To say Dark Matter has delivered plenty of mysteries in its three seasons is a serious understatement, and the biggest questions of all circle around the past of its main characters, who began the series with their memories completely wiped. Slowly but surely we’ve unraveled bits and pieces, but, for some, the full picture remains elusive.
This Friday’s episode, aptly titled “Built, Not Born,” will finally deliver the Android (Zoie Palmer) origin story we’ve been anxiously waiting for since we first discovered that “glitch” in her programming back in Season 1. The reason she has more complex emotions than other androids and her past connection with Two (Melissa O’Neil) will all be revealed by the hour’s end.
In anticipation of this big episode, we spoke with Palmer to discuss the Android’s journey in this season so far, including how she felt about those future flashes and what makes the series so relatable. We’ll also have part two of our interview with Palmer on Monday, where we discuss the events of the episode.
The TV Junkies: You had a really strong comedic turn in “Isn’t That a Paradox?” How fun was that to shoot?
Zoie Palmer: Oh, it was great. It was fun for a lot of reasons, because we spend a lot of time—and my character spends A LOT of time—in the studio and on the ship. Finally we’re outside and just in the world, shooting on the street, and it felt completely different. It almost, for a minute, felt like a completely different show, y’know? It was a different feel, different vibe, and it’s great. Certainly, my character doesn’t interact with a lot of people. I interact with my crew for the most part and the ship. Going out and hanging in somebody’s house in the suburbs was awesome.
TTVJ: Joseph Mallozzi pointed out how he felt very strongly that he wanted the real Android to be in 2017, rather than the upgraded version.
ZP: Yeah, we did have that conversation. At first I thought, “Oh, it would’ve been cool to have the upgrade because we could have made me anybody,” but when he explained where he was coming from I kind of got it, and it really made a lot of sense. That’s the contrast between normalcy and everyday lives. These people are having a little house party, they bake cookies; the embodiment of normal life. Then you bring [the crew] down who are anything but that. They’re so far removed from normal and their life is anything but cliche, and you have this Android who speaks like she speaks and is obviously weird. I actually loved it, in the end. I thought it made a lot of sense.
TTVJ: I do think maybe the upgraded Android is a little too sassy for Fort Falls, Wisconsin.
ZP: Maybe. That’s very possible. [laughs] It depends on which one you get, though. We seem to be able to turn her into anything.
TTVJ: Another big moment for the Android this season was all those future flashes in Episode 304. How did it feel getting a sneak peek into your character’s future?
ZP: It’s great, because it gives me a sense of what might be to come. It’s sort of very similar for me as it is for the audience in that we get a little window into the possibilities and I think with androids the possibilities feel endless. The whole notion of artificial intelligence and what that could mean for the world we live in. We see it now with what we can do with computers and this notion that they could live amongst us. I think any window into the future of this android and androids in general is a little bit scary and interesting. It’s very cool.
TTVJ: The implication there was that things take a tragic turn for the crew. If you had your say over how things would turn out for the crew and the Android, what do you think would be a good ending for them?
ZP: Oh my god, I don’t know. I’m one of those people who never like things being tied up in a nice bow, especially when it comes to shows and television. With the opportunity to do anything and any kind of an ending, I think it’s way more interesting to leave things more jarring than “and they all lived happily ever after.” That’s nice too, but since you have the chance to do anything… and I don’t know if these people should all live happily ever after. They’re a rough and tumble group of people and they live on the moral edge a lot. I don’t know what the right ending is, I’m hoping that it’s not neat and tidy.
TTVJ: From the audience’s perspective, even though you said the crew are on the moral edge, they have developed this sense of family with each other. I think that’s what a lot of people have connected with the show over, maybe moreso than the sci-fi aspects.
ZP: Totally, totally. They’re in a situation that’s a little bit like being on set. We shoot the show about five or six months of the year and we’re with each other 16 hours a day, five days a week, and you can’t help but become this somewhat dysfunction family. You’re with these people that you have to be with. It’s no different for the crew of the Raza. They were in this sink or swim situation and they had to find a way to work together just for survival. In that fight for survival they have developed connections and bonds, and feelings of loyalty for one another. It is absolutely a family and I think the Android is part of that as well. She feels like she’s in the fold now, despite how different she is from now.
I think absolutely that’s what audiences are seeing, and they can relate to it. What’s interesting about that too is that because they make choices that aren’t the moral high ground, we still relate to them and we still connect to them, and that’s the genius of Joe and Paul [Mullie], the writers. They’ve figured out a way for us to like unlikable people that don’t always do the right thing, but they do the thing that makes the most sense to them in them moment and because you can understand them and they justify it, you go with it. I think really great shows do that. A great example is obviously Walter White from Breaking Bad. He’s a guy that’s doing all kinds of awful things, but we like him. They’ve done that with this show and they’ve made the characters really complex, three-dimensional, and really interesting. They’re not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but we like them. We care about them, we’re rooting for them, and I think you’re right that there’s a huge family aspect too. If one of your own family members does something not okay, you help them anything. You forgive them, you help them. Even though another person might write them off, you don’t with your family.
Have you enjoyed the Android’s storyline this season? What are your theories on her origins? Sound off in the comments below.
Dark Matter airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Syfy and Space Channel.
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.