Dark Matter: Season 3 Episode 1 & Episode 2 review – Being Better is So Much Harder & It Doesn’t Have to Be Like This
This review contains spoilers.
Few things are better than having Dark Matter back on the air. There are other adept SF shows out there, sure, but few hold as much heart and as many endearing bad guys as Mallozzi’s underrated gem. After the finale’s precarious (and rather teasing) final moments, in which we had no idea who made it out of the explosion alive, it’s nice to have a Season 3 premiere that answers those immediate questions.
The narrative picks straight up from where we left off, which I think is the right thing to do. If you tease an audience with a (multiple) death cliffhanger and then make them endure a lengthy hiatus to find out the resolution, then I think that much at least is owed.
One character whose fate we already knew was Nyx. In the Season 2 finale, Misaki fatally wounded her with a poison blade and we watched the life drain out of her. For such a great (and relatively new) character, that was a quick and surprising end.
Thankfully, Mallozzi seems to have recognise that Nyx’s death was no kind of goodbye at all and we saw Melanie Liburd return this episode, even if only as a vision of Two’s oxygen-deprived mind. This allowed for a very beautiful and emotional scene between Two and Nyx, which served not only as a goodbye between those two characters, but also as a proper farewell for the audience too.
We invested in Nyx along the way, embracing her as a new member of the team. Just as we got to know her well, she was ripped from us, so I think it’s a goodbye that the audience deserved and I think it was executed really wonderfully.
Which brings us to the swelling rumour among our characters that Ryo was the one who killed Nyx. This was started by The Android (someone who is supposed to work on facts alone, but we’ll swing back around to why she might have made this assumption). The Android revealed the condition that she found Nyx in then she surmised that Ryo had probably encountered her and killed her.
Two and Six run with this hypothetical and seem to use it as fact, wondering among themselves how Ryo could do such a thing, even with his old memories. In actuality, Misaki was the one who killed Nyx. Misaki is under Ryo’s rule, true, but when Ryo asked Misaki if he had encountered any strife, she lied and said “no.”
Something told me that Four – despite his old memories – wouldn’t have been happy if Misaki had returned to say: “yes, I killed Nyx.” The closing moments of this double episode proved that to be accurate.
It’s a misunderstanding that is (partly) used for the basis of Two’s murderous statement at the end of the first half of the premiere (the end of Episode 1), when she states that they will get back the blink drive then “kill Ryo Ishida.” I mentioned before that this is a wonderful line to hear Two state (from the perspective that we are in for a treat), but the grounding for that decision seems a little more unstable now, given what Two believes about Nyx’s death.
Either way, Ryo has taken deliberate action to prove that he is no longer aligned with The Raza, so he’s definitely an enemy at this stage, but if the entire arc of our group wanting to kill him is based on nothing more than an assumption by The Android then I’m not all that happy with that basis.
Six was the rational one; he pointed out that killing Four won’t bring Nyx back. You can then see that Two recognises this as true, from the look on her face. Six also apologised once again this week for his betrayal, when he found himself facing potential death alongside Two. This shows just how much it eats away at him and I think his frequent apologies reveal a lot about how he can’t forgive himself for what he’s done.
The second half of the premiere (Episode 2) saw some of our team transported to an empty white “nothing,” as Six called it. I adored this little touch. The universe is no doubt full of unconceivable and strange places, and just as space seems blackness all around us, it’s interesting to mull on the idea that somewhere could exist where there is nothing but white. A collapsing “bubble”; an anomaly; a “wall of nothingness” in which one could find oneself.
Once Two and Three board the Ishida ship, they deliberate with Ryo, before deciding to suddenly and coldly execute him. Three pulls the trigger, neither Two nor him knowing that Ryo is in fact a clone. This means that both of them were absolutely fine with killing Ryo once and for all.
It seems a tad too cold for my liking; we know that our team hold some underlying hope that the real Four can be saved, yet they extinguish him in the blink of an eye without a hint of remorse. Three calls Ryo a “cold bastard” but I think this term just as much applies to both Two and Three in this instance.
Imagine if Ryo hadn’t been a clone and imagine how heartless that rapid execution would have been. Our characters are bad guys, sure, but I don’t think they are truly that wicked. I think it might have worked a little better if Two and Three had assumed it was a clone and then realised that they were right, rather than genuinely thinking that they were executing Ryo once and for all.
That being said, I loved how in sync Two and Three were with the execution. Three knew exactly when to shoot – right after Two said that they no longer need Ryo anymore. This means they either agreed beforehand on that line being the prompt, or they’re just so in flow with one another that Three knew it was the right time to pull the trigger.
Thankfully, before the episode closed Ryo spoke to The Android and asked to speak to Nyx, which highlighted to The Android that her assumption had been incorrect. Here he showed a very obvious expression of sorrow and regret, which confirms that there’s still some Four left in him.
Five’s memories this week were baffling at first but eventually showed themselves to parallel the main narrative and to highlight the danger of assumptions. In Five’s memory her teacher was alleged to have had a sketchy rendezvous with the GA Detachment. This turned out to be true, but the important part of Lyra’s accusation was when she said: “What’s a guy like that doing talking to the GA? He’s gonna rat us out.”
This was an assumption on her part, which ultimately turned out not to be true, when the teacher stated: “That’s not it at all,” and he goes on to reveal that he was trying to find out information on Five’s family. Lyra’s assumption was a huge leap – just like The Android’s huge leap when she found Nyx dead.
Androids are designed to be factual and precise, but it should be remembered that our Android is always taking steps towards becoming more human. Humans makes assumptions and they make mistakes. I think this is Mallozzi’s way of showing that with The Android’s human aspects, she is also prone to human flaws, like assuming too quickly and coming to conclusions based on impulse and anger.
Ultimately and tragically, Five finds out that she had a sister, but before she can find out much more, the memory is wiped clean, just as The Android warned her it might be. This begs the question of who Mallozzi will cast as Five’s sister. I’m betting we see her this season.
Episode 2 was considerably superior to Episode 1, but this was a brilliant return. Everything from Three affectionately touching Five’s foot to getting to see Ryo challenge the “duplicitous empress” Misaki over Nyx’s death before the credits rolled. Mallozzi gave us a great deal of answers in this episode and I think we’re in for another great season.
Image credits: SyFy