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Dark Matter - Take The Shot - Review: "Reality Check" + POLL



Dark Matter flawlessly merged intensely rich drama with a high-stakes situation to create one of its strongest episodes to date. First and foremost this was an episode about the Android that put her front and center in a fight to save the Raza. For quite some time now she's been evolving beyond her programming which has caused her to make some errors. None of them have put the crew in any immediate danger, but for a being created to never be wrong, it was a startling thing for her to accept, so startling that it even led her to give up her upgrade in hopes of stopping her from making any future mistakes. The safety of the crew, her friends, has always been her prime objective which is why she confessed to Two about everything. She knew something wasn't right and didn't want to be put in the position, again, to feel like she put her crew in danger. That started the episode down an interesting path as the crew waivered back and forth over what to do about the Android's glitch.

They perceive the glitch as a problem, but it's what makes the Android so unique and special, it makes her the being they all know and love. Dealing with the issues caused by this perceived problem is made even more problematic for Two who now knows she may have made the Android what she is today. Her actions as Portia may have put the life of one of her dearest friends on the line and she feels a great responsibility to properly deal with the situation they now find themselves in. This was one of those times where it seemed like Two wished she wasn't in a position of leadership. The fate of the Android was firmly in her hands and she was being asked to contemplate eliminating her friend to save her other friends. In truth, the Android is more than just a friend, she's someone whom Two basically gave life to. I found it interesting how hard Two fought to try and dismiss her hand in creating the Android when Five called her out on it. I think, at the point that Five was confronting her, it was too much for Two to handle to think that she was going to have to kill a being she created. Having to destroy a friend was one form of horrible but to have to end the life of someone she played a part in creating was painfully unfathomable to Two. I think Five realized that, which is why she kept pushing the matter. She knew the Android's fate rested squarely in Two's hands and to save all of them she had to get Two to accept responsibility for the Android. Only when Two took ownership of the situation were they going to find a solution that didn't involve losing the Android.

This conflict set up some amazing scenes between Two and Five. Melissa O'Neil and Jodelle Ferland have been amazing scene partners since the very beginning, but as the story has progressed their characters have gotten less time together. With the exception of the Android, Five is the person Two has the most trust in on the ship, but that doesn't mean they always have to agree or get along. Five is a teenager and with that comes an underlying need to disagree with elders. That's just a part of being a teenager, and Five isn't immune to that. Actually, we don't even know exactly how old Two is. While we know she ages, the flashbacks from last week would seem to indicate that Rebecca came into existence as a grown adult, so it's possible Five is older than Two, and it's obvious that they are both going through some growing pains throughout this episode. Despite everything, Five was absolutely right to challenge the decisions Two was making. In fact, at times, Two was being a bit hypocritical as was evident in the fact that she questioning why the Android hid information about her glitch for so long when Two had been doing the exact same thing when she hid her illness. Two needed a good verbal slap to get focused on finding a true solution instead of taking the easy road out and resetting the Android , and Five gave that to her. As Five pointed out, they don't know why Portia may have created the Android but the fact remains that she likely did and Two can't just dismiss that. She also can't ignore all the good the Android has done just because of one problem. The Android has risked her life for the crew more times than can be easily counted. Thankfully Five's opinion matters to Two and she heard her loud and clear.

While Five fought to get Two to find other solutions the rest of the crew were struggling with the prospect of having to destroy the Android. None of them, not even Three, wanted to lose her. Though, they were prepared to execute Two's orders, even if they didn't agree with them. I think that given a few more seconds Three would have pulled the trigger on the Android, but when Two rescinded her order he actually seemed relieved. Even though he constantly calls her a robot he still cares about her. He may have tried to hide his relief behind frustration, but the fact remains that he was okay with Two changing her mind. One great moment from this episode is when Nyx said they could surely find a way to save her and the Android said she didn't want to be fixed. It's amazing the growth she's experienced this season, and she's finally at a place where she feels comfortable embracing what makes her special.

