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Dark Matter - Hot Chocolate - Review: “Ghost In The Machine” + POLL

This was an intense action packed episode that saw the crew have to fight one of their own while also dealing with a former crewmate. They were fighting to save their ship and their hijacked friend. All of this while trying to protect the colony delegates they had on board and solve the murder of one of those delegates. Unfortunately, despite Six's best efforts, they weren't able to solve the murder or protect the colonies from making bad choices. Both situations are likely to come back to bite them all. In their defense, they had their hands quite full dealing with everything going on and as it was most of the crew ended up getting captured not leaving much time to try to solve a murder. At least they had Five who acted in typical Five fashion and eluded capture long enough to formulate a brilliant plan and rescue her friends. She did get an amazing assist from Sarah who proved that even without a body she can more than contribute to the crew.

It’s interesting that after the last episode many people speculated that Sarah was the one that had hijacked the Android. The irony is that she’s the one that actually played a critical role in saving her. Fans are wary of Sarah, but the truth of the matter is that she’s done absolutely nothing to warrant not being trusted. She did nothing to harm them during their first meeting and has done nothing to harm anyone since Five activated her new consciousness. Having her around was actually their ace in the hole that stopped the assault and saved them all. For the briefest of moments, she did connect with the Android but only did it long enough to fry the cerebellum of her hijacker and restore the Android. She was also the first to alert Five to what was going on so that the youngest member of the crew could hurry to a safe hiding place. Sarah was an extremely critical part of this episode and the crew is certain to work a little extra hard now to take care of her. They were already doing all they could for her, but it’s no secret that she needs a more permanent solution. Perhaps this will motivate them to work faster to find a solution for her because they quite literally owe their freedom, lives, and ship to her.

While Sarah was an unexpected factor for Ryo and his cohorts it is curious is that despite knowing Five he still managed to underestimate her. He knows how well she knows the vents and empty spaces in the ship and she still managed to slip through his fingers. He was so focused on trying to take control of the ship, get the Blink Drive, and negotiate with the delegates that he made himself vulnerable. He knows how many times she’s saved everyone when the ship has come under attack in the past. Logic should have told him that she was the one they needed to try and secure first long before anyone transferred over to the ship. Thankfully he didn’t think that far ahead, but it definitely showed off his leadership weaknesses by the fact that he so massively underestimated someone who he had spent so much time with.

He did, however, manage to take down the rest of the crew which was rather impressive. Six was sort of a cheap blow since he didn’t know about the Android yet. Three at least didn’t get taken easily, but they still managed to take him down. Two, on the other hand, took down all the guards that were chasing her. That led to an epic hand-to-hand fight between Two and Ryo. Both Melissa O’Neil and Alex Mallari Jr. are extremely physical performers and they nailed this fight sequence. The big throws and impacts were likely their stunt doubles, but it appears that a lot of the hand-to-hand stuff was them and they were on point with each movement. It was fun to see these two fight each other. What was perhaps the most interesting aspect of the fight is that Two wasn’t able to gain the upper hand. Ryo may have underestimated Five, but he definitely came prepared to go at it with Two. To be fair, she would have likely found a way to finish him had Three not been captured effectively tying her hands. She seems more than willing to risk herself in a fight, but she’ll never risk a member of her crew.

That put the fate of the ship firmly in the hands of Five and Sarah. Everything rested with them being able to get the Android back and save the ship. The fact that Sarah only exists in the computer forced them to handle the attack on two fronts with Sarah handling the computer stuff leaving Five to deal with the in person confrontations. Five proved once again just how fierce she has become as she risked everything to help end the assault. No one on this crew should ever be underestimated even the youngest of them. They have taught her how to protect herself and survive and she did both brilliantly and with great courage.

She was even able to protect the Blink Drive by being vigilant about something being wrong with the Android. The only mistake she made was not telling any other members of the crew that she thought something was wrong with the Android. Though, much like with Two, perhaps she thought old memories had infected them all again making it unsafe to go to the others. One can’t blame her for being extra cautious after her last encounter with the alter egos of her friends. When she figured out what was going on and tried to reach out to the others it was already too late.

