Reviews: Defiance, “History Rhymes” + Dark Matter, Episode Four

Defiance, “History Rhymes”:

The town of DefianceI was right — Nolan and Irisa cannot be separated. The Kaziri‘s stasis pod implanted ark tech in their brains that’s keeping them connected, and their separation wreaked havoc on their nervous systems.

As Doc Yewll struggles to save them, Nolan and Irisa are treated to a joint tour of Nolan’s memories, focusing on the horrors of the Pale Wars and his failures as a father.

It’s a good example of what makes Nolan — and his relationship with Irisa — interesting. It’s clear that Nolan genuinely loves Irisa and would do anything to keep her safe, and one cannot doubt that if he hadn’t chosen to rescue and protect her, she would have had a very short and very unpleasant life.

But the fact remains Nolan is a pretty bad parent, to put it mildly. He’s never let go of his resentment towards the Votans for what happened in the Pale Wars — and “History Rhymes” effectively illustrates why — and this colours his relationship with Irisa. Plus he’s just kind of an irresponsible screw-up in general.

On the downside, this story doesn’t have a lot in the way of strong resolution, and while it adds some extra details, it doesn’t really tell us anything the viewer didn’t already know or was likely to have surmised.

Jesse Rath as Alak Tarr in DefianceBut there is plenty of Doc Yewll to be had, and thus plenty of laughs and general awesomeness.

The side plots offer the continuation of Stahma’s affair with the Omec commander — which doesn’t really go anywhere — and Alec proving himself surprisingly badass as he bucks against the brutality of Rahm Tak.

There were also a few subtle nods to the game, such as the mention of Cooper and the Votan mechs that greatly resemble the mechs used by Dark Matter* in the game. To some extent I kind of enjoy these more subtle connections than the larger tie-ins. The big ones often feel a bit forced, while the small details reinforce the idea that this is a single world.

*(No relation to the show I’m also reviewing in this post.)

Speaking of the game, this season has been making me glad I’ve played it, because if not for Ara Shondu, I’d probably think all Castithans were just violent psychopaths at this point.

But I digress.

Battling a Dark Matter mech during a major Arkfall in DefianceMostly I’d classify “History Rhymes” as a filler episode — though an enjoyable and largely well-executed one — but the final scene was quite a shocker and promises good things to come.

Overall rating: 7.5/10

Dark Matter, episode four:

It’s shore-leave time, and as anyone who has ever watched a sci-fi show knows, that’s when things really go to Hell.

The Raza has arrives at the space station to repair and refuel, and the crew splits up. Two and Five try to make some money, Six puts in a visit to the doctor, Three and One try to offload the Raza‘s weapon stash, and Four looks for clues as to his past.

Naturally, almost all of them end meeting with misadventure. One and Three, in addition to sparring with each other, run afoul of a familiar face. Very familiar, in One’s case. Two and Five attract entirely the wrong kind of attention for their gambling skills, and Six learns the dangers of getting your DNA tested when you’re a wanted murderer.

The logo for Dark MatterBecause it’s apparently Opposite Day, only Four manages to avoid meeting with violence.

I found this episode to be both quite cliche and quite predictable. There isn’t much here that you haven’t seen before on any other sci-fi show.

That said, it’s still fairly entertaining, and the fast pace and myriad of plots kept me engaged.

Episode four also continued to provide a satisfying trickle of new clues to Dark Matter’s various mysteries.

The writers clearly want us to suspect that One is responsible for wiping the crew’s memories, but I think this is a red herring. It’s too obvious and too sudden.

If any of the crew is responsible, I’m still betting it’s Two. She has the odd combination of being very confident and take-charge, as if she has a goal in mind, but also determined not to “waste” any time uncovering the truth.

The cast of Dark MatterThat said, at this point I’m starting to wonder if any of the current crew is responsible. It’s possible something altogether more strange is going on — that ad Six saw in the waiting room was not just some random background flavour.

It does seem clear that at least some of the crew are clones, if not all of them. That then raises new questions: Who cloned them, why did they do it, and why haven’t they broken down as clones apparently do after a few days?

And in either case, Five remains a total mystery. Is she a clone as well? Is she the one who cloned them? Was she a hostage? A bystander or passenger who got caught up in all this by accident?

Overall rating: 7.1/10

2 thoughts on “Reviews: Defiance, “History Rhymes” + Dark Matter, Episode Four

  1. Defiance: Alak’s final scene was quite a surprise, and the teasers for next week hint at even more. Seems like it will be quite a ride.

    Dark Matter: I actually enjoyed how they played with the trope a bit at the end with 6 summing up the whole episode as “We docked to improve our situation, but instead we’re now worse off than when we started.”

    Spoilerish speculation follows here —

    I also believe that the ad that 6 saw in the waiting room is the key to what really happened — the bodies on the Raza are actually clones and therefore don’t have the memories from their Prime but there was a screw-up with the brain-dump to the clones so 5 got all the memories and everyone else didn’t. To get around the 3-day clone expiration that the ad and Corso mentioned, I then speculate that these are specialized clones that were prepped with language skills and also the base skillsets of the people, with only conscious memories due to be transferred in order to let them complete their mission, and due to their specialization also exempt from the Blade Runner-ish short life expectancy. Or maybe they still have a short one, just longer than a clone’s typical 3 days, perhaps.

    • Another possibility is that clones don’t degrade at all, and it’s just a lie the cloning companies put out to hand-wave the ethical implications. But really clones live indefinitely unless intentionally decommissioned.

      Something else I considered is that they’re all clones except Two. She wanted to reform her wicked ways or perhaps had a specific goal in mind, but she knew the rest of the Raza’s crew wouldn’t go for it, so she arranged a clone switcharoo so she could have access to the skills of her crew without their volatile personas.

      That doesn’t explain the lack of degradation or Five’s presence, though.

      I don’t know. Just spit-balling.

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