Dark Matter: 2.08 Stuff to Steal, People to Kill
In last week's interview with Dark Matter showrunner Joseph Mallozzi, he teased an alternate reality, a familiar concept in any good sci-fi show. Star Trek has the mirror universe, Fringe was built around two warring realities and now Dark Matter has dipped its toe into the water.
Stuff to Steal, People to Kill was another great episode in an increasingly confident second season as we saw just how far the Raza had travelled after attempting to use the blink drive last week. At first it looked as if they had jumped forward into the future as they discovered the wreckage of the space station we last saw Nyx and the [deceased?] Devon on and warring corporate ships battling it out in deep space. After all, we know the galactic war between the rival corporations is coming. But as we saw the episode unfold it became apparent that this was a universe where the crew of the Raza hadn't had their memories wiped, where Derrick Moss had not impersonated Jace Corso and where Ryo had managed to reclaim the throne of Zairon.
Those expecting a radically different version of these characters were gong to be disappointed; what this episode served to do was show how different Ryo, Portia and Marcus had become (something we glimpsed in earlier season two episode I've Seen the Other Side of You) and also offer the audience and the crew an insight into the coming conflict. The battles, while not mindblowing, were some of the best action sequences the show has done yet and shadowy corporation ally Commander Truffault (Torri Higginson) made a welcome return, attacking the Raza and demanding the blink drive in exchange for their lives.
And so, trapped in a universe that was not their own and no way of getting back, the crew were forced to work with Truffault and steal the only technology that could get their back their freedom; the blink drive on the alternate Raza. The episode had fun showing the crew at their most dangerous, attacking colonies, being sexy, violent and brutal, their mantra truly being about 'stuff to steal, people to kill'. Melissa O'Neil managed to make her character an even more dangerous, femme fatale character and we got the return of season one renegades Wexler and Tash.
Most significantly, season one regular Marc Bendavid managed to pop up for the third time this season (despite both Derrick and Jace Corso being killed off!) and the alternate version of Jace who was more than willing to nuke a planet full of revolutionist colonisations (a great throwback to the pilot episode) and I would bet that was him attaching the alternate Marauder to the hull of the Raza as they travelled back to the main universe. The destruction of the colony was a shocking moment, but that's half the fun of alternate reality episodes; taking things to the extreme without consequences.
The Raza taking on the Raza was a brilliant twist. Portia and Marcus holding each other at gunpoint and Portia stealing her counterpart's sexy coat was hilarious and Anthony Lemke showed he could deliver the well timed comic relief as he fought off the advances of Tash. The final bitch fight between Portia and Tash was rather cool, as was the meeting on minds between the two Androids - the alternate version seemingly more advanced again then her counterpart.
I am intrigued to see where the show goes now that the Raza has got back home and they have a fully working blink drive. It was an episode that seemed to lay breadcrumbs for the future - Ryo learning how his alternate self retook his throne and the upcoming corporation war - and while it didn't offer anything radically different in its alternate universe premise, we got a solid, action packed episode. Poor Devon seems to have been forgotten as an (off screen) Nyx returned to the ship - his 'death' last episode feels a little random, unless there is some big pay off we don't know about yet.
And perhaps there is. Joseph Mallozzi stated in his interview that he wants each episode of Dark Matter to be pivotal in that it’s a crucial piece in an intricate puzzle and that is apparent here. I suspect there will be things that happened in Stuff to Steal, People to Kill that will only become apparent later down the line. And that makes this Dark Matter a great show to invest in.