Dark Matter – Season 2 Episode 11
“Episode 24 – Wish I’d Spaced You When I Had the Chance”
Dark Matter continues to develop the relationship between Five and Three in ‘Wish I’d Spaced You When I Had the Chance’. If Two and Six are now Five’s adopted parents then perhaps Three is her big brother. They’ve certainly come on from initial dislike and literally stealing each other’s stuff to a realisation that they both care for each other and obligatory practical jokes.
It’s become quite the interesting pairing. It seemed a little odd at first and I was unsure where it was going when Dark Matter first started to develop it but now in hindsight it seems so clear. The crew are really taking on a family dynamic. Although what this means for Four is anyone’s to say. That slightly odd uncle who’s never really fit in because he’s secretly a deposed royal with a need for vengeance…?
Could your heart have gone out more to Three and Five this episode though? A more charming set of dialogue would be difficult to find as back and forth they have to take care of each other. And nicely balanced on both sides I think. Clearly Three offers the big-brother style physical protection, especially with his Terminator-like entrance to the Danker hideout. Shame this likeness to a robot didn’t extend to being able to count to five but it was a pressured situation I suppose.
He was so clever with the moving of the bear traps though. I’d thought he was going to make a gung-ho rescue attempt at the start, leading to both him and Five needing rescued by the rest of the crew. Possibly I leant towards this thought because he’s now the comedy character of the group.
This was something I’d feared slightly as far back as ‘Welcome to Your New Home’. When Three called Nyx “mean” it seemed a little weak, hard-nosed mercenary as he was. However, since that time his jokes have usually been more – let’s say it in nice words – smart alec and not detracting from his person or image. He likes a quip and has the timing for it, so fair play.
It was also good to see that Five’s fight training has come on too. She wasn’t great at it but then it’s not her forte – it’s nicely consistent then that she’s not helpless but equally hasn’t become a killing machine overnight. Further this all weaves in well with one of the… themes perhaps, of the episode that begins with a trader commenting to Three that “your friend didn’t look like a kid to me”.
Ultimately this could have evolved into a ‘strong, confident woman’ moment where Five unnecessarily saves the day. As it is the plot stays within reality whilst still showing that Five is capable and grown up beyond the nickname of ‘kid’ that Three uses with her. She isn’t helpless and proves that to one of her captors with a spoon to the ear. Equally there’s no reason to believe she’s yet capable of taking on a squad of trained soldiers, so when it comes to a desperate moment she is going to have to run away.
In that conversation though, where Three does persuade her to go, she showed insight and wisdom – grown up characteristics. In fact she shows such beforehand as well. Three’s ego won’t let him slow down, even when injured, but Five won’t succumb to pride and claims a need to stop herself. Then when Three tries to frighten her away she sees through his fake cruelty and is moved by it.
I also absolutely love this piece of writing because Three’s ploy isn’t explained to us the audience. There’s a trust here that we can work out what he’s trying to do. Perhaps this seems like a nothing point but I’ve watched many shows where the script feels it has to explicitly acknowledge later that the character didn’t really mean it. This just isn’t necessary and it makes me feel like the writers think their audience is stupid.
Hats off to the whole piece then, as I’d say we’ve been treated to balanced discussion around the need to look after your family members vs. acknowledging their capabilities. From Three’s perspective, his argument is well supported by his comment that there’s a difference between “underestimating someone and not wanting them to get hurt” – his intervention was needed. And most importantly, the reason they both survived was because of an equal contribution – albeit in different ways – from both of them.
Their conversation has a further Dark-Matter-style bonus when it gives us more evidence that the characters actually have conversations with each other after their adventures. I particularly liked Five’s reveal last episode that showed that they hadn’t forgotten Alt-Android’s comment about owing Alt-Portia a debt. Better still, the crew had clearly been considering what implications that might have. Here in ‘Wish I’d Spaced You When I Had the Chance’ we learn that Four told his shipmates about Inspector Kierken. I mean, knowledge sharing between characters? It’s like a revelation. Yet it’s also a Dark Matter staple: no false mysteries just to create plot for one episode, trusting to the strength of the plot and mysteries that are already there.
Inspector Kierken keeps his hard-line stance against criminals this episode and further shows his Sherlock-like ability to read a crime scene. This time though, he’s ditched the beard, upon which fact I’ll flippantly remark: is this in reflection of a change in his ideology concerning the corporations? I think I’ve just not gotten a bead on Kierken yet. I’d thought he was going to be the deluded, honourable soldier type but nope, he happily breaks his word with Three.
