After a long wait, Dark Matter finally makes its return tonight with a season premiere of epic proportions.The last time we saw the crew of the Raza, they were taken into custody by the Galactic Authority after Six (Roger Cross) seemingly sold his friends out for who knows what reasons. A good deal of the premiere focuses on this storyline, with our getting the full 411 on Six’s motivations for the apparent betrayal. But, we also learn quite a bit about the backstory of the character, including some parts that even Six may not want to know and which may ultimately cause him to question where his loyalties should lie. However, besides the scoop on Six and watching the rest of the crew adapt to prison life, a gigantic bomb is dropped on us in the final moments of the episode, one that I’m sure will floor the viewers just as much as it did me.
TWO, THREE, AND FOUR ADAPT TO PRISON LIFE … BUT WITH A COUPLE OF NEW FACES
The episode opens with Two (Melissa O’Neil), Three (Anthony Lemke), and Four (Alex Mallari, Jr.) being processed in the Galactic Maximum Security Facility, which includes being stripped down to their skivvies for decontamination. After that very uncomfortable, albeit hilarious, scene, you may begin to wonder where’s One (Marc Bendavid) and Five (Jodelle Ferland). No worries, though, because they’ve been separated into a holding area because they aren’t wanted fugitives and are safe (at least for now). More on that later.
Of course, as you may have suspected, Three is the first one who runs into trouble. This guy’s a career criminal, and so, it’s no surprise that 3 other inmates have big issues with Three due to his owing them money. A huge fight breaks out but fortunately for Three, one of the other new inmates of the prison, Nyx (Melanie Liburd), intervenes just in the nick of time. But, hey, help from this girl isn’t free, and so, she demands Three’s ration card as “payment.” Damn, this just isn’t Three’s day at all, but then, his luck finally turns around. From behind Nyx appears Two, and the mother of all catfights takes off right in the middle of the cellblock. We all know how Two is genetically-engineered and what a tough bitch she can be, even when she’s up against a man. But, wow, this Nyx sure gives her a run for the money. However, it also attracts the attention of the guards, which results in both of the tough girls being tasered and sent to solitary.
Oh well, the fun is over… or is it? It seems this futuristic prison has solved the problem of giving violent inmates in solitary confinement rec-time by creating something called the Sim Yard. Basically, it’s just a holideck consisting of mainly trees and fields so that prisoners with violent tendencies can interact without any real risk or danger. Two decides to try it out, and to her surprise, Nyx is also there (who also seems to be happy to see her). These two may have gotten off on the wrong foot, but they seem to respect each other, and something tells me they will end up being good friends.
While Two is in solitary, Four is also making waves by not giving in to the top dogs of the local prison gangs. As we all know, Four takes shit from no one, and so, it doesn’t take much for Four to throw the first punch at this idiotic bunch of assholes, thus starting a riot. However, contrary to what Four may have thought, it *is* quickly brought under control even with only a single guard being on duty in the courtyard. The key is yet another brilliant innovation at this prison where a very powerful sonic blast is emitted to disable all of the inmates in the area, with the guards not being affected due to specially-fitted earbuds. The one thing we don’t realize initially is that Four does all this **intentionally** for the sole purpose of feeling out the prison’s riot control protocols. Been there less than a day and already planning an escape, it seems.
So, now, you may be wondering what the heck Three’s been doing while Two and Four have been stirring up all kinds of sh*t. Well, he’s been doing what Three does best — watching out for himself. While visiting the infirmary after that initial fight, he gets a tip from another inmate that if you want better food, better treatment, better everything, then just figure out a way to land yourself in the infirmary — the longer the better. Seems like a good idea (and, YES, the idiot does try it out by burning himself), but when he hears from the Doc (Shaun Sipos) that the other inmate was busted and sent to the psych ward for electric shock treatments, Three decides the food isn’t bad at all.
The good news is by the end of the episode, the threesome are finally reunited for the first time since they arrived. Four shares his intel about the prison’s riot control system. Two provides the deets on a possible new ally, Nyx. Oh yes, a plan of escape is now in the making.
THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT SIX IS REVEALED — THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY
And, so, now on to the part that I suspect most people have been waiting for — what in the f*ck was Six thinking when he ratted everyone out to the GA? As I mentioned earlier, both One and Five had been sent to a special holding area because they aren’t actually wanted fugitives like the rest. And, because Six had always been so close to Five, he decides to visit her and try to offer an explanation and defend his actions. Basically, what it boils down to is the fact that Six had discovered right after he went after the General in season 1 that he’s an Investigative Agent for the Galactic Authority and that his real name is Kal Varrick. What’s more, he had been assigned to apprehend and bring in the Raza crew, and so, bottom line, he did what he did because, well, it’s **his job**. As an officer of the court, he’s sworn to uphold the law, and in Six’s eyes, he had no choice.
And, how does Five respond? Well, she’s a kid — emotional, unpredictable, high-strung. So, she responds very appropriately by slapping Six senseless and telling him what a horrible wretch he is. In a way, she’s right too. The other 5 members of the crew had their memories wiped, could really remember nothing at all, and Six took advantage of that, all while pretending to be their friends and thus, gaining their trust. Pretty damn sleazy. So, the best thing Six can do at this point is just give Five some time to calm down.
