Dark Matter 203 Review

Dark Matter 203 Review: Little Green Haired Girl

So, here we are, with “I’ve Seen The Other Side Of You,” the title of episode 203. The title ends up being taken from a line from FIVE, so that makes her 2 for 3 on episode titles.  If you’re playing along with my game of “Which Raza crew member gets the most of their lines as episode titles?” you’ve got your answer. Well, now has FIVE DEFINITELY seen all the sides of some of her crewmates.

We open with FIVE, scurrying away and hiding from someone, and she looks terrified. Just when she thinks she’s going to escape into the safety of her ventilation shafts, she is dragged out.  Unceremoniously dumped out on the ground and staring at the business end of a gun held by FOUR, THREE quickly joins in as well. FOUR and THREE have no idea who she is, and they’re pretty unhappy at having an intruder aboard their ship.

Dark Matter 203 Review

FIVE suddenly finds herself unwelcome among her “family”. (Image courtesy Syfy)

We go back to ten hours earlier, so we get to see how FIVE got into this little predicament. TWO is off by herself, attempting to drink away her sorrows, mostly over ONE’S death. THREE answers a long held question for me by asking if TWO’S nanites will prevent her from getting drunk; sorry, TWO, there’s no drunkenness, blackouts, or hangovers in your future.  In their different ways, they both express sorrow and regret over ONE’S death.  They start talking revenge on those responsible, and the corporations that keep playing the Raza crew like puppets. Put a pin in that revenge plan, though, because they’re about to have other problems.

Arax, Nyx, and Devon are out for an stroll around the Raza, chatting about their situation. Arax points out that the Raza crew is a tightly-knit unit and they had better be careful.  On the other hand, Nyx seems more inclined to think that they can be accepted by the crew, and at one point says that they aren’t a threat to the crew. Oh, Nyx. Excuse me while I hold my sides and laugh, because, YOU, LADY, are a badass threat in and of yourself. Sure enough, they discover that they have no access to the ship at large. Their evening constitutional around the ship is cut short with a lecture from TWO and THREE, who let them know, in no uncertain terms, that there is no trust, and for now, they had better get used to it. Sorry guys, but you’re on the Raza now, and the Raza crew’s got the big guns.

Now, we turn to Android, and her inability to form a neural link with the ship. TWO has Android do a manual search for her neural link, which ends up looking just like me trying to search for an available wireless network, with about as much success, too. We find out that the probe used on Android damaged both her self diagnostic capabilities and her neural link capabilities. In order for her nanites to repair those problems, she’s got to shut down for 32 hours. Guys. Nothing good ever comes of Android being offline.

Dark Matter 203 Review

“Scandroid” (Image courtesy Syfy)

TWO has Android shut down for repairs, but notices something odd—the ship’s computer is doing a full medical database check. Before she can investigate further, Arax buzzes in with a “proposition” for TWO, and my first thought was “You wish, Arax.” As TWO leaves the room, we see notifications from the ship’s computer system,  indicating that neural imprints were detected for Portia Lin, Marcus Boone, and Ryo Tetsuda.

Arax lets TWO know that he has resources that can be helpful; in this case, he knows of an off the grid place the crew can go to restock and lay low. Of course, it’s in a hollowed out asteroid, and only he knows the location. TWO insists that her crew has been fine doing things their own way, but Arax points out that their old ways aren’t going to work anymore. TWO seems pretty sour at the idea that he might be right, but she’s nothing if not practical, so she’ll take it under advisement.

FIVE is in the infirmary keeping a watchful eye over the offline Android. THREE staggers in with a raging headache, with FOUR behind him, and they both collapse. FIVE races off to find TWO, only to find TWO also down for the count. FIVE runs into Devon while trying to hide the problem, but brushes him off, insisting nothing is wrong, when he finds her in the hallway. Devon isn’t buying it, and knows something is up.

As a side note, Devon feels sometimes to me like a sweet, lost puppy, except then he suddenly displays great levels of competence with weapons. What I’m saying is, I would like to know more about exactly what Devon was doing that landed himself in Hyperion-8.

FIVE retreats to bridge and activates HoloDroid, the backup programming of Android. HoloDroid is a bit confused as to why she’s here, since all of her files and active programming were deleted. “Weird,” says FIVE ingeniously. Gee golly whiz, I wonder how that happened, FIVE? FIVE is resistant to asking Devon or Arax and Nyx, for that matter, for help, since she and her crew don’t trust them. HoloDroid asks a series of pointed but unhelpful questions, and eventually FIVE decides to go get help, because at the very least, Devon might be able to offer medical help to her unconscious friends.

Dark Matter 203 Review

FIVE turns to Holodroid for assistance. (Image courtesy Syfy)

Devon, with the help of Nyx and Arax, tries to help the downed crew. FIVE doesn’t want too much help though, and she prevents Devon from scanning TWO to prevent anyone from discovering TWO’S nanites. Nyx, Devon, and Arax all look rather dubious yet unfortunately interested in FIVE’s brush off, so that’s another thing to put a pin in.

