Dark Matter – Season 2 Episode 1
Episode 14 – Welcome to Your New Home
So, Joseph Mallozzi does indeed come through on his promises for Dark Matter season 2 with a traumatic finish to its opening episode ‘Welcome to Your New Home’. We were told to look out for it putting the Dark in Dark Matter, that no-one is safe and that there will be a lot more world building. So far I’m definitely happy with the last two and I’d say there’s been a fair ol’ stab at the first one too.
For myself I was also interested in seeing what would replace the hidden traitor plotline of the first season and whether the amnesia plotline had any more mileage. With Six now revealed as the traitor, there was always going to be a large space to fill. With that mystery resolved, would there be a new mystery established or is Dark Matter to head in a different direction now? And then, have the characters still got anything to learn about their pasts? Have they made their decisions now on who they are to become?
Certainly Six is right there in the centre of that debate – he still had some pretty nasty lessons to learn here. Five learns her real identity but I wonder if being an abandoned child growing up in a hard life can really mean much to her? Does it really change anything? She’s nothing to go back to? One seemed to have the biggest connection to that old plotline.
I couldn’t write ‘One is dead’ any earlier than this. It is the headline though – “no-one is safe” after all. I was suckered right in. One’s plotline seemed to have the greatest combined connection to the old amnesia plotline and the new evil-corporation plotline. He seemed to have just as much trouble as Five dealing with Six’s betrayal. He was getting further into working out the corruption and lies sitting behind the corporate screens. And then there was Hrothgar’s necklace – the symbol of freedom in the face of oppression given to the miners of Episodes One and Two. When it comes back you start thinking things like ‘maybe Hrothgar’s not dead’, ‘maybe there’s another resistance out there’, ‘maybe this is going to be the new plot?’
But turns out Jace Corso and bang! Many bangs. A sufficient number that Mallozzi has confirmed the worst for those of us who liked the character One. So it was upsetting but in the right way: it meant something to me; it leaves a noticeable hole.
Now, on later reflection I wonder how it all fits? I hope the show isn’t throwing Jace into a plotline just because it causes a strong reaction. Working with the assumption – very possibly wrong – that it’s One’s own company CoreLactic that’s had him killed then why would they use Jace for the hit? It’s all a bit perfectly circular isn’t it? You pretend to be me so then I kill you and maybe pretend to be you pretending to be me for a while? But then I remember that it was well established already that Three was the suspect in the murder of One’s wife and Three and Corso were booked to start working together already from before the season 1 starts, so perhaps there is something there already?
I bring it up because I read in the TV Junkies interview with Mallozzi his answer to the question about how much he had planned already before writing season 2. He claims much of it was all laid out and I think I believe him, somewhat because of the plot developments we’ve seen but mostly because of the structure of Episode Fourteen.
Did you notice that though a lot of new plot needs setting up for a new season with a new main theme that the opener of season 2 did not seemed rushed? I think that’s testament to the strength of the character plots that we’ve already seen built. Now, there are a couple of points I want to come back on this but for the most part what we see is the extension of plots we’ve already encountered.
Three is blatantly a patsy for CoreLactic, I’m guessing, having some part in the murder of Derrick Moss’s wife. One’s investigation into it builds on from his plot with Three last season. The two were never friends but they’ve built a strange relationship that One was able to use as a foundation for his enquiries.
Six’s betrayal and reasoning is fully explained. He’s a good cop whose been twice screwed by the company he works for. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me; but I’ve been there: I’ve talked myself going back to something through some argument of denial only to take that second hit. Smaller situation, smaller consequence, definitely but in principle a common mistake. And it further explains a scene in Episode Eight to me that I had a little trouble understanding: I accepted that Six couldn’t handle being part of bombing Hyadum-12 and that killing so many people could cause anyone to freak out but it bothered me when he shot that last guy – the guy who was just as horrified that something so bad had been done in his name? That extra level of horror for Six though, is that he was a police officer, bound to protect those people, so he really, really lost it.
