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DARK MATTER “Isn’t That a Paradox?” Review

By on July 29, 2017

DARK MATTER -- Pictured: (l-r) Anthont Lemke as Three, Melissa O'Neil as Two -- (Photo by: Stephen Scott/Dark Matter Series 3/Syfy)

By Rachel Thomas

We open on a Raza only minutes after the conclusion of Hot Chocolate. The crew regains their consciousness together as Android says the ship was hit by an electromagnetic pulse self-initiated by the Blink Drive—a theoretical impossibility. They discover that all the stars are out of place, and Android quickly confirms that they actually traveled 600 years into the past.

Android suggests she can fix the problem, but it’ll take time. They set a course for earth—the only recorded civilization at that time—as Three grouses they might not even have flush toilets. Android gets her groove on to an odd combination of early 21st century music, and assures the team that she can get them accommodation, transportation, the works. That sounds a tad permanent to the rest of the crew, and they’re not very keen on it, but—as Android says—they may have no other choice.

Three visits Sarah to let her know the bad news. The tensions building for the past episodes spill over, not with a bang but a whimper, and oddly enough it’s Sarah who seems to pull the plug on their relationship. She needs more, she says.

On the bridge, Android locates a Blink Drive’s subspace signal…originating on earth. Two realizes someone else from the future must be on the surface as well. Android can’t pinpoint it from orbit, but she’s pretty sure it’s somewhere in Fort Falls, Wisconsin. Five realizes that if it’s the same Blink Drive, then taking it might create a paradox. (No one else is quite as bothered by this.)

DARK MATTER -- "It That A Paradox?" Episode 309 -- Pictured: (l-r) Zoie Palmer as The Android, Anthony Lemke as Three, Roger Cross as Six, Melissa O'Neil as Two, Jodelle Ferland as Five -- (Photo by: Stephen Scott/Dark Matter Series 3/Syfy)

DARK MATTER — “It That A Paradox?” Episode 309 — Pictured: (l-r) Zoie Palmer as The Android, Anthony Lemke as Three, Roger Cross as Six, Melissa O’Neil as Two, Jodelle Ferland as Five — (Photo by: Stephen Scott/Dark Matter Series 3/Syfy)

Android outfits the crew as ‘archetypes of the era’, and they 3rd Rock it up in a minivan and new house as the neighbor kids look on, suspiciously attuned to their odd new neighbors. (Slightly grown-up Stranger Things vibes, anyone?) No sooner has our crew shut the door than their neighbors, the Connors, turn up, and nosy teen Jake goes sniffing through the bedrooms. As Android aggressively commits them to a variety of social outings, Jake comes upon some futuristic guns…

The crew begins to search for the source of the signal as Android disseminates grocery lists and scanners alike. Jake and the Stranger Kids crew stalk Android—rather ineffectively—as Two is lured in by hot chocolate and puppies on the street. Three, in turn, is lured in by Two’s happiness, a stark contrast to the artificial, bitter-tinged conversation with Sarah. They share a moment in peace—and then readings start to spike.

The readings are ultimately inconclusive, and a reluctant crew (minus Android, who’s as excited as she ever is) head to the party for mingling and intelligence-gathering. Three blurts out that he and Two are hired guns (helpfully interpreted by the very generous Mr Connor as “freelancing”), and Android accidentally spills the beans on a show finale that technically hasn’t aired yet. The mundanities come to a halt when Mr Connor attempts to introduce Two and Three to a rather twitchy physics professor, who instantly drops his dish and hurries away from them.

Ah-ha. A suspect.

Android leaves the party quietly in order to run a recognition search on the Marauder to see if she can’t identify their professorial friend, and the Stranger Kids follow her on bike. From a safe distance, they gawk at the Marauder. (In fairness, who wouldn’t?) Android can’t find a match, but does find his home address.

