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Dark Matter - Built, Not Born - Review: “Sanctuary” + POLL



Dark Matter went all in with this episode and delivered big revelations for both Two and the Android. In a major unexpected twist, it is revealed that the Android was actually created in the image of Rebecca's creator and lover, Dr. Irena Shaw (Zoie Palmer), in order to be the new vessel for her consciousness. To further complicate matters, Dr. Shaw came back into the picture leaving both Two and the Android to confront what that means for them. What is clear is that the Android is not Dr. Shaw outside of their shared appearance. Also, quite obvious is that somewhere deep within Two she can't deny Rebecca's love for Shaw.

This was quite a major twist for the show that not many likely saw coming. Many guessed that there were at least a few people in Rebecca's life that showed her kindness and we got that confirmation in the form of Eric last season. What many had not guessed was that Rebecca had a girlfriend with whom she apparently had a great love. This explains so many things from the first season in regards to One and Three. As Shaw noted, she knew that Rebecca would never be able to fully let her go. When Two was with One and even Three there was likely some nagging feeling deep inside of her that wouldn't let her commit to either of them. The fact that Rebecca took the Android with her when she left Sanctuary says so much about her inability to let go.

Here is an interesting thing to contemplate. Perhaps the reason Two and Three get along so well is that they were both on the same mission all along. Boone put Sarah in a stasis unit to buy her time so he could find a cure. When Rebecca put Shaw in stasis she was still alive, but likely only just barely. She too was seemingly trying to buy more time to perhaps find a way to cure the woman she loves. The only difference is that Rebecca had a safe place to leave Shaw while Boone had to bring Sarah with him. But the bottom line is they were both on the same mission to save the women they love. Even without his memories, Three felt a connection to Sarah. The same was true for Two when she laid eyes on Shaw. For that brief moment in time, she was transfixed on Shaw and it seemed like for just a second Rebecca came to the surface. There was this look of wistful longing in her eyes that was most definitely not Two. That was the look of someone being reunited with their other half after a very long absence.

Many thought that Two's inability to fully commit to One was the weight of her commitments as a captain. Now it seems like the reason was because somewhere deep inside her she knew that her heart belonged to someone else. She was okay with the occasional tryst, but even in her amnesiac state, some part of Shaw has always weighed on her even if she didn't understand it. What would be nice to see in the future is how their relationship progressed from what it was when they were both at Dwarf Star to when love and romance became part of the equation. While so many parts of Two's past have been filled in now this new revelation leaves blank a whole new time frame from her past. After they escaped the planet it was seemingly just the two of them for who knows how long until Shaw could get the upgrade out to others and start building up Sanctuary. Surely their relationship had to turn to love somewhere in that time and that's what will hopefully get shown in future flashbacks.

The introduction of Shaw shows the genesis point for both Two and the Android. Without this singular character neither of them exist and without them, there is no Raza and no memory wipe. Without her, this story doesn't exist. Shaw is the single most important secondary character to be introduced since the series began. She is the catalyst for everything that led to this crew coming together as it is today. For Two she's her creator and alter ego's true love. For the Android, she is her creator. For the Raza crew, she gave them their captain and android. It all began with Shaw, and her legacy has lived on in Rebecca, Portia, Two, Sukie, and the Android. Through each of their inclinations and identity changes Shaw has always been a part of them and thanks to Two she remains a part of them. Two's upgraded nanites bought Shaw more time. Seeing as she is still alive in the universe and with android Sarah, it's a virtual guarantee that they will cross paths again.

When they cross paths again it'll hopefully be when more of Rebecca and Shaw's story is revealed. There is a whole love story there that needs to be told that could really fill in a lot of blanks of how Rebecca went from who she was to becoming Portia. If their love was as epic and loving as Chase made it seem then it could be that the loss of Shaw is what turned Rebecca into Portia Lin. That overwhelming need to do anything and everything to find a cure for the woman she loves could have driven her to become the ruthless woman we all know as Portia Lin. What is interesting is why she changed her name after Shaw was put in stasis. It's evident that Portia Lin didn't exist until after Shaw was in stasis because Shaw kept referencing Rebecca and not Portia. Was it to conceal her identity as she ventured out into the universe? Or did the name have some significance to Shaw, which is why Rebecca adopted it?

Another curious thing is that Rebecca knew what Shaw was doing. She likely knew how to upload and activate the upgrade in an android. She had Sukie with her all this time, so why didn't she activate the upgrade in her? Why did Portia have to wait until she encountered Das to even begin trying to humanize Sukie? Portia knew where Sanctuary was and she knew Chase was still there. Between her and him they surely could have upgraded Sukie. So, why didn't they? One possible theory, Portia wants to do for Sukie what Shaw had done for her. Shaw found the humanity in Rebecca where no one else did. Perhaps Portia wanted to do the same for Sukie and help her find her own humanity along the way. That would have been the ultimate homage to Shaw, for Portia to pay it forward. It's unknown if Portia had hoped to find the same love connection with her that she had with Shaw, but it is always a possibility. Or was just having her around enough for Portia?

