Sunday, June 14, 2015

Dark Matter, Season One, Episode One: Pilot

The alarm is sounding on a space ship.  A pod opens and a man wakes.  He starts running through the ship.  The next person to wake in a pod is an Asian woman. The man rushes to the control panel to try to deal with the ship and he is attacked by the woman.  A fight breaks out between the two and she easily kicks his ass, then fixes what's wrong with the ship.  Life support to the ship returns, the alarm stops and all the lights turn on. The woman explains to the man she attacked that she attacked him because he was in the way. A third man enters the area carrying two guns, demanding to know who the man and woman are.  In unison they say they don't know and ask the man holding the guns who he is and he admits that he has no idea either.

When next we see the crew, there are six of them and none of them remember who they are, with no idea how they got where they are.  The first woman says that the systems were down and she was able to repair the ship but has no idea how she knew that information.  The crew decides that since they don't know their names, they are going to name themselves in the order that they woke up in.  Two finds communication buttons.  It's One who finds the weapons and Three is excited to get a gun.  Two takes it upon herself to hand out assignments and after arming themselves, they decide to check the ship out further.

Two and Five decide to head to the bridge to check out the ship. Something is still wrong with the ship and so Two decides to give it a go.

Three is paired with Six and Three immediately starts to suggest that they should pick a leader.  Six questions if Three has anyone in mind.  Three thinks that someone should make the final decisions and suggests that if he were to become leader, he would make Six second in command.  The two men discover another craft attached to the ship and Six wonders if he knows how to fly it.  Bored with the ship, Three tells Six to knock himself out.

One is with Four and is expressing confusion about Two being able to turn the life support back on.  One explains that he did the something but got nowhere and wants to figure out what is going on.  One wonders how long they were in the pods and says that it's not like their minds have been wiped clean, otherwise he wouldn't know what a pod is or be able to express himself at all.  Four instructs One to follow him and they end up in a training room.  Four picks up a set of matching swords and starts a series of movement which prove that he is more than proficient with the weapons.

Three has made his way to a cargo bay and he finds an android locked in another pod.  Three calls out for Six to join him.  On the bridge, Two and Five get a warning that ships defensive protocols have been launched. In the bay, Six and Three fight with the android. Six uses his commuicator to tell the bridge that they are under attack and need help.  One and Four race to the scene, as Six continues to get his but kicked.  Four arrives and manages to hold is own briefly and is only saved by One cutting off the android's hand, before being knocked to the ground.  Two and Five have managed to override the security protocol and the Android stops in her tracks. 

In medical bay, Three hands out food to the others.  Two explains that what they are dealing with is an android and that the nanites have almost fixed her broken parts.  Two has re-established the Android in its basic form, causing it to cease being a threat to them.  Two argues that the Android could be useful because it is linked directly with the ship and therefore she will be able to ensure a better repair of the ship.  One is resistant to the idea of waking the android up, so Two argues that the android might have some answers for them.  One grabs a weapon and so do the rest of the crew except for Five and Two starts up the Android.  One asks the Android her name and why she attacked them.  It seems that not only does the Android not have a name, it has no memory of attacking them. Two explains that the reboot must have wiped it's memory.  Two orders the android to establish a link with the ships computer and access any and all data related to the passengers on the ship.  The android responds that there's no such data.  One asks for information on the crew and the android again responds, "no such data exists." Two is shocked and suggests that someone must have deliberately deleted that information.

One, Three and Four are together searching the ship again. Three points out that they don't know for a fact that everyone has lost their memory and anyone could be lying about that. It's not long before Three is accusing One because One was the first person to be awake and could have done something while the others were sleeping.  One calls the allegations ridiculous and Four moves on rather than speak in One's defense.  Three comes across sleeping quarters and jumps on the bed. 

Two walks with the android and asks her to run a full diagnostic and restore all systems. The android closes her eyes to work remotely but Two requests to be personally shown.  The android sits at a terminal and get to work.  She finds a subspace transmission that's a distress signal.

Five and Six are in what looks like medical.  Six is looking for something to cure a headache and Five lists off all the causes of a headace and does a spiel on human biology as she works to assemble something.  When she adds how far blood will spray after the carotid is severed it drives up the creepy factor times ten. After a little more fumbling, Five manages to fix the machine she was working on.

Four has returned to the lockers where the communication badges were found.  He goes through the lockers one by one feeling for false walls.  Hidden in the back of a wall he finds a wooden box. 

At the bridge, the android reports that the ship had taken some damage from a meteorite and multiple systems are down including weapons.  Two tells the Android that getting weapons on line to be their next priority.  The Android starts to do so automatically and Two has to repeat her order to be shown.  The alarm goes off and it indicates another ship is headed right towards them and has launched missiles.  The Android starts a countdown and asks about performing counter measures.  The missiles just miss the ship but the Android says that time to impact is now forty seconds.  The Android suggests more evasive maneuvers but warns that it will over tax the artificial gravity. The Android performs the counter measures and the ship does indeed lose gravity temporarily.  The crew tumbles to the ground and then The Android takes the ship to FTL (some kind of hyperdrive)

Five regains her consciousness. It seems she hurt herself when she fell after the gravity was turned back on.  All of the crew are in medical and Three snarks about the Android being responsible for the attack on a ship.  After a small rant by Three, the Android reveals that she has  started to  recover and salvage some data and has found the location of the ships original destination. The Android informs the crew that they will be arriving in less than 12 hours.

