Title (Season 2, Episode 13): But First, We Save the Galaxy
Director: Ron Murphy
Writers: Created and Written by Joseph Mallozzi, and Paul Mullie.
Starring: Melissa O’Neil, Anthony Lemke, Alex Mallari Jr., Jodelle Ferland, Roger Cross, Zoie Palmer, Melanie Liburd, Mike Doped, and more.
Episode length: 42 minutes
Its a matter of lives and deaths for the crew of the Raza in a season finale stuffed with a plethora of cliffhangers.
The season finale was a real barnstormer of an episode, dense with events and developments designed to whet our appetites for season three. It incorporated all of the elements and characters we have met along the way since the series began last year. The episode also continued the show’s recent trend of including some nice exterior shots of the space station, and other stuff like the Marauder landing. It nice to know the show’s budget is being spent well in ways that make the show more enjoyable by adding some context to the all of the stuff happening inside.
The finale left us with a real abundance of cliff hangers to drive us nuts until the show returns for next year’s summer tv season. It was a great episode full of the kind of stuff I love about this series. The drama, action, adventure, mystery and surprises were all there, with the addition of a love triangle that could prove fatal for a member of the Raza’s crew. I also enjoyed the fact that this episode helped clear up for me and helped flesh out the universe it takes place in, by clarifying the idea a little better how it’s social order is structured as being a militaristic oligarchy.
Here’s a recap, laced with comments (*warning, spoilers follow*)
First We Save The Galaxy starts out with Commander Truffaut (Torri Higginson), in a sleek, modern room, having a discussion with a fellow Mikkei corporate executive about an upcoming meeting of the corporate council on a space station designated as DL7. they mention how it will be tense because there will be a proposal to admit three new members, which their competition, the Ferrous Corporation will oppose. Based on their conversation, it sounded like this is business as usual regarding Ferrous, and its not made clear why this time around should be different, but who am I to quibble? It is what it is, and that’s how the story goes.
They are suddenly interrupted by the arrival of a messenger delivering the urgent announcement that a ship has suddenly appeared over the corporate headquarters where they are currently located. its one o those cool looking futuristic skyscrapers we have seen before, nicely done. Truffaut take’s a look up through a nearby skylight and calms her acquaintance, who thinks they may be under attack. Truffaut has recognized the ship as the Raza, and feels confident they are not in danger, and she’s right.
Shortly after, she is joined by Two and Four who are there to discuss the same council meeting Truffaut was discussing before they arrived. based on their visit into the future in the alternate universe they visited, Two warns her there’s the good possibility someone is going to attack the meeting with a bomb and start a war. Truffaut thinks there’s little chance of that happening because of the security in place surrounding the location of the meeting. Security that includes a network of satellites capable of creating a shield around the place that disrupts the FTL drive of anyone trying to get close enough to attack it, reinforced by a fleet of GA ships as added security.
Back on the Raza, a major development takes place at this point, when Ann contacts Nyx and tells her she has a subspace call which turns out to be Three/Ishida Ryo who apologizes for his behavior when they last saw each other. he then proceeds to drop the bomb of actually proposing to her and says he wants her to be his empress and rule Zairon at his side, Holy mackerel! What he doesn’t realize is Misaki is listening in on what he’s saying. and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out she had ambitions for herself being Ryo/Three’s bride and the position of empress as her own. Nix doesn’t give him an answer right away, and the matter is left hanging in the air.
Two manages to convince Truffault to allow them to blink in and look around for them selves, and after ironing things out, its decided Five will go along with Truffaut in disguise to check the place out. It turns out Five cleans up pretty good, with a blonde wig and more conventional corporate style attire, she looks a lot like a pop music star or something or the sort. In fact, as the episode develops, she is joined on the space station by Two, Five, and Six who also get dressed up a bit, and look a lot less casual in clothes more suitable to the occasion.
