Here’s my review of Dark Matter season one “Episode Three.” 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.
Do you know the old cliche of trapping your characters in an elevator to get them to talk about something they want to avoid? Well, Dark Matter is basically like six people being trapped in an elevator, only the elevator is their ship. But unlike the original elevator cliche, episode three of Dark Matter manages to make it interesting. Episode Two got bogged down by the miners and took the action away from the conflict of their mysterious identities, but Episode Three put the focus back on the crew as cracks begin to form in their tentative union with each other.
Since the moment they woke up, the crew has worked together even though they didn’t know each other or themselves. They’ve had minor disagreements, but when it counts, they all pull together. But as the strain of not knowing grows, so does the strain on their unspoken agreement to work together. This struggle is fascinating to watch. Who will remain loyal? Who will join up with someone else? As they try to figure out who may have sabotaged the ship, the paranoia grows. This is the kind of storyline that highlights each character’s personality. Three thinks it’ll be in their best interests to sell the ship and “cash out.” Two thinks it’s best if they just put the past behind them and “move on.” And Four makes it abundantly clear that he’ll only go along with things if it’s beneficial to him. When Three tries to convince him to sell the ship, he simply tells him that he’d just take over the ship himself instead of selling it. Of all the crew, Four seems like he’s the most dangerous one so far.
What complicates matters further is Five’s discovery of the dead teenage boy in the cargo hold, and the reveal that their memories may be floating around in her head. Again, the crew is split on how to handle this new information. One shows that he’s still the most compassionate of the bunch by reacting negatively to the suggestion that they just jettison the body out into space. Five is shaken up by her discovery, and that worries Six who has sort of taken her under his wing. Each layer of conflict just helps the audience to fill in the blanks of their personalities and learn more about them. It’s a good way to keep people interested. We are given bread crumbs and those bits are just satisfying enough to wait around for the rest of the loaf.
The only place the episode lagged a little during was the spacewalk repair. The electromagnetic discharge felt like it was just an obstacle made for the sake of needing to make the situation even more complicated. (Even if it was scientifically accurate, it still felt like it was just there to make things more tense.) The whole ordeal felt like it was dragged out for too long, and it was very frustrating to hear everyone narrate what they were doing. I mean, did we really need One to say that they were unlocking the Android’s metal boots?
This episode was definitely an improvement over the last one because it gave the characters an opportunity to interact without outside influences. The audience got a chance to get to know everyone better. And the reveal at the very end- the One/Jace Corso lookalike at the station- provided the cliffhanger we needed to get excited about the next episode. While trapping your characters in an elevator might be an old cliche, trapping them on a big spaceship without any memories is a much more fun twist on the old idea.
Semi-Corrupted Data Files
- Is the Jace Corso at the space station an evil twin?? If we can’t have real lizard people, I’ll settle for evil twins and/or clones. Someone should preferably have a goatee though. And was the evil Corso wearing guyliner?? Please say yes.
- Did everyone forget about the dead body? Because that plot point disappeared rather quickly.
- Favorite part of the episode was the lie-detector montage. Although they could have had more fun with the answers, I liked Five’s enthusiastic “it’s chocolate protein pudding day” and Android’s “If you shoot him, you may skew the results” when she tries to test a very reluctant Three.
- I’d like to point out that this is twice now that Six has volunteered for a possibly suicidal mission. Last episode with the I’ll-ram-the-ship-with-our-shuttle idea and then his immediately volunteering to rescue Android despite the potential electrocution. Hm… is he seriously such a selfless guy or is he just trying to make up for the deeds he’s done in the past? I’m looking forward for more of his story.
- One really likes kissing people, doesn’t he?
So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.