Reviews: Dark Matter, “Being Better Is so Much Harder” and “It Doesn’t Have to Be Like This”

Dark Matter is back!

A promotional image for Dark Matter season threeTo my eminent joy, the best sci-fi action-adventure on TV today has returned with a two-part premiere, and as always, Dark Matter is hitting the ground running.

“Being Better Is so Much Harder” (season premiere):

Season three picks up immediately after the end of season two with the crew of the Raza scattered following their shocking betrayal by Ryo — for he is Four no longer. Six and Two cling to life in a crippled Marauder as their life support systems fail. Three crashes on a barren world alongside the Galactic Authority officer who apprehended him. Five makes it back to the Raza only to come under attack by the forces of Ferrous Corp.

And all across the galaxy, the first shots of corporate war are fired.

It wouldn’t be Dark Matter without plenty of action, and I do love that Five and the android are continuing to kick all of the ass. I’m already getting the impression Five’s huge leap into the spotlight in season two wasn’t a fluke.

But by far what impressed me the most about this episode is the much quieter scenes focusing on Two and Six.

Two has always been this larger than life, superhuman character. But finally now she’s reached her breaking point. She blames herself for Nyx’s death, and she’s hit the end of her rope. And damn, it’s powerful.

Five being badass. Again.Six really shines, too. I kinda don’t want to get into too much detail for risk of spoiling more than I already have, but while this isn’t necessarily the best episode of Dark Matter to date, it could be the one with the most depth and meaning.

I am a little mixed on Nyx’s death. I was just starting to like her, and it feels a bit like a waste of potential.

On the other hand, it does wonders for ratcheting up the intensity of the conflict with Ryo. This is a “crossing the Rubicon” moment. Ryo may not have been the one holding the blade, but he is responsible for her death all the same. I don’t think that’s something the crew can forgive, nor should they.

I’m calling it now: This arc will end with Ryo having a change of heart, but too late. He’ll end up making some sacrifice for his former friends, regaining his honour at the cost of his life. I can’t seem him being welcomed back into the fold after what he’s done, but I don’t think they’ll entirely ignore the influence his time as Four had on him.

This being sci-fi, it is possible that we haven’t seen the last of Nyx, of course. Especially given that rather cryptic final scene…

My one real complaint about “Being Better Is so Much Harder” is that Three’s plot didn’t add much. They needed to give him something to do, but his story is not particularly compelling or illuminating. It’s just there.

Two and Three in Dark Matter season threeStill, a solid start to season three.

Also, glad we’re still seeing Torri Higginson’s character. I like her.

Overall rating: 8/10

“It Doesn’t Have to Be Like This”:

Perhaps not surprisingly, Dark Matter is wasting no time in escalating the conflict between Ryo and his former comrades.

Using her stolen memories, Five learns where Ryo is holding the blink drive, and the Raza goes to reclaim it as the first part of their plan to defeat him. While Two, Three, and Six storm the proverbial castle, contending with Ryo’s defenses and the errant laws of physics alike, Five suffers side-effects from looking into the past one too many times.

This is a very standard episode of Dark Matter. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, it has good character moments, it has some interesting revelations, and it advances the plot a bit.

This show is nothing if not consistent.

“It Doesn’t Have to Be Like This” isn’t as special as the premiere, but it also offers very little cause for complaint.

The cast of Dark MatterI am glad to see yet more evidence that Five is going to continue playing a major role. I guess I should stop being surprised, but it’s just so rare for a character like her to get so much attention and so many opportunities to play the hero, and it’s so damn refreshing.

Now, her latest revelation is a bit soap opera for my taste, but if anyone can make a plot like this work, it’s Jodelle Ferland.

Overall rating: 7.4/10

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