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
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.
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.
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.
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