Whoa … Did you just see that?! I’m asking because I want to make sure I saw that! Dark Matter just served up the mother of all cliffhangers. This one didn’t just make my jaw hit the floor, it stole my car keys and drove itself off a damned cliff.
Okay, give me a minute to catch my breath. And while I calm down a bit, if you haven’t figured this out yet, reviews are filled with spoilers. So, if you’re the kind of person who hits the floor in convulsions the moment you see a spoiler, run away! Read further at your peril.
Anyone who bitches about spoilers past this point will be taken out and thoroughly shot. That’s right, THOROUGHLY shot.
Most of this “review” is going to be a recap peppered with some commentary. This is mostly because this episode pretty much left me speechless. So much happened … and then that ending. That damned ending.
It Was A Dark and Stormy Night
(Hey, space can be dark and stormy!)
The episode opens with Truffault speaking to one of her Mikkei associates about the upcoming diplomatic summit on EOS-7. She says Traugott is going to propose adding 3 new members and Ferrous will oppose. Truffault recommends Mikkei abstain from voting to appear neutral in the event of an all-out corporate war.
Suddenly, alarms go off as the Raza arrives unannounced. Two and Three tell Truffault that the summit will be attacked, probably by a bombing like in the alternate universe. She says she doesn’t believe the story about the AU or the Seers, but Truffault apparently trusts the Raza crew enough to go along with their plan.
Four, I mean Ryo, calls Nyx and tries to convince her to join him on Zairon as his Empress. The would-be empress is not impressed by this and the eavesdropping Misaki is likely depressed by this.
EOS-7 is a super secure facility with a field of satellites that render any ship’s FTL useless well before they can arrive. When the field is activated, it gives the station several hours’ notice before any unannounced ships can arrive as they’ll drop out of FTL 7 light minutes out from the station and sub-light will slow them to a virtual crawl.
The Blink Drive means the Raza can arrive unhampered, but once there someone has to go undercover. Five volunteers and she has a very good reason for doing so. Most of the others can’t go because they’d be recognized. Truffault balks at the kid’s suggestion, but she doesn’t really have a choice. What they don’t know is Chief Inspector Kierken is in charge of security.
All delegates arrive and Kierken orders the field activated. The Raza blinks in directly underneath the station and Five poses as Truffault’s assistant. They meet Nieman and his assistant, Arrian. While the two commanders speak privately, Five briefly chats with Arrian, who seems somewhat infatuated with her.
Five excuses herself to go do spy things. She plugs in a module to allow the Raza access to the station’s security, which is sweeping for the presence of terrium, a common substance in bombs and ship engines in the future. I like to think of it as radioactive explosive space coal.
During the course of her skulking about, Five is confronted by a couple of very rude Ishida guards who say the Emperor wants to speak with her. She’s saved by Arrian, who kicks the snot out of them, but gets cut on the cheek. We learn from this cut that he’s an android and he’s really surprised that Five’s cool with it. He says Nieman gave him the illegal upgrade but inside he’s thinking he’s found the girl of his electric dreams. (Alright, cut me some slack. I’ve gone TWO SEASONS without making a reference to that iconic novel! At least I’m pretty sure I’ve avoided it until now. Hell, I forget.)
Android finds that the docking bay used by Ferrous has had its security cameras set on a loop. This is how the rest of the crew are going to come to the rescue. They get all dressed up and wander the ship with detectors looking for any terrium radiation. Three gets Aquaman’s dress shirt.
Six is caught by Kierken and placed in a holding cell. Three finds Five and gives her one of the terrium scanners. She tells him to head back to the Marauder because she’s pretty sure she knows where the bomb is. As he’s heading back, Nieman and his thugs corner him and beat the smartass out of him … temporarily.
Six tries to convince Kierken that Ferrous is behind the bombing and have a means of escape before the bomb goes off. But Kierken is suspicious of Ryo since he’s on the station at the same time as his old crew. Too bad Six and company weren’t more suspicious of their former crewmate. Four boards the Raza and uses a previously unknown shutdown code on Android. He then proceeds to steal the Blink Drive to use in Zairon’s war against Pyr.
