*** Warning: This article contains major spoilers for the Dark Matter Season 3 premiere episodes “Being Better is So Much Harder” and “It Doesn’t Have to Be Like This” ***
It’s official–the crew lives to see another day! Dark Matter‘s Season 3 premiere hit the ground running as we saw the immediate aftermath of the destruction of EOS-7 and the beginnings of a mass corporate war. Each member of the crew were forced to fend for their lives as a result, with Two (Melissa O’Neil) and Six (Roger Cross) stranded in space, Five (Jodelle Ferland), the Android (Zoie Palmer) and Commander Truffault (Tori Higginson) thwarting an attack by Ferrous Corp, and Three convincing the definitely not dead Lieutenant Anders (Jeff Teravainen) to let him escape the Galactic Authority.
Of course, not everyone was spared. By the end of the two-hour premiere, everyone learned the tragic news about Nyx’s (Melanie Liburd) death. With the crew assuming it was Four (Alex Mallari Jr.), now known as Emperor Ryo Ishida, their immediate retaliation to steal back the blink drive has led to an all-out declaration of war between the former crew mates. And that’s just a small part of everything that went down in the first two episodes of Season 3.
There’s a lot to take in from the premiere, but thankfully The TV Junkies is here to help you out with another season of postmortem chats with Dark Matter co-creator and executive producer Joseph Mallozzi to share the details on all those bombshells, cliffhangers and lingering questions.
The TV Junkies: The first hour ended with Two declaring that the crew’s first priority was going after Ryo Ishida. What made you decide to go that route with the crew instead of jumping headfirst into the corporate war?
Joseph Mallozzi: I mean, the war is happening, there’s not much they can do about that. It’s debateable if they want to get involved at all. On one hand you’ve got Six who’s always been leading the charge and trying to get them to be better people, and Two points out to him that being better is so much harder, and maybe it’s not worth the risk. They tried to be better, and that was the whole point of Season 2, a search for redemption that ends up blowing up in their faces.
As we enter Season 3 this corporate war blows up, Six is pitching that “we have to make a difference” and Two’s counter to that is essentially “we did try to make a difference, we failed, we should start thinking about ourselves.” Her decision at the end of the episode to go after Ryo Ishida gives us an indication of where her head lies. For her, it’s personal. She’s no longer interested in the big picture because she tried that and it didn’t work. Now she’s interested in settling scores, and chances are it’s going to get ugly.
TTVJ: Six has always been the moral compass in the way that One (Marc Bendavid) was in Season 1. I can see him continuing to fight for them to get involved and do the right thing, so is that going to be a point of tension between him and the rest of the crew?
JM: Absolutely. Moreso him and Two because she’s the one he’s got to convince. He did convince her last season, and it ended up in Nyx dead, corporate war starting and the loss of the blink drive. The series is all about redemption–how you seek redemption and the various forms it takes–and is it worth it? Season 3 will seek to answer that. You clearly know which side Six falls on.
TTVJ: And you would think Five would be up for saving the galaxy.
JM: Yeah, you would think. And that Three would line up where he’s always lined up. As for the Android, who knows. As she becomes more and more integrated into the crew she’ll be contributing her opinion more. Later this season she’s going to contribute her opinion in a way that surprises people and will send the story off in an unexpected direction.
TTVJ: Speaking of Three, a big part of his story in the premiere was his abduction by Lt. Anders, which he managed to talk his way out of. Truffault said this war was an opportunity to forge new alliances, so is it possible Anders could be a potential ally for the Raza down the line?
JM: Certainly there could be. There are things separating them that will make that difficult, but in episode 1 him and Three end up creating a bond of mutual respect, so chances are we will see Anders in the near future. Whether or not he’ll be a friend or foe will remain to be seen.
TTVJ: We met our first new character this season with Teku (Andrew Moodie), who I found fascinating. He’s very loyal to Ryo, he’s now the royal advisor, but I’m wondering if there’s more to the story with him.
JM: I guess we’re gonna find out. One of the nice things about Dark Matter is that you never really know where things are going to end up, even when you try to predict. One thing that is fairly evident is he and Misaki (Ellen Wong) don’t get along. Misaki sees him as a threat and Teku recognizes her as a threat. They’re essentially going to present Ryo with two very divergent viewpoints as he attempts to win this war and deal with his former friends turned enemies.
TTVJ: Of course now that Ryo knows she killed Nyx that’s undoubtedly going to create a rift between them.
JM: It does. One of the things about Ryo, that we discover when he takes the blink drive, is that he’s a pragmatist. That’s essentially something that Misaki is as well, to the extreme. Some of what she throws in his face at the end [of episode 2], when she says they’re a source of weakness to him, you can tell that, as much as he hated to hear it, that seemed to resonate with him. How that plays out and how his relationship with Misaki is affected… we’ll have to see. He’s a character who has never been ruled by emotion, so he’s faced with a huge emotional blow and as Emperor he has to decide how does he react and what is best for Zairon. That will inform his next step in regard to Misaki.
TTVJ: You were able to give Nyx a beautiful send-off in the premiere, which not every character gets after death. What went into writing that scene?
