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DARK MATTER Review: “Wish I Could Believe You”

By on July 15, 2017

DARK MATTER -- "Wish I Could Be You" Episode 307 -- Pictured: Roger Cross as Six -- (Photo by: Stephen Scott/Dark Matter Series 3/Syfy)

By Rachel Thomas

The days have turned dark for the crew of the Raza as we open on a massacre in first-person. Hazy and disembodied, we (and Six) learn that the colony was hit in a chemical attack—and Six was the only survivor. He’s alive, but compromised—and confounded as to how he could have survived. He’s sure Traugott is to blame, likely with a secret but vital rebel summit as their end target.

Then he abruptly wakes up—seemingly safe and sound at home with a wife and kid.

And then he’s back on the Raza.

Reeling from his ‘new’ memory, Six is met with a barrage of requests for the precise coordinates of the summit—all in the name of justice, the crew says. (Hmm.) Six, principled even when incepting, insists trying to contact the rebel summit via subspace transmission is the only way.

Five, amped up and ready to jitter, suggests Six’s overt cautiousness is the result of the neurotoxin. Combined with his memory, the ghost of Ryo lurks in the air. Six collapses, flashing back to Before. A uniformed colleague urges him to quit, backing down from a huge case—the risk isn’t worth it.

When Six comes to on the Raza, Android informs him the neurotoxin is shutting down his brain. (Happy days.) She suggests she can manufacture a filtration system to remove the toxins from his blood, but it’s not sure to work. Under the circumstances, she says, is he sure he doesn’t want to give them the subspace coordinates of the rebel summit?

(An odd thing to emphasize, isn’t it?)

Another memory surges. In the past, Six watches his wife walk out after seemingly choosing his job over them. Returning to the present on the Raza, Six expresses this newfound memory to Three. Three layers a few more (uncharacteristically heavy) spreads of Guilt on top of Six’s memory sandwich, stunning Six. He flashes through his memories—some real, some maybe not.

Match cut to an unconscious Six hooked up to some sort of suspicious machinery. Six is, of course, actually in a lab of some sort, where two untrustworthy scientist types (broadly conceived) are probing him for the location of the rebel summit. Unfortunately for them, it’s not quite working right—their machinery is triggering his suppressed memories, making the scenario not quite believable.

On the real Raza, the gang appraises the situation with the real chemical attack. They learn that Six is alive, but not where he is. (Do I smell a daring rescue?—yes, but not the way you’re thinking. )

Back in the simulation, Six tries to rationalize his experiences to the fake crew. When Fake Three slips up, Six punches him—and Android—out. Realizing none of it can be real, he wakes himself up in the lab.

Held at gunpoint by the two scientists, it takes a quick second before the Raza crew bursts in to rescue him. Everyone seeming a bit more like their old selves, Six settles in again, and—

Oh. Oh, yeah. He’s still in that lab.

Our scientist buddies get a digital rap upside the head to step it up, and Six awakens in ‘his’ quarters, where Five brings him breakfast. The fake Two brings Six a transmission ‘for his eyes only’, which gets him as far as the bridge, but a memory of awakening in the hospital to his wife’s voice pulls him out again. Realizing the memories mean it still isn’t real, Six flies the fake Raza into a volcanic planet.

Increasingly aggravated by Six’s nigh-impermeable brain, one of our scientist buddies pulls him out of the simulation, only for him to wake up. Panicking, the scientist shoots Six dead—a fact he nervously reports to their commander.

…hey, has anyone seen Christopher Nolan lately?

Pull out to reveal the scientist who shot Six is actually the one unconscious, and it’s Six who’s tugging his strings. He calls Two, and soon the crew’s reunited.

In a quiet moment, Two asks Three how Sarah is. Three’s ambivalent about his Wifi Girlfriend, and it’s not hard to see why. On the other side of the coin, Six goes to reconnect with his family only to see that his wife has happily remarried.

Back on the Raza, Six—now reunited with the Raza crew for good, it seems—suggests allying with the technically-neutral Mikkei as Three and Sarah get some digital cuddles in. Three muses that Four didn’t tell him much once he regained his memories, and wonders if he could have actually done something that terrible. Sarah assures him it doesn’t matter, but the look on her face suggests otherwise.

Later, Two pays Sarah a visit, apologizing for how long it took her. Sarah’s world is limited only by her imagination, but, she says, she still lacks what she needs most—a basic ability to connect. (Tell that to Android.)

Android finishes charging, and very deliberately paces through the halls of the Raza. She checks on Five, then Six, before going to Three as he sleeps.

Slowly, deliberately, she lifts a gun between them—and then puts it down.

The plot thickens…

This felt like a very uncharacteristic episode of Dark Matter to me, but not in a bad or inorganic way. That may be partly due to the heavy Inceptioning, even though that’s far from new for the show; even so, there was a kind of briskness and transparency to the layers of reality that made it an unusually quick hour.

Although almost a bottle episode in its way, there were fine performances all around from the crew. Seeing Six adapt—and even get the upper hand—in his interior holodeck was a pleasure, even if it somewhat disjointed thematically from his previous appearances this season. Five and Three were especially good in their quasi self-parodies, and it was great to see more (if not, exactly, much) of Sarah—and a hint of what her storyline may hold.

 

Going forward…

 Android, get your gun? Chekhov’s gun in this case is pretty literal, and it’s hard not to focus on that killer final scene, especially in connection with Sarah’s squirm during her digital cuddle with Three. I have a feeling—although it’s just a feeling—that we haven’t seen the last of Six’s memories, especially considering Three’s skeletons in the closet. At this point there are mysteries in the past for Three, Five, and Six—some of which could well reappear in future seasons rather than just future episodes. There was also surprisingly little of Six’s actual work with the colonies, which I hope will turn up later on as our gang gets shuffled from the frying pan into the betrayal-and-friendship-tainted fire.

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