Dark Matter: Season 3 Episode 5 review – Give it Up, Princess
This review contains spoilers.
Following last week’s successful attempt to get the audience to like Solara and Adrian more, this week presented an entire episode with Adrian at its core, to allow us time to get to know him better. On the sidelines, we learned more about Solara too – including her history.
Solara’s origin placed her as part of a monastery of peaceful monks. Following the massacre of said monks by bandits, Solara went on a bloody revenge spree, murdering all of the perpetrators in their sleep. It’s a barbaric backstory, but one that shows how she’ll do anything to right a wrong – including killing unarmed men while they sleep. I liked this little addition much more than the short scene where she attempted a smile, which felt a little forced for me, narratively speaking.
This episode also highlighted to me how much Mishka Thebaud truly flourishes in the role of Adrian– a role that seems perfectly moulded for him. When you see Thebaud in other ventures, such as his recent, much less memorable (and shockingly stubble-free) turn in The Mist, you really feel how powerful his delivery as Adrian is.
The primary narrative also unearthed some of Adrian’s backstory – namely a woman named Ambrosia (Amber), who Adrian has long harboured a romantic interest in. Ambrosia was of course played by the lovely and brilliant Anna Hopkins, who Defiance fans will know well as Berlin. Fans of The CW’s DC shows might also recognise her as Samantha Clayton.
Hopkins is a great and under-utilised actress in modern television, in my book, so it was encouraging to see Joseph Mallozzi recognise her abilities and bring her in here – as the deceitful villain for this episode. Hopkins’ Instagram has always made it abundantly clear that she is an avid adorer of dogs, just like Mallozzi, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some canine-focused bonding occurred on set (if you need further evidence, check out this photo).
The other key draw here was The Android using her upgrade once more; this time to seduce a guard. She donned a classy red dress and adopted a bashful southern drawl, before pummelling every guard she came across into submission. It might have been a contrived writing decision and a foolish assumption on her part (that the guard would fall for her charms), but it was mighty enjoyable to see The Android run wild once more with her human capabilities.
It was also nice to see another android brought in – even if it was just one designed to safeguard Tabor’s loot with the flawed order of “hold any prisoners until Tabor returns”. I’m not so sure about the look in this android’s eye when our Android offered him the upgrade – after all, he is zero percent human, so shouldn’t be swayed by a bribe.
Spliced among all of this, we had Ryo running his empire in the background. It not only allowed Alex Mallari Jr to maintain some screen time – it also allowed us a window into the ebb and flow of the politics behind the scenes. You have Teku Fonsei (Andrew Moodie) trying to pull Ryo towards becoming a kind and adored leader, and you have Misaki (Ellen Wong) trying to tug him in the opposite direction – into ruling with an iron fist.
The delight at getting to see Five have a quick catch up with Six, towards the episode’s close, was quickly offset by the reveal that Six might in fact be a sleeper agent of some kind – “Agent Zero”. Does this mean he’s been deceiving our crew ever since his betrayal – with false apologies – only to have been an antagonist all along? Or perhaps he’s been mentally manipulated in some way, without his knowledge, so that it would be akin to flicking a switch and turning him into a useful tool.
This was a welcome foray into the history of Adrian and Solara, with some added The Android glam to spice up the episode. The promo for next week shows that Ryo is on a mission to respond to the assassination attempt “with force”. It also has Two assuring someone that her crew had “nothing to do with it”, but this could just be some trick editing, rather than Two explaining herself in front of Ryo (given that he’s sent out various bounty hunters, I doubt that The Raza crew would be safe standing before him).
Image credits: SyFy