Dark Matter: Season 2 Episodes 11 & 12 review – Wish I’d Spaced You When I Had the Chance & Sometimes in Life You Don’t Get to Choose

By ·September 11, 2016 9:30 am

What we assumed and hoped we would get out of a double episode placed near the close of a season was quite different to what Dark Matter actually delivered this week. While we assumed that both episodes would hold a running arc that concerned the great impending war, what was delivered instead was a kidnapping episode about Five, then a reclaiming of the throne episode about Four. Both of these being vastly different in feel and content. Below you will find our spoiler-heavy review of both of this week’s episodes.

It could perhaps be said that the only recurring theme between the two episodes was the way that Five was the victim in the first, then how this was flipped in the second – to have Five instead be the crew’s saving grace (as she has been many times before in the show). Or perhaps Episode 11 could be viewed as Four arriving at his choice and Episode 12 as Four acting our his choice. Either way, there are only tenuous links.

Episode 11 held Three as the rescuer, as he actively sought to recover Five. All of this culminated in a wounded Three telling Five how he never liked her (“Friend? Are you kidding me? I’m not your friend.”), which fed into some elegant writing when Five explained that she wasn’t crying because of wounded feelings, but rather because she knew what Three was trying to do. Just as we – the audience – did, of course. Their bond has simply grown too strong throughout this show for us (or Five) to buy his good intentioned ruse.

A wounded Three tries to emotionally injure Five.

A wounded Three tries to emotionally injure Five.

Another addition that we were grateful for this week was Kierkan’s return, as well as Three talking about his determination in an admiring manner. The writers did a great job of teasing both Kris Holden-Ried and Ellen Wong earlier on in the season, implying that they would return (as well as Joseph Mallozzi actually telling us), and then delivering on both here.

Episode 11 closed out with Four stating that he wished to reclaim his old memories – a dangerous move, as we know too well – in a tie in to the next episode that marks no unusual link (each episode always ends on a cliffhanger to set up the forthcoming episode). Slamming two normal episodes together in one week is no bad thing; we just feel that the audience has a certain assumption about content when this happens and that the expectations of a grand event were not lived up to here.

In Episode 12 we had the real Misaki-Han back – not an illusion, like granted previously, but the real deal – in a new outfit and confessing her love for Ryo in their youth. We didn’t see this coming, despite it being a sensible hypothesis to have made. Though her loyalties laid with the villain here, we liked that Misaki’s alignment turned to Four by the episode’s close. The juxtaposition of her confessing her (long-passed) love of Four, then her very nearly executing Four while under orders was all designed to highlight that loyalty is her key motivation; loyalty to the throne, no matter who holds it. It’s a virtue, at its core, but one which very nearly lost us Four’s head.

Misaki-Han confesses her love for Four when they were younger.

Misaki-Han confesses her love for Four when they were younger.

To speak of teasing deaths and to circle back to Episode 11 for a moment, we’ll admit that Three’s wounding and the paleness of his complexion as he sat against the rock had us a little worried. We know the writers wouldn’t axe such a great character and actor. However, they did have us mildly concerned for a moment that this might be the reason for the double episode – to make an event of killing off a key crew member.

Five’s statement about not wanting to be around Four, now that he has reclaimed his memories, highlights everything we were concerned about in his decision to take those back. The episode’s close proved Five right, as Four actively murdered relentlessly, without any real reason to. It was the murder of his Step-Brother that really got to us, because only two seconds earlier his Brother had finally seen that Four was telling the truth and even actively chose to abdicate the throne to Four. Killing him was a highly brutal and unnecessary move to make, and it’s one that our Four that was minus old memories certainly wouldn’t have made.

The way this murder spree closed out the episode (following a great moment where Nyx learns of Four’s assisting her Brother’s suicide) does make us a little concerned that this will be the focus of the finale: the crew stopping a rogue Four. Whereas we expected something rather different, given the set up throughout the season and the regular mention of a big war.

MORE: We discuss Dark Matter Season 2, cast habits and Akira Kurosawa with Dark Matter creator Joseph Mallozzi

We appreciated getting two episodes of one of our favourite shows back to back this week, but they lacked any real thread. Episode 11 was a run of the mill kidnap and rescue episode, then Episode 12 was a relatively bland meditation on Four. Both of those subjects are solid in the hands of these capable writers; it’s just a little disappointing given what could have been achieved with this double dose of Dark Matter  and it marks the first time that we have been a little let down in what has otherwise been an phenomenal season.

Image credits: SyFy

More: Dark Matter SyFy

Written by Christopher Hart

Co-Editor in Chief / Film, TV and Literature Writer

Christopher holds an MA in Publishing and a BA in Comparative Literature, and currently works as an analyst for a major Bank in London.

Christopher self-publishes his own Science Fiction and Fantasy stories. His completed series of short stories is titled 'Altered Stone' and can be found on Amazon.

His specialist subjects include LOST, Preacher, Supergirl, A Song of Ice and Fire, Kevin Smith, Bioshock and Fallout.

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  1. A good read.

    Maybe they could have done something with a double episode, but that would make the writers something special. In my experience double episodes are usually 1 hour of content stretched to fit 2×42 minutes.

    I was happy the 2 episodes were very different.

    I do agree that Four murdering his step-brother was brutal, unnecessary and unexpected. Four’s step-brother trusted him for a reason, so either Four was a master manipulator back when he was in the palace and always had evil intentions, or he’s become so twisted with power that he’s forgotten the bond he once shared with his step-brother. Either way he’s not the character we’ve come to know at all. He’s irredeemable now. There can be no ‘he’s really a good guy on the inside’.
    It will be interesting to see what they do with all that.

