Dark Matter: 2.04 We Were Family
After a week's break, here's the first of two Dark Matter reviews, starting with last week's We Were Family...
Following the memory-reversal shenanigans that gave the audience and Das / Five a glimpse into the dark past-personalities of Portia, Marcus and Ryo, this episode delved deeper into Marcus / Three's past as we learned what brought him from the young boy living happily on his childhood farm to the wanted criminal we see now. After he accidentally activated the subspace beacon at the end of I've Seen the Other Side of You, we were introduced to Larcan Tanner (Nigel Bennett) and his motley crew and the final clues to Marcus's life pre-Raza.
It was a solid A story, starting with a flashback to a young Marcus locked in a broom cupboard by his mother, listening as his parents were murdered. Having established the happier times Das glimpsed of Marcus's past last season it was a tragic start to his journey and the idea that Larcan was a family friend who took him in after their deaths never rang true. But it was only after Marcus witnessed his new crew killing the pilot of the shuttle who wanted to save his hostage son that the lies he was given finally rang true. I might have been a step or two ahead of Marcus but it was still satisfying to see him stroll casually into the hut, take out his old 'father figure' and rescue the boy.
The idea that he knew all about the murder of his parents at the hands of his mentor speaks to the darkness of his past and showed just how far he has come as a person post-mind wipe. Anthony Lemke continues to develop Marcus into a deeply engaging and nuanced character; his friendship with Arax before the latter's betrayal and the close kinship he has developed Das, becoming a big brother figure, has shown he can be fun and sweet. And he can be just as cool too; taking out the watch tower with the bigass gun Bubba and killing Larcan's men without breaking a sweat were some very fun moments.
Talking of fun, the Android got a great subplot as she went 'shopping' with Das and Devon on the space station as part of a ploy to study humanity more closely. It was adorable to see her attempt to buy a toothbrush as a gift for her friend Das and her face light up as she observed a couple kissing. After being 'rescued' by dashing ship's captain Victor (Brendan Murray) she encountered a community of superior androids, all with special micro chips that enable them to blend in as other humans, without owners.
The Android's quest to embrace emotions has been really intriguing to watch. Of course she is inspired as a cross between Star Trek: The Next Generation's Data and Star Trek: Voyager's Seven of Nine but a synthetic being becoming human is a great sci-fi idea and the episode played it well. Her shopping trip with Victor was pure Pretty Woman (my wife noticed the black dress she wore was almost identical to the red one from the movie) and her final kiss was sweet. Zoie Palmer's understated look of joy as he returned to the ship was lovely. And now that she has the chip, I look forward to seeing where she goes next as a character.
The new characters finally got to develop this week too. We certainly got to understand why Devon (Shaun Sipos) was drawn to medical training while in the Hyperion-8 Maximum Security Galactic Detention Facility. He's a drug addict so the chance to purchase supplies for the ship was also a perfect opportunity for him to get high. It certainly adds a dimension to what has been a nice but little bland character. As a ship's doctor he certainly can prove his worth. Portia / Two had a scene early on where she convinced him to stay and given her attraction to 'nice men' with One last season I wonder if there was something more to it here too. There certainly was with Das, who was eager to join Devon on his supply run.
Devon was also able to complete the surgery on the cryogenically-frozen Griffin / Six, bringing Roger Cross back onto the show more quickly then I expected. And after being betrayed by the people he worked for and having betrayed and then saved the crew of the Raza, we saw an uneasy alliance renewed by him and Portia by the episode's end.
Melanie Liburd's Nix became far more interesting too; her fight training with Ryo / Four, matching his immense skills without any training was a mix of steaming sexual attraction and intrigue. My money is on her being nanite-infused by the same corporations that enhanced Portia. She also built on that kinship she developed with Portia in the prison, helping to uncover the building seen in Portia's terrible past last week (Liburd using her real English accent for the scene where they posed as archeology students). I noticed the reference to Terra Prime - are we about to see futuristic Earth this season?
But the big reveal? That would be the key card Das had her in her possession from her pre-Raza days. Turns out it is the key to an upcoming war, with its ability to access inter-dimensional pockets of space time and one of the sinister corporations has hired Inga Cadranel's character to steal it back. Arax made his move on her behalf, only to be double-crossed by Das and left behind. Already, season two of Dark Matter has upped its game in terms of scale and this revelation certainly holds promise.
In many ways, nothing major happened in We Were Family, but the real purpose of the episode was to build on upcoming events, while closing off on the past of another key character. Marcus got the tragic backstory to his already tragic lost romance, Das continued to prove her skill, the ship dropped Arax, the mystery of One / Derrick's murder continued to bubble on in the background and galactic wars were teased. But most successfully, it gave the Android some depth and emotion and her story was the most intriguing - and fun - of all. If I've Seen the Other Side of You was a drop in pace after the dramatic opening two episodes, then We Were Family picked it up again with the promise of great things to come. Let's hope the show delivers...