While doing this, he takes it upon himself to go back to the Raza and re-read the personnel files he had found — the same ones he had stumbled on earlier that revealed his true identity. Nothing stands out except for one little oddity — a single file that was encrypted. He needs to know what is in that file, and so, he goes to the one person he knows who can do the job — Five. Of course, she’s not too keen on helping the guy who had betrayed her and her friends, but we know Five can’t resist a good techie/geeky challenge like this. So, she does the favor anyways, but unfortunately, the news isn’t good.
One of Six’s primary motivators is the knowledge that he’s doing good, that he’s making a difference. Honoring an oath and upholding the law are very important to him, so much so that he’s willing to turn his back on his “friends.” But, what if who he’s working for, the Galactic Authority, isn’t as honorable as Six had thought? We all probably remember Hyperion 12 and the mass murder of all its inhabitants that Six is directly responsible for. Six surely hasn’t forgotten because it’s something that will likely haunt him the rest of his life. Well, the encrypted file contained proof that the Galactic Authority **knew** about the plan to bomb the settlement, and they let all those people die, just so they could turn public opinion against the rebels. Basically, these people Six works for are nothing but murderers, and now, he’s just handed over his friends to these same killers.
Now, the question is what will Six do? Is he to remain loyal to the GA simply because it’s his job to do so? Or, will he try to rectify all of the damage that he has caused? This question isn’t answered this week, but 10 bucks says he’ll opt for the latter.
THAT FINAL “OH, CRAP!” MOMENT THAT COMES OUT OF NOWHERE
So, we’ve pretty much checked in with all of the crew of the Raza with the exception of one — and that one, well, is One. I actually structured my review this way intentionally, as this character’s arc turns out to be the most shocking in tonight’s season-opener. Thinking back to season 1, we know that the One we know is actually Derrick Moss, a rich corporate-type dude who altered his face for the sole purpose of infiltrating the crew of the Raza and killing Marcus Boone AKA Three. The whole point of it all is to get revenge on Boone for murdering his wife.
Tuck that away for now, and let’s go back to the GA where One/Derrick’s corporate attorney is very quick to get him sprung from custody as well as get any charges dropped. So, now, One is basically at a crossroad. On one hand, he can simply go back to his old, cushy life, being a big-wig and living the high life. Very tempting. On the other hand, what about his friends on the Raza? And, what about Boone? Did he really kill his wife? Boone has a history of being a mercenary, a thief, a relatively small-time criminal. But, then, to go and graduate to murder just like that? Not likely.
One starts asking these questions, and unfortunately, they turn out to be the wrong ones to ask. He learns that the only evidence they had that Boone committed the murder was the eye-witness testimony of a security guard at his company, and so, naturally, he wants to speak to this security guard. But then, by some wild coincidence, that security guard is killed in a bar fight. Something definitely stinks, and One knows it.
By this time, I’m getting pretty scared for One, but even still, what happens next I definitely didn’t see coming. There’s a knock at the door, and when he opens it, there stands Jace Corso, the guy whose face Derrick had stole and the same crooked, low-life that **should** have been on the Raza. No time for any shock or much of anything, because the guy immediately empties his entire gun into One — including a most fatal head shot.
NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <Insert throwing every damn thing at the TV> One was the sole member of the Raza’s crew who was truly innocent, and out of everyone in the group, he’s who I rooted for the most. So, this totally sucks ass. Sucks. Sucks. Sucks. BOOOOO!! But, after calming down and starting to think rationally again, I’ve come to realize that while One’s death may hurt like a bitch, it has great potential to drive the plot forward in some very big ways.
Let’s think about it. Knowing what Jace Corso knows now, what do you think he’ll do next? He now has the ability to impersonate Derrick Moss and never have to worry about money again. But, he also could go back, rejoin the crew of the Raza if/when they escape from the GA prison, and no one would even suspect. No matter what choice he makes, it goes without saying that this guy is going to cause all sorts of problems.
All in all, a fantastic kick-off to season 2. The reveal about Six is done fairly quickly and isn’t dragged out across multiple episodes. But, at the same time, what Six learns about himself and about the Galactic Authority has the potential for kicking up a lot of sh*t over the course of the season, as I’m sure it will. Then, of course, we have that humdinger of an ending. The death of One in itself is shocking enough because we’ve lost a major character before the season can barely get off the ground (well, technically, we still have Jace Corso AKA The “Real” One, but it definitely won’t feel the same). Plus, I personally had almost forgotten about One being an impostor (did you?), and so, when Corso showed up out of the blue, it threw me for a loop. Shock. Awe. Tears. Laughter. Putting this all together, what you have is some stellar writing and a top-shelf start to what I predict to be another great season.
Dark Matter airs on Fridays at 10/9c on Syfy.
Critic Grade — A
Geeky computer and math nerd by day and TV fanatic by night. My beats are The Walking Dead, The Strain, Person of Interest, Z Nation, and anything that most people would call freaky. Editor-In-Chief and Lead Writer of TVGeekTalk.com