Review: Dark Matter, “The Dwarf Star Conspiracy” + TSW TV Series?

Do you remember back in season two when I was joking how if you squinted you could sort of see the Dark Matter universe as a far-future version of The Secret World?

A promotional image for Dark Matter season threeIt’s a bit less of a joke now. I think Dark Matter just walked into empty.

Spurred by one of Suki/Sally/whatever’s recovered memories, Two leads the Raza crew to a secret Dwarf Star facility. Something about the place sets Three on edge immediately, but Two forges ahead, and in the depths of the facility, the terrible truth of Dwarf Star’s plans is at last revealed.

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Rook Dwarf Star wgah’nagl fhtagn.

This is by any measure a strong episode. It’s suspenseful, and it’s exciting, and it provides all the fun of a Dwarf Star episode without any Wil Wheaton (sorry, he’s just not good at playing a villain).

That said, this is definitely one of those episodes that’s most interesting not for what it is, but for what it may lead to. I’ve been developing a growing suspicion for a while now that Dwarf Star is the true Big Bad and meta arc of Dark Matter, and this certainly doesn’t dissuade me from that idea. It’s hard to imagine Zairon or the corporations, bad as they are, ever being as scary as this.

I’ve long enjoyed Dark Matter’s character-driven stories, but I’m not one to ever turn down a good fight to save the universe.

Two and Three in Dark Matter season threeThis is also the second episode in a row that has featured Three as an important and even interesting part of the story. Has the cast’s last remaining weak link finally been shored up?

Overall rating: 8.5/10 Dwarf Stars collide with the mind. Please adjust the pressure. I’m not comfortable.

In other news…

It seems Dark Matter might not be our only option for some Filthy TV, though. Massively has just reported on the utterly and completely unexpected news that Johnny Depp wants to make a TV series based on The Secret World.

Yes, really.

Now, I’m not going to get too excited. Lots of ideas get optioned for movies or TV and then never make it out of development hell. I don’t think the odds of this series actually making it to air are very good.

That said, if it does, obviously I’ll watch the hell out of it. It’d be worth watching just to see Jeffrey Combs reprise his role as Hayden Montag. Maybe this could even be a more worthy end to the story than Legends.

The real question is, what actress is crazy enough to do Lilith justice? She’s probably too big a name for them to afford, but I think Charlize Theron could do well.

Review: Dark Matter, “Built, not Born”

In its early days, Dark Matter was focused on slowly revealing the dark histories of the Raza crew before their memory wipe, but by now we’ve learned the backstories for the whole crew, except one.

A promotional image for Dark Matter season threeUntil now.

The android I’ve been calling Sally in lieu of another name receives a call for help from Victor, the rebel android she connected with back in season two. At her direction, the Raza crew rescues him and his companions, and he points the way to a mysterious sanctuary for free-willed androids.

Once they arrive, it’s time for a massive info-dump. This is the long awaited origin story for Sally the android, but there’s far more to it than that. We also get some truly startling revelations about Two’s past that show a completely different side of the woman she was before she was Two, and those past events also have some powerful implications for Three in the present.

“Built, not Born” is a fascinating and powerful episode. I’ve said many times that the greatest strength of Dark Matter is its characters, and this episode capitalizes on that resource brilliantly.

I loved seeing the android grapple with the truth of her identity, and how she truly has become an equal and valued member of the crew. It’s genuinely touching.

I’m also glad to see that there was more to the woman Two used to be than violence and self-interest, and I think it throws her whole character into a new light. The person she is now seems like a more natural evolution in this context. She makes sense.

Sally no longer?I think it’s very interesting that the androids’ backstory is now tied into what I am increasingly suspecting will be the true meta plot of Dark Matter as a series. That could go interesting places in the future.

I even liked Three’s story! It was great. I’ve never enjoyed a Three plot anywhere near this much.

There isn’t much action this time around, but there’s still plenty of humour even with so much heavy stuff going on, and honestly it’s all so good I don’t even miss the fisticuffs and gunplay.

Season three has so far been what I will generously call inconsistent, but it pleases me to say that Dark Matter’s worst ever episode has been followed by one of its best ever episodes.

You have to look pretty hard to find anything to criticize here, but I will say I find it a bit strange that Two’s blood is suddenly a panacea. Why did no one think of that before now?

Also, this is probably the first time I’ve ever had anything bad to say about Five — and it will probably be the last time, too — but I don’t like how she blew up on Chase. I understand and even admire her feelings, but he was only trying to help, and really, it’s not right for Five to be making decisions for her friend. As he said, it would’ve been up to her. In trying to defend her rights as an autonomous person, Five ended up undermining those very same rights.

Two and Victor in the Dark Matter episode "Built, not Born"But those are some pretty tiny nits to pick in otherwise excellent episode.

Overall rating: 8.9/10

I’m not sure how to feel about us finally having a real name for the android. I wonder if the the crew will actually use it, or stick to calling her the android just as they’ve kept their numerical monikers. And if they don’t use her name, should I keep calling her Sally? I don’t mind the new name, but she does really look like a Sally…