Dark Matter: Season 2 Episode 9 Review – Going Out Fighting
After the excellent, parallel-universe hopping episode last week, this week’s turn was a more grounded affair, with a heavy focus on answering the question of what is wrong with Two and her nanites, and more importantly: how to solve this. Below you will find our spoiler-heavy review of this week’s episode.
A lingering question that we held in previous weeks was: who exactly is Nyx closest to and who might she become romantically entwined with? This week opened with a teasing shot of Nyx straddled atop an unknown person, having sex – the camera deliberately keeping the other party out of shot for as long as possible, to tease the viewer, until finally it revealed Four’s face. Four was certainly among our most likely suspects – he and Nyx often spar together (Three’s jest about whether they got to the grappling stage was superb) and they share other similar traits too. It’s a good choice; it gives both of them a little company and although they both claim this is a non-involved arrangement, we’d actually rather it turned into something more. Knowing how this show tends to deal with romantic entanglements, however, (Two and Three, for example) – not to mention Four being tempted to return home – we can’t see it going down this route.
The narrative then hit us with a weighty revelation; in previous episodes it was very clear that Two was sick, but this week informed us that without correction of her nantite issues, she will die a slow death (hence this week’s episode title, which relates to Two’s line about how she would rather go out fighting). The threat of losing Two leads The Raza crew on a mission to extract a cure for her ailment from the Laboratory of Alexander Rook (played by an ever smarmy Wil Wheaton), which is located back on Earth.
Upon arriving on Earth, Five points out that there is now a space elevator extending up from the planet, which they learn leads to a small space station. This placed one thing in our minds immediately: Arthur C. Clarke’s novel The Fountains of Paradise (which is a decent read if you haven’t read it). Clarke was known as being prophetic of scientific advancements, in the sense that some inventions were actually based upon the ideas within his novels. The Fountains of Paradise is a novel that centres around the construction of a space elevator and we can’t help but wonder if the writers’ inclusion of the elevator within this episode was a nod to Clarke.
As Rook explained, Two (called Rebecca back then by Rook’s team) was the first successful bioengineered human prototype capable of self-sustainment and sentience. Through flashback, this week we learned a little more about precisely how Two was engineered and trained. In one word, this was through torture, as scientists attempted to push her boundaries by harming her in new ways. It’s explained that during this horrific time Two formed a bond with Eric Waver (Jonas Chernick) and that this bond resulted in her allowing him to be the only survivor when she escaped.
Once Rook gets Eric back within his grasp, he executes him with haste (straight after telling him that it’s ok and that “there is no shame in wanting to live”). It’s a bleak brutality that we love to see in the show, as, for us, it provides a harsher and cooler realism to the world that Dark Matter is painting. Wil Wheaton himself – who continues to be a primary face within geek culture – did a great job in playing that smarmy, self-important character that he can do so well (see early The Big Bang Theory). This week was truly Melissa O’Neil’s show, however. She’s always brilliant in our eyes, but this episode allowed her to play everything from timid lab rat, to wrathful avenger, to caring crew mate, to lethal combatant (in a one on one fight that reminded us of two terminators battling) and more. There is no doubt that O’Neil remains one of this show’s greatest strengths and we couldn’t imagine it existing without her.
Six was allowed a brief scene with Four that explored his deceit once more, and which pushed the show another step towards getting the viewers to forgive him (for those who haven’t already). Four explained that he understood why Six did what he did and that they understands divided loyalties, going on to explain that he feels torn between going home and remaining with The Raza crew. Given what features within the promotional material for next week (which we’ll discuss later), this is likely a little foreshadowing for Four having to go back to his home world within the next few episodes. We can see it happening and it would be even better if he takes Nyx with him.
It wasn’t only Two’s life that was at risk this week. Three was also inhabited by a hostile alien life form – one that was placed within him by Rook (no doubt as a contingency plan, for if the crew escaped again). This turned Three into a screeching, black-eyed hostile force that reminded us a lot of those affected by the virus in the SyFy show Helix, and you can’t help but wonder if the writers took any inspiration from that for this, even if it was just use of similar visual effects.
The episode closed out The Android waking up in an entirely different, forested location, in a bed, which could be anything from her virtual reality while charging, to something more sinister. The promo for next week (weighty spoilers ahead) reveals that the focus will be on The Android being a potential threat to the crew (which has been touched upon in previous episodes). Promotional images also imply that we might see the return of Ellen Wong as Misaki-Han Shireikan, which Mallozzi did confirm for us in our interview with him (but not which episode she will return within). Whenever she returns, we’re excited to see it.
Image credits: SyFy