Dark Matter Episode 6 Postmortem: Escaping the Past

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We’ve found ourselves at the halfway point of Dark Matter’s first season and Episode 6 gave us some major insight into the backstories of several characters. As Five explored the memories of herself, Four and Six, we learned some shocking details about these characters’ pasts and Jodelle Ferland and Roger Cross turned in a pair of powerful performances.

The information that Five learned will no doubt have some lasting repercussions and we’re more than a little worried about how Six is going to react to the news that he was responsible for all those innocent people’s deaths. Will he be able to get his revenge on “The General”? Can Four move on now that he knows he wasn’t responsible for his father’s death?

These are all questions we’re asking ourselves after Episode 6 and thankfully Dark Matter co-creator Joseph Mallozzi sat down with us for our weekly post-episode chat to give us a few answers. Read what he had to say about Ferland’s performance, whether these characters can escape their pasts and how Six moves forward from here.

 

The TV Junkies: How much fun was it for Jodelle to get to embody all the different characters this week?

Joseph Mallozzi: She had a blast and I so looked forward to this episode because of everyone on our cast, she at 20, is the one with the most experience. I keep going back to my experience working with her on Stargate, a couple of episodes–one where she was 8 and one where she was 12. She was so good and I put her up there with Dakota Fanning. They were two actresses who were child actresses but I never considered them child actresses. They were just so good and in a level all their own.

She was terrific, and she has been terrific. She’s terrific in this episode. The acting I thought she would nail and she did, but the fighting I knew would be a challenge. I remember she had been with us since January and we were shooting this halfway through the season and she hadn’t been home. She booked a flight and we had OK’d it that she could go see her family, then we realized ‘Holy smokes she’s got to do a ton of sword fighting! She’s going to have to stay and train.’ So we had to break the news to her, but she was like ‘No, I looked forward to this. I so want it.’ She came in on those weekends and trained to do the fighting. At first I was a little anxious because she hasn’t done very much sword-wielding outside of cosplay. It was just amazing. It was just such a fun episode and I describe it as a ‘Jodelle Ferland tour de force.’

TTVJ: Will we see the use of mind probing again at all this season?

JM: No, not in terms of the mind probing. In terms of Five’s memories and the flashbacks, those are something that we’ll continue through the rest of this season.

TTVJ: Will we ever find out what happened between Five and Three and why he didn’t throw her out of the airlock?

JM: Yes, we find out why she doesn’t end up in space. Yes, we get that before the end of the season.

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TTVJ: How will learning that he was responsible for the deaths of 10,000 innocent people affect Six going forward?

JM: Given the character that we’ve introduced it will affect him in a very, very dark way. What’s interesting about this episode is that you finally get to find out about these characters’ past. Very early on in Episode 2, after they find out about their respective pasts, the decision was made to move forward. For instance, Four says ‘There’s nothing we can do. These are memories that we’ve left behind. They are not a part of us now and we move on,’ and Two is like ‘don’t call me Portia, call me Two.’

It’s easy enough to say you’re moving on when you don’t know the details of your past, but the past made you what you are so once you begin to find the details you can’t help but have it affect you. In the case of Four, the fact that he had so much opportunity that was taken away from him, and in that last moment with Five she says ‘Well now you can move on right?’ But it’s very clear he’s not moving on.

In the case of Six, she pays him a visit and he’s online looking up what he learned in the flashback, the identity of The General and getting information on him. You realize that these two are not stepping away from their past and in fact their pasts are going to pull them back somehow and then those are stories that we see very soon in Season 1.

TTVJ: Can you tell us any more about The General? Will we encounter him at all this season?

JM: Six is going to be fueled by a desire for revenge and he will certainly set out to find The General. You can parallel both Four and Six after finding out about their pasts–they will be fueled by a desire for vengeance. 

TTVJ: Now that we’ve learned that Four’s stepmother the Empress was really responsible for his father’s death does that correspond to the memory Five saw in the pilot where someone was gouging out eyes and leaving them for a stepmother to find?

JM: Yes, basically if you put the pieces together, and the fact that she said she was in the palace with her brother, her father was killed, the stepmother, even the eye carving–it all points to Four.

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TTVJ: Outside of the flashbacks we saw Two making an admission to One about her feelings. Was that just another example of her managing the crew and telling him what he wanted to hear, or was she being genuine?

JM: I think maybe a little of both. When she says ‘it’s complicated,’ it could mean several things. It could mean ‘oh they both have feelings for each other’ and it would be complicated, or he clearly has feelings for her and if she goes there then it would complicate things.

When she talks about Three, it was very clear that of everyone on the crew he’s the one that you could hook up with without worries of emotional baggage. One is clearly smitten, Four you just wouldn’t go there and Six more than anyone is her equal on that ship and would create complications.

On TV and film, even society in general, it’s usually the case where a guy, he’s usually a player and wants to hook up with someone and tends to be the one that doesn’t have the emotional attachment. In this case it’s her and she’s like ‘Hey, this is what I want’ and she chooses him because it’s not going to be complicated. You could argue where some of it has to do with the fact that it’s coming off Episode 4 and she’s at her lowest point after killing those people and she just sees a physical connection. She says it was a one time thing and as far as she’s concerned she’s moving on. He takes it as ‘wow! I still have a chance.’

TTVJ: By learning more about Four and Six we see these aren’t necessarily bad people but ones that have had their hands forced. Will we see similar backstories from other characters?

JM: Yes, in fact we’re going to be learning what One is doing on the ship. We are going to be getting a little insight into Three’s backstory next episode. We’re going to be finding out about Two’s backstory as well by the end of the season.

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TTVJ: You mentioned next episode and that’s when we meet Natalie Brown’s character correct? Can you preview her role at all and how she’s involved with Three?

JM: I don’t want to give too much away. What we find out about each of the characters has been surprising in different aspects–the fact that Four is royalty or that Six is responsible for killing more innocent individuals than the entire crew combined, the fact that One is not who he claims to be but why he’s on the ship may be a surprise, Two’s backstory will hopefully be a surprise–in Three’s case it’s not so much his backstory but an element of his backstory to shed some light on who he really is and who he was and what he’s capable of. He’s the lovable rogue and kind of the jerk and this episode goes a long way towards adding depth to his character.

TTVJ: Is she [Brown] on just the one episode this season?

JM: Yes.

 

What did you think of this week’s revelations? Did you enjoy Ferland and Cross’ performances as much as we did? Sound off with your Dark Matter thoughts and theories (we want to hear them!) in the comments below.

All Dark Matter fans should be sure to check out Mallozzi’s blog for all kinds of answers to your Dark Matter questions and fun behind the scenes pictures and facts.

Dark Matter airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on SyFy and Space Channel.