The summit reconvenes and Five notices Nieman and all the Ferrous representatives are absent except for Arrian the doe-eyed assistant. He walks out and Five follows, confronting him in a hallway when her terrium monitor goes off. It turns out Nieman had the bomb planted inside his android assistant, but didn’t give the automaton any control over it. Arrian can do nothing to stop the bomb, even though it’s obvious he wants to.
In an attempt to save everyone, but mostly Five, Arrian steps into an airlock and spaces himself. He explodes a safe distance away, saving the station from his bomb. About that time, Nyx comes across Misaki on the bridge and they have their inevitable showdown. Nyx wins, but not before being mildly cut by Misaki’s blade … her poisoned blade! Nyx collapses while Four and Misaki escape with the Blink Drive.
Before he left the Raza, Four left a com piece in Android’s ear. Once she reactivates, he tells her to get the crew to the Raza because the station will be destroyed. So there’s another threat to the station by the Ishida Empire!
Kierken uses one of the crew’s coms to talk with Two who tries to convince him they’re not the threat. He doesn’t seem convinced, but briefly changes his mind when he comes across an Ishida guard at a systems console. The guy initiates a critical overload just as Kierken shoots him and moments later everything goes boom. Including Kierken.
Three wakes up to see Anders standing over him, Five is grabbed by Truffault, Two gets caught by a blast in a corridor, and Android discovers Nyx’s lifeless body on the bridge. Then the entire frakking station blows up in a huge ball of splodeyness.
People, this is the very definition of the shit hitting the fan. All the shit and all the fans. All at once.
Enjoy the break.
Brace for Impact
(This one had a harder landing than most)
-The design of EOS-7 is spectacular. Again, the VFX department has outdone themselves with a level of intricacy that’s nothing short of stunning. The station is was a beautiful sight to behold.
-How did Nieman get his hands on this secret and illegal android upgrade? Does his possession of it mean that Ferrous is the source or did they steal it from elsewhere?
-The showdown between Misaki and Nyx sort of mirrored the one Two had with Tash in the alternate universe. Only this time it didn’t turn out so well for the “good guys”.
-Ryo didn’t care if the corporations go to war. In fact, the power vacuum would benefit him. Right now, his people are in a war, but if he can reverse-engineer the Blink Drive then the Ishida Empire would be unstoppable. I honestly didn’t think he would blow up EOS-7 himself to accomplish this, but after last week it shouldn’t be surprising.
-It was a very pleasant, though not entirely unexpected, surprise to see Anders again!
-Did Anders help Three get to the Marauder or some other ship so they could fly to safety before the station exploded? If so, will he now somehow become a member of the crew?
In Space, Everyone Can Hear You Scream
(If you’re on TV, that is)
“We could be off getting fat and rich right now, robbing this galaxy blind.” – Two
“That was my vote.” – Three
“But instead, we came here.” – Two
“I suppose I just never realized that emotions could have such a downside.” – Android
“I didn’t even want to do this stupid job in the first place.” – Three
“Look. When we’re done I promise you we’ll pull a heist. Okay?” – Two
“Seriously?” – Three
“Yeah. You can even choose the target. Bank job, jewels … whatever. But first, we save the galaxy. Got it?” – Two
“That wasn’t a scream, it was a manly cry of pain.” – Three
You Can’t Take the Sky From Me
(But you can rip my soul to shreds and leave it for a year!)
This episode mixed action, comedy, and mystery into a fun hour that went by all too quickly. And while we knew the stakes going into the hour, the frequent use of lighter moments never made it feel like there was any real danger. It felt more like a Bond-esque game of cat and mouse where you just know the good guys are going to win in the end.
We were even given a moment of relief near the end when Arrian sacrificed himself for Five … and everyone else on EOS-7. But mainly for Five. I didn’t take into account the fact that Four/Ryo has both his old memories and the memories of events in the alternate universe.
The new Emperor made sure the station would get destroyed in spite of his former crew mates’ efforts. He wasn’t surprised to see them so I’m guessing he planned his own sabotage as a … what’s the opposite of a failsafe? A faildanger? A … a FAILBOOM?! Whatever. The dude’s ruthless and dangerous and now he has the blink drive.
The worst bit? We have to wait the better part of a year to find out what happens next. The upside is that there will be a 3rd season. So come Summer 2017 we’ll find out what’s left of that mess of a station. Assuming this finale doesn’t kill us first.
Read my review of episode 212 here: Dark Matter 212 Review: Game of Throne