As if the crew didn't have enough else going on, Two, Three and Four also had to deal with hallucinatory representations of their old memories trying to kill them. This allowed for the show to bring back some amazing guest stars. Including Natalie Brown whom I personally loved as Sarah last season and Ellen Wong as Misaki who is the perfect match for Alex Mallari Jr.'s Four. Those hallucinations tapped into deeply rooted issues within each character to create rich scenes full of tension and desire. It was a brilliant way to bring back these guest stars and to use them in impactful ways. They added an extra element of uncertainty to the episode. Everyone was left trying to figure out what was real and what was just a product of the computer glitch. I think I liked Sarah's visit to Three the most of all the hallucinations. Yes, she did almost lead him to kill himself, but it was great to see Brown and Anthony Lemke get to work together again. They have such an incredible chemistry that I'm still insanely holding out hope that one day the real Sarah will be resurrected somehow. That's not to dismiss the scene with Wong and Mallari because they were very cool as well. I love the way Mallari handles a sword and Wong handles hers just as flawless as he does. Together, along with the shows brilliant stunt-coordinator, they crafted an aesthetically perfect fight sequence that was powerful and intense. Two's hallucination was the most unusual, but it left a major impact on her, which was made abundantly clear when Nyx was able to take her down. The hallucination really screwed with her head and she was prepared to kill Six. I'm just happy that Nyx was there to stop her. I know some may argue that it was unrealistic for Nyx to be able to take down the freshly upgraded Two, but in that moment Two wasn't fully present. She had all of her strength but had lost all situational awareness of the environment around her. In Nyx's defense, she tried everything she could to get through to Two before resorting to punching her. It was the only way to save Six and spare Two the horror of hurting a friend.

If the hallucinations weren't a clue that the virus infected Red Android wasn't playing around, the fact she tried to poison them made it abundantly obvious that the virus intended for her to kill them all. She meant business and was willing to do whatever it took to divide the crew and fulfill her prime objective to destroy the ship and her crew. She did come close to fulfilling her objective, on several instances, but she underestimated how much this crew cares for each other. Once Five talked sense into Two the mission was on to destroy the virus-infected Red Android and save the ship. Thankfully this crew has Five on their side, and she was quickly able to discover the root of the problem and clear the Android. That allowed the crew to turn their attention to their true enemy.

One of the biggest parts of this episode was the Android's dream life. The virus made it so realistic that it was easy to understand why the Android was at times conflicted. In that dream, she was free of the burden of having to watch over and protect others. She had Victor and a whole array of friends, but where the dream sequence faltered was that it didn't include the people she loves the most. Her crew is her family and they will always carry the utmost of importance to her. She rates them above even her own life and happiness. To have lived out her existence in that dream wouldn't have been living no matter how perfect it seemed. Her crew is her life and letting them die in order for her to be happy in a false reality wasn't an option. In fact, it was the dire situation of the Raza crew, as revealed by the dream news broadcast, that brought the Android back to her reality. I love that for a time the Android got to live an ideal human-like life, but I was so happy and relieved to see her dismiss the dream and return just in time to help her crew. Zoie Palmer was fantastic throughout this episode and really got to let her hair down, literally. She perfectly captured all the Android's conflicting reactions to the scenarios she found herself in.

In some ways, this episode had more elements of an alternate universe story than Stuff To Steal, People To Kill did. We got to see the Android live out an entirely different domestic type of life. Plus we got to see the crew tackle those terrifying hallucinations. It wasn't a full-on alternate universe, but it definitely had the elements of one. This episode gave all of the performers incredible moments to shine, but this episode was a tour de force for Palmer. Throughout the dream sequences, Palmer had to play the Android as this beautiful mix of the Android we know and the upgraded Android from She's One Of Them Now. When the Android was watching the news broadcast Palmer's eyes were full of emotion as she sought to express to the audience how deeply the Android loves her crew. It was beautiful acting by Palmer and really sold home the confusing emotions surging through the Android.