So, upshot is I’m a believer and I trust that this new plot is going to take us somewhere good. I think we’re pretty much set up too, even after just one episode, which is quite efficient.
Six has access to One’s investigation – glad that information is going to live on in the plot, following on from season 1 being so good at having true mysteries not just ones caused by a failure of characters to communicate. He’s also been exposed to the corporate plots that seem to have the Raza crew caught in legal limbo. At least a couple of good ways in then to a corporate conspiracy that needs brought down, of course combined with a survival plot that gives the characters that all-important reason to come back together and work as a group – difficult as that may be for some of them.
But this does bring me to those points I wanted to come back to: Fine there’s a shiny new plot but where does everyone fit into it?
I’m very much into my ideological battles and Anders vs. Six was shaping up to be a good one. Anders says “this is their game and we’re just their soldiers. We don’t push back”. Was this just a jumping off point for Six though, setting him on the path to rebellion? I would have quite liked to have seen them argue it out a bit more: what is for the best? Should you fight corruption from the inside? Is creating more chaos the right thing to do? We might always have come down on the side of Six but Anders is there in the same situation making the same decision…Thing is, there might not be enough time for such things.
The Android gets a tough choice this episode but then she’s gone. We’re promised she’s more to give but time she could have had this episode has gone to new characters.
Five hasn’t forgiven Six for the betrayal. There was a slap and some blame thrown around. Again though, I really wanted to see more. Their connection was such an important part of season 1. The shock at seeing Six walk out with the Galactic Authority at the end of Episode Thirteen was all the worse for knowing how badly Five was going to take it. But now, are a few harsh words all that Five is going to throw out? I know she still cares about Six. I think she would have been quite gentle with him when she discovered the GA had betrayed Six just as badly as he had the Raza crew but I think the power of that softness would have magnified into something really meaningful if they had properly fallen out with some massive argument first. Perhaps again, time was lost to the new characters?
About those new guys then. Devon hasn’t had much time on screen yet. I expect he’ll be more involved in later episodes, so we’ll leave him for now, bringing us to Nyx. So, we know she can go toe-to-toe with a bioengineered lifeform and hold her own. We know she hates men… but I think that’s it for now though? Don’t get me wrong, her fight with Two was good and the show has done a great job of establishing her power level but at the moment she’s defined entirely by Two. At the moment, Nyx seems to be more of a sister to Two than a defined person by herself and I think the reason this really sticks in my mind is that the first season defined seven new characters so well I’ve come to accept a very high bar.
Still, maybe Nyx is another manufactured human, sent in by Dwarf Star Technologies to help Two escape. The old man in the bed presumably still needs his memory transplant into Two’s body, so maybe Dwarf Star needs to get her out at any cost.
What are your bets for the politics of the corporations? Dwarf Star Tech seems like the best bet for trying to push back the crew’s trial but what about Traugott? Maybe they want to know how much the crew found out about the secret white-hole tech research? Of course there’s CoreLactic. Maybe they have too many loose ends and need the crew killed rather than imprisoned? I’m hopeful for a plot that involves two or three of the corps all trying something and the Raza crew playing each against one the other. Maybe Dwarf Star has to try and keep the crew safe from Traugott, all whilst CoreLactic sticks it’s nose in to the detriment of all? Just for the fun, I’m going to call CoreLactic ordered the crew’s death and Dwarf Star has to come to their aid.
I really enjoyed this opener to season 2. The new plot has replaced the old with smooth efficiency and the existing characters are… mostly just as strong as they always have been.
I think a little lack of time may have diluted Five’s reaction to Six’s betrayal but there’s plenty of time yet. Also, I think I’d like to see Three man up a little. Clearly Nyx is too much to take in a fight but “she’s mean”? Come on Three! And not at least swinging at the first three guys doesn’t seem like the guy we first met who opens conversations with a gun?
That all said, One’s new plot build up to a brutally quick finish lured me right in and knocked me right over. Fair play and certainly ‘kneel before’ to that piece of writing.