A thought experiment: what if a suitcase full of circa 1980s Days of Our Lives plot devices crossed proton streams with a science fiction drama? You’d probably experience something like Episode 3 of Dark Matter, which comes complete with crew in-fighting, mysterious and coincidentally timed ship malfunctions, a misfit teen, and – dun, dun dun – a cliffhanger ending featuring an evil twin / clone. In other words, Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie used up a season’s worth of willing suspension of disbelief tonight.
The Android is increasingly the brains of the operation, acting as cruise director, pilot and chief engineer for the Raza, freeing the crew to bicker and plot. Three starts the fun by suggesting that as soon as they get to the space station, they sell the ship, split the proceeds and never see each other again. (Mercenary trope overload? check). This earns him KP duty, as the rest of the crew leaves the mess hall.
Five/Pixie asks Six if he wants to play a game or something. Nope. Neither does One or Four, so she mopes off via the vent shafts. She’s mysteriously drawn to a remote room, moves a container and finds a dead teenage boy.
Android explains away some of the obvious objections here: he’s been dead a while, but that section of the ship was, conveniently, cold enough to stave off decomposition. And he bled to death from a single gunshot wound to the kidney. There is no record of the boy in the data files the Android recovered, so One concludes that a current crew member killed him. Two decides they’ll jettison the body next time they drop out of FTL, since arriving at the space station with an unidentified and unexplained corpse could raise eyebrows.
Four, fed up with Three, stops his martial arts exercises long enough to reveal that he thinks it’s too soon to sell the ship – they don’t know enough about who they are. And when the time comes, he’s stealing the ship for himself.
Pixie is fixated on the dead boy: she thinks she knew him, says she was drawn to that room so she must have known something. Six tries to comfort her, and she tells him that not all of her memories are gone. He’s angry and confronts Two, who already knew this. The crew convenes and Two tells them, “I think all of our memories may have somehow been transferred into her subconscious.”
“How is that even possible?” Two asks.
“How is any of this possible?” Six replies.
(Also, wouldn’t that make her a quintuple horcrux?)
Meanwhile, Android has recovered part of a self-deleted subroutine which could indicate their memories were targeted prior to their last deep sleep/stasis. Meaning someone on the ship likely wiped all of their memories and killed the boy.
But there’s no time to discuss it further as the ship abruptly drops out of FTL. Why? Because “there’s something wrong with the ship,” Android says. The blah-blah decoupled, circuit something, which could have blown up the entire ship.
The part needing repair is outside the ship, so sabotage in the last few hours was impossible, though fooling the system to believe it detected a malfunction would be comparatively easy, according to the Android. Suspicion among crew members mounts.
Three shows Four the giant door that no one else on the crew apparently knows about. Four is unimpressed, but they do pull guns on each other. Three, who’s been *sorry-not-sorry* suggesting that Four is the culprit, backs off, but wants to know if Four’s instincts might help them open the mystery door. After holding a hand over a nearby console and squeezing his eyes tightly shut, Four says no.
One confirms that Android could tell if someone is lying based on physical tells not obvious to the humans, and lie detector tests commence in the mess hall. One, Two, Four, Five and Six pass. Three is MIA. The crew find him, frog-march him to the Android and begin the test at gunpoint. Before they can finish, Android detects another problem with the ship.
Gamma rays, the after-effects of a Type 1 supernova, are causing the issue, and the ship’s shields can only protect them for another three hours unless the part on the hull is replaced. It’s a shame they fell out of FTL in just this location. Coincidence? hmm …
Repairs are imperative; Android volunteers for the space walk. The gamma radiation outside the ship is perilous, but the suits are full-spectrum protection as long as she’s not out there “too long.” And as it’s a simple part to replace, what could go wrong?
A lot, so Android has written a program to override the ship’s computer and and execute a jump to FTL – which would be the end of Android.
Android completes the repair, but is struck and loses power. Three says jump to FTL immediately; One, Two, Five and Six rush to rescue Android. The menfolk of Team Android suit up in the two remaining space suits; Three and Four remain on the bridge, locking out the others and powering up the FTL drive. While the clock on Android ticks, Pixie hacks the bridge lock, and an armed standoff ensues.
Until Pixie tells them to focus on Four – she’s previously unloaded Three’s ammunition because she didn’t like the way Three was looking at her after she disclosed her dreams. How did she get into his quarters? The vents, of course.
Two keeps guns trained on Three and Four while One and Six retrieve Android. But they’re struck as they’re re-entering the Raza. Six and Android are unresponsive. Pixie reboots Android, who will know how to save Six, who’s heart has stopped. One manages a dozen chest compressions and gives up; fortunately Android’s zappy palm works like a defibrillator and Six is back.
Three finally completes his lie detector test – and passes. So whoever wiped the crew’s memories wiped their own as well. Android suggests that it could have been an accident. She’s reviewed the code: it’s crude, and could have performed differently than planned. Finding out who did it will be next to impossible. Their only course appears to be to move on without answers.
Two hits the gym to kick box – in a red bra and showing just the right amount of workout cleavage. Because workouts are, apparently, a lingerie event. (Someone needs to send that memo to Four and Six. Just sayin’.) One shows up to discuss events. “Anchor me,” Two says, hugging a weight and prepping for crunches. One spins conspiracy theories about Three; Two suggests his “mind would be better put to other … pursuits.”
One kisses her and she freezes. He backpedals through a hasty apology and exit.
Pixie is once again inspired to explore, and once again makes a remarkable find: a weirdly shaped box holding a data card and gun. Meanwhile, Three welds shut the vent in his quarters, Four examines the medallion from his puzzle box, and Six treats a nasty looking, possibly radiation related, wound on his upper arm.
And on a space station far, far away, a guy walks into a bar. He’s looking for the Raza; he has some “unfinished business” with someone on-board. The bartender asks his name, and we finally see his face as he – a meaner looking version of One – says, “Corso. Jace Corso.”
I’m not sure how many soap tropes are left, but we’ll find out next Friday. Whaddya say: one piece of chocolate for every soap trope in the episode?
I’ll wear yoga pants, just in case.