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Dark Matter - Episode 3 - Review: “Electric”

Unfortunately Lindsey will not be able to join you this week for a review of this episode, so she has asked me to fill in for her. Lindsey should be rejoining you next week, but for now let’s have some fun discussing this episode.

Dark Matter had a very strong start to the series with the first two episodes, and now that the compulsory introductions are over the show is free to begin exploring and expanding its universe. This show has proven that it has a strong grasp of who these characters are and this episode does an outstanding job of further developing them. Already we’re beginning to see character growth as their shared experiences are having an effect on all of them.

The episode opens with the ship in FTL and The Android diligently keeping watch as she updates the crew on their status. She is very stiff and, well, android like, which is important given the journey she goes on throughout this episode. Three, no surprise, doesn’t really appreciate her updates. In fact, he doesn’t appreciate anything to do with this crew or ship. He wants them to sell the ship, split the profits, and part ways as soon as they hit the space station. Unfortunately for him he is the only one of that opinion. Two informs all of them that they are going to restock and refuel and anyone that doesn’t want to continue on is free to go. It was very character appropriate for her to shut him down and declare how things are going to be. Everyone else agrees with her and one by one they leave Three to clean up after breakfast. Despite his bravado I don't think he'll ever be able to part ways with this crew. To much of his understanding of his life is tied to them and when push comes to shove he keeps fighting beside them.

Because I’d be remiss not to mention this, how cool is the fish tank in the mess hall? I’ve watched a lot of space operas in my life and I do believe this is the first time I’ve ever seen a fish tank in space. It should feel completely out of place, but instead it is so skillfully integrated into the room that it just seems right that it is there.

Five is sort of the odd one out as she’s the only one who knows absolutely nothing about who she was prior to the memory wipe. She is also the youngest which puts her interests on a very opposite spectrum from the others. Five spends the early part of this episode trying to find someone who will do something with her. This does beg us to wonder how she came to be living with this crew as she seems kind of out of place. I agree with One and think it is safe to say that the personalities of whom these characters used to be are still firmly in place, which makes the bonds and natural connections between characters fun to decipher. In terms of Five, Two and Six definitely have the closest bond to her as they both seem compelled to protect her time and time again. I’m not sure they even understand why, but I look forward to uncovering these answers right alongside them. Two jumps between a maternal bond and a big sister bond with her while Six has become increasingly paternal towards her. We’re learning things right along with the crew which means every tidbit of information we get is exciting and intriguing at the same time. I look forward to every episode eagerly waiting for more pieces to fit into the puzzle.

Back to Five, once she realizes she’s going to have to entertain herself she does what any curious teenager would do, she goes into the most uncharted and dangerous place she can, the vents. She seems at home in the vents which has me wondering if she was a willing stowaway. When she discovers the deceased boy, whose image will not soon leave me, one can’t help but wonder what their connection was. Could she and the dead boy have been friends and stowed away together, but only she was discovered? Could he have been shot trying to save her? Was he shot because he was trying to hurt her? The possible scenarios are too numerous to mention, but I look forward to learning about the mysterious stowaway.

Practical as ever, Two just wants to jettison him as soon as they can because nothing would draw more attention than them docking at the space station with a dead body on board. It may seem coldhearted, but it is a choice she has to make as the leader. It is truly fascinating to watch Two operate as she seems to be constantly thinking and trying to be at least two steps ahead. More now than ever Two knows she must look into Five's mysterious dreams and she has to start by trying to verify any detail within them to solidify if these dreams are indeed actually memories. She knows the The Android is the one she can undoubtedly count on and the one she can trust to keep quiet. She has to keep secrets from the crew in order to protect them. It is certainly not something she enjoys, but it is what she has to do.

While Two and The Android are working on the secret operation Three is again plotting to be rid of the ship. In his mind Four is his strongest ally, but Four is determined to stay until he knows more about who he is. However, should a time come when he is no longer happy with the arrangement he prefers to keep the ship for himself. Four doesn’t say much, but when he does he is very well spoken and to the point. That kind of cunning mixed with his fighting skills make him one of the most dangerous amongst them. I must comment on how well Alex Mallari Jr. handles the weapons Four has to wield. They become an extension of his limbs and he manages to skillfully handle them while flawlessly delivering his lines. That is what I call skill because delivering lines is hard enough when you’re not wielding dangerous weapons.

Five can’t help but realize how close in age she is to the deceased boy. This has an effect on her which Six can see written all over her face. He tries to comfort her and in this moment his bond with Five is at its most paternal. It is this paternal love that I think causes Five to cave and spill her secret to Six.

