**Warning: This article contains major spoilers for the Dark Matter episode “Stuff to Steal, People to Kill”***
Dark Matter had us seeing double this week with an excellent turn exploring the endless possibilities of an alternative universe episode. After a slight miscalculation with the blink drive–another costly mistake by the Android (Zoie Palmer)?–the crew found themselves in a reality where Five (Jodelle Ferland) never stowed away on the Raza, meaning their memories never got wiped and they continued to be the heartless mercenaries the galaxy feared.
In spite of the fact that the episode took place almost entirely in an alternate dimension, the episode offered answers from leftover mysteries from Season 1 and gave more than a few hints toward questions we’ve been asking in Season 2.
In another instalment of our Dark Matter postmortem interview series, co-creator Joseph Mallozzi took some time to chat with us about his love of alternate reality stories, points out some of the episode’s major easter eggs and previews what’s next for Two (Melissa O’Neil) after that dramatic ending.
The TV Junkies: I was really excited about this episode going in, and you completely delivered. There were more doppelgänger shenanigans than I could have hoped for.
Joseph Mallozzi: Thank you, thank you. If there’s two types of episodes I love to do, it’s alternate universes and time travel. We’ve done alternate universes this season and, if we get a Season 3, we’ll be doing time travel. That’s a script that I just worked out. We’ll be doing time travel in a very fun way.
TTVJ: I loved the concept that, in this universe, absolutely everything would be different without Five having stowed away on the Raza. What made you decide to go that route?
JM: The thing I love about alternate universe episodes is the idea of the road not taken. On the one hand it allows us to shed light on our characters and little bits of information that, I’m not sure if you noticed or didn’t notice, were related to the pilot. You see Kal Varrick (Roger Cross) as an undercover officer recording that message and you find out how they ended up in the situation they were in at the beginning of the pilot where the the ship was derelict for some reason. They were attacked by a mystery ship, because they’d sent off an emergency distress beacon.
The biggest one is that, maybe fans have or haven’t wondered about is, when they wake up from stasis, all the ship’s data has been wiped, and [we’re left wondering] who wiped it and why. You have him saying to get to the Android first because if she encounters an insurmountable threat she’s programmed to wipe the data. Essentially you get answers to a couple of the niggling questions from the pilot.
That’s what’s fun about these alternate universe episodes because it allows us to shed light on stuff from the past but also the road not taken. That’s just classic AU/parallel universe stories. What if they stayed bad? The multiverse theory holds that for every decision you create another universe. This is just one of many other potential realities out there. We established Five was a lynchpin to the team in Season 1 and we’re really hammering it in Season 2. Now we’re presenting it as what if this lynchpin wasn’t there? How would things have been different?
You get a lot of hints to other things too. When the Android has that conversation with the other Android, she says, ‘I owe a debt of gratitude to Portia for making me what I am.’ That’s an interesting little thing to say. As much as things are different in the other reality, there are a lot of similarities as well. That could very well be a hint of something to do with the Android’s past.
TTVJ: We saw the Other Marauder fly off at the end of the episode. As predictions go, my gut is telling me that it’s either Corso (Marc Bendavid) or Wexler (Ennis Esmer) on board.
JM: It could be a single individual or it could be many individuals, so…
TTVJ: That is true. It was great to see both those actors back again, and interesting for Two to see people she’s killed back to bite her in the ass.
JM: That’s another thing that’s great about alternate universes. Everything that’s old is new again and everything dead is alive again. It was a lot of fun to bring Wexler, Tash (Jessica Sipos) and Corso back.
TTVJ: I’m sure Marc Bendavid must have been thrilled to film an episode this season without dying.
JM: Yes! When I called him up I told him, “Good news: you’re coming back and you don’t die at the end of the episode.”
TTVJ: One thing I’m curious about is that despite the fact that the alternate universe crew never met Five, they still got their hands on the blink drive. Was that a result of their dealings with Ferrous?
JM: Presumably, in our reality, Reynaud (Inga Cadranel) is making a deal with Ferrous corp. to essentially sell them the device so they can use it in the war. In this alternate reality, she never lost the device, she made the deal with Ferrous. As Ferrous’s number one mercenary team, which we established back on the pilot, they were hired guns. They used the blink drive and kept it for themselves, helped out Ferrous corp. in the war, but at the same time certainly helped themselves.
TTVJ: It was interesting to see Four’s (Alex Mallari Jr.) reaction to his alternate version already having reclaimed the throne.
JM: It’s something Four has mentioned before, at the end of last season and a couple times this season, of his intention to go back. As the proud individual he is, having Portia Lin prod him like that could spur him into some action.
TTVJ: Four has definitely had this share of moral hiccups in the series, but he seemed taken aback at the prospect of turning on his brother Hiro. Is that something we’ll be exploring later this season?
JM: Yes, definitely. That’s something that will be explored in one of my favourite episodes, after this one. Episode 8 and Episode 12 are two of my favourites from this season.
TTVJ: Three certainly had a fun time in this episode getting a different kind of action. What was Anthony Lemke’s reaction to that?
JM: It wasn’t really Anthony’s reaction, it was Melissa’s reaction when she got the script. She reacted something along the lines of, ‘what the f**k’ when she read that particular scene with Anthony. But they had fun doing the bridge flirt scene.
TTVJ: There’s always a lot that happens on episodes like these. Was there anything that happened on set you think fans would want to know?
JM: Melissa absolutely loved the coat that [costume designer] Noreen Landry designed for Portia. So much so that she made a special request that we wrote in a scene and she ends up keeping it at the end. One special guest star we didn’t talk about was Torri Higginson, who is fantastic in this episode. That one shot where they take the ship and she struts down the corridor surrounded by her men was incredible.
Like any other episode of the show, you have to pay close attention to what’s discussed and what’s covered. It answers questions from what comes before, specifically that scene with Kal Varrick, but also in the news reports about the war, what led to it and how it affects the different players. That’s information that will come into play in our reality at a later point. A lot of interesting stuff and a lot of fodder for theorizing in this episode.
TTVJ: At the end of this episode we saw Two collapse. Does that have anything to do with her unique genetic makeup?
JM: That would be a safe assumption. In the very immediate future they will be visiting Earth as we saw back in Episode 3 when we got a flashback to her past and a very unique looking building. Episode 4 they investigate the building and discover it’s the headquarters to Dwarf Star technologies and that it’s located on Earth. She started to manifest symptoms at the end of Episode 6 and then finally it catches up with her in this episode. Presumably it’s a point of no return and they have to figure out what’s wrong with her and, really, the people who are in the position to know exactly what’s wrong with her and have the potential to fix her are the people responsible for her creation.
What did you think of tonight’s reality-jumping episode? Sound off in the comments.
Dark Matter airs Fridays at 10 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.