Dark Matter S02E12 “Sometimes in Life You Don’t Get to Choose” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- Four is on a warpath to the throne to Zyron, and he’s got the blink drive to help him. He convinces generals on the Ishida side to join forces with him, making them swear an oath – or get their heads chopped off!
- Turns out Four did take the neural implant and regained his memories, so for all intents and purposes he’s Ishida Ryo again.
- Five is really uncomfortable with Ryo’s decision, having seen the crew revert back to their pre-memory loss state before.
- Ryo’s plan is to get his brother to step down from the throne; Four believes that his argument will be solid enough to convince him to do so. But his plan isn’t exactly peaceful – he wants to ambush him.
- The plan goes off without a hitch – until Ryo boards the ship. Emperor Hiro calls four Ishida cruisers out of FTL, surrounding the Raza.
- Hiro still believes Ryo killed their father, but even so he’s willing to hear Ryo’s proposal for Zyron’s victory out.
- His primary pitch is the blink drive, which he asks the Raza to demonstrate for Hiro. Hiro’s sufficiently impressed, even leading him to admit that he never really wanted the throne.
- Back at the palace, Hiro has cottoned on to the fact that his mother was the person who killed their father, and incredibly, she admits to it. With the truth finally out, Hiro agrees to abdicate the throne to Ryo.
- Ryo describes his plan to Six: install blink drives into Zyron’s entire fleet. Six doesn’t approve in the slightest, telling him how it’s far too powerful to give to an entire army.
- On the day of Hiro’s plans to make the announcement of his abdication, the Raza crew heads over to Zyron to wait for Ryo’s cue.
- It never comes; the former Empress, Ryo and Hiro’s mother, is giving the address instead of Hiro, claiming he was the victim of an assassination attempt. She isn’t quite so warm to Ryo’s plan.
- General Dreygo, who swore loyalty to Ryo at the beginning of the episode, tells him that he needs to come back to Zyron to save Hiro before he’s moved off-world. Two isn’t happy with the plan, sure that Ryo is walking into a trap.
- He’s doing it anyway, of course. He manages to infiltrate the palace, and immediately finds the plan has gone awry. Dreygo has been killed, and his mother has found him.
- Live on TV, a hearing is carried out trying to “prove” Ryo’s guilt. The Raza crew watch along as he denies it, telling the truth of it: his step-mother killed the emperor. In return he’s dragged away.
- Two instantly jumps into planning mode to help Ryo. Five still retains the crew’s past memories, including Ryo’s of the palace, and agrees to help draw a layout.
- The Raza crew storm the palace as Ryo’s penalty is decided: death. They’re stopped in their tracks, literally, by an electric charge trap. Turns out the Head Seer is helping Zyron, and predicted their ambush.
- There are two members of the crew they hadn’t taken into account. The first is the Android, who opens fire on Zyron under orders from her crew. The second is Five, who manages to get past the seers’ traps and find Emperor Hiro.
- Hiro storms in, demanding the arrest of the Empress and the release of the prisoners. Finally, he abdicates the throne, giving it to Ryo as promised.
- His first act as Emperor? Murder everyone – the seers, the former Empress, and even his brother Hiro.
Four may have taken a back seat for a majority of this season, but it’s finally his time to shine. He’s facing his past head-on as he storms through Zyron to claim his rightful place as Emperor.
This episode marks a first as Four decides to go through with regaining his memories as Ishida Ryo. Over the course of season two he’s been shown watching the steady decline of Zyron as the war carries on, and finally he’s taking drastic action to try and save his home planet. There isn’t much screen-time dedicated to Ryo’s re-emergence, save for Five hiding away from him having seen “Ryo” in action before and wanting nothing to do with it. It’s true that he gains back some of his malicious, violent streak; his plan to gain his brother’s trust is to ambush him and use decapitation as a method of gaining loyalty, after all!
Ryo is someone who has tunnel vision when it comes to reaching his goals, no matter what it takes. It would have been good to have a few more scenes focusing direcctly on how regaining his memories has changed him, but Dark Matter has always been more about showing than telling.
One of the ways it “shows” is through his fellow crewmate’s reactions. Two wants nothing to do with his reckless plans, Six downright refuses to carry out Ryo’s plan to fit all Ishida cruisers with blink drives, and Five avoids him all together. Not that he seems to care – tunnel vision, one goal, etc.
The worst moment comes from a crew member who does want to help: Nyx. She’s essentially Four’s girlfriend by this point, and refuses to let him go alone, but she’s shot down as Ryo tells her he “doesn’t need her”.
Most of this episode’s screen-time is given to Ryo’s attempts to take the throne, which is a roller coaster ride of failures and successes. The need-to-know information here is that Ryo was exiled when he was framed for the murder of his Father, allowing his step-mother’s son Hiro to take the throne, when of course it was the Empress herself who committed the murder. Despite literally ambushing Hiro’s ship and murdering one of his generals, Hiro is willing to hear Ryo out without much hesitation, and agrees to help him.
The re-appearance of the seers is an interesting, if slightly confusing plot point. The last time we saw them they were murdering Devin (which seems to have been completely forgotten about by the Raza crew, by the by), and now they’re helping Zyron’s Empress as a means to getting Nyx back. As per usual on Dark Matter, it’s not explicitly explained, making the viewers put the pieces together for themselves. Including the fact that somehow, despite getting it right every time up ‘til now, they get a prediction wrong, and end up murdered for their troubles in the real heel-face turn this episode. Ryo orders the murder of the seers, the Empress, and even his brother, who just abdicated the throne to him. Talk about betrayal! If there’s anything to prove that Ryo is back and Four’s taken a backseat, it’s that.
- It’s been a while since there was an episode focused on Four so it’s good to see him at the heart of the action!
- For the first time one of the crew members has decided to officially take back their memories, and it’s interesting to see the ramifications of that.
- Despite a lot happening in one episode, it doesn’t feel too rushed whilst still doing what it set out to do: getting Ryo to the throne.
- Ryo’s talk with the Android is both revealing and sweet: we find out that it was Portia who implanted an emotional drive into her, and that she can access her memories if she knows how. Of all the crew members, Ryo acts the nicest to her.
- All the crew members get to do something this episode! It feels like Five’s been left out a bit recently (barring last episode, of course), for example. Plus the Android gets to show off her badass side again when she bombs Zyron.
- The costuming this episode is gorgeous!
- The Empress’ confession to her son that she did indeed kill his father doesn’t exactly take much prompting.
- Misaki’s confession of love to Ryo seems out of place and added in just for some extra drama.
And the Random:
- With Zyron being based on Japan, there are a few Japanese honourifics being thrown around this episode, notably “-san”, added to a name to show respect. Plus, of all the Japanese names used, Hiro’s is given the most authentically Japanese pronunciation.
- Ryo’s order of “Korose!” at the end of the episode translates to, “Kill them all”, although contextually it’s fairly obvious.
Review by Jessica Anson