Dark Matter, Episode 2 “Pilot — Part 2” Broadcast June 19, 2015
Written by Joseph Mallozzi
Directed by TJ Scott
“Previously on Dark Matter“, the awakened crew of six have no memories of who they are, so they refer to themselves numerically in the order they woke up. An android is discovered whose memory is partially wiped. It informs them they have arrived at their destination, a lone mining colony world that offers them supplies, but warns them they should leave soon because alien killers known as the Raza are coming to kill them. Back on board the ship, the android reveals it has recovered data pertaining to their true identities: the name of their ship is Raza and they are hired mercenaries sent to kill all the miners. In the present, they’re all shocked at seeing their past history, save Three who says he’s more than willing to return to the planet and finish the job. His joke isn’t taken well, but he reminds them that they’re going to be in trouble if they don’t follow through on their employer’s (the Ferrous Corporation) plans. They separate, with Two telling the Android she doesn’t want to be called her real name, as if horrifies her. “Call me Two.” Cue opening title sequence.
Five is startled by the Android who’s entered her room while she’s looking at the crew’s past identities, noticing she’s not part of the file. “I’m not one of the crew. So how did I get aboard this ship?” In the shuttle, Six is flipping controls, showing that he has knowledge of how to fly it. Three asks who Six thinks is the most badass of the crew; naturally, he thinks he is. Three’s stunned that his companion is not concerned that they’ve learned they’re wanted criminals. In the mess hall, One finds Two and he begins to argue that they should help the miners. She disagrees, wanting to stick to the plan of giving them half of their weapons and leaving them to find their own fate. She’s not going to get herself killed making up for crimes she doesn’t remember committing. The four men are in the shuttle, ready to descend, when Two appears asking to speak with One in private. She apologizes for being hard on him. They have to be of one mine, she says, and watch each other’s back. She wants him to be on the shuttle after the weapons are delivered. She leans in close and takes his chin in her hand and pauses. She says, “Safe flight,” and gives him a playful slap in the face. On the planet, One feels guilty, confessing to one of the miners he feels like he’s giving them false hope. Three arrives to tell One they need to go, but miner Keeley says they have to stay for song and drink as a form of thanks. They can’t refuse. Back on the Raza, Five tells Two they have to learn who stole their memories from them. “It was an accident,” the captain says, but Four counters, “No, it wasn’t.” Before Two can reply she’s summoned to the bridge by the Android. Another ship has arrived out of FTL: it’s a Ferrous Corp destroyer. Cue first commercial break.
In the previous episode the Android, played by Zoie Palmer stole the show. This week the other leads get a fairly equal share to shine. Highlights included Marc Bendavid continuing to have One become the soul of the crew, Melissa O’Neil had Two be a quick thinker and show some sexual tension with One, Anthony Lemke continued to have the best lines as Three — including a funny reaction when Bubba had issues, Alex Mallari, Jr. got two great scenes for Four proving he’s the real badass of the crew, Jordelle Ferland had some strong character scenes going where she shouldn’t and knowing something that she shouldn’t, and Roger R. Cross as Six got to show how far he’s willing to go to succeed. This was some impressive writing from Joseph Mallozzi, considering he also had a major conflict to include while showing these character’s traits. The action on the planet is interesting to watch, but contained no real surprises. Overall, it was the stuff of generic action movies, though what each character brings to the battle is the entertaining part. The highlight of the episode was how the conflict is resolved, which I did not see coming, but once introduced was obvious.
The good: The actors, a neat solution to the conflict, some slick scenes from Director TJ Scott — such as the opening shot in the mess, and some good teases of mysteries aboard the ship, in addition to their past. I also really liked the design of the crawlspace that one character has to employ.
Fun lines: “Those are the memories we left behind. Death. Despair. Chaos. So what?”, “Don’t. Don’t call me that,” “Right now I wish I was just part of the team,” “Yeah, that’s something you need to get under your control,” “Who made you team leader?”, “Stop staring at my ass,” “No, we’re not,” “You are nothing if not predictable,” “That actually went better than I thought it would,” “How much?”, “Bubba time!”, “I’m the only one who can save you now,” “Sweet,” and “I remember.”
The bad: Rote action with the miners versus the corporation, and a generic farewell sequence.
The final line: The characters are growing, and so are the mysteries. I’m hooked for the run. Overall grade: A-