Four sits in his room staring at the box.  With use of muscle memory he works on the combination to open the box.

Six sits with Five in the medical bay and she cannot remember falling.  Five has also remembered a door in a dark place underneath - a big metal door.  It's the same door that Three is currently approaching.  Five tells six that she always keeps it locked, even as on the other level, Three is trying to get the door open. Five says that there are secrets hidden there.  A frustrated Three uses his gun to try to blast the door but gets blown back for his trouble.

From the bridge, Two orders everyone to pick a room and get some rest because they will be at their destination in ten hours.  A frustrated One lies down and finds a necklace between his pillows.  Three wakes up to find that the door is still very much closed.  Two goes to One's room and he clearly thinks it might be a booty call but she informs him that they are about to head down to the planet.

On the ship, Two reports that they tried communicating with whoever is on the planet there but got no response. Two orders the rest of the crew to fly safe and One and Three take the opportunity to check out her ass as she heads back to the main ship.  With the Android at the helm, the craft leaves the ship's orbit carrying Four, One, Three, Six and the Android.  After leaving the ship heavily armed, the crew finds themselves surrounded by armed men.  One tries to diffuse the situation saying that they didn't come there to hurt anyone or get hurt and suggests lowering of weapons.  Three is resistant but Four makes sure he complies.

With tensions a little less hostile, Three explains to the residents of the planet that their ship was attacked by raiders. The crew is told that they are welcome to re-supply and that they must leave because a corporation wants to take over the planet.  They are warned that they need to leave before the enforcers of the multicorps arrive.  Apparently, no one has ever survived an encounter with the Raza. 

The crew are getting supplies and question why the people won't leave if the Raza is coming. They are told that they have sent for a shipment of arms with the hope of standing their ground against the Raza.  One talks to one of the settlers and notices that she is wearing a necklace very similar to the one he found.  He's told that it represents freedom from oppression and that it would be what the people who delivered the arms would wear to prove that they were with the inhabitants. One then continues packing supplies.

On the ship, One says that this isn't right and suggests that they were meant to help these people and this is why they have a cargo hold filled with weapons.  Three however isn't interested in fighting the Raza.  Six suggests talking it out more back on the ship.

On the main ship, Five is working on a consol that the android said was blown.  It takes her only a few moments to fix it.  She explains to Two that what she is doing is like Four with his swords and Two with the computers.  For Five, it's all about wires and circuits and they make sense to her.  Five says that she sees things in her head.  While sleeping, Five had a dream about walking on the beach with her little brother who got lost and when she found him, Five brought him back to the palace.  Five explains that her father was murdered and then the assassins came for her, so she carved out the eyes of the assassins and left them for her step mother to find. Two is shocked by this and Five says that none of it was her dream but it was somebody's.  So I suppose that means that Five can pick up on the dreams of others.

The crew are assembled and they argue about what to do with the weapons and whether or not to help the miners.  Two suggests that they sell the weapons, Three is only concerned with the fact that the weapons belong to them now and One and Six are on the side of helping the miners. Four however says that they are already dead because if their enemies are half as powerful as they believe, the miners are already dead.  Two calls for a vote. and unsurprisingly, Two wants to take the weapons and leave. One wants to deliver the guns and Six and Five vote to helping those people.  An argument ensues as to whether Five gets to vote because of her age and Two votes against Five voting.  When no one agrees, Two votes to set half the crates of weapons aside and the other half go down to the surface. 

One and Four are loading up the ship as Three watches.  Two and and Five head back to the control room and discover that the android has recovered a small data cache.  Two calls for everyone to return to the bridge.  The rest of the crew report to the bridge.  The android starts to play the data and we learn that Three is actually Marcus Boone and is wanted for murder, assault, piracy and kidnapping.  Six is Griffin Jones wanted for murder, assault and smuggling. One is Jace Corso and he is wanted for murder, assault, kidnapping, trafficking, and theft.  Four is Ryo Tetsudo and he is wanted for murder, assault, and piracy. Two is Portia Lin and she is wanted for murder, assault, arson, theft, and piracy.  Two tells the crew that the Raza is the name of this ship and they are not there to help the miners but to kill them.

So far there's nothing about this that stands out to me.  There are three characters of colour who make up 50% of the cast but there are problems with the portrayal already. Four naturally is martial arts expert and he playing the role of the inscrutable Asian to the hilt.  Six has no cultural markers beyond his skin and has already been nicknamed Tiny by Three.  Really? A big Black man with the nickname Tiny?  Then there's two.  Naturally she is good with computers and is capable of kicking One's ass.  All of them to date fulfill some kind of racial stereotype. This is only the pilot so Dark Matter will hopefully take the time to develop these characters better.

It's also worth noting that so far all the characters are straight.

I didn't appreciate that Two is already being sexualised. This does not bode well since other than the Android, there are only two female characters.  Speaking of the Android, it's a really different role for Zoie Palmer from Lauren in Lost Girl.  She did a really good job of appearing robotic and loved watching her kick ass for a change.  I wonder if Palmer's role will change over the time the way Androids seem to in space dramas?

I know that the big reveal that they were the Raza was meant to be a surprise but given their skill set the moment the Raza were mentioned there was never any doubt who they actually were, despite One's helpful instincts.  I appreciate the effort but the whole thing fall rather flat to me.