JM: In retrospect, one of the things I kind of regret about when we lost One was the fact that there was a time cut between when they get the news in [Season 2] episode 2 and then episode 3 they’re a couple weeks later, so we never really see the characters process the loss. One of the things I liked about the dynamic between Two and Nyx in Season 2 is that Two backs her. There’s no rivalry, they backed each other, and they were two strong characters. I really liked the relationship and I think the person most likely to be affected would be Two, who had her back from the very beginning, had a connection to her, and in some ways feels a responsibility for what happened to her. It presented a nice opportunity to say goodbye without necessarily having her say goodbye. It was a nice moment and the fact that she was suffering from hypoxia gave us that door in.
TTVJ: I’m curious about the kiss. Obviously there will be some romantic implications there, so why did you decide to go in that direction?
JM: There will be some who obviously will read romantic implications, and perhaps the notion that there was more that was never realized. Other people may interpret it as a goodbye kiss in friendship. I’m not in a position to refute either theory, so I’ll leave it out there.
TTVJ: I mean, I’m not gonna lie, I don’t normally kiss my friends goodbye…
JM: It’s funny, I had this discussion with other women and some of them do kiss their friends on the lips. I guess it depends on the person. I don’t even kiss my female friends on the lips, but I know a director who works on the show, and when he greets the cast members he might kiss them on the lips. It’s just a friendly thing and that’s their way. But yes, in answer to your observance, I imagine a lot of discussion about that particular moment in the episode once it airs.
TTVJ: I think so, since there are a lot of people out there dying for representation. I know Melissa O’Neil herself has said that she plays Two as open to being with men or women. I’m curious what your thoughts are on that.
JM: I would say that’s a pretty fair description. We really haven’t seen her, outside of the Nyx kiss, with another woman. However, that does not mean it hasn’t happened in her past and it will not happen in her future. Stay tuned, is all I can say.
TTVJ: One character we haven’t spoken much about yet is Five, who had some big bombshell moments. I first wanted to address that final scene with Sarah (Natalie Brown). What’s going on there?
JM: You’re going to find out exactly what went on in episode 3. I keep reminding people that I’ve sitting on this show and these characters for years and years, which allowed me to work out a game plan. If you go back and watch the episode with Wendy the Android (Ruby Rose), she shuts down power and Sarah’s stasis pod shuts down, and we cut to Five. It’s a very curious shot where she cocks her head as though she has a thought. A bunch of fans noted it, but nothing was ever followed through on it in Season 2. However, this season, Sarah’s back and we’re going to find out exactly how that’s possible, in which circumstance is she back and what Five has done to affect her return. And, more importantly, how that affects the crew, specifically Three.
TTVJ: Five also discovered she has a sister in the following episode. How does that change things for her?
JM: She knows she has a sister out there, but the problem is how the hell she can track her down, and what kind of person is her sister. All questions that I’m sure are running through Five’s mind.
TTVJ: Will there be a proactive search for her?
JM: There’s a lot going on. It’s something we will eventually get to, but the main focus is the corporate war and having to deal with Ryo.
TTVJ: The blink drive was a huge part of Ryo’s plan to help Zairon win their war. How will the loss of the blink drive affect him?
JM: Presumably badly, in that he needs the blink drive to win the war. Also, in the process of losing the blink drive he also lost his research station. Essentially [in the finale] he came in, boarded the Raza, set the bomb on EOS-7, warned them to get off, told Misaki to use non-lethal force only, Misaki kills Nyx, but unfortunately what our crew sees is that he planted bomb to slaughter all those people and he killed Nyx. After episode 2, what he sees is that the crew came back, stole the blink drive when they know he needs it save millions of lives and out of spite they destroy the research facility and everybody on it. He’s going to be pissed off as well and he’s going to strike back. You know, this is the way things happen. Little misunderstandings here and there. They build and, before they know it, they have mortal enemies.
TTVJ: You’ve certainly set up an exciting Season 3 so far.
JM: This season is going to be a lot of fun. We do a couple of very funny episodes. We have two time travel episodes in Episode 4 and Episode 9. You’ll want to circle those dates in your calendar and make sure you watch them.
TTVJ: Is there anything else you wanted to mention about the premiere?
JM: We’ve had some great guest stars. Episode 2, our two Ishida scientists were great fun. We were auditioning for the episode and originally the two scientists were both males, but we’ll always audition both males and females for the role, like we did for Android and for Four way back then. But Paul Lee and Jean Yoon were on a show called Kim’s Convenience and auditioned for the same character. We thought it would be fun to have them be the scientists, since they play husband and wife on Kim’s Convenience. They were a delight to work with. They stand out for me in that episode.
Of course, Jeff Teravainen as Anders. I love Jeff and I love his character. The same can be said for Tori. [Truffault] was supposed to get killed off after her third episode [in Season 1], but she had a conflict at a con and I said I would promise to bring her back for a third episode in Season 2. She’s done a total of nine episodes, and averages three episodes a season. And, of course, Melanie and her guest spot. I don’t think you could find a nicer, sweeter person than Melanie Liburd. I know she’s doing a show called Gypsy for Netflix and I would love the opportunity to work with her again.
What shocked you the most from the Season 3 premiere? Sound off in the comments below.
Dark Matter airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Space Channel and Syfy.
Associate Editor Kelly Townsend always had strong opinions on TV growing up, so it was only natural to evolve from couch musings to online journalism. She can't ever choose a favorite series, so please don't ask. Her writing has also appeared on IndieWire and Tribute.ca. You can find her on Twitter at @kellybtownsend.