*** Warning: This article contains major spoilers for the Dark Matter episode “Welcome to Your New Home” ***
Dark Matter returned for Season 2 with a bang–literally–in its premiere, as One (Marc Bendavid) was unexpectedly and brutally shot by Jace Corso, reminding us full well why the show’s co-creator Joseph Mallozzi said this season would, “put the ‘dark’ in Dark Matter.”
Before that stunning end scene, we were able to pick up right where we left off from the finale; Two (Melissa O’Neil), Three (Anthony Lemke) and Four (Alex Mallari Jr.) found themselves stuck in prison, convicted without a trial, and leaning on a few new faces to find a way out. Five (Jodelle Ferland) and Six (Roger Cross) struggled to find common ground once she discovered his traitor status, and his real identity as Kal Varrick, a member of the Galactic Authority sent undercover to arrest the crew of the Raza. Of course, nothing is ever black and white and Six soon discovered the GA isn’t as trustworthy as he hoped when he discovered their part in the Hyadum-12 attack and interceded his attempt to send Five safely into a group home.
To help wrap your mind around the events of the premiere we’re kicking off the first of our Dark Matter post-episode interview series with Mallozzi, who breaks down what’s next after that shocking character death. You can look for these talks every week as soon as the show is done with its Friday airing on Syfy and Space (around 11 p.m. ET).
The TV Junkies: A gunshot wound to the head seems pretty definitive, but can you officially confirm that One, at least as we know him, has died?
Joseph Mallozzi: I can confirm that.
TTVJ: Did you get to have a conversation with Marc Bendavid before he got the script for this season?
JM: Absolutely. Once we saw that this was the direction we were going to go I got on the phone and called him and then Vanessa Piazza, our Executive Producer, called the other cast members to inform them. At the end of the day what I said to Marc is that the door is open for him to come back because he plays two characters. We close the door on One, but Jace Corso is still out there.
TTVJ: Not only is he out there, he’s the killer! How soon will we discover his motivation for killing One?
JM: You’re going to have to wait another four episodes or so. They’re not going to let that lie. Presumably they’re going to make it out of prison—that’s the plan anyways—and if they do make it out, hopefully with the help of some friends, they will be going after Jace Corso. The first step is that they have to find out that One is dead. Right now they’re in prison so they don’t know. Next they have to find out the circumstances of his death, who did it and then they have to go after that person. All of that will happen in Season 2.
TTVJ: It seems like you’re already setting up a lot of ongoing plots for this season.
JM: That’s one of the things I really set out to do. We did it in Season 1 and threw out the questions, but also provided a lot of answers, and along the way throwing out even more questions. I wanted to create a show where there’s a revelation in every episode and each episode builds on the next. It’s a show that you want to tune into and watch rather than sit and wait because you don’t want to be spoiled.
This season answers a lot of the questions we set up in Season 1, or furthers them along. There’s a whole question of that interdimensional key card that Five discovered in Episode 3 that her friends ended up getting killed for that, according to the Android (Zoie Palmer), is a key that can allow you to access pockets of space-time. At the end day, what does it do? We’re going to find out what it does and it’s going to impact how Season 2 progresses in a big way.
TTVJ: The other big bombshell in this episode was the revelation that Six is actually a member of the Galactic Authority named Kal Varrick. Was that something you had planned from the beginning?
JM: All of the major revelations that come out have not only been planned since last season, they’ve been planned since five years ago. I’ve been sitting on this show for many, many years and in that time I’ve gotten the opportunity to flesh out the backstories. There were some subtle clues that were layered in and there’s a lot of subtle seeding that goes on throughout Season 1. There was that very odd scene at the end of the episode 8 where Six has killed The General and he’s sitting in the chair and Lieutenant Anders (Jeff Teravainan) comes in pointing the gun at him. Six says, ‘I’m a clone, you can either leave me or not,’ and he lowers his weapon. Then the next thing you know One and Four come in and Anders is gone.
Whether you realize it or not, there’s a subtle shift in Six’s attitude culminating in that confrontation with Five where he snaps at her says, ‘you’ve got to get off this ship.’ At that point he already knows it’s going to bad and in his indirect way is saying, ‘I don’t want you to get hurt.’ Of course she takes it a very different way.
