeuppance while an android revolution looms in the background. Next week’s episode could spawn in several different directions as several threads have yet to be cut, but the crew will be up for every challenge no matter the pressure. Ishida showed his true colors and helped put the crew on a path of introspection which is the best thing a supporting member can do. All that’s left is find out whether his story is done or just begun. Thanks for reading, we’ll see you one more time next week.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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