It seems Space is no longer putting up Dark Matter episodes on its website. That or they’re just being exceptionally slow, but I wasn’t willing to wait. To make a long story short, I had to download iTunes and watch it that way, having exhausted every other conceivable option.
That frustration aside, it gives me great pleasure to say that Dark Matter is back. Last year’s best surprise for sci-fi fans has returned with a new season — and honest to goodness episode titles.
Season two begins shortly after Six’s shocking betrayal at the end of season one. The crew of the Raza has been captured by the Galactic Authority, and their ship impounded.
Two, Three, and Four are thrown into the galaxy’s highest security prison, where their brutal inmates and corrupt guards soon make life a living Hell.
One, being a member of the privileged elite*, manages to get off scot-free and proceeds to begin looking into the truth behind the murder of his wife.
*(Hmm, I wonder if him being One is meant to be a play on the idea of the “one percent”? How did I not think of that before now?)
Five is caught in limbo. There’s not much legal ground to hold her, but she knows far too much for the GA to let her go free. Also, apparently her real name is Emily, which makes this the second recent sci-fi series where my favourite character has been named Emily and continues my streak of positive associations with the name.
Finally, the man formerly known as Six desperately tries to convince himself he’s done the right thing, even in spite of ever-mounting evidence to the contrary.
The thing I like about Dark Matter is how consistent it is. You can always count on it to provide an hour (well, forty-odd minutes) of pure entertainment, and “Welcome to Your New Home” is no exception. Action, suspense, mystery, emotion, character development — the season premiere has it all.
And in the finest tradition of Dark Matter, there’s one Hell of a twist at the end.
I’ve heard it said that this season will focus more on world-building and exploring the geopolitical (astropolitical?) intrigues in the Dark Matter universe, and you can already see some hints of that in the premiere. Even as the crew struggles to survive prison, there are clues of something greater at work behind the scenes.
My only complaints about this episode are incredibly minor. It seemed a bit odd to me that One didn’t seem to put any effort into helping his friends. I realize there likely wasn’t much he could do, but for all his flaws, he doesn’t strike me as the sort to give up without a fight. I could see him abandoning Four and Three to their fate, but not Two.
I also would have liked to see the characters take Six to task a little more for what he’s done. Five yelling at him was nice; I wanted to see more of that. He was pretty much the only person on the Raza who was on good terms with everyone. He is the last person anyone expected to turn coat. That should have cut the other characters deep, and we just don’t see that.
Also, more of Sally being awesome, please.
But it’s still a great episode either way.
One other thing worth noting is that “Welcome to Your New Home” has appearances by some memorable sci-fi veterans. Mike Dopud, who played Varro on Stargate: Universe, appears as a gang leader, and Trenna Keating — better known as Meh Yewll to Defiance fans — plays One’s lawyer.
Overall rating: 8.2/10 Damn, I have to wait a whole week to watch the next one.