Dark Matter: We are who we are

Bell Media
Bell Media

Did anyone see that coming? Dark Matter just delivered an epic two-part season finale, first with an action-packed first hour, then followed with a heart-pounding, tense final hour, where we finally solved the biggest mystery of the season.

In the end it was Six who betrayed them, but it was Five who erased their memories, in what could only be a botched attempt to protect him. But before we go into full-on speculation mode, let’s talk about some of the great performances we saw in this episode.

I’ve sung a lot of praises for the actors this season, but they all did a fantastic job in the final two episodes. Melissa O’Neil stole the first episode with her ability to make me continually sympathetic to Two, in spite of the fact that she slaughtered a team of scientists in her bid to escape Dwarf Star Technologies. Throughout the season we’ve seen Two struggle with her identity, and O’Neil really sold Two’s inner crisis over learning about her origins as an engineered being. Episodes such as that one make it easy to forget that this is O’Neil’s first TV acting gig.

Of course, I have to give it up to Roger Cross in the final episode. After a required rewatch of the finale, you can see how his performance simultaneously gives away everything and nothing. His conversation with Five about the crew gave away every motivation for his actions (which I’ll get to in detail later), but is easily played off as another emotional, thought-provoking moment from Six. Cross plays Six with so much sincerity you forget all of the things that he’s done and, as you can see, is very capable of doing again. If, or when, the show gets a well-deserved second season, I cannot wait to see Cross step into the spotlight in a major way.

Truthfully, I have to give everyone some kudos for the finale. I once said that the finale would be a hurricane, and much of that feeling rested on the performances of Anthony Lemke and Marc Bendavid, who took One and Three’s rivalry to a whole different level. You could feel the tension emanating from the screen. Jodelle Ferland continued to be the emotional heart of the show in the final episodes, providing the contrast from Six’s grim outlook, while Zoie Palmer and Alex Mallari Jr. showed how in tune they are with their character’s physicality. Four oozed confidence in his last scenes and Palmer may have performed the most authentic robotic movement I’ve seen in awhile during her rescue mission at Dwarf Star.

With hindsight being 20/20, it makes complete sense for Five to have been the one to erase their memories, considering she’s the one who retained them. Of course, it’s hard to predict that the end result was just due to a imperfectly written program when all this time we were convinced it was done on purpose. I have to applaud the writers for giving us all the answers while adding in a few red herrings along the way to send us off track. When Two immediately wrote off Five, Four and Six from her suspect list, I blindly followed suit. Though I can’t say I regret my choices; at the time Two was the only viable suspect from the remaining three.

Bell Media
Bell Media

So, what made Six decide to turn on them? If you look back, the clues are all there. The entire reason Six ended up on the Raza is because of The General and his role in the space station terrorist attack. When he found out what he and his team had done, what was his response? Kill them all and seek revenge. So, imagine a man like that being sent to an innocent mining colony and ordered to wipe out all of its inhabitants; how else do you think he would react but to betray them? I can only guess that Two picked up on that as well, but when Five learned of the plan she either informed Six, who convinced her to write the program, or went ahead and did it herself. Why wouldn’t she want to protect the man who saved her from being spaced?

As for the reason he betrayed them in the finale, it has everything to do with his telling conversation with Five near the beginning. When confronting Five about her newfound weapons skills, he admonishes her for trying to be more like the rest of the crew, when they should be more like her–and failed. “In the end, we can’t help but be who we are,” he said.

For Six, everything must have changed when that planet exploded. He was the one who protested giving it away, while everyone else was preoccupied with the possibility of a paycheque, including holier-than-thou One. No one could have predicted it, but it doesn’t change the fact that 15,000 people died because they handed over the device. Six is a smart man, and after watching his crew members make mistake after mistake, from Four killing his old mentor to Two butchering groups of people in a fit of anger, culminating in what looks like another mass terrorist attack, he must have felt there was no other choice but hand them over to the Galactic Authority.

Or I could be totally wrong about all of this! That’s the beauty of shows like Dark Matter. There are so many factors and possibilities, and this is just one potential interpretation of why everything happened. Of course, now that the season has ended, we’re still left with a lot of questions.

Some big lingering questions for a potential season 2:

  • What will happen with Dwarf Star Technologies? Wil Wheaton’s Alexander Rook had a disturbing conversation with a man who made it pretty clear that the Raza need to be eliminated. Now that they’re in the hands of the GA, will Rook be able to get his hands on them? And exactly what is the end goal for their experiments?
  • Will Four ever confront the Empress? He made it clear that he plans to take the throne, but that plan may be thrown out of the window now.
  • What will happen to One and Five? I doubt Six would want Five hurt and they seemed convinced that One would be in the clear if they were ever caught, but that was before they had a hand in destroying a planet. Will they be found just as guilty?
  • Will we find out more about the planet-destroying device and whether it’s connected to the key Five’s friend died over?
  • Five is convinced that the flaw in the Android’s program isn’t an issue, but what will it become? Will there be some major repercussions to her deleting the default Android before hearing out her conclusion?
  • What will Six do next? He’s handed them over to the GA, but he’s no innocent man himself. Will he try to clear his name in return for the rest of them?
  • Will Three ever be reunited with Bubba?

A few of these questions may have already been answered in our postmortem chat with showrunner Joseph Mallozzi. As always, you can share your thoughts on Dark Matter‘s finale in the comments below.

In the meantime… #RenewDarkMatter!