Four bails on the Raza crew to rendezvous with his step-brother, who is now emperor in Four’s place, on Episode 9 of Syfy’s Dark Matter. The crew struggles with issues of trust, but rally to rescue Four, who finds his true family. Hint: it’s not from the royal court.
We pick up where we left off last episode, with the crew returning to the ship from their restocking mission on the space station. They’ve acquired everything from blah blah something regenerators and welding goggles – practical and fashionable, according to Pixie – to real meat and whiskey. But where are the seeds for hydroponics? Four was supposed to get those, and he’s nowhere to be found. A quick search turns up his comm, which he discarded on the bridge; his sword is missing, too.
Two says they should go back for him; Six argues against it. One wants an explanation; Three says Four doesn’t owe the crew anything. Pixie says he seemed happy on the Raza; Three says he was harder to read than the book Four gave him – Charlotte’s Web.
One snaps that it’s a classic; “The pig’s a wimp, the spider’s a know-it-all,” Three mutters.
One and Five fill in the rest of the crew on what they know about Four: he’s a prince accused of killing his father, the emperor. He didn’t do it, Five notes – and she’s in a position to know. Why didn’t they share this with everyone sooner? It’s Four’s story to tell, Pixie says; Three invites anyone in the room to share anything they’ve been holding back. Two does not take the opening.
Predictably, Four’s step-brother doesn’t show up on the agreed-on dodgy mining planet. Instead, he’s met by his old fencing instructor – and an ambush. Put down your weapons, Grasshopper, er, Four, the fencing master and general commands. Four does, but still manages to grab them and kill the entire ambush party. But the instructor wounds him in the sword fight that follows. Four honorably allows himself to be arrested, then the instructor stitches the gash in Four’s leg.
In light of this new information, Three says they should go back for Four. You know, because Friendship. Or because if he regains the throne, he’d be a powerful friend.
One finds Six drowning his sorrows about the massacre and his inadvertent part in it. Will Six try to go back? Six is bitter: the general who tricked him isn’t who he hates most. He hates himself for being played. One presses the point. Six says he’ll go after him again eventually, but for now, he needs someone else to hate besides himself.
Android contacted the space station authority and discovered a passenger meeting Four’s description boarded a merchant freighter earlier in the day. The freighter dropped off Four at a mining colony on a lawless, rugged planet. They chart a course to go after him.
One has a chip on his shoulder toward Three because of what he’s learned (but not divulged) about their shared pasts, in which One is heir to a multicorp fortune and Three allegedly killed One’s wife. As the crew discusses going after Four, One throws a punch at Three and they brawl. Afterward, One admits to Two that he knows why he came aboard the Raza: to avenge the death of his wife by killing Three.
Four and his sensei fill in the backstory: Sensei saw Four outside the emperor’s chamber earlier in the evening, drunk and angry. Four tells him he found his father dead; stepmonster had already slit his throat. Sensei doesn’t seem surprised, but doesn’t alter course, either. He’s going to take Four back to face certain execution. It’s his duty. Four accuses him of being a co-conspirator, a traitor to the throne.
Pixie wants Six to teach her how to fight. Six refuses, probably because she’s wearing a sweater with little hearts on it. Or maybe because he doesn’t want her to be like the rest of them. She wants to be able to defend herself, but he still says no.
Back on the planet, a ragtag band of locals surround Four and Sensei, and they’d like those fancy boots, thank you very much. Four and his instructor kill them all, but Sensei is shot. Still, he pulls a gun on Four, who submits to arrest, then treats his wound. They discuss Four’s step-brother’s dishonesty, the conspiracy that left Four accused of his father’s murder. His teacher wants to know why Four hasn’t played the “I saved your life” card – Four once took the blame for his teacher’s biggest battlefield error, which led to the largest defeat in the country’s history.
A search party reaches them, and though Sensei has acknowledged that he owes Four his life, he has the party arrest him. Fortunately, the Raza crew followed them, and won’t settle for anything less than taking Four back to the ship. A short shootout later, the imperial search party is dead, and Sensei parts from Four with a handshake and a promise to arrest him if he gets another chance. Four asks him to deliver a message to his step-brother, then runs him through with a sword. So yeah, honor. Also, no one noticed One taking aim at Three during the firefight, as he wound up saving Three’s life instead of taking it.
Back on the ship, Six knocks on a vent and apologizes to Five for telling her she’s not one of the crew. She pokes her head out and he coaxes her to come out because they’re close to a planet with waterfalls and beaches.
One and Three have a whiskey together and decide who’s one up on the other. One wonders what kind of person they’ve brought back on board with them. He’s made a lot of noise about some people being born bad – Three, Four – which seems like some serious foreshadowing. Get ready for a “born bad” One …
Four thanks Two for the rescue. Two says they went back for him because they’re a team. Four says he’ll someday take his throne, with their help, and he’ll remember his “true” family after he deals with the old one.
Villainous Empress is fine with Sensei’s death when her son announces it. He’s heartbroken because he was the one who agreed to meet Four. It should have been him; VE is happy it wasn’t. Weak, wimpy step-bro tells her she made him a liar. She says she made him an emperor.
Back on the Raza, Four ceremonially practices with his sword in the training room as Three finishes reading Charlotte’s Web, tears streaming. The other four play cards in the mess hall – until a catastrophic rumble interrupts the game.
On the bridge, Android informs them that three Ferrous Corp destroyers dropped out of FTL, and the concussion damaged the Raza’s FTL drives. They’re surrounded, and not going anywhere.
(Note to series runners: this episode’s lame dialog strayed perilously close to the “one chocolate for every soap trope” problem. I mean, “I don’t like surprises,” “I take full responsibility for my actions,” “I made you an emperor,” and worse? Seriously: don’t make me wear my yoga pants …)