Six cares for Five and he seems to respect Two, but that doesn’t stop him from angrily confronting Two for making Five keep that secret. Two is the leader and to do that she has to sometimes make these tough decisions. As Two was addressing the crew and talking about looking into the validity of Five’s dream she shares this meaningful moment with Five as she makes eye contact with her. She does all of this with her hands on her guns. My reading of this is that Two doesn’t know how the others will react to Five and if it came to it she was willing to do anything necessary to protect Five. Some people have said that Two’s relationship with Five is maternal, but I’m still reading it as mostly a big sister bond with some maternal moments here and there. One thing is for sure, the way Two deals with Five goes beyond that of a Captain protecting a member of her crew.

Three is still struggling to find an ally on board and Four is still his best option. He finally shares the information about the mystery door with Four and with the writers now involving him in this I’m wondering if the item in his box may indeed actually be a key. Four’s hesitation with his hand on the consul tells me he may have realized what I theorized above. Only time will reveal the answer to all of us, but I’m as curious as Three to find out what mystery lies behind that door.

One has to be given credit for thinking up the plan to turn The Android into a lie detector. This was a fun break from the drama as the interviews were intercut. I appreciate that the show is staying true to Two’s refusal to use the name the computer gave her. Portia may have been who she is, but Two is who she is now. Five’s answer of “chocolate protein pudding day”, in regards to what day of the week it is, was such a teenager response and the best answer of all of them. Three and his dislike of being touched is interesting and I hope we get to see some reason behind that when and if he regains any memories.

The last half of the episode does a great job in portraying how each crew member either perceives The Android or the bond they’ve already formed with her. When gamma radiation threatens the ship it is The Android who is the first one to step up to risk her existence to save the ship and crew. I do believe it is the first time Three says anything nice to her. This is also the scene that drew a lot of questions when promo pictures were released of The Android in a space suit. I must admit, I was a bit confused by it too, but the explanation was well thought out and it added some great interactions to the scene. Two seemed genuinely hesitant to let The Android partake on this dangerous mission. Up until now an argument could have been made that Two was just keeping The Android close because of her connection to the ship, but it becomes quite obvious in this moment that we are witnessing the early days of a friendship beginning. The airlock exchange is a great example of this growing bond:

Two: “You just get back in one piece. We can’t do this without you.”
The Android: “Well, you can.”

Multiple times throughout the EVA sequence Two treats The Android in a very human way. She wants to see her crewmember, and friend, make it back inside safely. On The Android’s side she knows that not completing this mission is not an option. She must fix the ship to save her crew and she’s willing to sacrifice her own existence for that. At this point The Android knows the risk she is taking which is why she left them with the FTL work around. To me, this showed a very human like understanding. With each interaction the crew has with The Android they are beginning to treat her less like an android and more like one of them and definitely more human. One even makes sure The Android has unnecessary oxygen working. Three being the exception to all this, but we’ll get to him later.

I really appreciated the scene between Five and Six as Five keeps vigil on the bridge. Six is quick to acknowledge that The Android isn’t like other androids and she is special. When Five says “…she’s just like the rest of us” I think it hit a cord for Six and I think this plays an important part in the risk he takes to try and save her after she is hit by the electrical pulse. I believe the whole point of The Androids near sacrifice was to solidify that she is just like the others and the show accomplished that. Human or not they are all in this together.

When The Android is hit the look of distress on Two’s face is tangible. Melissa made a great choice in having Two bow her head and cover her eyes. That is the reaction of knowing someone you care about is in trouble. It was natural and extremely instinctual and it played very well on screen.

The majority of the crew could so easily treat her as dispensable, as Three does, but they treat her as if she were human. I believe Three was genuine in his gratefulness for the sacrifice she made for them, but he also has no interest in risking his life for her. He has something in his past that has left him opposed to androids, and I don’t think his android hate is entirely due to his original encounter with her. I’m not sure how he actually managed to get Four to support him on this mutinous attempt, but Four should have known better then to cross Two. Five really came through for Two and the others by getting the door to the bridge open. She also showed great foresight in knowing to disarm Three, but I think it was a little premature for her to reveal her secret entrance into the rooms.

One and Six’s willingness to go out on that dangerous EVA walk to rescue The Android showed their true character. She isn’t just a machine, but a fellow crewmember. The musical score that played over this whole scene was daunting and really helped sell the peril of the situation. I was holding my breath as the electrical charge started to ramp up again and they raced back into the airlock. I gasped as they fell into the airlock after Six got hit and watched in anticipation as One and Five desperately tried to save their friends. The terror One and Five were experiencing was palpable and beautifully played by Marc and Jodelle.

The story came full circle when The Android was revived and she instantly went and helped Six. The episode started off with The Android stiff and somewhat isolated from the crew and ended with her being closer to, most of them, then ever. She is still as stiff as ever in the way she moves, but the way she is reacting and interacting with the crew is starting to take on human like qualities. Willingness to sacrifice oneself, for her, was a new concept, but by the end of the exchange she seemed to realize that she and the crew aren’t all that different. They did for her what she was doing for them. She is ever evolving and Six is right, she’s not like other androids, and that is a very good thing. Anyone who has ever seen Zoie Palmer’s other work knows she has this innate ability to infuse humor into her characters. I honestly didn’t think she’d be able to do that given the constraints of the character, but through her performance she gives The Android the humor that makes this character so endearing to viewers.

