Dark Matter: 3.02 It Doesn't Have To Be Like This

One of the things I've enjoyed about Dark Matter is its ability to throw in a bit of Star Trek into the mix. Expanding beyond cloning, crime and corporation scheming, it added an alternate universe last season and now we've had a trip to a pocket universe. While I love the moral ambiguity and action the show regularly presents, it's nice to see the show expanding its themes once in awhile... particularly as we don't have Star Trek on our screens (at least not yet).

In truth, it's nice to have a bloody enjoyable sci-fi show with spaceships, something that has been less popular in recent years; and Dark Matter season three continues to be just that...enjoyable. With a quick use of the mind probe to uncover Ryo's memories of a secret Zairon space station, the crew of the Raza headed off to steal the blink drive as a prelude to dealing with the traitorous Ryo himself. We got to see a bit more of the political scheming on his planet, particularly between loyal warrior Misaki and former tutor Teku (who took up a position as advisor last episode). But the episode also found a way to put Ryo in a heated confrontation with his former friends and allies thanks to the show's marvellous trick of uploading his consciousness to a clone.

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Realising that the Raza crew have come to steal the blink drive, the clone Ryo order the use of the drive to transport the station back to Zairon; of course instability ensues and the facility, complete the the docked Marauder with Griffin on board and Portia and Marcus on the station, are all sucked into a pocket universe. The Android and Das realising what is happening and sending a pulse signal through to the pocket universe is something you'd imagine any good science officer on Star Trek doing. Dark Matter is a bit more rough and ready but it's a delight to see the same thought process here in action.

Having the clone Ryo on board allowed for the first or what I assume is many confrontations with his old crew. His determination to block their entry to the laboratory where the drive was being held, even sacrificing his own people as the pocket universe collapsed around them, shows how ruthless he remains. The fact that not a single Zairon scientist survives is largely down to the actions of their own beloved emperor. The confrontation did allow Portia and Marcus some measure of vengeance, shooting him dead as they raced to save the station, get the blink drive and leave. The resulting escape was tense stuff as the pocket universe closed in around them and they raced to obtain the blink drive from the loyal scientist who would rather die than give it up.

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The episode also gave us a bit more of a glimpse into Das's miserable past and the mentor she abandoned in aid of her friends. The revelation that she has a sister offers up an interesting new storyline for her while the permanent loss of her memories as a result of using the mind probe leaves her just as incapacitated as the rest of the crew. And talking of discoveries, Ryo learning that Nyx is dead, and at the hands of Misaki no less, certainly complicates the situation on Zairon further...though can there be any sympathy for him after what he has done?

It Doesn't Have To Be Like This continued the thrills and surprises that I've come to expect with Dark Matter and the show's renewed confidence after a stronger season two is really evident as it embraces its third year. I'm looking forward to see what happens next.

I will be on holiday next week, but rest assured, I'll be covering episodes three and four the week after...