Dark Matter: Some assembly required

Space/Bell Media
Space/Bell Media

The big metal door was finally opened in Dark Matter‘s seventh episode, unleashing a veritable Pandora’s box within the Raza. While their money troubles have finally come to an end, the consequence of opening it led to a devastating outcome for one member of the crew.

Episode 7 marked a distinct change of pace to the show with the welcome inclusion of Natalie Brown (Lost Girl, The Strain) as Sarah and Orange is the New Black breakout actress Ruby Rose as Wendy. Much of the season has been held up on the strength of the main cast, but we’ve been missing the added vibrance that the right guest star can bring to a series. Luckily, both Rose and Brown were able to provide just that.

With her irresistible talents and friendly Aussie accent, Wendy was immediately welcomed by the crew, who utilized her skills one way or another. Of course, things quickly went awry after a hidden program put her in homicidal mode, thanks to a brand new enemy by the name of Cyrus King. Seriously, how many enemies do these people have? Rose was fantastic at portraying the fun-loving entertainment robot, but I much preferred her killer instinct. Her dig at Three about his “antiquated and offensive” opinion on female androids was the perfect cherry on top, though it did make “dunking the cosmic doughnut” with One a little uncomfortable in hindsight.

Out of all the members of the crew, Wendy’s appearance had the greatest effect on the Android, who experienced probably the closest thing a robot can get to jealousy. That jealousy led to some of the episode’s funniest moments, including a bizarre sequence where Zoie Palmer had to deliver her deadpan performance in no less than six accents. While the Android did her best to overcome the “flaw” in her program, an untimely apology led to her being shot down by the updated murder-happy Wendy. By the episode’s end, it’s still not clear whether the Android can be fully repaired. Should Palmer fans be worried?

Space/Bell Media
Space/Bell Media

While Rose was certainly a highlight of the episode, the winner of best performance has to go to Anthony Lemke’s emotional scenes as Three. I’ve said from the start that I felt that there was more to Three than a wise-cracking badass, and this episode gave us a definitive proof that he’s a little softer on the inside than we thought.

From the moment Three laid eyes on Sarah, his demeanour completely changed, and that only grew the more he got to know her. In spite of insisting he wasn’t like the man she remembered, we got to see a gentleness and sense of sincerity in Three that added a lot of depth to his character–not to mention there was an immediate ease between Three and Sarah that translated into some great on-screen chemistry. How could anyone not feel for Three the moment he discovered he was too late to save Sarah from her illness? Especially after he refused to place blame on One, in spite of the circumstances.

One had a big role in this episode himself, being the person who turned Wendy on in the first place, as well as continuing to flirt terribly with Two, who can run circles around the guy without losing a breath. I may not be One’s biggest fan, but Marc Bendavid does a great job at portraying One’s utter awkwardness in any given situation. That being said, it’s hard to ignore some of One’s obvious issues.

Considering Rose’s appearance, it’s only fitting I sum up my feelings about One in terms of OITNB. For the handful of people not familiar with the show, one of its biggest criticisms has been that the lead character Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling, is rather bland in comparison with the supporting cast. While I don’t think the situations are identical, I do think One is suffering a serious case of Chapman syndrome. Much like Schilling, the fault is not so much with Marc Bendavid’s portrayal, but the strength of the characters around One.

From Two to Six, each characters brings something dynamic and stand-out to the crew, whether it’s Two’s rock solid determination, Three’s bad ass persona or Five’s unflinching empathy. While One fairs much better when he’s interacting with Three, the contrast is never so obvious than when he’s flirting with Two. In a world where memories can easily be transferred to other people and “going into FTL” is a common phrase, the most unrealistic thing is that a character as compelling as Two would be romantically interested in One. Dark Matter is such an engaging story, but this romance has become its glaring weak point.

That being said, I still haven’t forgotten the promise One had in the season premiere, and I’m holding out hope that the best of One is still to come.

A few Dark thoughts:

  • Now we know why Three was so drawn to the door. Somehow “be careful what you wish for” doesn’t quite seem like enough.
  • “I don’t eat for pleasure.” That is the most Four thing Four has ever said.
  • Now that we know both Three and Six were involved in rebelling against Ferrous, all signs are pointing to the nefarious corporation being a key player later this season.
  • “I’d like to inform you that your presence no longer offends me.” You’ve got to love the Android’s way with words.
  • They may not have made the best couple, but Two and Three work seamlessly as a team, considering how fast he caught on to her plan.

Were you excited to see Ruby Rose in action on Dark Matter? Share your thoughts on the episode in the comments below. Meanwhile we’ll be in a prayer circle with Zoie Palmer’s fans, hoping for a swift recovery for the Android.

Dark Matter airs 10 p.m. ET on Space Channel and Syfy.

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