Dark Matter: 3.09 Isn't That a Paradox?
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It could have comes across as cheap (and it is likely that it was), but Isn't That a Paradox?, which saw the crew stuck on 21st Century Earth (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home-style), was the absolute highlight of season three. Full of humour and cringeworthy moments as the crew tried to adjust to their new surroundings, my only major complaint is that it was over too soon; if any story deserved a two-part narrative this season, then this week's was it.
I continue to love how Joseph Mallozzi unabashedly throws in big ballsy sci-fi themes not seen regularly since the days of televised Star Trek into Dark Matter, a show that began with a band of rogues with no memory on a ship. We've has alternate realities and bottle universes and now the show has added time travel as the blink drive zapped the crew back 600 years to early 21st Century Earth. I'm also certain this was the first time we learned just how far into the future Dark Matter was set.
With no way of getting home, the crew were forced to 'blend in' while the Android searched for a way to solve their problem. Under the guidance of the Android's memory banks, Portia / Two became soccer mom in knitted jumpers, Marcus / Three her husband and slob, Das / Five socially awkward goth teenager 'Apple', Griffin / Six a business man, and the Android his 'wife' and young professional. With a suburban house and a minivan in place of the Raza, this was the most fun I think Dark Matter has ever been.
It was wonderful to see them forcibly adapt. Portia was happier than we have seen her in a long time, embracing hot chocolate and pug dogs, while Das and Griffin went shopping and discovered cupcakes. Blending in to a party thrown by their neighbours. Zoie Palmer's coming timing was just superb, calculating the exact division of cookies she has baked to accidentally spoiling the season finale of a trashy show a group of housewives was discussing by raiding her memory databanks.
There was also a bit of a Stranger Things vibe going on in the trio of cycling kids that clued on to the fact that their new neighbours were either spies or aliens and began tracking the movements of the Android - allowing a full on Invasion of the Bodysnatchers moment as she caught them watching her from across the street and they slunk behind a wall for safety.
And we also got the origins of the blink drive through Sean Cullen's Professor Brophey, the last surviving scientist who build the device and fled back in time to escape the corporation that was hunting him down. The mad professor was another well played sci-fi trope at play, emerging as an unlikely ally and making great use of the time travel narrative to send Das back several hours to retrieve the Marauder from the clutches of some various curious FBI agents and enable the crew to make their escape - plus a healthy dose of paradoxical conversation given the context...
Finally having a working blink drive and returning to the future, the episode took no time in getting back on track, with alternate Portia, Marcus and the villainous Commander Nieman contacting Ryo and the Android getting an urgent message from fellow self-aware android Victor. And while it was great to see the show picking up the pace once again, I was also a little disappointed to see whole time travel plot wrapped up so quickly. There seemed a lot more untapped potential in having the crew mixing it up in the past. At least what we got was very fun indeed.