The Android: “You risked your lives to save mine. I don’t understand.”
One: “You would have done the same for us.”
The Android: “In fact I did.”

The mystery of who wiped their memories remains as unknown as ever. Two has to guide the crew into acceptance of never knowing the answer to that question. It is frustrating, but they have to move on and deal with the numerous other problems that keep being thrown at them.

Two is dealing with the stress of the day by beating up a punching bag. This scene does a good job in showing the audience what Two is capable of and alerts everyone to not piss off Melissa. Joseph Mallozzi has said in multiple interviews that most of the stuff we see Two doing is actually Melissa and after that scene I believe it. I almost felt bad for that punching bag given the way she was laying into it.

I’m beginning to think Marc may have a clause in his contract that requires him to kiss someone in every episode. So far One is two for three in the kiss department. The chemistry between One and Two has been building since the premiere, but I actually wish they had held off on this for a bit longer. Every show needs a good romantic paring in it, but I feel like these characters are too new to their lives to be hooking up already. But if they had to throw the kiss at us now I’m glad they made it awkward on both sides. Don’t get me wrong, I want to see this connection between One and Two grow into something more, but I hope they take any future steps much slower. Two seemed genuinely confused by the kiss, but also somehow quite intrigued. It should be fun to watch the awkwardness between them while they try and make sense of these residual feelings between them.

We end the episode with two interesting discoveries. The first being the gun Five found in the box the boy had. It seemed almost familiar to her. Could our innocent tech guru have a dark past of her own? The second is the most important of all as we get our first introduction to a space station bar. Someone is looking for the Raza and her crew and as I was watching this scene I knew I recognized the voice, but I was still shocked when we came face to face with what I presume is the real Jace. Since there is another Jace I’m willing to bet there are other versions of all the Raza crew.

Now we are left to wonder what that big cliffhanger means. Who is the real Jace? Do they all have doppelgangers? Could it be that our crew are the doppelgangers? If that is the case then who are they really? Are the Raza crew clones? I throw out that theory because I’ve watched far too much Orphan Black and that show now has me paranoid. We know the miners from last week thought the Raza were a race of lizard like monsters and in Earth terms lizards, like chameleons, can blend into their surroundings. Could the other version of our crew, and I gather we’ll meet more doppelgangers then just Jace, actually be shape shifters. Was the Raza crew framed? It was a great way to end the episode, but also a supremely annoying ending once you realize you have to wait a week to get any answers.

This was an episode I enjoyed from beginning to end. It was a great relationship exploration episode as we learned more about each character and their bonds to the others. The Android got her much deserved place in the spotlight and she really came through for the crew. One, Two, Five, and Six were true to their loyal natures while Three and Four remain the wildcards. I hope we get more ship based episodes because I am enjoying watching these characters have personal interactions with each other. With that said, I’m also intrigued to see them explore space station culture and watch them encounter other planets and people.

Next week the promo revealed that One and Three find themselves in a tough spot when they are captured by Jace. Can Two and the rest of the crew rally to save them in time?

Leave your thoughts and theories about this episode below. This episode left us with a lot of questions so be sure to hit the comments section below and let’s help each other through this long week by theorizing what it all means.

Tune into SyFy at 10pm next Friday to hopefully find out some answers to all the questions this episode left us with. Then be sure to return to SpoilerTV for an in-depth review from Lindsey.

About the Author - Aimee Hicks
Aimee works for a local newspaper and has a BA in Broadcasting and Cinema. She has been a TV lover since before she really understood what TV was. She has a long list of shows that she loves to watch and can be found on twitter (@ahicks83) live tweeting about each new episode whenever she can. A list of her favorite shows includes (but is not limited to) the following: 12 Monkeys, Orphan Black, Outlander, Chasing Life, Scorpion, The 100, The Night Shift, Bitten, Black Sails, 2 Broke Girls, Arrow, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Continuum, Lost Girl, Faking It, Falling Skies, Finding Carter, Once Upon A Time, Orange Is The New Black, Switched At Birth, The Fosters, The Flash, The Originals, Teen Wolf, Under The Dome, & Z Nation. The upcoming shows she is most excited about are: Supergirl, Dark Matter, UnReal, Blindspot, Lucifer, Legends of Tomorrow, Stitchers, Recovery Road, Shadowhunters, Quantico, Code Black, Heartbreaker, and Chicago Med. She has a large and passionate dislike of ""reality"" TV, espeically ""reality"" dating shows, but has a weakness for Americas Got Talent and So You Think You Can Dance. But those two don't really count as ""reality"" shows, at least that's how she justifies those guilty pleasures. She was the original creator and co-founder of LOST Video Island ( which is still operting under the management of the very capable and skilled group she turned it over to.
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