After a lot of back-and-forth over what to do and who to listen to, Two finally came to a conclusion on what she had to do. I'm honestly surprised it took her so long to disregard the Red Android's false information, but I'm glad she finally started to listen to Five. By now she should know that dismissing Five isn't smart because that girl is ridiculously smart and usually gets the information correct. Luckily, the Android had Five to champion for her and make Two realize that the Android was as much a victim as any of them. Once Two accepted the truth, that the Red Android was actually harboring the virus, there was no stopping her from saving every single member of her crew by ensuring the Red Android was destroyed. And in true Two leadership fashion, she was ready and willing to sacrifice her own life to accomplish it. With the rest of the crew safely tucked away on the Marauder, she was willing to gamble with her own life to keep them safe. I loved that the Android put Two first when Red Android threatened to execute her. She was genuinely worried about Two but moved forward because she was given an order. You could tell that even as she was pulling the core she was immensely concerned for Two. These two are extremely close, even after everything that happened, and they'd give up their lives for each other. Two had to issue a firm order for the Android to take the chance with her life. They both knew the Red Android was going to execute Two, but I think Two was taking a huge gamble on her upgrade somehow protecting her. I think everyone now has a whole new appreciation for Two's new nanites. Those little guys have already proven they were worth all the hassle they took for the crew to obtain them for her.

All of that tense action led into one of the most powerful scenes of Dark Matter yet. After Two woke up in medical, she and Five made peace with each other and Two set out to make things right with the Android and fully reintegrate her into the crew. Two made some bad gut reaction decisions early on in the episode, but Two accepted the error in her guidance of the situation and gave the order for the Android to reconnect to the ship. When Two called out to the whole crew for approval there was this look of pride on Five's face. After all the ups and downs of the episode Five was truly proud of Two's choice in that moment. She was happy that the woman she looks up to was as good and righteous as she knew her to be. In one of the most telling moments of acceptance, not a single member of the crew questioned Two's choice. Even Three, who obviously wanted to say something sarcastic, kept his thoughts to himself because he knew they are all better off with the Android working at full capacity. Everything was back to the way it was supposed to be.

Well, okay, not everything was back exactly right. Four failed to completely comply with Two's order to delete the neural link files and kept his own. Now, we seem poised to meet the hybrid Four/Ryo sometime soon and I'm quite intrigued to see what he's like. I think this is going to be an amazing opportunity for Mallari to get to do some brilliant things with Four. I'm glad that his story seems to be moving forward again and now I'm curious to see where his loyalties will fall. Will he still be loyal to Two and the Raza crew or will he turn his focus to his home planet? Considering his closeness to Nyx, I'm not so sure he can just abandon the Raza because I don't see Nyx wanting to part ways with the Raza. It's going to be quite an interesting journey for him.

This entire episode from the beginning to the end was perfect. I can't find a single thing to fault about it. Because of that, I feel comfortable calling this my new favorite episode of the series. It showed conflict within the crew while allowing them to naturally reconcile it. The Android got to let her hair down, literally and figuratively. By the way, was anyone besides me surprised to see the Android and Victor have sex in the dream sequence? Of all the characters I thought would get an intimate sex scene, the Android wasn't even on the list, but it was a beautifully crafted scene. There were all the great Two and Five scenes, which were much needed after they've spent so long with divergent stories. Seeing the entire crew hesitate to essentially kill the Android was wonderful to see, because it proved that none of them see her as expendable. A perfect episode that was amazing fun to watch.

Tune in next Friday, September 9th for a doubleheader that will start at 10/9C on Syfy in the US and Space Channel in Canada.

I want to take a moment to congratulate every member of the Dark Matter cast and crew for the Season 3 renewal the show just received. It was well deserved and I can't wait to see what this team of brilliant creators and performers has in store for us next season.

Hit the comments with your thoughts about this episode. Did you enjoy the Two and Five scenes? What did you think about the dream sequences? What are your thoughts on Four choosing to regain his Ryo memories?


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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