The Understatement of the Year award, from last night’s episode of Dark Matter, goes to One – “We may have lost our memories, but I think it’s pretty safe to say we didn’t lose our personalities.” And as we get to know them, seven distinct, conflicting, mistrusting, potentially deceitful personalities are emerging. Isn’t it great?
I think it’s also safe to say that, with one exception, there’s no real predicting what any of these personalities will do. Three is the only one that we can reasonably predict – obviously out for himself, Three is an island of straightforwardness. You know what he wants. And of course, even as early as next episode, that could be turned on its ear as well! “So here’s what happens when we hit the space station. Hock the ship, split the profits, have a fond farewell toast, bid each other adieu…no? We’re six strangers and a robot. We don’t owe each other anything.” This is a great scene – one by one, the crew members tell him they don’t want to sell the ship – the women, Two and Five, carry their food trays off with them, but all the men pile their trays on top of Three’s – fitting, since in the last episode, he was the one to yell at them to bus their trays.
He makes an effort to sway Four, watching Four practice his bo-staff katas. (During Friday night’s live tweeting, Alex Mallari Jr. said that he only practiced with the bo for an hour before shooting – do we find that hard to believe? I wouldn’t want to be anywhere around him when he’s got that in his hands!) “I need you to help swing the vote,” Three suggests. Four isn’t having any. “What makes you think I want to do that?” “Well, because selling the ship allows us the freedom to chart our own course, call our own shots. What, you want these losers deciding for us? Let’s cut ’em loose!” Four, though, is no slouch in the self-protective arena, telling Three, “We don’t know enough about who we are, who they are. Each person who chose to be on this ship must have had a reason. The clearest path hasn’t presented itself yet. And until it does, I stay.
But if the day should come when I’m no longer pleased with this arrangement, even then I wouldn’t sell the ship. I’d take it for myself.”
Bored, Five sets out to find something to do – One is reading (and Producer Joseph Mallozzi asked on Twitter for people to guess what book he’s reading); Four shuts the door in her face; Six wants to nap. So she heads out – into the vent system. She says that “something” tells her to enter a specific room, and push away some containers – and she finds the body of a young boy. “Male. Midteens,” Android says as she scans. “We didn’t need to break out the fancy scanner to tell us that,” Three says. Android tells them that he bled to death after one shot to the kidney. Who did it? Who was he? Another notch in the I-Don’t-Trust-You belt – of course, nobody remembers him, his face, his name, or how he died, but they assume that it had to be one of them. And Two wants to say goodbye, toss him out of the airlock. “I think it would be a bad idea to dock at the space station with a dead body on board,” she tells the others. Is she trying to protect them – or herself?
Six and Five, who seem to have developed a semi-father/daughter bond, discuss the boy. “When I was in that vent, I could have passed right by,” she tells Six. “But something told me to stop and look in that room. It was like I’d been there before, like I knew there was something to find. I knew he was there, which means I knew him. I just wish I could remember.” “Sometimes I think we’re better not remembering any of it. Fresh start for all of us,” he replies. What does he need a fresh start from? But Five is ready to let go of one of her secrets – “What if some of our memories… what if they weren’t all gone?” she asks.
And Two knows. She knows that Five may contain the collected memories. “I knew that’s what she thought,” Two replies when Six demands answers. “I wanted to make sure.” “And how would you do that?” Two says that Five has been having dreams that might be their memories, “except that they aren’t hers. I think all of our memories may have been collected into her subconscious. One of the dreams she had was of one of us sabotaging the stasis pods. I had the android search through all terminal activity prior to our last big sleep.” So now they all have a reason to distrust Five – what does she know about them? and Two – why didn’t she reveal this information before? And what else does she know? She’s made herself their leader, but part of the contract of leadership is that your followers can trust you. And if they can’t, how long can she lead?
One seems like he’s trustworthy. He’s the person organizing the lie detector panel, featuring the Android as the truth-senser (didn’t you love the answers everyone gave? Chocolate protein pudding day… day after yesterday, but a little before tomorrow…) . He seems earnest, innocuous, without the mad skills that everyone else, even Five, seems to have. Yes, he’s supposedly a murderer, a pirate and a thief, but he isn’t a pilot, a tech wizard, a munitions expert. He’s good-looking, soft-spoken, sensible – in short, easy and honest, right? Don’t trust a word he says. It’s always the nice guy. And everybody else knows it.
I am an excellent information source. Thank you.
But the new crisis – something is wrong with the ship. Android mentions the possibility of sabotage, even going so far as to say how it could have been done, by tampering with diagnostics rather than an actual piece of the ship, so it only looks like there’s a problem. But who would have been in the best position to do that? Why, Android, of course. We can assume the “she” didn’t come up with this idea, if she did it, by herself – she would be fulfilling someone else’s direction – but whose? But then she elects to do the EVA herself to check on the potentially damaged part and repair it if necessary. In an android, both are compatible – both destruction and repair. And, as it turns out, nobody did sabotage the ship – the part was defective – SO SHE SAYS. I’m really enjoying Android! From her hourly reports on tomorrow’s menu to her unintentional humorous moments, Zoie Palmer is doing a terrific job putting personality and emotion into a robot.
Before we look at our final scenes of the night – did you catch the giant fish tank in the break room? This is a long-haul ship, carrying its own renewable food source. And fish tanks are relaxing to watch – what an immensely cool detail, among so many other cool details!
The last few minutes belong to One. Did he and Two have some kind of relationship that neither remember? She certainly didn’t seem to be offended at their kiss, and was very comfortable with One assisting with her workout. Was this kiss instinct, muscle memory, or something else? Is it possible that One is the person who tampered with all of the memories? He woke up first – he could have programmed it so he would come out of stasis first, then, knowing the rest would have no memories because he had wiped them, play them along for his own reasons. Something, for sure, is up with One. (A confession – I saw the episode before it aired Friday night, but without the trailer for next week, and my assumption then was that the final scene could have been a flashback. Guess that’s probably not the case. But it sure made sense then!) So…. who is the man at the bar calling himself Jace Corso? Who is the identical man on the ship who thinks he’s Jace Corso? The “bar” Jace probably was not the one who wiped the memories – he’s looking for the Raza – but he knows something!
To sum up – dead boy, missing memories, may be in girl, out for themselves, mad skills, fish tank, interesting android, playa, doppelganger. Much is still not making sense, but boy, is it fun trying to figure it out!
Here’s an interesting photo gallery I found on the Syfy website. It pretty well sums up the trust issues and personality splits we see!
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