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DARK MATTER Review: “All the Time in the World”

By on June 24, 2017

DARK MATTER -- "All the Time In the World" Episode 304 -- Pictured: Anthony Lemke as Three -- (Photo by: Stephen Scott/Dark Matter Series 3/Syfy)

By Rachel Thomas

It’s a time of change on the Raza. At the end of ‘Welcome to the Revolution’, we said farewell to Six as he embarked on a new adventure leading a colony on the long road to independence. At the same time, we welcomed two new—very promising—crew members, Adrian and Solara.

We kick off with Three having an…interesting…morning. Bottle of whiskey in one hand and undone nightrobe (stolen from Tabor) clinging to his shoulders, he narrates the events around him about three seconds before they happen.

That’s right—he’s doing the Time Loop Dance.

For everyone else, though, it’s a normal morning, and as far as they can tell, Three’s gone off his rocker. Unsurprisingly, no one’s really in Three’s boat when he tries to express the fun of the Time Loop Dance to them. Android gets it as least in theory, but Two’s skeptical. Some things never change.

Three struggles to come up with ways to convince the crew he’s living in a time loop, giving us gems like “I have a notoriously high center of gravity” out of Adrian (#makessenseincontext) and several beautiful conversations with Android, Two, and Solara. Three’s chosen method of “rebooting”—starting the day over—usually involves getting punched (or occasionally kicked) in the face by Solara.

In desperation, Three resorts to taking a stimulant—theorizing it’ll help him stay awake until “tomorrow”. Android proposes a more mundane explanation—that he’s struggling to cope with the revelation of Sarah’s digital consciousness living in the computer—but he’s having none of it.

Hyped up from the stimulant, Three pesters Adrian (the only person on board who can’t knock him out, in his words). In a hilarious montage (that shows Adrian sleeping in progressively unlikely positions), Three get loopier and loopier until he accomplishes his goal: he stays awake into “tomorrow”…and promptly sits up in his bed. (Sorry, buddy.)

More desperate still, Three asks Android to teach him something he’d never know in a million years. (“No science. One million years, not ten million years.”) Android begins teaching him French, for which he has very little aptitude. Fortunately, they have all the time in the world—giving us one of the greatest scenes of the season. (It involves what I believe is technically a ‘space ukulele’.)

Despite not being able to remember Android’s scientific explanation of the FTL engines’ failure in English, he’s perfectly good at French—and that’s what convinces Two and Android for good.

Inspired by Android to do things differently the next time the day resets, Three reunites—briefly and painfully—with Sarah. He’s unable to process it, and runs from the chamber, straight into the very unloving arms of Ash, an assassin sent courtesy of Four.

Turns out getting shot in the head only makes Three reset, too, which is good for us and the show—and when he wakes up, he’s not in a gaming mood. He rallies the crew and infodumps what he knows, and shouldn’t know.

Fortunately people are more receptive to the idea this go around—maybe because Three Knows Things, including that Adrian snuck off a space station in a dress and heels (or, as Adrian corrects, “sensible pumps”. They set off for the station again—hoping to capture this Ash character and find out if Four can track them. And, you know, escape the time loop.

Three returns to Sarah. They get a little closer this time, but as Sarah assures Three she’s still the woman he knew, they drop out of FTL and prepare to dock. As the team gets into positions and Adrian accidentally beats himself up, something starts to lurk in the shadows—even though there had been no activity by any of the airlocks.

Just then Ash manifests, demonstrating a terrifying ability to walk through walls. He gets Three in a headlock, demanding to know where the Blink Drive is. Adrian smashes him over the head with what looks like a space clock. Three wakes up in bed, resetting…and we cut to Adrian, who’s now able to remember the time loop as well.

Adrian and Three dub the space clock a ‘time loopy thing’, and try to catch up the gang on what’s happening (again). Turns out Adrian got the space clock from Tabor’s closet, and Tabor repoed it from some guy’s lab. (Let’s play a game: spot the bad decision.)

Unfortunately Adrian wasn’t the only one pulled in the loop—Ash, Four’s assassin, apparently is now suffering the same fate. The crew takes him captive pretty easily, and they attempt to interrogate him about his phasing tech.

The underwear-clad Adrian then phases through the floor. (It’s a pretty good trick.) Solara quickly intercepts him, and he gets Han Solo’d into the wall.

Meanwhile, Android thinks she’s figured out the device and attempts to send herself five seconds into the past. Instead, she flashes back—and forward—and all over. Shedding tears, being sliced-and-diced by Electus Corp researchers, and finally to an apparent starless future at what an aged Five calls the end of time. Five implores Android to destroy the device when she jumps again, claiming it’ll solve the temporal anomaly, and drops some pretty tantalizing phrases—double deception, the Acceleration, fall of the House of Ishida, and so many things she can’t risk telling her. For the good of the galaxy.

Most humans would protest. Android is better than most humans.

She destroys the device, ending the loop—although she doesn’t report what the future Five told her. Adrian heads off to bed, and Three reunites romantically with Sarah for the first time.

Meanwhile on Xairon, Four muses that he’s lost contact with Ash, and presumes that he made contact with the Raza but failed to retrieve the Blink Drive. (It’s a definite strokes-beard-with-hand-menacingly moment.) He has hopes of going further with the aid of a mysterious woman hooked up to some glowing machinery, which has never boded ill for anyone, ever, in the history of sci-fi.

This episode was a surprisingly light in tone after the comparatively heavy, dark start of the season. Time loop stories are risky—there’s always a chance the audience will lose patience with it, but there’s no sign of that here. Three’s dialogue frequently lampshades the conventions of the genre, stocking the first 3/4 of the episode with solid laughs (Gems like “I don’t have a lot of time! Well, actually, that’s not true. I have a lot of time. But I would PREFER…” and “I’ve been possessed by an alien! We’ve all met alternate reality versions of ourselves! This? Not that big of a stretch.” pepper the scenes). It’s a much lighter take on a time loop story, and that makes it easy to digest. The shift in focus from Three to Android at the climax is a bit odd structurally, but there’s a lot of poignancy in the burden of knowledge Android now has to bear. In many ways, this is as close to a happy ending as the crew of the Raza can get: not much better than normal, but not much worse, either.

(For the record, I’m pretty sure that, as of when Android smashed the device, there was still half of Ash stuck in the wall, Han Solo style…)

 

Going forward…

 I’m always a little worried when ‘breather’ episodes pop up (not in terms of plot, but tone), as it typically means something devastating is about to happen. Speaking of devastating…this was a pretty Four-light episode, so he’s likely to reappear, probably with his peculiar glowing friend. Future!Five’s litany of Things She Can’t Tell Android About was tantalizing, and may bode tragically for the crew of the Raza. Our first real taste of Adrian and Solara on the Raza definitely did not disappoint, either. Solara’s hyper-competence makes her a clear match with the Raza, and her straight-man persona balances Adrian beautifully. It’s tempting to think Android’s glimpses of the future set up an upcoming arc. If future episodes keep up the trajectory established so far, we’re set for an incredible season.

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