Dark Matter: Joseph Mallozzi Talks “My Final Gift to You”

Stephen Scott/Syfy
Stephen Scott/Syfy

*** This article contains major spoilers for the Dark Matter Season 3 episode “My Final Gift to You” ***

No, you can’t end it there! In true Dark Matter style, Season 3’s penultimate episode ended on a dramatic cliffhanger, but not before offering a huge number of reveals—perhaps more we’ve ever had in one episode—for each member of the Raza crew. In his attempt to sway his former crew mates into giving up the blink drive, Ryo (Alex Mallari Jr.) delivered a tantalizing secret to each one, whether they wanted to or not. For some, like Three (Anthony Lemke), it was a secret best kept buried, while for others it may have spurred them on to discover more. Only time—and a Season 4 renewal—will tell.

Things became even more complicated during this during this unconventional family reunion when Zairon’s forces, backed by Misaki (Ellen Wong), attempted to oust Ryo from the throne. While Two (Melissa O’Neil) saved his life, and got revenge for Nyx’s (Melanie Liburd) death, she soon became his executioner, when the crew left his fate in her hands. But will she pull that trigger?

We spoke with showrunner Joseph Mallozzi for another episode breakdown where we deep dive into the biggest reveals from “My Final Gift to You,” written by Mallozzi and directed by Bruce McDonald, and look ahead to what is sure to be an intense finale.

 

The TV Junkies: How could you leave us hanging like that?

Joseph Mallozzi: I know, how could I? You know, I was going to continue it, but then I realized, holy smokes, I’ve only got 43 minutes to tell this story, so why don’t I end this now and we can wrap it up in the finale, and usher in a new chapter—hopefully—as we continue to await word on a fourth season.

TTVJ: This episode does really wrap things up with the Ryo vs. the Raza storyline, though not necessarily in a neat bow.

JM: It does, and it’s somewhat appropriate that Two gets the final word with Misaki, given her connection to Nyx.

TTVJ: It was such a poetic moment, even though I was sad to see Misaki go. Ellen Wong has done such a great job.

JM: She has been fantastic, I’m a big Ellen Wong fan.

Syfy
Syfy

TTVJ: Why was it important that Two be the one to make the decision on whether Ryo would live or die?

JM: I guess it’s almost a bookend of sorts in that in the very first episode [of the series], they’re making the decision whether or not to bring the crates down or keep it for themselves. Half of them want to bring them down and half of them want to keep them, and she makes the Solomon-esque decision to keep half and bring the rest down. I like the fact that even though she’s the commander, it’s very much like a democracy. Time and again they’ve voted on courses of action and this is such a huge moment, and Four has meant so much to them in the past, and Ryo has affected them and poses a danger. She allows everyone to have a voice, and I thought it very appropriate to have it come back to her in that deadlock, and have her, as the commander, make the hard decision.

It also goes back to Episode 301, where she sat in the shuttle and she regret taking the chances that put them at risk and cost Nyx her life. It’s the same deal now. She’s faced with a risk to her crew and she’s gotta decide what she wants to do. It’s a hard decision, you can see, at the end, but ultimately she wants to do what’s in the best interest of her crew. Sad to say, Ryo Ishida is no longer a member of her crew.

TTVJ: You mentioned about how in the pilot episode she found a way to compromise between the crew—any chance she could find a compromise here, and it’s not necessarily the end of Ryo Ishida?

JM: It’s not a hint of anything. She very clearly goes down to kill him, she’s pulled the gun and is aiming at him, so she’s made her choice. What happens next episode remains to be seen.

TTVJ: Before that scene, Ryo revealed that Two and Dr. Shaw have a child. You could see Two had an immediate reaction to it, so will she be eager to seek her out?

JM: Two is a complicated individual, but given the way it affected her, I think she would at least want to know that the child is safe. The question is basically who would she have entrusted this child to? This mysterious individual named Kryden, presumably, but we’ll find out more about that in the future. Ryo hints that it’s the child who motivated her life as a professional mercenary, with the suggestion that she was committed to this life to provide a better future for the child. Again, it’s another surprising piece in the puzzle of Two-slash-Rebecca-slash-Portia’s life story.

