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Review: Dark Matter takes mysterious, intriguing next steps

Because I’ve been covering television for years, I have a bit of a suspicious streak when it comes to storylines. I’m always looking for the red herring, the twist, the other shoe to drop. Because of that, watching Episode 2 of Dark Matter turned into an exercise in conspiracy theories and experiments.

I watched the six aboard the Raza, interacting and weighing the knowledge they had their memories wiped and informed by the Android that they are all hardened criminals. One/Jace is the most sensitive of the guys and is all about redemption; no surprise he wanted to help the miners fight back against the corporation. Three/Boone, Four/Ryo and Six/Griffin were more in agreement by acknowledging their violent pasts while trying to move forward, but ended up joining One in his cause and taking up arms against a seemingly unbeatable foe.

Two/Portia quickly emerged as the most level-headed of the bunch, able to take a moment and think things through (unlike the testosterone-fuelled fellows), which paid off when she made a deal with a rival company and successfully scuppered Ferrous Corp’s devious plans. Five/Das spent much of the episode feeling like an outsider; ironic considering she’s the key to the big mystery of who wiped her compatriot’s memories and why. Sure, Five told Two she knows who did it but wouldn’t reveal their identity, leaving us wondering for at least one more week.

But getting back to my suspicious mind, I can’t help but wonder if this whole thing is one big social experiment. Just because the computer told these five that they’re criminals doesn’t mean they are. Maybe they’re just regular folks who have been told they’re bad people. How they react to that—and the decisions they make moving forward—are all part of a grand plan. Will a group of strangers with different personalities and social beliefs band together and form a cohesive team or tear themselves apart?

We already know corporations are in control of everything, so why wouldn’t/couldn’t they do the same with people? As for the Android’s role in all this, she could be recording everything that happens during the test as well as manipulating situations, offering up spare information to the six and then watching what happens.

I know, I know, we’re just two episodes in to Dark Matter. There’s lots more story to go before we get to the answer promised in the season finale. But it will be fun to find out if I’m on the right track … or way off base.

Notes and quotes

  • “We’re better than that … we’re also pirates and smugglers and thieves. That’s a very diversified portfolio.” — Three
  • “No computer program is going to tell me who I am.” — Two
  • Using terms like “baditude,” “Slashy Stabberson” and “It’s Bubba Time,” only makes Three all the more awesome.
  • Listen, I know David Richmond-Peck has played many roles, including Commander Neiman on Dark Matter, but he’ll always be “the guy with the tail on Orphan Black” to me.
  • The opening credits are super-cool.

Dark Matter airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on Space.