Dark Matter (Syfy, Friday, 9/8C) reaches the end of its first season with back-to-back episodes that are so different that their only connection is that are happening to the amnesiac mercenary crew of the spaceship the Rasa.
Episode Twelve finds the crew and, especially, Two learning out where she came from; Episode Thirteen is, of all things, a bottle show – no guest stars and set entirely on the show’s standing Rasa sets. Both are gripping and relentlessly enthralling.
In Episode Twelve, the crew of the Rasa gets a chance to repair their relationship with a major corporation by taking a gig that seems like a milk run – travel to a backwater planet on the edge of the galaxy, pick up a company man and bring him home. And yes, it’s just too good to be true.
Before you can rattle off the names of the crew, they’re captured by security people for the research company that created Two (Melissa O’Neil). They receive a warm welcome from Alexander Rook (Wil Wheaton), who seems personable and invites them to dinner – where he allows as how they can all leave. With the exception of Two, whom he calls Rebecca.
Needless to say, that does go over well – but even the superbly capable Two can’t do anything about it. Alexander has taken precautions.
Episode Thirteen finds the Rasa adrift – both the FTL and sub-FTL drives are down – and the Android (Zoie Palmer) is found offline. Then crew members start dropping into comas, first Four (Alex Mallari Jr.) and then Six (Roger C. Cross).
At first, Two believes that someone else is aboard, but after the ship checked over – with Five (Jodelle Ferland) even clearing the ship’s various ducts and vents – it’s clear that it’s one of the crew. A quick check in the vault shows the shock stick from the just concluded two-parter is missing – and only the crew had the codes to get into the vault.
Over the course of the season, Dark Matter’s writers have used the crew’s memory losses to show that we are what we do – not what outside perception of us might be; and that even when we’ve been horrible people, we can change.
We’ve seen the ways that each crew member has been and are now – changes that they might not necessarily be willing to vocalize to their fellows, like Three (Anthony Lemke) being moved by Charlotte’s Web. We’ve come to feel that Six is trustworthy, Four is honorable, One (Marc Bendavid) is compassionate, etc. Now, one of them is doing something that doesn’t fit what we’ve seen so far.
The result is a tense hour of television as writers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie create a sci-fi Ten Little Indians scenario that works its way to a genuinely surprising conclusion – and a nasty, nasty cliffhanger. Here’s hoping Syfy renews the show soon.
Final Grade: A-