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Dark Matter - Stuff To Steal, People To Kill - Review: “A Tale Of Two Raza's” + POLL



Dark Matter delivered what may be the best alternate universe episode I’ve ever seen. Working off of a literal definition of what an alternate universe is this episode dropped the Raza and her crew directly into a parallel universe. When most shows choose to do alternate universe episodes they populate the episode with caricature versions of the characters that normally inhabit the show. Instead of doing that Dark Matter gave us the characters we know and love and added in a cast of very familiar guest characters. We know all of these people, even if there were slight differences to their usual personalities, they are familiar to viewers. We’ve become quite familiar with Portia, Marcus, Ryo, and even Jace Corso (special guest star Marc Bendavid) plus we got to know Wexler (Ennis Esmer) and Tash (Jessica Sipos) pretty well last season. We also got to see the alternate version of Commander Truffault (Torri Higginson) and I must say that I’m quite happy that this isn’t the version of her that the crew normally has to deal with. As Two points out, this version of her is far harsher than the one they normally have to work with. There were a few differences, some more drastic than others, but overall all of the characters this episode brought back fit perfectly into this episode.

Despite the small crew that mans the Raza they usually handle things quite well, except for the installation and initial test of the new Blink Drive. They definitely miscalculated things and pulled off a pretty impressive feat, though it was highly unintentional, by landing in a parallel universe. That opened up the episode to a whole array of possibilities. Most impressively being the return of a whole array of deceased characters. I know Wexler and Tash are bad, and I know I’m not supposed to like them, but I love how deviously sinister Esmer and Sipos play them, so I was very excited to see them return for this episode. I was also very glad to be proven wrong, from a prior statement I made, where I said I didn’t expect to see Bendavid in any more episodes this season. The fun thing about this episode is any of these characters are once again fair game in the universe of Dark Matter. With that surprise, and still mysterious, tagalong anyone of these characters could still yet make a permanent return to the series. I’d really like to see Tash appear again and given how much Dark Matter enjoys employing the Sipos siblings I wouldn’t rule out the possibility she could have been in the alternate universe Marauder. Though, I suspect, that the odds are much better that it was Jace Corso that was in that pod. Two told Portia that her crew was tied up in the Mess Hall, but that doesn’t mean that one of them couldn’t have snuck away while Two and Three were making their way back to their Raza. Given the limited use of Corso in this episode, I have a strong feeling this just opened the door back up for Bendavid to keep gracing our screens from time to time.

While I am excited about the prospect of the door possibly being opened back up for Bendavid to appear on the show I’m also kind of worried that some may see it as a invalidating the original death of Jace Corso. The way I see it is that Two got her revenge on the original Jace Corso for One’s murder, so this one can present more of an arch-nemesis type of role in the series. He’s already proven that he’s more than happy to drop nukes and kill innocent people. It’s also apparently that this Jace Corso has absolutely no value for life. Not that the Jace Corso that Two killed did, but he seemed slightly more inclined to only kill those he was hired to kill. This Jace Corso dropped that nuke on members of his own crew and a whole colony of innocents just for the fun of it. If he was indeed the mystery person inside of that Marauder it could present a very interesting problem for the Raza and her crew. Though, to be fair, almost anyone could have been in that shuttle. We know Das was a stowaway on the version of the Raza we know, so what’s to say she didn’t stow away again? Just because we didn’t see Das doesn’t mean she wasn’t there. My gut feeling is that it was Jace Corso because the show loves Marc Bendavid, as do the fans, and this would be a great way to bring him back in a recurring capacity again. I think it’ll be awhile before we get any definitive answer to whom came back with them, but I can’t wait to find out. Until then let the speculation begin. Leave your theories in the comments section below.

No matter who it was what matters is that we got to spend a lot of time with this alternate Raza crew and it provided a lot of fun. It would appear that Marcus Boone of the alternate universe gets around a lot since he seems to have flings going on with both Portia and Tash. Hard to say which Marcus was most interested in, but given the way Tash treated Three I’d say Marcus’ best odds are with Portia. I did notice that the Portia of this alternate universe didn’t seem to have the same firm hold of the crew that the Portia we know from this universe did. Wexler, Jace Corso, and Tash all seemed devoid of loyalty to Two when she was pretending to be their Portia. They gladly disobeyed her orders and even attacked Two thinking she was their Portia. The Portia we know would have quickly set them all straight and they would have fallen into line or she would have quickly disposed of them.