But perhaps though, did Four’s speech change Kierken’s mind somehow? Has he reflected on the GA’s support of the corporations? Perhaps the GA are changing their stance even? When Kierken happily speaks out against the corporations in front of his men you have to assume they’re either very loyal to him and his personal goals or that the GA has actively decided to hamstring Mikkei and Traugott. It may well have to play politics now to really keep order in the face of a war when previously it thought it could stay out of the whole affair.
It was definitely pleasing to see Kierken. Ideally I think I’d like to have seen a little more of him earlier, especially as his pursuit of the Raza would have given real power to Five’s claim back in ‘We Voted Not to Space You’ that they were being hounded by pursuers. Either way, he’s clearly a strong adversary for the crew, easily tracking them down, dogged in pursuit and clever enough to play a battle of wits under pressure.
The only thing I was left to wonder with him really, was why he was held up by Three’s argument about wanting to keep the clone memories. Surely that camera could have beamed the recording of the whole ‘interview’ to some safe location that real-Kierken could have watched back at leisure? He really didn’t need to preserve his clone’s life at all?
Perhaps a minor issue, especially in light of the implications this use of clones brought by itself. When they first appeared I thought “ooh, a special-forces clone troop on demand, anywhere you need it, that’s a great idea”. Now, it turned out that they were just a normal police force but in fact this is very interesting in what it means for the background and it’s completely consistent with Two’s comments on the TV broadcast: The GA’s resources are stretched very thin.
The GA can’t afford to put police on every planet in the galaxy but clone tech lets them make police bodies anywhere when a situation calls for it. That’s just how I’d expect authorities to act in a future where corporate efficiency rules all. And it matches perfectly with the complete lack of money shown on worlds distant from the corporate centre, where people have to resort to bear traps and the like because no-one’s going to bother shipping expensive tech out to people who can’t pay premium for it.
Although, if you can have hover cameras locally, why not tracking devices with the same facial recognition software? Again though, perhaps that’s more expensive than camera tech? And perhaps facial recognition can’t be everywhere in these backwater places the Raza crew visits. I need to consider this because it bothers me that the Raza crew aren’t setting off alerts everywhere they show their face. I find I can accept it if I think that the galaxy is very large and the crew find it an acceptable risk going to frontier planets that probably can’t afford great security. We can then assume that they’ve been to many such places now and that it does come down to playing the odds against someone having enough money and time to have seen your image on a TV screen.
A final high point I’d like to raise from this episode comes from Six’s short scenes. We’ve not seen a huge amount of him this season but I was really glad there was time this episode for a little more of his ideology. Earlier on in the season I’d hoped to get another argument between him and Anders about the state of the galaxy. It felt like a shame not to get it but then here it comes between Two and Six, raising three or four interesting points in one conversation. Does change ever really happen in a corporate-controlled system? Very relevant to us today perhaps? Is completely destroying the current power going too far because that leaves a chaos in its wake that would lead to many innocent deaths? And would it be right for a single force – the Raza with its blink drive – to police the whole galaxy and decide what’s right and wrong? Turns out Six would really like to be a cop again and Two seemed almost convinced.
I really enjoyed seeing the Three and Five show, as it’s now really built into something charming. Combine this with a little philosophy about corporate domination of our politics and I’m always going to be a happy viewer.
Possibly I’m not totally sure about Kierken yet. Maybe if I’d seen a little more of him before now? But I think he will develop into a force against the Raza that I’ll like as much as I did Shaddick at the start of the season. Kierken’s words do, either way, raise some very interesting possibilities for the GA’s intervention in the current politics though, which is very promising for future plot that will see Four considering becoming Ryo again.
- Three and Five’s conversations throughout – as well written as they were delivered
- a realisation that Three’s role as comedy character doesn’t detract from him at all
- Five offering as much to the flight from the GA as Three did in rescuing her – a very balanced character set
- a very forward-thinking plot that balanced both the genders and ages of Three and Five without pandering to some faux social politics – both were simply equal without the need for the script to make a big deal of it
- clone police on demand that fit the background so well
- not having seen Kierken more before now
- having facial recognition on hovering recording devices but not on security cameras and such