Verdict: A- / 5
After last season’s stunning cliffhanger, the second season of Dark Matter (based on the series from Dark Horse) hits the ground running in more ways than one.
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he story so far is that the crew of the spaceship Raza awoke from suspended animation with no memories of who they are, what their relationships are or what job they’re supposed to be doing. Blank slates, they name themselves in order of when they awoke: One learned that he’s a billionaire posing as a con artist to avenge his wife’s death; Two is a genetically engineered warrior; Three, a mercenary who may have been framed for murder; Four, a prince who is on the run for a crime he didn’t commit; Five is a young computer hacker; and Six, a rebel caught in the middle of an interstellar war, now revealed to be the traitor in their midst.
This season of Dark Matter starts with the team being split up. Two, Three and Four have been taken to prison, locked up without trial by the authorities for some unknown reason. It doesn’t take long for Two to be placed in solitary confinement due to her aggressive behaviour. Three, in his typical fashion, tries to take the easy way out by injuring himself so he can spend more time in the medical unit. Meanwhile, Four nearly starts a riot and is informed by one of the factions of convicts as to how the prison works.
Meanwhile, Five languishes in detention while her future is being decided, and One is almost instantly cleared of charges due to his wealth and connections. Yet despite returning to a life of luxury, One’s quest to find his wife’s killer leads him on a new path and he realizes he’s in a prison of his own. As for Six, now revealed to be a government agent, more details of his past emerge and he learns that he may be on the wrong side once again.
And then there’s Android. She’s refusing to share her classified files with the authorities, and has installed security measures to delete them if there’s any attempt to remove them by force. Her sentience is becoming increasingly evident. But can our heroes escape and reunite? If they can, it’s going to take time… and that’s assuming they all live past this first episode.
This may not be the most explosive way to start the season, but it lays the groundwork smoothly and never feels bogged down by the ever-expanding plotlines. The new Prison Break-style scenario presented here works, the acting is still solid and the action smooth. There’s a lot of potential for the season ahead, and many mysteries still to be answered. For a smart sci-fi show, it skillfully manages to sidestep an abundance of technobabble and keep the attention on the characters.
Once again it delivers for pop culture fans too, with Stargate‘s Amanda Tapping directing this episode with her usual trademark efficiency. Franka Potente – star of the cult German film Run Lola Run – makes a special guest appearance too, and should be sticking around for a little while longer.
Dark Matter is quick off the starting blocks, and if it keeps this pace up for the rest of the season then it’ll be well worth watching.