    (If you think about it, he did become a pirate, thief, smuggler, etc… before he lost his memories. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out he actually did kill his father, or somehow manipulated his step-mother into doing it as a long-game for returning to power in the future, as he now has.)

  2. author staff

    Thanks for the comment CascadeHush.

    Loving your idea about a potential reveal that Four did indeed kill or play a part in killing his Father. Six was painted as a villain at the end of last season, so perhaps Four is in the writers’ sights this season. Whether it plays out like that or not, I agree that it will be interesting to see what they do with Four now.

  3. I wasnt surprised that four killed his brother, i was almost hoping he wouldnt, he already proved he was trying to prove himself when he killed his friend/mentor, (i dont remember his name) after the guy let him go, in the episode he was suppost to meet with his brother. His mentor told him he would be an enemy the next time they met, so four efficiently eliminated one more obstacle, better now than later logic. Foreshadowing he wouldnt make the mistake mistrusting again.

    I think his doubts kept him back, i think he knew that if he went full RYU their would be no going back. Choice was made when he took back his memories, their was no more doubt. I think he knew the crew would try and save him, and play into his hands, so he has the blink drive in his reach.

    If you think about it, kingdom is too big for two potential kings, its cold logic to eliminate the other option, but then again thats the RYU five is so scared about, because she knows. Six got a preview of RYU in that conversation with him, telling five “he didnt seem that different (referring to four)”, after the conversation was over, i think his opinion had slighty changed.

    Im really excited to see what happens next

  4. author staff

    Some great comments Ricardo – I love what you said about the crew trying to save him and then playing into his hands, so that he has the blink drive within his grasp. We could be in for a cliffhanger along those lines.

  5. author staff

    Hi David. It was certainly entertaining television, however, we feel that they’ve set the bar extremely high all season and in comparison to those episodes (which we have praised week in week out with no criticism for criticism’s sake, like you suggested), it did leave us a little disappointed. We, as fans, thought something grander was on the cards.

  6. Ah, in truth there was no common thread between the double episodes because they were never envisioned as a two-parter. They were written and produced as individual episodes, intended to air on different nights – only the network elected to air them back to back.

    Joe

  7. I’m the opposite. I love the fact that we got to watch two episodes rather than one long movie that could potentially have moments where it ‘drags.’ To me it was more content, double the dose of Dark Matter. Don’t change the formula when it’s working so well!

    I believe that Four/Ryo’s reason for killing his brother lies in what he discovered during the episode where they blinked to an alternate reality. When he interrogated alternate Portia and Boone they revealed that he eventually killed his brother because he was leading a rebellion for ‘more democracy.’ He likely killed his brother because he had this knowledge and had enough of the back-stabbings in his court…. It certainly was overly brutal and calculating, but that’s why he stated that he’s no longer Four.

  8. author staff

    Two great points, Tracey. This show certainly has a robust and effective formula, and why change that. I forgot about that piece of knowledge from the alternate reality, very well remembered – it could definitely have been on his mind when deciding to take that action. Thanks for commenting.

  9. I think Four could have been brutal right up to killing his step brother, and I could have forgiven it. That really soured me as for the direction it now seems the show will take. I got an uneasy suspicious feeling when they he had the talk with six. End of every season this pitting the crew against one of their one now? Even with his memories, Four’s rage the night his father was killed was for the sake of his brother and they had absolute trust in each other, so its still out of character.

    The rest of the brutality fit.

    He killed his old mentor even without his memories but at that time it was blamed on cold logic and him not having his memories. Everyone else who died in the palace was a legitimate, personal, evil threat. But his brother was his staunch ally, bending over backwards, siding against his mother, abdicating his throne in a second.

    There was no potential 2 kings, no cold logic, just nonsense. They almost lost me peacing out One especially since it seemed like corporation murder conspiracy was the interesting way for the plot to go and for them to come together and easily weave into the galactic war. I was looking forward to One having a legit target for his vendetta, growing some mean, and the rest of the crew getting behind him. Then the just veered and abandoned what they had put so much time into and followed it up with a fairly hallow hunt down of his whiney not-at-all-bad-ass-as-it-turns-out murderer, Corso making that whole plot line pretty pointless also. I finally accepted he wasn’t coming back and still stuck with the show. Then they added and subtracted the doctor in an equally unfinished drifting off sort of way, kept Nix, and now Four is the bad guy.

    I got into this show because I liked the characters not because I wanted a revolving cast. Let alone plot lines that get abandoned only to have other universe nonsense and trust box dream time with the Android episodes. Who’s in charge? If feels like a choose your own adventure or one of those games where somebody starts a sentence and then randomly passes it to the next person in the circle to create a story. Four’s plot line won’t be any more interesting than One’s or Corso’s. I’ll watch the last episode this season, but I don’t see anyway for to make me want to come back for a third season.

    My shows always get cancelled. At least this time I won’t care.

  10. These shows were not intentionally made to be shown back to back. They were stand alone episodes that the network choose to run together. I have no idea why the network did this other than to hurriedly finish the season as Z Nation on SyFy has a 2-hr premiere of Season 3 this Friday leading into the finale of Dark Matter. Next week Z Nation will lead into SyFy’s new Van Helsing that will be taking the 10:00 p.m. time slot. Imagine what Dark Matter could do if they were given an 18 or 22 episode season!

    I watch a lot of shows on Netflix so having these two episodes air back to back didn’t distract me at all. I viewed them as individual pieces with “Wish I’d Spaced You” being the “calm” before the storm of “Sometimes In Life”, though what happened with Three and Five was anything but calm. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in the season finale “But First We Save The Galaxy”, it looks to be amazing!