Dark Matter S02E08 “Stuff To Steal, People To Kill” REVIEW
Airing on SyFy on Mondays at 8pm
Writer: Joseph Mallozzi
Director: Andy Mikita
Essential Plot Points:
- Last week ended with a malfunctioning blink drive being fitted to the Raza, and straight away we’re find out that as well as causing some damage to the ship, they only travelled 1.2 miles. Needs a bit of work, evidently.
- Lucky it didn’t take them that far: they get a distress call from the space station that Nyx and Devin were on. There’s been a devastating attack, leaving next to no survivors.
- To the crew’s astonishment, there’s another Raza ship fighting Mikkei corp ships – but it has a fully functioning blink drive, and disappears, leaving the original Raza to take the heat.
- Commander Truffault comms the Raza, explaining how they’re at war – that the Raza has been destroying Mikkei ships and outposts… of course, the crew has no idea what’s happening. But Truffault knows about the blink drive, and orders them to turn it over.
- The Android has a surprising theory – the blink drive did work. But instead of travelling through space, it took them into a parallel universe.
- Two hands the drive over to Truffault, even though it’s fried. During the transaction, Truffault discovers that there is indeed a second Raza running rampant and destroying another space station, 300 light years away.
- The crew set about researching their alternate reality counterparts. Ryo discovers that his counterpart became emperor, which he can use to his advantage: pretend to be him to gain leverage over the alternate Raza crew and steal their functioning blink drive.
- He manages to bait them in, allowing Two and Three to hold the alternate Portia and Marcus hostage whilst going to steal their blink drive – but before they can get to it, it engages. Stranded, Two and Three are forced to act as their counterparts.
- On a trip to a mining facility seeking independence, Two tries to negotiate through talks – but her new crew has a different plan. They’re planning to drop a nuke on the place, and despite Two’s protests, it’s launched anyway – by none other than Jayce Corso.
- Luckily for Two, she makes it off-planet before the nuke launches.
- Back on the original Raza, Truffault is on a rampage, taking the Raza under control. Her ultimatum? The lives of the crew or the drive.
- Unfortunately for Truffault, although she managed to shut down the Android, the alternate Raza’s Android isn’t on her side either, and forces her to stand down.
- The crew make it back to their reality, but they’ve brought a tag-along: the alternate Merada. It gets away before they can find out who’s piloting it.
It wouldn’t be a sci-fi series without at least one parallel universe episode!
The introduction of the kind of insanely overpowered blink drive is already causing waves for the Raza Crew. It’s capabilities don’t end at jumping through space; it can jump through universes too, literally ripping holes through space time. Hardcore stuff. It’s another opportunity for Dark Matter to showcase the darker side of the Raza Crew; there were no mind-wipes in this universe.
Given that the primary Raza crew lie somewhere between the “neutral” and “chaotic” good alignments, it’s always surprising, and maybe a little jarring, to see how far the alternate Raza crews veer into “chaotic evil” territory. That line about bad guys having all the fun might apply, (Marcus is definitely having his fair share, getting down with all the Raza ladies…! What a jerk) except in this episode they literally drop a nuclear bomb on a mining colony. A nuke. A symbol of complete and utter devastation. With no remorse. That definitely crosses some boundaries, and sends an extremely clear message: don’t root for these guys. Sure, it may have been Corso who dropped the bomb, and we know from past episodes that he’s just a generally terrible person, but it’s pretty evident that alt-Portia wouldn’t have had any problems doing it either. No wonder Truffault is so desperate to get her hands on them.
Whilst this is an interesting episode with a cool concept, it does veer away from the main plotline… again. It serves a purpose of sorts: showing us just what the blink drive is capable of, and what can happen when it falls into the wrong hands, but overall it feels like another distraction. Don’t get us wrong; as a standalone episode, it’s one of the better episodes this season, but as a part of the series as a whole, it’s lacking in function. But hey, parallel universes are fun to play with. We’ll let it slide! (Is that a Sliders-related pun? – way too old ed.)
- Getting glimpses into what life for the Raza crew could have been like if Five never installed the memory-wipe program is always interesting. Portia in particular really is practically unrecognisable from Two.
- Ryo getting to act as emperor, if only for a few minutes, is a great moment. He must have been reining in the eye-rolling hard at Portia and Marcus’s, uh, canoodling.
- The blink drive really is a cool piece of tech which gets its day in the sun this episode.
- Truffault is a fun addition to any episode – good to see her again.
- This episode hammers home Five’s importance to the Raza – without her, things would be immeasurably different. For one, the Raza would have the type of crew that barely blinks at dropping a nuke…!
- We have to agree with Two – Portia’s coat is pretty badass.
- Once again we’re diverting away from the main plot… but at least it’s for a cool concept this time.
- The corporations continue to be a source of confusion overall. Who’s working for who? Who’s fighting who… etc? We need a chart…
- The alternate Raza crew has been in episodes before, but they’re pretty unforgettable, and we don’t get a re-introduction.
And the Random:
- Portia in particular was giving off a very “mirror universe” feel with her skin-tight clothing and deep voice. We’re disappointed nobody had a Mirror Spock evil goatee!