In Review: Dark Matter, Episode 3 “Episode 3”

I'm still committed to this show, but this episode was a step back from the pilot.

Dark Matter, Episode 3 “Episode 3” Broadcast June 26, 2015

Written by Martin Gero

Directed by Paolo Barzman

“Previously on Dark Matter“, the crew wakes up with no idea who they are, so they name themselves after the order in which they awoke. Eventually, though the ship’s android, they learned their ship is named Raza and all of them, save Five, are criminals with lengthy past misdeeds. They were hired by the Ferrous Corporation to kill the settlers of a planet but end up helping them by enlisting the aid of two other corporations to outmaneuver Ferrous. In the present, the android makes ship announcements at the start of a new day as the crew eats breakfast.  They will be arriving at a space station in 26 hours and 7 seconds. Three states that when they arrive they should hock the ship, split the profits, have a final farewell toast, and bid each other adieu. One and Five don’t won’t to split up. “But we’re a team.” Two ends the discussion by saying, “One we get to the station we’re gonna refuel, resupply, and repair.” Anyone that wants to leave can, but they’re not selling the ship. Going back to their rooms, Five wants to play a game but is shot down by everyone. She goes exploring and reenters her crawlspace from the previous episode. Entering a storage room no one has entered, she moves a large container to find the body of a teenage boy. Cue opening title sequence.

Taking the body to the medical lab, the android scans the corpse. He’s been dead for a while and his body is well preserved since that part of the ship has the temperature significantly lowered. And he was shot. Nothing else can be learned from the body, so Two orders the android to space him when they drop out of FTL. This upsets One, who speculates one of them must have killed him. Two argues they can’t go to the station with a body and that they’d be better off if they put the whole thing behind them. After everyone exits, Two asks the android to do something for her but keep it quiet. The story then moves to Three interrupting Four’s workout with a staff. He asks for support to swing the vote to sell the ship. Four doesn’t want to because he doesn’t know enough about himself or the others; safer to stay together. Before Three leaves, Four states that if he were to change his mind he’d take the ship for himself. Five, meanwhile, is the medical bay looking at the boy when Six walks in. She believes she knew him because she felt drawn to him. She says she can’t remember anything about the boy, but she remembers other things. Six storms to the bridge with Five behind him. He confronts Two about Five’s memories and is angry she was aware of this. The entire crew meets in the mess as Two tells them that Five has been having dreams which seem to be memories. Two thinks that somehow all of their memories have been transferred into Five’s subconscious. One of the dreams she had involved one of them sabotaging the stasis pods. The android confirms someone did this. “Someone in this room wiped our memories,” Six says, “and probably killed that kid.” The ship’s power suddenly fluctuates and the android, who is linked in to the Raza, states they’ve dropped out of FTL because something is wrong with the ship. Cue first commercial break.

This is a really drawn out story. It’s a “bottle show”, which means it’s a budget saver as the entire story takes place on previous built sets– the ship in this case, with exception to one small exterior portion of the Raza. I don’t have any issues with bottle shows, if the story is good. I had issues with half of this episode. Everything that occurs before the first commercial break is interesting. I like the mystery of the dead boy and the idea that Five has everyone’s memories within, which holds the possibility of her being able to do anything on this show. I like that. The second half of the episode is the drawn out part. The broken down ship has a countdown started, for a logical reason, but the way the problem is solved is too, too long. The character who goes out to solve the problem has to explain every thing that they do to the rest of the characters, and the viewing audience, but it’s not necessary to do so. At least a third of the dialogue could have been eliminated in this sequence. I also question why the defective item is located so that no one can get to it without donning a spacesuit. This seemed like incredibly poor engineering. I’ve never seen any sci-fi show where someone has to go outside the ship to correct such a necessary piece of hardware. The fixing of this device resulted in the crew splintering, which was good, and how it is resolved is good, though what’s to come of the defectors is inexcusably glossed over. I just didn’t believe it. The dead boy is forgotten as well. Plus, after discovering the boy, no one takes it upon themselves to explore every part of the Raza so nothing else comes as a surprise? This came off as two stories merged that shouldn’t have been.

The good: Everything before the first commercial break, Roger R. Cross getting some standout moments as Six, and Jordelle Ferland getting to expand Five considerably. I laughed out loud at what Three is doing in his room at the close of the episode.

Fun lines: “Offense taken,” “Me neither,” “Fresh start for all of us, right?”, “Ain’t that right, tech monkey?”, “I don’t know…yet,” “Instinct,” “Answers,” “It’s chocolate protein pudding day,” “Not yet,” “We’re not asking,” “This will influence the test,” “Yes. I am an excellent information source. Thank you,” “I don’t need it,” “Well, you can,” “Something’s wrong,” and “Or now. We can talk about this now.”

The bad: The overdose on dialogue outside the ship, having to go outside the ship, and ignoring Five’s possible new abilities, the dead boy’s body, the defectors’ punishment, and not exploring the rest of the ship.

The final line: I’m still committed to this show, but this episode was a step back from the pilot. Overall grade: C

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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