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Dark Matter 209 Review: Need A Lift?

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Starting this week, I’m trying something different with the format of my reviews.  I’m breaking it up into a quick recap, followed by my thoughts, then questions I have, and finally a few memorable quotes.  This is an experiment, so please bear with me.  I’ll try to keep things organized, but when it comes to attention I’m basically a toddler, so what comes out from week to week may vary wildly.  In any case, you’ll get something.

Me?  I’ll probably just end up with diaper rash and a bunch of Cheerios stuck to my hair.

Dark Matter 209 Review

“It’s not a tumor!” (Image courtesy Syfy)

The Quick and Dirty
(So, here’s what happened)

Five finds Two unconscious on the floor of her quarters.  Android tells Two her nanites are slowly failing and she will die when they’re gone.  The gang have to go to Dwarf Star Technologies headquarters on Earth for new, improved nanites.

To get into Dwarf Star’s labs, in geosynchronous orbit and connected to headquarters by a space elevator, Three and Six enlist the help of Dr. Erik Waver.  Waver was part of the team that created Rebecca and the only one to show her compassion.  She spared him when she escaped and he’s willing to help.  Oh, and SPACE ELEVATOR!

They need to pass a retinal scan, so Waver gets two of his buds from Dwarf Star over so they can give a copy of their peepers to Three and Six, the new Odd Couple.  They make it up the space elevator (SPACE ELEVATOR!) and into the lab.  Rook catches them and kills Waver for being a rat.  Then he takes the nanite juice because he’s a big, old space asshole.

Rook straps Three to a table and brings in a box filled with water and some wispy black stuff.  Then a tentacle slaps the glass window on the side of the box.  Oh shit.

It’s Two, Four, and Nyx to the rescue!  Android fits the Blink Drive into the Marauder and the trio blink into a sealed-off docking bay.  Rook unleashes his new, faster, stronger bioengineered prototype on Two. He kicks the shit out of Two.  Four shoots him in the brain and slices him up with his sharp, sharp sword.  Two dies, but Six saves her by injecting her with Big Bad (Dead) Prototype’s blood.  Two’s going to be fine and everyone goes back to the Raza, but Three is acting weird and has some wispy black stuff in his eyes.

Possessed Three goes to futz around in the engine room, but Six catches him.  He tries to shoot Six, but Two stuns him from behind and they lock him in the infirmary’s isolation chamber.  Three wakes, even though Android says his brain is in REM sleep mode.  He screams like a demon so Two stuns him again to shut that shit up.  No demon screamin’ on the Raza, dude.

They put Three in a stasis pod, but he opens his eyes and a living black goo comes pouring out of his mouth and eyes.  They drag the entire pod to an airlock, quickly drag Three out, then space the screaming blob of hellspawn into oblivion.  Now he seems fine, but can’t remember a thing.  What is it with these guys and memories, eh?

Close on WTF moment of the week:  Android wakes up in a normal bed in a normal looking home seeming quite unsure of what’s going on.

Dark Matter 209 Review

A beautiful future cityscape marred by Dwarf Star Technologies’ evil headquaraters. (Image courtesy Syfy)

Brain Farts
(Some call them thoughts)

-This week’s episode was directed by Stargate alum Peter DeLuise.  A man who “directed 69 episodes, wrote 17 episodes, and produced 84 episodes of Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, and SGU Stargate Universe combined.” –  Peter DeLuise is as Stargate as they come, and I like that very much.

-In a way, I liked “Going Out Fighting” better than last week’s near-perfect “Stuff to Steal, People to Kill”.   I say this kind of stuff a lot.  It’s mainly because every episode expands upon the overall grand story, making each a little more exciting.

-The tease of something possibly alien in origin could mean a huge expansion in the Dark Matter universe with as much potential for story material as an alternate universe.  Probably more, actually.  But so far, Dark Matter hasn’t needed to reach for battles between alien races because humanity is still doing plenty of that, thank you very much.

-This episode opened with a not-entirely-unexpected pairing of Nyx and Four.  He’s different around her.  Somewhat disarmed, pardon the pun.  Things got real uncomfortable real quick in the mess hall when Three rubbed it in by asking the sparring duo, “You guys moved on up to grappling?”  Poor Five just got up and left!  I guess she’s uncomfortable talking about FourNyxcation.  (I will not apologize for that.)

-I liked that the episode didn’t treat nanites like some magic pixie dust.  When Three suggested Android could save Two with her nanites, it was Two who explained that all nanites are not created equal.  So kudos for explaining that “nanite” is a blanket term for tiny machines that aren’t magic.  Just like full sized machines, you need the right one for the right job.  You can’t just say, “Give me machines, dammit!” and expect anyone to take you seriously, so don’t discriminate against nanites.  Thanks.

-It was confirmed the failing nanites were not a planned design flaw to control Rook’s creations.  The design flaw wasn’t discovered until months after Two escaped.  And, apparently, perfected in the time since.

-I loved this exchange between Android and Two.  It further confirms the crew’s acceptance of her as an equal, not just a simple servant.  It was also a way for Android to acknowledge her “humanness” and to have Two acknowledge it as well.
You’re trying to give me hope.  Take my mind off of what’s going on down on that planet.” – Two
That would be atypical android behavior.” – Android
But it would be perfectly normal behavior for a friend.” – Two

-Four and Six had an enlightening conversation.  Four gets why Six did what he did and can empathize.  He has divided loyalties of his own.  His kingdom is about to fall apart, but he’s devoted to the Raza crew, too.  He wants to go back to Zairon and help his people, but without his memories he “has nothing to offer Zairon.”