Her chances of success came into question a couple times especially when she came face-to-face with the hijacked Android. However, even then she had a plan in place and was able to get the Android back just long enough to launch the next stage of her plan. Even though the Android was being controlled she was an active participant in protecting her crew. When she knew something was wrong she immediately put measures in place to protect the others as best as she could before she was completely overtaken. She even managed to protect Sarah which would end up being a critical and life-saving choice. Five deserves a lot of credit for how fierce she was and her unwavering courage in truly dangerous situation, but she didn’t do this alone. This was a true team effort with everyone doing something to try and save their ship.

This was a terrific ensemble episode. They all had big parts to play in this episode. Zoie Palmer had a big responsibility to this episode. The story wouldn’t have been nearly as compelling if she hadn’t been able to be so sinister in her performance. She managed to keep the Android’s stiff movements, but her physical reactions and tone were completely different. There was darkness in her eyes and a firm evil look in her eyes. It was actually a bit disconcerting to watch her attack her own crew and spout off mean things to Five. Her performance was stellar throughout, but it was nice to see the normal Android back. Even better was that she finally got to have her hair makeover moment with Five. It’ll be curious to see if this new look sticks. Could this desire to change her hair be caused by all the times she’s used the upgrade recently? Or is this just the next step in her evolution? Hard to know, but it’s fun to watch this character keep growing and evolving even when she doesn’t have the upgrade active. One thing is for certain though, they need to seriously upgrade her security protocols. The poor Android has been compromised more times than is necessary. The hot chocolate reboot saved them this time, but it might not be so easy if this happens again. Zoie Palmer, Jodelle Ferland, and Natalie Brown did exceptional work in this episode. In fact, the whole cast really delivered some great performances. These episodes when they are all stuck on the ship dealing with some crisis are always a ton of fun. The crew was really tested and came out on top despite a lot of close calls.

It was also nice to get to see Two and Three have some time to chat and catch up on things. Even if it happened while being held as prisoners, it was still nice to see them get a minute to debrief all that has been going on. It was a nice moment for both characters to catch up with each other. They live such busy lives it's hard for them to keep up with everything going on with the other. If anything good came from this it's that these characters got to spend a bit of time with each other as friends. It was good that they had each other as opposed to Six who was left with a bunch of dysfunctional delegates and a rogue Ryo to deal with on his own. Kudos to him for keeping them safe and helping Two and Three to run Ryo off the ship in the end.

By the end of all the chaos, they managed to regain their ship and send a firm message to Ryo. It seems like Two is thoroughly pissed at him. Even though she now believes that he didn’t kill Nyx that doesn’t seem to be enough for her to ever trust him again. So much damage has been done at this point that there doesn’t really seem like there is a path forward for Ryo to ever return to the ship. Even if they managed to wipe his memories again and revert him back to Four there still might not be a place left for him with them. He lost but did manage to at least get what he wanted from the mining colonies, but at least he doesn’t have the Blink Drive that he has been so desperate to get control of. That could actually end up being a bad thing for the crew considering their test backfired on them in a big way. They ended the episode all unconscious and anytime both the Android and Two go down it's never good. Whatever happened when they activated the Blink Drive has left them in some sort of perilous situation. It was an appropriate way to end an intense episode with an intense ending.

Tune in next Friday, July 28th at 9/8c on Syfy in the US and Space in Canada to find out what this ending means.

As a little tease, the next two episodes are game changing. Next week's episode is one that anyone can watch whether or not you've ever watched the show before, but it still has a big impact on the overall story. The following week drops one of the biggest reveals in the run of the series that will leave fans with their jaws on the ground. Because they are both such significant episodes I reached out to Co-Creator/Executive Producer Joseph Mallozzi and had a nice long chat with him about these episodes and what is to come. So after each of the next two episodes look for an exclusive interview with him. Keep spreading the word. The fate of this show rests with all of us and now is the time for us to start letting the network know how much we want more of this show. There is a five-year plan, so let SyFy know that we want to get to see this story fully play out. Be vocal because waiting for the fate of the show to be revealed could be too little too late.

Hit the comments with your thoughts about this episode. Did you like seeing evil hijacked Android? Are you glad that Ryo suffered yet another loss at the hands of the Raza? Do you think Two will show him any mercy when they next meet? Could he ever return to the crew at this point?

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