Arax, ever one to sense an opportunity, and never one to let it pass by, makes his hidey-hole offer again, and FIVE accepts. She takes him to the bridge, and since it will take awhile for him to get used to the ship’s navigation systems, leaves him there to go check on TWO. Really, FIVE? Predictably, Arax activates a subspace transmission to none other than Alicia Reynaud, the creepy lady with a creepy obsession with our little pumpkin, FIVE. Fabulous. So Arax has a connection to Reynaud, and he’s sending messages, presumably of where they are or they’re going. CURSE YOUR SUDDEN BUT INEVITABLE BETRAYAL, Arax. Put a pin in that.

Lo and behold, TWO is not where they left her. FIVE enlists Nyx for help in tracking down TWO. FIVE goes one way, Nyx searches the other, when suddenly TWO comes around the corner with a gun pulled and ready to use on FIVE. TWO’s got no idea who FIVE is. It’s a great shift on Melissa O’Neil’s part; her voice is slightly different, her mannerisms just slightly off from the TWO we know and love and don’t want to meet in a casino. In an effort to explain to TWO what’s been happening and who FIVE is, FIVE mentions the nanites, which almost earns FIVE a one way trip to Alexander Rook in a body bag. Lucky for FIVE, TWO is distracted by Arax’s arrival on the scene. FIVE escapes while TWO subdues Arax quite handily.

THREE and FOUR wake up in the infirmary, with only Devon to accompany them, and well. It doesn’t go well for Devon, who ends up unconscious. THREE and FOUR then refer to each other by name, so in case you had any doubt—they’ve got no idea what’s been happening the last few months of their lives, and they still think of themselves as Marcus Boone and Ryo Tetsuda.

Dark Matter 203 Review

Please don’t kill your doctor. It can be harmful to your health. (Image courtesy Syfy)

This brings up right to where the opening scene left us; TWO has organized THREE and FOUR into a search for FIVE; they find her and drag her out of the vents. I got a great laugh out of THREE calling TWO “Boss Lady,” because damn right. It doesn’t matter where she’s Portia Lin or TWO, she is always The Boss Lady.

So, TWO, THREE, and FOUR have locked up Devon, Arax, and FIVE. FIVE’S been trying to tell her crew what really happened, who she is, and how they all came to be at this point. They’re not buying it until TWO realizes what the date is—it’s 14 months since the last thing they all remember. When THREE realizes it’s been 14 months, he makes a beeline for the vault, and for Sarah. He needs FIVE’s help in getting into the vault, because they changed the code—another point in favor of her believability. FIVE tells him about Sarah’s fate, and THREE is pained and distressed at the news. THREE drags FIVE along with him as he collects a locked box of his personal stuff, and in a room with FOUR and FIVE, he opens the box. Among other things, there’s a necklace that belonged to Sarah. FOUR is surprised at this sentimental streak in THREE, and THREE promises him he won’t see it again. Sadness, THREE. Sadness.

In the meantime, TWO can now close her eyes and enter a matrix-style world full of nothing but code and lines and so on, and she gets a fantastically euphoric and creepy grin on her face. Creepy TWO is Creepy. TWO shows up in the room where THREE has been unpacking his box of sentiments with FOUR and FIVE, and she’s got an explanation for the date and what’s been happening. About 14 months ago, they, as Portia, Ryo, and Marcus, uploaded brain scans, also known as neural imprints, to the ship’s system. When TWO had Android look for neural links, the system used the neural imprints as a way to search for links, and once those neural imprints were re-uploaded, TWO, THREE, and FOUR were reset to Portia Lin, Marcus Boone, and Ryo Tetsuda. THREE and FOUR don’t have a link with the ship, but TWO, as her special self, does. TWO says everything about the ship is almost an extension of herself, including the weapons. She seems to really like the weapons access.

Unfortunately for FIVE, they find her, Devon, and Arax to be inconvenient, and would like to sell them to a mining colony. FIVE has a nice speech about how this isn’t who they are anymore. Sorry FIVE, but that other side of them isn’t here right now; Portia Lin, Marcus Boone, and Ryo Tetsuda are here, and they’re cool with casual cruelty and easy money. FIVE is unceremoniously locked back with Arax and Devon.

Dark Matter 203 Review

I must admit, that evil grin looks good on you, TWO/Portia. (Image courtesy Syfy)

While they’re busy talking about how this situation is and how they are so very stuck in that room, Nyx is busy proving my point that she is a Bad Ass Lady Who Is Indeed A Threat. Nyx shows up, but she made a little stop in the armory, aka, THREE’s quarters, first. Now that Devon, FIVE, Arax, and Nyx are reunited and in possession of weapons, they set out to retake the ship. When FIVE realizes that might mean killing her friends, she splits off, determined to find another way from the infirmary.

