Well, I got my wish. I said I wanted more focus on the main arcs of the season, and here it is. “Hot Chocolate” puts galactic politics and the conflict with Ryo front and centre.
Led by Six, the crew of the Raza attempts to mediate the fractious delegates of various independent worlds, but when one of them turns up dead, suspicion is everywhere. At the same time, the Raza‘s systems begin failing, and soon the forces of Zairon are closing in.
I am running out of ways to say “Dark Matter is really fun and exciting,” but for whatever it’s worth, this episode is fun and exciting.
It has many of the things I love about Dark Matter. It’s got action, reversals, and twists. It’s got Six being the voice of reason when everything else seems to be falling apart. It’s got Five playing the hero. Even Sarah gets to help out; it seems my suspicions of her taking a sinister turn were unfounded (at least for now…).
However, my favourite part of “Hot Chocolate” by far was the fight between Two and Ryo. It may seem shallow to praise a simple fight sequence, but then, it’s not just a simple fight sequence.
Firstly, the choreography and cinematography are fantastic. It’s a beautiful sequence to watch. Two peerless fighters at the top of their game.
And then you factor in what it means within the context of the story, what it means to the characters. Once, they were friends, companions. Now, they’re bitter enemies. You feel Two’s rage and grief at Ryo’s betrayal, her pain at Nyx’s loss and all else Ryo has cost them. The tension between these characters has been building all season, and it just erupts.
I do have two complaints about this episode. Neither is huge, but they are worth mentioning.
One is that it’s a little disappointing Sally the android doesn’t get to do much here. There was the potential here for her to have a real moment of triumph, but she’s basically just powerless and reliant on the crew to rescue her instead. Her character deserves better.
The other is that, entertaining as it was, this episode doesn’t really advance the plot that much. I really loved getting a meaty confrontation with Ryo finally, but in the end things haven’t changed much. There’s the usual cliff-hanger ending, but it had nothing to do with the rest of the episode.
It was an enjoyable episode, but not an important one.
Overall rating: 7.8/10