The Dark Matter S01e02 – Pilot II

 

The crew of the Raza are back tonight on Space, and after last week’s reveal, this Friday couldn’t get quick enough!!

Each of the crew, in their own way, seems to be trying to deal with the possible revelation about who they actually are, and what that means for their current assignment. Do they help the colonists as One (Marc Bendavid) and Two (Melissa O’Neil) seem to think, or should they just wipe them out like they were supposed to? Most of them seem less than thrilled about learning they are possible murderers and pirates, though it does explain a lot of their physical skills.

The Android (Zoie Palmer) and Five (Jodelle Ferland) chat about what the uncovered files may mean, and why Five wasn’t listed in them. She’s not convinced, she KNOWS, that someone has stolen their memories, and she knows they did it for a reason, she just doesn’t know who or why.

Some of the crew use humor t deflect their worry about who they actually are, and try to figure out who the member of the crew would be with the worst rep. And these end up being the moments I really enjoy – yes, it’s a funny beat, but it captures the show in one lightning stroke – there’s the mystery of who these people are, but it mixes with a type of humour that would reveal itself in those moments, all against a science fiction backdrop.

And while we are talking about the backdrop, let’s just get this out of the way, the sets, as mentioned last week, continue to stun (I love the physicality of it – the buttons and switches, the solid, used reality of it all), and the visual effects work on this series is just stunning… seeing the Raza in orbit, or maneuvering, looks amazing (television effects have come a long, long way!).

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Two continues to cement her leadership, and honestly, who wouldn’t follow her, she seems to know what she’s doing, she can make the command decisions, and O’Neil imbues her with such a sense of intelligence balanced with the knowledge she could kick your ass…. Very cool!

Things get even more complicated this week when a Corporation destroyer, shows up to follow-up on why the Raza hasn’t proceeded with her mission. So while, One, Three, Four (Alex Mallari Jr.) and Six (Roger Cross) have taken the Marauder down to the surface, and find themselves allied with, and aiding the colonists, Two, Five and the Android need to find a resolution to the colony’s problem and keep the Corporation at bay once and for all.

There are some great action beats in this episode, as the series continues to define its storytelling method, as well as wonderful laugh-out-loud moments, including the naming of weapons, Android’s attempt at small talk, and just some wonderfully sharp dialogue. We also see the crew (re)learn some of their skills, dark and otherwise, in addition to setting up continuing story arcs.

Each member of the cast gets their moment, the story balances nicely between them all, making it a true ensemble, with no character raised above the rest, that is going to make for a fun dynamic as the series goes forward – keeping all seven main characters front and center, instead of whittling it down to two or three main, and the rest pushed back to supporting. It’s a very likeable cast, and the viewer wants to spend time with each of them, let’s hope that continues.

And finally, I was simply delighted at the guest stars in the episode… Chloe Rose, Amanda Brugel, David Richmond-Peck, Torri Higginson, and our good friend Pat Mastroianni!

Dark Matter airs tonight on Space!

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