-When Waver was recounting Two’s escape to her he uses the line, “You killed them all.”  This mimics Five’s line and the episode title “Kill Them All”.

-Android discovers she loves hot chocolate!  It was hilarious how she took an offered sip from Five’s cup and never gave it back.  But more than an excuse for comedic relief, this was another example of Android comforting a crew member.  She tells Five that Two’s strength is not her nanites, but her willpower.  Ending with a “She’ll be fine”, Android turns to hide the worried look on her face from Five.  Our girl’s a lot more emotional than she lets on to the crew.

Dark Matter 209 Review

The lovely Victoria is interested in neuroparasitology. How oddly appropriate. (Image courtesy Syfy)

-The black goo scene with Three and the stasis pod was all kinds of crazy.  Having the goo pour out upwards made it super creepy, like something out of an alien horror movie.  I’m really curious to know more about it.  And I’m sure that’s the point.  So I should probably shut up and watch until it happens.

-I found a small Easter Egg in one scene that I’m certain is a clue about what was going on with Three and the black goo.  When we first see Waver, he’s browsing a dating site as our crew come knocking on his door.  One woman, Victoria K., likes cooking, dancing, and … neuroparasitology?  That’s a new, but real branch of science that deals with parasites that can control their hosts.  Sounds an awful lot like the behavior of a certain gun-loving scoundrel after he was captured by Rook.  (I’ve flipped the image and underlined the word in yellow for your viewing pleasure.)  For more on this creepy and real phenomenon, check out this Scientific American blog entry.

Dark Matter 209 Review

Dwarf Star Technologies’ research station with a SPACE ELEVATOR! (Image courtesy Syfy)

What the Hell?
(Call me Joe Friday. I have questions, I want the facts.)

-If Two now has the improved nanites from Rook’s latest super soldier, will they make her better, stronger, faster?  Will she make that “na na na na” sound like Lee Majors?  That would be cool.

-It seems plausible that the nanites were how Dwarf Star controlled their latest prototype.  If so, will those very same nanites in Two make her susceptible to being controlled?

-I still want to know what happens to food and drink when Android consumes them.  Does she process it for energy or dispose of it later?  On second thought, maybe I don’t want to know the answer.

-Will Four, who confided in Six that he’s worried about his empire, leave the Raza to save and rule Zairon?  He’s frustrated because he feels useless without his memories, but he would also be a very different person with all of those memories back.

-If the docking bay the Marauder blinked into weren’t empty, what would happen to the people and/or stuff when it appeared?  Would they swap places and be spaced or just be squashed?

-I had just assumed the Blink Drive worked with the FTL systems of a ship to operate, but using it in “our” non-FTL capable Marauder worked fine.  Yeah, we know what they say about assumptions.

-What the HELL was in that box Rook brought in?  I’m betting it’s our first glimpse of alien life in the Dark Matter universe.

Dark Matter 209 Review

Chow time!  I just need a copy of your retinas first. (Image courtesy Syfy)

Say What?
(Talk to me, I’m a good listener)

I’m sorry, Two.  You’re dying.” – Android

You seein’ this?” – Three
Yeah, retinal scans.” – Five
It’s not gonna be an easy smash and grab.” – Three (This line was a contender for episode title.)

If I’m going out, I’m going out fighting.” – Two (There’s your episode title!)

Fists of Curry was closed, so we took out from House of Frying Daggers instead.” – Waver’s Buddy (And now I totally want to eat at those places.)

Don’t blink.” – Two, as she was about to print a fake retina on Six’s eye.  This is what I called my episode 207 review and, more importantly (well, to me), is the title of one of the best Doctor Who episodes ever.

If you’re gonna lock us up I’m gonna need a pillow.” – Three

Take him out.” <off-screen gunshot> “I probably should’ve phrased that differently.” – Rook

Oh, I am really gonna enjoy killing you.” – Three
Well, you know what?  I don’t think I’m going to give you that pillow.” – Rook

With all due disrespect, go to hell.” – Three to Rook

Well, like Five says, we’re family.  We take care of each other, right?” – Six
Right.” – Two
Right.” – Android, again affirming she’s a part of the family.

As uncharacteristic as this sounds, screw the drinks, I wanna know now.” – Three
Trust me, you’re gonna want that drink.” – Six
Trust you?  Seriously?” – Three

Dark Matter 209 Review

Lying to a friend to lift their spirits. How very human. (Image courtesy Syfy)

Conspiracy Corner!
(Where I say something that is later proven to be completely and utterly incorrect)

THEORY:  Android is actually able to fully access all of her “humanity upgrades”, but she chooses to run in a lower-level state for the crew’s comfort.  And possibly for her own safety.  All the while she’s exploring human emotional responses mainly though observations.  This allows her to better make sense of them in her newly upgraded state.

Rather than go full-human mode she’s choosing to mete out her emotional and personality traits in a controlled fashion.  This allows her time to get comfortable with and even control her own emotional responses bit by bit.  This slower change is easier for the crew to accept.  It’s also safer for her considering she’s running on flawed base code.

Android’s emotional growth is obvious as the season progresses.  Zoie Palmer always shines as the automaton learning to be a real person.

Dark Matter 209 Review

This shot looks like the perfect horror movie poster. (Image courtesy Syfy)

THANK YOU: To Blade of the Sashurai who writes some great reviews of Dark Matter.  I’ve tried to somewhat emulate his layout, with his permission of course.  The quality of my reviews may not live up to his, but my enthusiasm for Dark Matter remains limitless.  Click the link in the title to check out his latest review.  You will not be disappointed.

-Thanks for stopping by!-

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Tom Gardiner