TTVJ: Is Dr. Shaw aware that she has a little girl out there?

JM: We don’t know.

TTVJ: I have a million questions running through my mind that I know you can’t answer, so I’ll move on. The other secret that I think had a big emotional reaction was finding out the truth about Sarah (Natalie Brown). I’m probably not alone in assuming that Boone went back to a life of crime after Sarah got sick, but here we find out it’s the opposite cause and effect. If it’s really true, why is it that Sarah stayed with him?

JM: I mean, that’s something we’re probably going to explore next season, but clearly she knew about it. Clearly he was in love with her, he kind of fell back in his old ways, kind of mirroring Two in an attempt to make a better life for someone that he loved and provide for her. In this case, he put Sarah in danger, unwittingly so. I guess it would depend on what kind of woman Sarah is. Would she be forgiving, presumably, if she found out that there was no intent there? How would Boone react? Would the fact that he was the direct cause of her getting sick spur him to place her in stasis and try to go out and find a cure? Equal parts love and guilt, perhaps? That’s something that we’ll explore down the line.

Syfy
Syfy

TTVJ: Unlike the others, Three couldn’t live with that bombshell and opted to forget what he’d learned, which was the most devastating moment of the episode. In that moment when he gets shot, there’s a smile on his face. Was that in the script or was that all Anthony Lemke?

JM: No, that was Anthony. In the script he turns around and allows himself to be shot, and that was Anthony informing his character, the subtext being that he knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s so pained and weighed down by the knowledge, he knows the death of his clone will be a release because it’s going to be a release from knowing. And, true enough, when he’s on the other side he doesn’t remember. It’s almost as if he finds comfort in the death of his clone and the death of that memory.

TTVJ: We also found out more about Five’s (Jodelle Ferland) sister—though not enough, I’m going to say, because you could have panned that camera down, but I forgive you this time. There was a flash of recognition from Five. Is that because we’ve met her sister before, or do we know who the family is?

JM: You know what, you’re not going to have to wait long to find out the answer to that. Some stuff we keep for awhile, and some stuff we release piecemeal over a shorter amount of time, and there will a big reveal in the next episode in regard to that.

TTVJ: Let’s see, so we’ve gone through Five, Three, Two—now Six (Roger Cross)! I also had that same assumption that he was found out by Ryo and Portia because he got sloppy, but it turns out he was betrayed by someone in the Galactic Authority. I will say Anders (Jeff Teravainen) seems like the most likely culprit, but only because he’s the only person from the GA that we’re familiar with.

JM: He’s the only one we know. However, if we’re going to go for the most obvious and go for an individual, we would say Anders, or if it’s a bigger conspiracy it could be someone else that Anders could help us with. But who knows? Again, that’s something we’ll explore a little further down the line.

TTVJ: I’m curious as to how Six will react to that. He’s not part of the GA anymore, he’s given up that part of his life, but I suppose the curiosity will get to him eventually.

JM: Yeah, the fact that somebody did, in fact, betray him. They all have secrets of varying degrees of, I guess, bigness. Over the course of the next little while we’ll begin to peel the onion on those secrets, hopefully.

Syfy
Syfy

TTVJ: Now the Android has a secret of her own, with her being scouted to join the Android Liberation Front. We saw her arguing with Not Chase, as I will call him, but we didn’t see her outright reject it. Is this the beginning of an internal debate for her?

JM: It could be. She could certainly be torn. She has affection for Victor (Brendan Murray) and sympathies for other androids, but she’s most loyal to her crew who, then again, has not been that well treated by the establishment, law and order, and humanity in general. She’s definitely going to be torn and we’ll see how that story plays out.

TTVJ: One story that unfortunately has come to a close is Misaki’s. Her betrayal was foreshadowed in the beginning of the season, when she voiced her concerns about Teku (Andrew Moodie) being loyal to Ryo, but not the throne. At what point did she decide helping Ryo was no longer in the best interest of Zairon?