It was bad enough that Two had to survive Jace Corso trying to kill her and Wexler with a nuke, but she came back and immediately had to deal with Tash. I must admit that I really enjoyed watching Two and Tash fight last season, but this time, it was even more intense and badass. These are two incredibly skilled fighters, but I was initially a bit confused as to why Two wasn’t able to take Tash down as fast as she did during their first encounter. The reason became rapidly evident as the tremors we first saw a couple weeks ago made their return at the worst possible time. Something is seriously wrong with Two and that was made abundantly clear as she started to succumb to whatever is ailing her. Given what was going on with Two one must admire her for holding her own as long as she did, but it was kind of jarring to see this strong fearless leader look so weak. Since Three missed the bulk of the fight he didn’t see how Two ended up on the wrong side of Tash’s attack, but I was hoping he’d question what happened. It is highly unusual for Two to end up on the losing side of a fight unless someone uses some high powered device to subdue her and even then that doesn’t always work. She was completely incapable of defending herself as she was struggling to just remain conscious. This entire scene was perfectly acted by Melissa O’Neil and Jessica Sipos. They beautifully executed the fight choreography and delivered what is easily my favorite fight sequence of the whole series. O’Neil was absolutely fabulous in this entire episode, but the way she portrayed Two’s sudden weakness was powerful. Confusion and fear filled her eyes as she stumbled backward forcing Two to be at Tash’s unforgiving mercy. No matter how much I loved this whole scene I was so happy to see the Android appear and take down Tash. I was very grateful that the Android of this Raza has the same impeccable timing as the Android we know or who knows what would have become of Two and Three.

I immediately noticed that this Android seemed to have the same personality “glitch” of her counterpart and that immediately caught my interest. She clearly knew that Two and Three weren’t her Portia and Marcus yet she helped them without hesitation. At first, I found it a bit odd that she stood so loyally by Two’s side then it all made sense as the episode played on. The Android made it very clear that it was her Portia who made her what she is. What exactly that means is still left open to debate. So, perhaps, as has been theorized before, that “glitch” really isn’t a glitch after all and was intentionally done. That’s not really new news considering most fans have suspected that is the case, but the big surprise is that at least in this universe the perpetrator of that was Portia. That means we must now ask how similar the two Portia’s are. Do the revelations we learned about this universe translate to the universe of the show? I think they do to a degree, which then leads me to wonder why Portia did it? What was so special about the Android? Why did Portia want to alter her programming in this way? More importantly, how did she do it? Two is smart and we know Portia was resourceful, but neither have ever expressed any great technical skills that would warrant being able to essentially reprogram an android. I’m very curious to see how that plays out. Based on the looks on both Two and the Android’s faces I think they are equally as curious.

Speaking of the Android, I really admire how she was willing to sacrifice herself to Five. She knew the danger she was putting the crew and ship in by giving in to Commander Truffault, but she did it because Five is her friend. That is yet another prime example of how the Android has continued to evolve and grow as a sentient being. Because that is what she is becoming, she is making great progress on her journey to sentient status. She has feelings and is capable of independent thoughts and actions. More importantly, she’s capable of desiring companionship and friendship. Whatever Portia did to her as made her truly a one of a kind entity and I can’t help but wonder if Rebecca snagged something when she made her break from Dwarf Star Technologies. We’ve always known Two and the Android to have a close bond, but the revelation that Portia may have made the Android the way we now know her is a fascinating turn of events.

An interesting thing about this episode is that it wasn’t too big of a jump from the things we already know. This was essentially a what-if scenario that showed us one possible scenario of what would have happened if Das had not snuck on board. That moment seems to be the big divergent event where the two universes ceased to be alike. This isn’t the first time that Das has been pinpointed as a big shifting moment in the lives of the crew. Without her Val is killed, the mind wipe never happens, and the crew goes on being vile mercenaries for hire. Choosing to keep her alive is essentially what allowed the crew a second chance at life. She is what made them different and special from all other incarnations of themselves. So, the question warrants asking, was her crossing of paths with the Raza crew as random as we’ve been led to believe or was she placed in their lives for a reason? We know Seers exist in this universe, so if beings like them exist it’s entirely possible there are other gifted people capable of altering destined events. As the universe this show inhabits continues to grow the possible scenarios are too numerous to account for.

