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Dark Matter 201 Review

Dark Matter 201 Review: Another Rude Awakening

Before we get down to business, please remember that this review is PACKED WITH SPOILERS.  If spoilers were peanuts, this would be a giant-sized Snickers bar.  If you haven’t seen the episode and you aren’t aware of what’s transpired, do not read any further or you’ll be spoiled like week-old milk left on a sun-drenched dashboard.  So no whining about me giving away secrets in the article. You’ve been properly warned.  Now, on to the fun.

The opening scenes of this first episode of season two find most of our crew in a similar situation to the very first episode of the series.  They’re in unfamiliar surroundings, not sure how they got there or what exactly happened.  At least they have their memories.  Well, post stasis memories, not all of their memories.

Oh, and I really love the new opening sequence.  I’m wondering if the “space lightning” has anything to do with the alternate universes teased during season one?  Even if not, I wasn’t all that taken with the season one sequence, but love the look of this one.  It’d also be cool if it changed a little, or even completely, each season.

ONE and FIVE wake up in what looks like minimal security living quarters on Hyperion-8, while TWO, THREE, and FOUR don’t have it as easy.  They’re put through decontamination, then cells in genpop.

Dark Matter 201 Review

Pretty nice digs for a prison. (Image courtesy Syfy)

Welcome To Your New Home isn’t exactly all that welcoming.  SIX is wearing a GA uniform and believes he was working undercover and honestly doing the right thing.  I think someone’s going beyond wiping memories and possibly manipulating them, but time will tell.

SIX/Varrick has a chat with Anders, and though he’s a GA commander, he seems like a really decent guy.  He realizes the system is broken, but there’s not much he can do about it.  SIX, on the other hand, goes digging.  He learns FIVE’s real name is Emily Kolburn, she’s 16, and her parents died when she was a baby.  She ran away from an orphanage at 12 and has been a street kid ever since.

Another thing he learns is that the GA knew about the bombing of the space station, and man is he pissed.  He grabs Anders, tosses him against a wall, and asks why he didn’t tell him.  Anders said he told him after the fact and SIX went back to work because he realized there was really no other choice.  SIX disagrees, vehemently.  He’s going to push back, hard.  Again, this seems like more evidence of potential memory manipulation.

I just had to say it was a treat and a real surprise seeing Trenna Keating as Felicia Brand, Moss’ attorney, even if it was entirely too brief.  It just makes me mourn the loss of Defiance a little more intensely for a while.

Dark Matter 201 Review

Look. It’s Trenna Keating, on Syfy, on a Friday night! (Image courtesy Syfy)

ONE/Moss digs into his wife’s murder and begins to doubt the story.  THREE/Boone has a record, but as a thief, not a killer.  And the only evidence they have is testimony from a former security guard.  Just like ONE’s face, things are not as they appear.  But Darius, acting CEO of CoreLactic Industries, is quick to dismiss his concerns.  NOT SUSPICIOUS AT ALL!  (Especially after the security guard conveniently dies in a bar fight right after ONE demands to see him.)

ONE’s not clueless and he suspects Darius is in no hurry to be replaced as CEO.  He expresses his concerns to SIX who says he may have just spent too much time on the Raza.  And ONE gets in a good burn when he says it “made me realize the dangers of being too trusting.”

BTW, is it just me or does the name CoreLactic Industries sound like some giant, intergalactic dairy company?  No?  Just me, then.

We’re introduced to Nyx when she saves THREE from some guys he supposedly screwed out of some money.  They don’t put up a fight, just walk away like Nyx runs the place.  After the fight scene with TWO I wouldn’t be surprised if she does.

For a non-custom human, Nyx seems to fight as well as TWO.  But is she non-custom?  I think TWO has her doubts, calling Nyx “surprisingly good” at fighting.  There’s more to this new face than meets the eye.

Dark Matter 201 Review

Show me a viewer who didn’t see this fight coming & I’ll show you a viewer who hasn’t seen a single promo for Dark Matter (Image courtesy Syfy)

After the guard space-tazes the ladies, they’re both put in solitary, but it’s got a cool feature – a holodeck-like simulation, the “sim yard”, where they can fight all they wish.  But these ladies are smart enough to cooperate and talk.  They both want to escape and Nyx knows her best chance is with the infamous Raza crew.

Nyx seems to believe TWO can somehow escape, even though TWO expresses resignation.  That “Do I have a choice?”, “I wonder” exchange makes both ladies begin to wonder about each other.  I’m liking where this might be going.  As enemies, they wouldn’t get much accomplished, but as allies they could very well be unstoppable.

The emerging “humanity” of ANDROID is really showing now.  Placed in a chair and ordered to give up her data files, she simply refuses to do so.  The subtle expressions on her face show she’s enjoying her newfound sense of autonomy.  This “awakening” means it’s going to be a fun season for her.

Dark Matter 201 Review

Free will feels kinda cool (Image courtesy Syfy)

Naturally, FOUR gets into a brawl in genpop.  That’s when we learn how just one guard can keep control over the entire block – They have a sonic weapon that puts everyone in disabling pain.  The guards wear special earpieces that filter out the noise.  Handy for the guards, but maybe useful to the crew during the inevitable prison break?

After the fracas, FOUR goes with the guys he fought with to meet Arax Nero (His first name is pronounced more like “Eriks”).  Arax has made a deal with the warden to keep things quiet in exchange for some benefits.  He’s trying to strong-arm FOUR and his crewmates into behaving and not trying to escape.  He knows they’ll try.  I think secretly he’s scared of their presence, if for nothing else than it upsets his comfy little apple cart.

THREE’s story is going a bit more comical, which is fitting … and fun.  He tries to game the system with self-inflicted wounds so he can live it easy in the infirmary.  Then he finds out the old guy who gave him that tip is now in the psych ward getting electroshock therapy when it was discovered he was hurting himself.  This is where we meet our second new regular character, Devon.  We don’t see a lot of him, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing him more in future episodes.

Dark Matter 201 Review

Good old THREE, always looking for the easy way out. Can you blame him? (Image courtesy Syfy)

Almost everyone is gathering information about how the prison works, planning an escape.  But they better hurry because it looks like the warden is in on a plan to kill the Raza crew.  Someone wants them dead in a hurry – perhaps before they regain their memories?

Before they can move on that plan, Commander Shaddick (Franka Potente) intervenes and takes over the case.  Is she part of the plot to kill them all?  Is she a straight-laced GA official?  Is she secretly going to help them escape?  It’s anyone’s guess at this point.

Some things never change … thankfully.  The final scene in this episode has one of those patented Dark Matter OMG WTF?!! Moments to leave our jaws on the floor by the time credits roll.  ONE gets an unexpected visit from Jace Corso who wastes no time in shooting him. Many times.  Many, many times.  Like literal overkill times.

Yeah, WTF?

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Dark Matter episode 202 airs July 8, 2016 on Syfy and Space

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