TWO is busy trying to get in touch with her inner ship, and she’s pretty close to doing it. Once she does, she can control everything. FOUR reminds her that it might not be a good idea. TWO, however, is having none of it, and is riding on some kind of high from her neural link connection. THREE discovers his precious toys are gone; he alerts TWO and FOUR to the the jailbreak. TWO sends FOUR off the bridge to intercept Devon, Nyx, and Arax before they can gain control of the ship. Meanwhile, TWO sinks into deep concentration in order gain access to all the ship’s systems.

FIVE’s in the infirmary. FIVE can’t turn on Android yet, she’s got a backup plan—to use the medical device they modified way back when as a neural link device to access FIVE’s own complete set of Portia Lin’s memories. Remember that? FIVE has all those memories. FIVE figures she can fool the ship’s systems into believing that there’s another Portia Lin there and available, and it will try to establish a link with FIVE in the guise of Portia Lin’s memories.  HoloDroid tells her that’s a terrible idea, because the neural link has awful consequences for humans, like euphoria, poor judgment, and brain damage. I guess that explains Creepy TWO’s eerie smiles and bizarre sense of, uh, satisfaction all the time.

Dark Matter 203 Review

Time to dive into the memory pool again. (Image courtesy Syfy)

Nyx, Devon, and Arax get into a firefight with THREE and FOUR. Nyx once again shows her mad skills and takes lead on the charge, causing Devon (and me) to ask “Is she crazy?” Nope. Just a Bad Ass Lady. All the efforts are for naught, though—TWO has a link with the ship and shuts the doors through the neural link, trapping Nyx, Devon, and Arax in another room, that SURPRISE! opens to an airlock. TWO is busy overriding the safety protocols in order to space them. TWO also sends THREE and FOUR to the infirmary to kill FIVE, who’s managing to access the ship’s systems.

After lots of effort, FIVE has a link with the ship, but she can’t seem to work past Boss Lady. The HoloDroid suggests that instead of trying to overpower TWO, the better course is to make her vulnerable by using Portia Lin’s memories to project fear and loneliness at her. FIVE throws TWO into a virtual flashback to a time when she was most lonely and vulnerable.

This is a great and intense scene, where FIVE has to make snap decisions. Does she take advantage of TWO’s vulnerability and weakness to defeat her? Or does she show her mercy, kindness, friendship in order to change her? It gets to the heart of Dark Matter’s question: Are we nature, or nurture? If it’s nature, then FIVE should beat TWO into submission, because she’s violent and will never change. If it’s nurture, then FIVE has a chance to get TWO to trust her and change herself. FIVE elects to believe it’s nurture, resulting in the titular line of “I’ve seen the other side of you.” FIVE begs TWO to sever link with the ship. TWO takes a chance on trusting this girl with the green hair. When TWO severs the link, TWO, THREE, and FOUR all pass out simultaneously.

We cut to the infirmary, where TWO, THREE, and FOUR have all been restored to their loveable selves, but with no memories of having their old memories reinstalled and all the chaos they caused. It turns out that the memories of the Raza crew have not been erased—just walled off. Android believes that their memories could be successfully downloaded from the ship’s system and reinstalled in their own brains, without losing their current memories. TWO, THREE, and FOUR are all for it, until FIVE, understandably, freaks out. “With those memories, you’re different people,” she tells them. When Android confirms that they likely would become what they were before, they all look troubled.

THREE is alone in his quarters when FIVE comes to visit. He tells her to relax, they’re not going to reinstall their memories, but that isn’t why FIVE came—she’s got a present for him. She brings him the box of his personal goodies, which contains Sarah’s necklace. After she gently explains what the necklace is, THREE, all vulnerable, thanks FIVE. After FIVE leaves, THREE fiddles with one of the other items, which turns on. It’s subspace transponder, and it’s alerted someone that Marcus Boone is still around and kicking.

So! To sum this up: Arax sent a message Reynaud, presumably to help her gain control of FIVE, and the crew has no idea he’s done this. THREE unwittingly alerted unknown persons of his existence and location, and no one, not even THREE, knows he did this. If that’s not a recipe for a convergence of trouble, then I don’t know what is. The Raza crew is working on plans to avenge ONE’s death. We’ve also got some little nuggets that I’m sure will come into play later—that interesting little box inside THREE’s personal possessions box for one, and the backstory and future ramifications behind TWO’s worst memory.

Jodelle Ferland did a lot of heavy lifting in this episode, and she really shines in it. FIVE’s becoming the lynchpin of the crew. She’s not the leader, but she’s the the person who can keep them all together and remind them of what they’ve become together. She’s like glue. FIVE’s the one who really explores the nature versus nurture theme, and does so really effectively in that intense scene with herself and TWO. I also really enjoyed the slight shifts in TWO, THREE, and FOUR as they became their former selves; it was some nice subtle acting on all of their parts. Last, but not not least, I am really dying to dig in more to the characters of Nyx, Arax, and Devon, and I’m sure they’ve got good and terrible things in store for us.

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

Now you’re all caught up, so go check out the teases for the next episode.

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