So much can come of this story, and should the show choose to continue developing it, this could become as poignant a story as the one between Three and Sarah. The reason that Three and Sarah work so well is because of the immense chemistry between Anthony Lemke and Natalie Brown. Thanks to the brilliant choice to have Zoie Palmer play Shaw there was already a built in chemistry between her and Melissa O'Neil that was already firmly in place from their years of working together. In this episode, there wasn't a single kiss between their characters yet one wasn't necessary to feel the palpable chemistry between Shaw and Rebecca. Even before Chase made the big reveal it was obvious that something was going on between them. It was all in their eyes and the soft touches. When Rebecca wrapped her arms around Shaw the two characters just felt so at ease with one another. The actresses melted into each other and without a single word or a single kiss they beautifully sold this love story. For the first time in the series we got to see an incarnation of Two truly at peace and happy. Rebecca was whole as long as she was with Shaw.

We know that there is a possibility that Two had feelings for Nyx but never acted on them. We know that she tried to commit to One, but just couldn't fully do it. What would Two be like if she could commit to someone? Could she and Shaw even be together at this point? Shaw seemed to recognize the difference between her Rebecca and Two, but some part of Rebecca is still deep inside Two. Could these two learn to love each other as Rebecca and Shaw did? Or has Two simply evolved to much from who Rebecca was? During their interactions, it sometimes felt like there was a firm connection in place, while other times it felt like they were both putting up barriers. Two seemed afraid and uncertain of things she was feeling while Shaw seemed conflicted over the fact that the woman she was talking to looked like her Rebecca, but wasn't. Can they overcome these issues to rekindle their love? As long as Shaw is still alive the possibility remains. What could be an even more touching story is if Shaw's time does start to run out and she finds her way to the Raza. She and Two rekindle what Shaw had with Rebecca and in the end, Shaw gets to go out in the arms of the woman she was never fully able to get over. It would be a tragic story, but almost poetic if they could overcome everything they've been through to be together one last time. The rich acting potential for Melissa O'Neil and Zoie Palmer is off the charts.

There is also one other possibility, the one where alternate Portia finds Shaw and the rogue android team first. Since she seemingly had a Shaw of her own it could be interesting to see the two of them interact. Alternate Portia has some sort of sexual agreement with alternate Boone, but would she toss him to the side if she had a chance with Shaw? There are numerous directions the writers could go with this new development. Though, since Shaw was part of the apocalyptic future prophecy, things perhaps don't bode well for long term longevity or happiness, should any combination of these characters actually become something more serious.

Amongst all of this is someone else to take into consideration, the Android, who now has a name to tie to her past. As Sukie, she was created to be a new shell for Shaw, yet in the end, Shaw couldn't go through with it. In the process, Shaw left a small part of herself for Rebecca to hang onto and Chase ensured that when Rebecca left she took Sukie with her. Now, since Chase knew the Android's real name, it's worth wondering who named her. Did Shaw give her the name before being put in stasis? Did Rebecca name her? Or did the Android have the freedom to pick her own name? No matter the answer to these questions it all comes down to the fact that the Android was never meant to be what she is today. That was clearly a devastating blow to the Android who had her entire understanding of her existence shattered in an instant. Thankfully she had Six and Five to make her realize just how much she means to them. The way Five fought for the Android's freedom to make her own choices was a beautiful scene. And there was the beautiful scene between her and Six. He made her realize that she is special the way she is. It's easy to hear others tell you something, but a bit harder to believe it yourself. To add an additional complication to everything is the fact that she had Victor with her on this journey. Her feelings for him are already confusing enough without everything else going on. Victor is someone the Android cares deeply about. One could even say that he has taught her romantic love. She said goodbye to him, but he will surely live on in her memories until they meet again. That kiss they shared showed how deeply she has come to care for him. Her feelings for him will remain with her, but she's separated from him again. But thanks to this big identity challenging reveal, the Android has some proverbial soul searching to do, in fact, so does Two.

Thankfully they have an incredible crew to help them through any bumps in the road. Five, in particular, has a vested interest in both of them. She too played a huge part in crafting the Android into who she is today. It would seem that Portia couldn't nurture enough humanity out of Sukie and needed help to jump start her evolution. It was then that Das entered the picture and through whatever agreement decided to help Portia. It was probably some negotiation that involved threats from Portia, but how they came to work together is less important than the outcome of it. Through that act, Das seemed to earn a certain amount of respect from Portia. She unknowingly restored some semblance of hope for Portia. Chase gave Rebecca the shell of the android that would become Sukie but Das gave that shell sentient life. And since the memory wipe, she has helped the Android to develop a life outside of her programming. Five will fight for the Android to be able to carve out her own existence while she'll surely be there to help Two deal with any issues that arise from this massive drop of information. Seeing as Five stood up against Chase, it's clear that no one or anything will keep her from preserving her friends as they are.

