Dark Matter Review: “Episode Two”

photo credit: @SpaceChannel

photo credit: @SpaceChannel

Here’s my review of Dark Matter season one “Episode Two.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.

The second episode of Dark Matter ended up being a little bit of a disappointment. The premiere episode worked because we had a mystery to keep us interested: who were these people on the ship? We got an inkling of an answer at the end of episode one, but episode two didn’t give us much more to work with even though it picked up right where we left off. There was a lot of talk in this episode but not a lot of truly interesting substance. Not yet anyway.

There’s a line where Six tells One that he’s predictable. And that’s exactly what was wrong with this episode. The storyline with the miners really bogged down the momentum we had going from the last episode. The ethical questions of helping them out or leaving them behind were an important thing to examine, but then they went about the whole thing in the most predictable way. Of course they help the miners out, and of course they manage to stave off Ferrous Corp’s attacks long enough for Two to save the day. Their discussions on what to do early in the episode were interesting (like Two’s “ten minutes after you find out you used to be the villain is not the time to play the hero” line) but once the Ferrous Corporation arrived on the scene, things just got boring.

Part of this problem is that the audience didn’t get enough time with the miners during the last episode to feel any sort of attachment to them. They had one scene of “we’re about to fight for our lives any day now, please help?” and that was it. So when One starts pleading for the crew to help them in this episode, his words don’t amount to much. There’s not much of an emotional connection for the viewers, so why should we care on more than just a surface level? Morally speaking, helping them out is the “right” thing to do, but the characters lost the opportunity to really make that choice when they weren’t able to leave the planet before the bad guys showed up. Taking away the agency of the characters automatically gets in the way of potential character development and dramatic narrative tension.

And on top of all that, the kiss One gets from the miner lady at the end sort of negates everything previously and makes it seem more like he was doing it all for the romance. Not a good choice in the script at all.

In the end, this episode suffers from not giving the audience any progress on the mystery of the crew’s identities. Instead of getting to explore and examine the information more, they had to spend time working through the miner dilemma. We got to see more of each character’s personalities and how they interact with each other, but there was not much insight into who they were previously. Episode Two just felt like we were stalling before we get to the good stuff. Hopefully more secrets will be uncovered in the next episode.

Semi-Corrupted Data Files

  • I said I liked the Android last week, but she was sort of grating this time. It’s like she’s trying too hard to be quirky. It’s not Zoie Palmer’s performance; it’s the material she’s been given to work with.
  • The only small bit of progress on the identity mystery we got this week was Five saying that she could see things in her dreams. Like their memories were stolen on purpose because they were dangerous. That‘s the kind of revelation I want to see more often. I sort of have this weird theory that Five’s either seeing memories of the other crew members OR she has like a split personality and can sense some of what the other personality does. We’ll see if the truth is as exciting.
  • Speaking of Five, Two told her to go hide and she just went and hung out in Four’s bedroom. Not a good hiding place. Shoulda stayed in the air vent, no matter how cliched that was.
  • I’d be really interested to know whether Two was actually their leader before the memory wipe or did she want the position previously and took it on instinct when she had the chance.
  • I like Six the best and most of that is based on his cool demeanor and his cool trenchcoat.
  • “I don’t name the knife in my boot. I’m not a psychopath.”
  • Nice to see Torri Higginson, a former Stargate Atlantis regular, as the Mikkei commander. What other Stargate alums do you think will pop up?
  • I still want the crew to be secret lizard people. THAT would be such an epic plot twist.

So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

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