DARK MATTER -- "Is That A Paradox?" Episode 309 -- Pictured: Roger Cross as Six -- (Photo by: Stephen Scott/Dark Matter Series 3/Syfy)

DARK MATTER — “Is That A Paradox?” Episode 309 — Pictured: Roger Cross as Six — (Photo by: Stephen Scott/Dark Matter Series 3/Syfy)

Jake and Five accidentally bond over videogames—it turns out the disaffected youth persona really suits her—as Two and Three investigate the jumpy professor’s house. All is normal until the basement (it’s always the basement), where—sure enough—they find suspiciously familiar technology…and then they’re knocked out.

Two and Three’s radio silence doesn’t go unnoticed, and Six borrows a bike so that he doesn’t have to walk the 6 km to the Marauder. Five and Jake’s gaming is interrupted by the rest of the Stranger Kids, who nervously report that Stranger Boy’s dad saw his photo of the Marauder and called the sheriff. As Six arrives at the Marauder, so do the Fort Falls PD.

Two and Three awaken in the stranger prof’s lab, very thoroughly tied up. Armed with the GA database, he demands to know who sent them, ‘Marcus Boone and Portia Lin’. They explain the situation, and he seems weirdly delighted, exclaiming that his “recall” worked—making only one working Blink Drive in the universe.

Turns out the Professor was one of the original Electus Corp researchers and—in many ways—single-handedly responsible for the Blink Drive. Realizing the danger of his position, he stole the Drive and escaped the corporation—the only one of his team to do so successfully. He plans to seek further refuge in the past, but Android and Five—and Five’s gun—quickly halt those plans.

Federal agents show up at the Marauder. As the gang (plus professor) enters crisis mode, Five realizes that since they haven’t felt the effects of a changed timeline yet, there’s still a chance. They send her back to the past for what feels like a matter of seconds. The professor lets them take the Blink Drive, and they break Six free. In her stolen time, Five tweaked the Marauder to emit a pulse that would knock the Feds out altogether…and it works.

As they prepare to leave, the Stranger Kids show up. Jake begs Five to take him with her, professing his love; Five politely puts a stop to it before he can fall much farther into the fantasy. As a token of his affection, he gives her the videogame and controller she mastered in their short acquaintance. Bags in hand, the crew returns to home. The professor slowly turns his tech off, and the Raza takes flight.

DARK MATTER -- "Is That A Paradox?" Episode 309 -- Pictured: (l-r) Anthony Lemke as Three, Melissa O'Neil as Two -- (Photo by: Stephen Scott/Dark Matter Series 3/Syfy)

DARK MATTER — “Is That A Paradox?” Episode 309 — Pictured: (l-r) Anthony Lemke as Three, Melissa O’Neil as Two — (Photo by: Stephen Scott/Dark Matter Series 3/Syfy)

Safely back in their own time, the Android announces the Drive is working flawlessly. The present timeline remains just as they left it—but a historical sweep reveals that the inventor of the FTL engine was none other than a descendent of their very own Jake Connor, long inspired by his stories of space travel. They realize that they were always meant to go back in time, and so there was not, actually, a paradox at all.

Ryo contacts Commander Neiman, who seems in the mood for a deal—and he’s not alone. (Ooh…) Back on the Raza, Five and Two play the videogame Jake gifted to her. Android is contacted by Victor, who says they need her help.

Our time in Fort Falls was short but sweet, much as it was for the Raza crew. Android’s determination in adapting to suburbia was adorable, and it was great to see the crew enjoying some time away from the corporations. The Stranger Kids threatened to pose serious problems to the crew, so it’s quite sweet that ultimately they ended up helping them. (The healing powers of videogames, everyone.) Although the professor was ultimately vital to the conclusion of the episode, it felt as though he wasn’t quite given enough time on-screen to develop; likewise, it would’ve been nice to see a bit more bonding amongst the Stranger Kids so that we’d understand why they accepted Jake’s reading of their ‘alien’ friends so readily.

Going forward…

…was that a Portia and Marcus I saw? That can’t bode well. Then again, if things were boding well, there’s a decent chance there wouldn’t be much of a show. What lies in store for Sarah and Three? Neither of them are actually satisfied with this arrangement; the unreality is too potent for Sarah and too distant for Three…and then there’s that look Sarah gave when Three was musing about his lost memories.

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