Dark Matter: Season 2 Episode 8 Review – Stuff to Steal, People to Kill
When The Raza turned on their stolen, universe-hopping device last week and The Android immediately claimed that something was wrong, we knew that their destination wouldn’t be what the crew expected. We thought it might prove to have taken them through time, rather than space, but the true reveal this week was even better. Below you will find our spoiler-heavy review of this week’s episode.
After the crew turned on the device, due to their lack of knowledge around how to accurately set their destination, the crew in fact travelled to a parallel universe, rather than simple travelling to another point in space. This season has time and again hit upon a variety of classic SF tropes (artificial intelligence moving towards becoming human, clones, etc.) and here the writers gave us one of the most coveted concepts in SF – exploring parallel universes. Alternate universes are universes where simple decisions were made differently in characters’ lives, which caused a different timeline to branch off and exist, in which the affects of that different decision played out.
As The Android puts it: “aren’t you the least bit curious to find out what path life may have taken, had circumstances been different?” Causing Five to state that she has a bad feeling about their fate in this universe. She is then shown to be right, for Six at least, who learns that he was caught during his deception and killed by Two (who goes by Portia – her true name – in this universe).
One very enjoyable move that the writers opted for this week was play on the “evil twin” trope, within the parallel universes, much like they did in Season 2, Episode 3 with the crew getting their old memories back. The Raza crew in this alternate universe are considerably less empathic and come across as far crueler individuals (mainly Two and Three, who revel in Three having spaced some prisoners), which makes us wonder if this is a crew who accepted the reclaiming of their old memories. They are also in league with Jace Corso (welcome back Marc Bendavid), Wexler (Ennis Esmer) and also Tash (Jessica Sipos), making them an all round villainous cohort.
Another interesting change included Four having accepted and claimed his throne, which is smartly used by our crew to aid in luring the alternate Raza into a trap. Romantic alterations were rife too, with Two and Three showing signs of being involved (like they were previously within our own universe) and Tash also indicating that she regularly sleeps (roughly) with Three.
The whole point of alternate universes is that there is a vast number of them, all of which play out different decisions, so there are bound to be some that hold exceptionally good and kind versions of our crew, and some that hold exceptionally wicked versions. What we saw here was a wicked group of individuals (right down to Commander Truffault being an enemy), but perhaps an even more interesting route might have been for the writers to explore one of the universes where our crew are even better and kinder people. It’s an interesting thought and it would have been something new for the cast to chew on (whereas they have played wicked versions of themselves before).
In the alternative universe the space station upon which Nyx and Devon were is no more. Once back in their own universe, having heard frm Nyx, the crew do raise the question of where Devon is (Nyx having waited for hours, only for Devon not to show). Three postulates that he has probably simply decided to move on, while Five seems less sure and injured by the prospect of him not having said goodbye. Three’s answer to that is that they never really knew the guy. As always, we love the interplay between Five and Three, and this little interaction showed the contrast in their belief in other people’s goodness.
Another great quote this week was when The Android stated that wherever The Raza is – that’s where their home truly lies. She explained that there’s nothing for them except the ship, so they have not truly left anything behind. It’s an insightful perspective that rings true and we love that The Android was the one to first recognise this, showing that she perhaps has the best understanding of family, out of the entire crew.
The episode closed out in the same way that a previous episode this season ended – with Two showing signs that something is wrong with her. Before it was a just trembling hand and this week she outright collapses. The promo for next week indicates that we’ll get a better understand of this then, but the cause seems to be that something is awry with her nanite technology.
We loved this week’s exploration of parallel universes. The writers have set up an alternate version of the crew that they could potentially use again in the future, and we love that prospect. This season is ticking off SF tropes like it’s burning through a check list, but where this could prove tacky in the hands of others, the writers are pulling this off in such an exceptional fashion that we’re entirely on board for whatever tropes they want to tackle next.
Image credits: SyFy