Then in that final scene where they’re being dragged out one by one with Six at the rear, that was a shot I had envisioned from the very beginning as well, even before we shot the first episode of Season 1. I made it a point to have Anders walking alongside him, so eagle-eyed viewers would recognize the guy walking alongside him was the same guy walking in on him in Episode 8 who inexplicably disappears before One and Four show up. It’s all part of a grand master plan.
TTVJ: We also got a little more insight as to why he did it. Personally, as a viewer, I tend to sympathize with his reasons for doing it, but clearly Five was not having it.
JM: Right. You do kind of find out why he did it. That lynchpin moment was the destruction of the Mikkei research facility, which is really a parallel to Hyadum-12 where he was an undercover terrorist and unwittingly helped kill 10,000 people in that space station. He is clearly anguished and that’s the moment he realizes that these people, as much as he’s come to respect and love them, are dangerous. In his mind Two, Three and Four are the criminals and One and Five are not, and the Android is a separate entity. It’s very clear that he still cares Five and wants a better life for her.
TTVJ: Speaking of the prison, that’s where we were introduced to two new characters, Nyx and Devon (Shaun Sipos). I was really intrigued by the interactions between Two and Nyx (Melanie Liburd) in particular. She’s immediately suspicious of her, but still opts to make an alliance with her. How does that play out in upcoming episodes?
JM: Two, as the Commander, has to make the tough calls. One thing I said to Melissa when she first got the role is that she’s got one of the hardest roles to pull off because she has to walk that fine line of being a strong yet empathetic leader. She has to be tough and she showed that in [Season 1] episode two when One asks, ‘who made you leader?’ and she gets right back in his face and says, ‘I made myself leader because nobody else stepped up. If you want to take a run at me, feel free.’
Then she’s got that empathetic side where it’s not just making the cold, hard decisions; these are people she’s dealing with, so she’s very aware of the emotional undercurrent and the needs of her crew. So essentially she’s caught in prison and sees a path to freedom though Nyx. Whether she can trust her or not remains to be seen, but it’s clear that she’s willing to take that chance. And also, a lot of shows have the two strong female characters be rivals, which is fine, but I like to do things differently in this show. If Two is going to trust Nyx then she’s going to trust her as a member of the crew rather than a rival. She’s going to view her as an asset.
TTVJ: One of the show’s big strengths in Season 1 were the relationships between crew members. How does that progress this season?
JM: There were certain relationships that we didn’t really pursue in Season 1 because, at the end of the day, there was so much stuff going on. What really stood out for me was that Three and Five are such fun characters and the few times they did have those exchanges in Season 1 were definite high points for me, [such as when] Five snuck into his room and stole the bullets from his gun. We explore that relationship, because Five’s relationship with Six is somewhat damaged, so there’s an opportunity for Three and Five to bond, in a bizarre way, because they’re very aloof towards each other. I very much wanted to write an episode where I threw them into an episode where they’re separated from everyone and they only had each other to rely on. That episode will come later in the season.
That’s just to give an example of how I have the game plan for the major character and story arcs of the season, but the actors bring so much to the roles that you make tweaks along the way and it opens up a whole host of other possibilities. Originally the Android was supposed to be a background character, but we ended up being short in a bunch of episodes so I added in this C story involving the Android and the discovery of the fact that she has emotions as a result of an emotional subroutine which she suspects is a flaw in her programming. At the end the season the Red Android, who we call “Randroid,” runs a diagnostic that confirms the fact that she is flawed. Zoie Palmer does such a good job with an Android and she’s also a character that’s fun to write for. The Android is very much a member of the crew and her story will develop in Season 2.
TTVJ: So what can fans expect going into the next episode?
JM: We get to learn a little more about the secondary characters, Nyx, Devon and Arax Nero (Mike Dopud), and the part they’re going to play in the escape. We’ll be introducing a new recurring character called Misaki Han, played by Ellen Wong. She is the new Commander of the Royal Guard of Ishida. The last Commander, Akita, was dispatched by Four in shocking fashion. This character has a history with Ryo Ishida and now she’s torn between her history and her duty to the present royal court. It’s something that sets up another through line and character arc in regards to Four and his quest to retake the throne.
What are your thoughts on Dark Matter‘s Season 2 premiere? Let us know in the comments section below, and tune in for more Dark Matter coverage in the coming weeks.
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.