Dark Matter went all Groundhog Day in this week’s episode. Baz Greenland reviews.
I’m a sucker for a good Groundhog Day episode and in the fourth installment of season three, Dark Matter really had fun with that idea. It helped that it centred around my favourite character, the wise cracking Three / Marcus and Anthony Lemke was definitely up for the challenge.
All the Time in the World wisely started with Marcus already aware of what is happening, pre-empting every move and comment from the crew, having relived these days several times already. We’ve seen these kind of episodes before, so it wasn’t necessary to see his initial reactions to what was happening. Sure the episode had fun with his repeated experiences and accumulated knowledge – the sequence where he attempted to learn French from the Android might be one of the funniest sequences the show has ever done – but it was more interested in why it was happening and it’s impact on the show’s future.
The clock, stolen by new crewmember Adrian (Mishka Thébaud) was admittedly a bit of a naff McGuffin and the Android smashing it at the episode’s end was a flat ending to end the narrative, but the silliness of it worked in this largely comic episode. The reactions of the crew to learning about Marcus’s situation were delightful, from Portia’s bemusement at the long joke he musty be playing to the Android’s attempts to placate him. I loved that it took Marcus revealing the technical issues with the ship in French (because he couldn’t possibly remember it in English) was what convinced them that he was speaking the truth.
We also got the first of Ryo’s band of assassins, the cool Ash, with his ability to phase through walls. The nature of the episode allowed Marcus to be killed and still remember what had happened, allowing the crew of the Raza to quickly clue on to the fact that the slip drive was being tracked and defeat the first assassin. New crewmember Solara (Ayisha Issa) got to show off her fighting skills as she took on the assassin and Ash’s death, phasing into the metal door and freezing was a nice Han Solo carbonate-style twist of fate.
The best part of the episode, beside Marcus learning French and their little ditty, was the Android’s trip into the future as she attempted to handle the clock, giving us a tease of the horrors to come; meeting her creator, becoming human and then finally transformed into a Borg-like black Android in the distant future where she encountered an elderly Five / Das at the end of time. Not only did it look stunning, in a pure sci-fi horror way, we also learned about some of the terrible things to come; the double deception and the black ships, what could these mean?
I would also be remiss from not mentioning the tender moments as Marcus finally plucked up the courage to visit the downloaded version of lost love Sarah. While Anthony Lemke can do kick ass fighter and goofball comedy well, he clearly has the acting chops to deliver a softer edge to this character and I felt every moment of his anguish at facing the woman he had lost.
It’s not completely perfect – new crewmembers Solara and Adrian need to be fleshed out and I agree with Colin Polonowski’s review of last week’s episode that the sudden goodbye of Griffin / Six was rather flat. But after some darker, more dramatic events of recent episodes, it was nice to have some fun back, and this week’s episode certainly was that.
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