JM: Somewhere over the course of the season, I would say, when she began to realize he was losing control and relying on his emotions to dictate his actions, rather than using the cold reason that she applies to her life in general. She saw him as a little lost at the beginning and needed a little guidance to help him find his way, but ultimately she saw his indecisiveness as weakness. Whereas Teku saw this indecisiveness as flashes of humanity and a desire to rule with compassion, rather than strength through fear. He vacillated; he tried one, he tried the other, and there were instances where he tried to listen to Teku and it blew up in his face. He reacted with anger and became increasingly volatile as a ruler, and Misaki realized she could no longer back him and attempted to oust him.

Stephen Scott/Syfy
Stephen Scott/Syfy

TTVJ: So was her plan to take over the throne herself?

JM: Her plan was to basically take the throne from him and put it in more stable hands. That’s what we’ll say for now.

TTVJ: So we may find out who those hands belong to?

JM: They well could have been her hands, but there’s still a little bit of tying up to do in that storyline. Teku’s still out there, presumably.

TTVJ: Where does Teku go from here?

JM: We’ll find out next episode.

TTVJ: Obviously Ferrous had a stake in this episode because Nieman (David Richmond-Peck) was relying on Ryo’s support in terms of swaying the League of Autonomous Worlds, so does that put a wrench in Ferrous’ plans?

JM: It certainly does and, in fact, the corporate war comes to a climax in the finale, and we’ll have a couple of special guest appearances from the alt-crew in that episode as well.

TTVJ: In terms of that three-way partnership between Ferrous, Ryo and the alt-crew, we know how Ferrous and Ryo would have benefit but, unless it was purely just to see Two die, it’s still unclear what the alt-crew had to gain from it.

JM: Well, we’re going to shed a little light next episode.

TTVJ: One behind-the-scenes aspect I wanted to mention was the sword fighting, which I thought was so great. Do you have any details to share on how they were filmed and choreographed?

JM: That’s all John Stead and his team. He’ll do hand-to-hand, various types of gunplay and swordplay as well. He used to do all the Four training room sequences, and this sword fighting sequence was another really fun opportunity. It’s funny, Alex always gets to play with a sword, but this episode Melissa and Ellen get to play as well. I was watching GLOW and of course Ellen is in it, and her wrestling persona is kind of a ninja, and she does a bit of swordplay and I thought, “Hmm, where did she learn that?” That was kind of fun.

With any fight, though, John will go as big as you want, but sometimes there are constraints in terms of how much you can do. I know I wanted that first sword fight that I scripted off the top between Two and Ryo that gets interrupted, and I wanted that final showdown with Misaki, but there’s another sequence where he takes out all the guards off-screen. As much as that scene is about how cool Ryo is dispatching the guards, I really wanted the scene to be on Misaki. That’s why I scripted it as while you can hear the fighting going on, the slashing and the people dying, she’s just limbering up. She knows Ryo’s going to win, so she takes that opportunity to prepare herself, psych herself up and when she turns around he’s standing there with a bloody sword, surrounded by the bodies, and she’s like, “let’s get to it.”

TTVJ: Any other behind-the-scenes info you’d like to add?

JM: This was director Bruce McDonald’s second episode of the show. He was actually supposed to do an earlier episode, and I made a special request for him to switch so that he could do this episode, because he’s so good at the small moments and character moments, and this is episode is so heavy with emotional beats and relationship moments that I really wanted him to do it, and of course he did a fantastic job.

TTVJ: What else can you preview about the finale?

JM: The corporate war comes to a climax, the alt-crew makes an appearance, enemies become friends and friends become enemies. That’s something we can look forward to.

TTVJ: So just another average episode of Dark Matter.

JM: Exactly.

 

Were you shocked by any of this week’s big reveals? Do you think this is the end of Ryo Ishida? Sound off in the comments below.

Dark Matter airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on SYFY and Space.

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