Dark Matter: Melanie Liburd on Building Trust with Nyx

Russ Martin/Prodigy Pictures/Syfy
Russ Martin/Prodigy Pictures/Syfy

Dark Matter ended in shocking fashion last week, when Nyx’s (Melanie Liburd) brother Milo (Mpho Koaho) tragically took his own life after a suggestion from Four (Alex Mallari Jr.). It was an act he may have potentially predicted himself, based on his ability to predict probable future outcomes through the Seers experiment.

In the next Dark Matter episode, “She’s One of Them Now,” the crew use the money from the op to infiltrate the headquarters of Alicia Reynaud (Inga Cadranel) in order to find out what she wants with that mysterious key card and try to get the upperhand. To say that Five (Jodelle Ferland) has a big part to play here may be a bit of an understatement. Meanwhile, Nyx and Devon (Shaun Sipos) discover that misery loves company.

We had the chance to speak with with Liburd about discovering Nyx’s intriguing backstory, building trust with the Raza crew and Four’s shocking betrayal.

The TV Junkies: What was your reaction when you learned about Nyx’s backstory?

Melanie Liburd: [Joseph Mallozzi] is funny, he likes to drip feed us information. I remember when I got the part I was asking all these questions about Nyx and he was like, ‘Mel, just relax. You’ll find out soon enough.’ He’d just give me snippets of information. I loved the story once I could get it out of him, I thought it was so fantastic.

TTVJ: When I spoke with Joe about this episode, he mentioned that your character’s abilities are inspired by this Sherlock Holmesian link between science and magic.

ML: He never told me that! That’s really great. Joe’s full of fascinating ideas. I love the story of how she [earned her abilities]; it’s quite a sad story, how they were taken as children from their home planet, where lots of people there have heightened senses and that’s why they were kidnapped, taken to this ship and drugged. Once she does escape, she uses everything in her power. For so many years Nyx was looking for a way to go back and get her brother off that ship, and it wasn’t going to be easy. In a way she was looking for someone like the Raza crew for a long time.

TTVJ: We were never sure if we could trust Nyx at first, but once we learned her backstory, even though she lied to the crew, I certainly felt a lot of sympathy for her.

ML: I’m so pleased! That’s what I was trying to portray with the character because it’s out of desperation that she does what she does, and I think initially why she does want to stay on the Raza is she’s thinking this all the time, ‘These are the strongest people I’ve ever come across, everyone’s talking about the infamous Raza crew.’ Then she finally gets on that ship and her intentions are a bit different initially. She wants them to help her, but then she starts to trust these people and she does want their respect. She feels very grateful that they accept her in that way and begin to trust her. She takes a chance, she goes out on a limb when she doesn’t tell them; luckily it pays off and Two (Melissa O’Neil) helps her, which is amazing.

TTVJ: And Two, in her own way, takes a chance on deciding to trust Nyx that second time around when it came to protecting Milo.

ML: I think they see something in each other; they realize their hardships and they’ve both gone through struggles. They identify in that way and I think they’re almost kindred spirits, which happens quite early on. Even in the prison, Nyx and Two come up against each other and fight, and they’re impressed by each other. They develop that mutual respect for each other, and that helps her trust Nyx.

Steve Wilkie/Prodigy Pictures/Syfy
Steve Wilkie/Prodigy Pictures/Syfy

TTVJ: I love the relationship between Two and Nyx. So often we see two powerful women on a television show and they’re instantly rivals, but those two have developed a genuine friendship. It’s been such a treat to see, and it must be great to be part of that.

ML: Oh, it’s great to be part of, and the sad thing about a lot of television shows is I don’t know why they do that. It’s not a reflection of real life and it’s nice to see, on a sci-fi show, a reflection of what happens in real life amongst two strong women. Real strong women do respect other strong women, they’re not threatened by each other because, Nyx and Two, they’re very comfortable in their own skin. Together they think, ‘we could be even more powerful together.’ It was great to play, and it’s great to play alongside Melissa. It’d be great to see how their relationship develops in the future.

TTVJ: Nyx has also developed a relationship with Four this season, who ended up betraying her by pushing Milo to commit suicide. What was your reaction to that?

ML: Yeah, it’s shocking, isn’t it? It’s so unpredictable because there’s Nyx thinking she trusts him, is becoming good friends with him as someone on the ship she really identifies with. They love to train and fight together, so they’ve found a common connection there.

Nyx, at the moment, doesn’t know about this; I know lots of people have said Nyx must have been able to predict it, but she doesn’t. She’s more of a physical seer than her brother, so Nyx still doesn’t know the outcome of what happened to her brother and she doesn’t know about the betrayal. It’s going to be interesting when she finds out, that’s for sure.

TTVJ: I have to say, I had chills in that scene where Nyx was crying for Milo. How was it getting into that emotional state of mind for that scene?

ML: What I’ve loved about Nyx’s character is in the beginning it was just about making her a real human being. She may be this strong character, but strong characters go through all these feelings, pain and suffering. I tried to put myself in her shoes of losing a brother or not being able to help someone that you love so much. You never know on set what’s going to happen, but I think it worked out quite well. Seeing Milo’s death was shocking, because that was the first time I’ve seen it, so that was very sad as well. Mpho did a great job.

TTVJ: He was terrific. Milo felt like one of those characters that audiences will remember even though he was only in the one episode, and his performance was a big part of that.

ML: I would have loved to have had more scenes with him. It was great working with someone like Mpho, he’s a very detailed and generous actor. Even when he’s not on camera, he’s giving a lot of stuff to feed off, so it’s really fun working with him.

TTVJ: After this episode, would you say Nyx is now a true member of the crew of the Raza?

ML: Yeah, I would. After still being accepted by the crew, I think, in a way she really put herself on a limb and it could have backfired. In a way it’s made her closer to the crew, it’s made her closer to Two, and I think she has a huge loyalty now and would do anything to help protect them after what they did for her to protect her brother, and I think they can see that. She’s got no one else, her brother is gone and now is the time for Nyx to have to lean on them and show some of her vulnerability.

TTVJ: In this week’s episode Nyx will be spending some time with Devon. Can you give a preview of your storyline?

ML: Without giving too much away, we know Nyx was drugged and left suffering on the Seer’s ship before she escaped, and we know Devon is having problems with drugs. Now that Nyx’s brother is gone, she’s struggling to cope with what happened and she feels desperately guilty. She hits a low point and instead of dwelling on it she connects with Devon and his suffering, and I think they try and help each other. It’s sad what’s happening with him and he seems to not be able to pull himself out of the hole that he’s in. She wants to help him, and sometimes when you’re suffering yourself it can make you feel worthy again if you try and help somebody else, and I think that’s what’s happening between Nyx and Devon in that episode. She finds comfort in someone completely unexpected on the ship as well, which was lovely to play. That’s all to come.

 

Were you excited to learn about Nyx’s backstory? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Dark Matter airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on Space Channel and Syfy.