Dark Matter: 2.11 Wish I'd Spaced You When I Had The Chance
Marcus / Three's big brother role to Das / Five has been one of the most endearing aspects to his character as he has progressed from the aggressive, gun-toting criminal we saw in the pilot. Of course he is still a some-what aggressive, gun-toting criminal, but he also has a softer side and when Das was kidnapped by some rather nasty brothers while on shore leave, he rushed to her rescue without hesitation.
Shore leave rarely goes well, whether it is Star Trek or Dark Matter and as soon as we saw Portia / One, Ryo / Four and Nyx having a laugh over a few drinks, trouble was just around the corner in the shape of Kris Holden-Ried's Inspector Kierken and the Galactic Authorities. Wish I'd Spaced You When I Had The Chance was an episode of two halves; Marcus and Five against the unsavoury locals and the rest of the crew fending off the authorities. It wasn't an episode that struck me as have some major, gripping moments but there were some lovely character moments from Anthony Lemke and Jodelle Ferland's performances.
The events at the farmhouse were straight out of a horror movie; Das drugged while her captors talked about selling her off for body parts as Marcus navigated booby traps in the woods outside. He had a very cool scene, bursting in and taking out each brother one by one, turned on its head as he opened the door to face the remaining captor and was critically injured on a double shoot out. With Kierken closing in (and demonstrating some keen detective skills as he solved the mystery of the bloodbath at the farmhouse) and Marcus suffering from blood loss I was genuinely worried that the show might kill his character off. The scene where he tried to send Das away for her safety by pretending he hated her (telling her "I Wish I'd Spaced You When I Had The Chance") was genuinely heartfelt and it was lovely to see Das see right though his act, tears in her eyes. This was some of the best performances from Lemke and Ferland to date.
While there was the usual dose of cool action moments, my other favourite scene was the discussion between Griffin / Six and the Android on the ship. I enjoyed the commentary by these two 'outsiders' on where they fit into the crew now. As usual Zoie Palmer stole the show with her heartwarming admission that she feels accepted and her observations that Griffin had a 2% increase in body weight because he was starting to become more comfortable on the Raza. Her later comment that she would target the weak spot in his left ventricle if he tried to betray them was hilarious.
I didn't really feel that Ryo, Portia and Nyx's breakout and subsequent return to the planet with Griffin to rescue Marcus and Das was particularly engaging - we've seen this all before in previous episodes, but the episode did play a nice double bluff as Marcus triggered an explosion to harm Kierken and his troops while making it look like the the Galactic Authorities had shot down the Marauder. Marcus' interrogation by Kierken also offered some intriguing ideas; he is willing to do what it takes to prevent the two biggest galactic corporations going to war. He wants the truth from Marcus and there is suggestion that he could become a 'grey' ally in the future.
The episode may not have pushed the plot forward but the final scenes continued the theme of the upcoming galactic war as the crew observed on TV the riots breaking out across the colonies. The war has been signposted for a while and Griffin's discussion with Portia that they become some kind of independent police force, using their slip drive to bring peace certainly helped to shape where the show is going; from wanted criminals to peacekeepers? It is certainly an story I would not have thought possible back in season one. And now Ryo has made the decision to retrieve his lost memories and return home. Zairon seems to be a key player in the upcoming story - but will Ryo take his place as leader as the recent trip to the alternate reality suggested?
Wish I'd Spaced You When I Had The Chance had some lovely character moments but didn't offer the audience much we haven't seen before. However, the set up to bigger things continues to gain traction and with two episodes left, and a guaranteed third season, I'm looking forward to seeing if the crew of the Raza can stop the impending galactic war.