Three will also be inclined to put his foot down to protect his friends. He's been known to have mixed feelings regarding androids, but now that the woman he loves is one, his beliefs seem to be changing. The bonding moment he had with the Android after everything was a nice way for them both to decompress. It also allowed them to connect on a personal level. Three has come to accept her as she is, but other androids he's always been hesitant with. For him to be able to apologize for the way he acted towards Victor was a huge moment of character growth for him. Not to mention a more lighthearted scene after everything else that went down in this episode. Anthony Lemke and Zoie Palmer have a great energy together and do terrific work when paired up in a scene. The way the Android silently rejected Three's alcoholic olive branch due its taste was a nice funny moment in an otherwise serious episode. Three and the Android have shared a lot of great scenes together this season and hopefully that continues. Given that both of their loves are off somewhere in the universe together will definitely give them something to bond over.

This might have been an episode with heavy focus on Two and the Android, but Three and Sarah had some truly poignant scenes as well. The way he delivered the news to her about the chance at a body was very sweet. He didn't pressure her or keep anything from her, he gave her the facts as he knew them and let her make her own decision. That was a beautiful moment that showcased their love as well as the stunning chemistry between Anthony Lemke and Natalie Brown. They are a powerhouse onscreen duo, and since Sarah is now back to existing in the real world with a super charged android body they are sure to encounter each other again. When they reunite it'll be something truly extraordinary. It'll be interesting to see how he reacts to her and her new android body. Though she is currently in odd company right now, and with a super charged android body at her disposal their next encounter might not necessarily be on the best of terms. With any luck, Shaw will find a way to preserve Sarah's humanity instead of turning her into a weapon as it appears Victor might have in mind.

Shaw has Sarah with her now and Victor, two people that certain members of the crew will certainly be eager to track down again. In one place now are three characters who have serious romantic ties to three series regular characters. Even more concerning is that they seem to have some pretty big plans in mind that involve Sarah. Shaw seems determined to continue her work as long as she can, but what does that mean? Now that we know that Victor murdered a man who was at the time unarmed doesn't bode well. Could Shaw be inadvertently or even knowingly creating an android revolt? Can Two, the Android, and Three stop her and the others in time to save the universe and prevent another war? Perhaps Two could get through to Shaw and the Android to Victor as well as Three to Sarah. Though, based off of another glimpse into the future, it is possible that Victor will end up as a casualty of what is to come. The Android was clearly in mourning in that one future moment. Then again, they may fail, leading to the apocalyptic future that the Android saw. It's possible that in the wake of the Corporate War the universe could be weakened enough for an android rebellion to bring them all to their knees. Perhaps knowing the man she loves was part of that could cause her anguish as well. There is so very much lying in wait that could be on its way.

Another major part of this episode was the flashbacks. As was noted earlier, we got to see the moment that the Android was activated on the Raza. We also got some insight into her evolution prior to the mind wipe. Even then she was bonding with the crew as was evident in her scene with Ryo. He seemed genuinely intrigued by her. Then, perhaps most importantly, we finally got to see the moment that the Raza became Portia's ship. It was in total Portia fashion too, brutal and swift. And, in true Boone fashion, he ate through the whole thing and at the end stood loyal to Portia. Since that seemingly happened well before Das stowed away means that Portia had been working with the Android for quite some time trying to bring out her humanity. That's probably why what Das did for them both meant so much to Portia. Those flashbacks have been long desired and they did not disappoint. There are still missing bits in the time line, but it was nice to at least get these. It was a great gift that Victor gave the Android and the audience.

From here on things can only get more intense. Thanks to Shaw, Two now has something to use against Dwarf Star which was yet another part of the apocalyptic future prophecy. Given that both Dwarf Star and the meeting of Shaw where big moments emphasized they are sure to continue to be major parts of the story. It would seem that they are far from done with Shaw, Victor, and Sarah. This was a major episode that delivered perhaps the newest information of any episode yet this season with the exception of All the Time in The World. From the beginning, this has felt like a season that was paying off past story points and setting up new ones and these episodes certainly seem to be confirming that. Whatever comes next will be heavily influenced by what has happened to them in this episode.

Things are rapidly changing and evolving so be sure to not miss the next episode when it airs Friday, August 11th at 9/8c on SyFy in the US and Space in Canada.

Hit the comments with your thoughts about this episode. Were you shocked by the Shaw reveal? Will Sarah turn evil now that she has her new supercharged body? Will Two and Shaw have a future relationship? How will all this change Two and the Android's friendship?

Do you have questions after this mind blowing episode? Good news, I did too, so I reached out to Joseph Mallozzi and asked him a whole slew of questions about this episode. That interview will post a half hour from now at 10:30 pm ET.


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