I kind of wish Five and Six had been allowed to be a bigger part of the action in this episode, but their lack of doppelgangers in this universe did make that kind of hard. At least Five got to show off her engineering skills as she fixed the FTL drive and reinstalled the newly acquire Blink Drive. Hopefully, we’ll one day get to see Das/Emily and more of her story, because I think there is way more to her story than we’ve seen yet. She is a pivotal part of what helped make the crew what they are today, and I have a feeling they are holding off on filling in her backstory for a reason.

Four, on the other hand, had plenty to do despite being left on their Raza. He learned what had he not had his memories wiped he could very well be back in control of his home world and leading his people to victory. He seemed very intrigued by what he was learning from the news as well as Portia and Marcus. Just because he ended up back in his universe doesn’t mean he can’t find a way to replicate what the alternate universe Ryo was able to do. Four is probably the closest to his old personality, so I wouldn’t put it past him to use this information as a catalyst to start moving forward with his plans to go home and retake Zyron’s throne. What price is he willing to pay to regain his throne? Is he willing to betray the crew in order to accomplish his goals? I’m sure he is, but just how steep of a price will it cost him? This story is just now ramping up and I’m kind of nervous to see how it plays out. I really like Four and don’t want to see him have to betray the crew just to accomplish his dreams. I hope that he’ll realize he’s stronger with the might of the Raza behind him and he’ll enlist their help. That way he won’t have to betray them to get what he wants.

T
his episode left us with several new mysteries, but I think most of those will be put on the backburner as the episode came to a literally crashing halt as Two fully succumbed to whatever is ailing her. She hit the ground hard and seemed firmly out for the count. The race is now on to fix whatever has gone wrong and to do it fast. This brings me back to a question I asked several episodes back, who is Two’s second-in-command? With Two presumably in for a fight for her life, the Raza will need someone to lead them. Who will step-up and take charge of saving Two? Can Two be saved?

In all of my years of television watching I’ve seen a ton of alternate universe episodes of shows and I can’t recall a single one that was as tightly written and perfectly executed as this episode. I enjoy the quirkiness of typical alternate universe stories, but there was something special about getting to enjoy the characters we already know plus getting to spend time with their alternate universe counterparts. The twinning scenes in this episode were flawless and proved that this show can, and should, do scenes like this more often. Alternate universe episodes are the ultimate loophole to bring back long gone characters. In the case of the mystery stowaway, this episode may have provided a much more permanent loophole should one of the once deceased characters have been on that ship.

Joseph Mallozzi wrote this episode and he is an alternate universe expert having written some of the best AU episodes to ever grace the Stargate franchise. To put this episode in his hands almost guaranteed success, but the angle he took with this episode even surprised me. It is slightly out of the norm, yet it was so tightly crafted that it just worked without fault. He used this episode to revisit some situations that were somewhat similar to what we’ve seen before in the show, but added his own twists to them. I think the final product was an incredible hour of television. The only problem with this episode is that it set an extremely high bar for any successors that may follow it. If the show does another alternate universe episode in the future that episode will be held to some extremely high standards. I think this was a quintessential Dark Matter episode that brilliantly highlighted everything that makes Dark Matter a special and unique show.

Be sure to tune into the next episode to find out what happens to Two. That episode airs on Friday, August 26th at 10/9C on Syfy in the US and Space Channel in Canada.

Hit the comments with your thoughts on this episode. Did you enjoy this more serious take on an alternate universe episode? Do you think Two will recover or will she join One, Jace Corso, and Devon on the ever growing list of deceased characters? What do you think is wrong with Two?

By the time your reading this my birthday will have just passed on Thursday. When this comes out I will be celebrating with my family, so I won’t be around to chat with you regarding this episode, but please discuss and debate amongst yourselves and I’ll chime in when I can.


About the Author - Aimee Hicks
Aimee works for a newspaper in North Carolina 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. If the show is sci-fi, fantasy, comic book based, drama, or action the odds are good she watches it or has at least watched a few episodes of it. She also has a love for comedies 2 Broke Girls and Mom. She was the original creator and co-founder of LOST Video Island (lostvideo.net) which is still operating under the management of the very capable and skilled group she turned it over to.
You can email her at aimee@spoilertv.com.
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