Before Five leaves, Ann expresses concern for her welfare, and says she thinks the up grade software may be having some negative effects on her, because she is feeling worried and also feeling guilt which are both new experiences for her, because she can’t go instead and take any risk upon herself instead of Five. She is still changing in ways, and experiencing emotions she isn’t used to.
Once on the space station Five mingles with Truffaut and she meets the representative of the Ferrous corporation, Commander Nieman (David Richmond-Peck), who is less than cordial and wants to talk to Truffaut in private right away, leaving Five with his assistant Arrian (Kyle Mac), who unlike his boss is quite friendly and invites her to have a drink, but Five declines and goes about being a spy to find out what she can, and plugs in a device into the station’s systems that allows the Raza to tap into the station’s cameras and sensors.
Returning back to the social area she finds Arrian is still there, he seems to have taken a shine to Five, and has noticed her comings and goings. As they chat, she spots Three/Ryo as he arrives in an official capacity as a representative of the League of Nonaligned Planets, what ever that means, and since he’s now the emperor of Zairon, he has diplomatic immunity despite still being a wanted criminal.
His arrival is also noticed by our old friend Galactic Authority Inspector Kierken, who is apparently heading up the security for the council meeting. It strikes me as odd that the crew of the Raza would not know to expect him to be there and that they would face the danger of being arrested by him if they are seen. Also Truffaut could have warned them, but apparently did not.
After Five sees Three she nervously exits, but not before he spots her too. She starts snooping around the place again, behind the scenes, when she is suddenly busted by two soldiers of Zairon. it seems Three sent them to check up on her. They carry ceremonial daggers and begin treating her in a threatening manner, and when they discover she has a communicator they accuse her of being a spy. Apparently communicators are banned, but ceremonial daggers are okay.
At that moment Arrian arrives and the two soldiers warn him off and tell him to go away, but instead he takes them on unarmed and kicks their butts in seconds. He’s super fast and super strong. Now where have we seen abilities like that before? Yes it turns out he’s an android, with the same sort of upgrade as Ann. He was given it by Nieman, he says so he could pass as his bodyguard, but that’s not the whole truth.
The council meets and votes on the admission of the new members to the council, and as predicted Nieman is against it and encourages the other members to vote the same. The measure to admit them passes and Nieman is obviously not happy about the results and calls for a recess. As he leaves he gives Arrian a significant look, and at that point I knew where the bomb was, Five noticed it too.
Ann has calculated that any bomb on the place would likely have some stuff called Terrium as part of its makeup and so Five, Six and Two get dressed up and armed with devices that sense Terrium in the vicinity, start wandering around the place on the lookout for any signs of the stuff.
Its not long before Six finds himself surrounded by GA soldiers, and Kierken himself is there as they arrest him and throw him in a cell. While this is happening Two has sneaked into Three’s quarters and they have a conversation. He wants the Blink Drive, and seems to not care if a war starts since his planet is already at war, and the drive would give him an advantage. He offers to give the Raza safe harbor while his scientists get to examine the drive and learn how to replicate it. Two is concerned the tech could fall into the wrong hands, and though she doesn’t say it, there is the implication she thinks Ryo is not trustworthy enough to not abuse the power it would confer, and turns him down.
After two leaves his quarters she keeps tabs of Three by following him around, and she sees him confer with one of his soldiers and when she sees the soldier go into an area where he shouldn’t be, she attempts to follow him, but is prevented from doing so by the arrival of a security guard who tells her she is in the wrong place and should go away.
Four spots Five and surprises her by grabbing her from behind, and she makes his pay for it withe few good hits before she realizes who it is, he’s for leaving, but she convinces him to give her a few more minutes, because she thinks she may know where the bomb is, so they part ways.
Soon after Four finds himself surrounded like Six was, but this time its not the GA, its Nieman and some Ferrous Corporation goons who beat the crap out of Four and leave him a bleeding mess on the floor. It seems they are still pissed off about the mining colony incident from way back at the beginning of the series in season one.
Five returns to the council room, where she notices the Ferrous guys are not there, but Arrian is, and when he sees her he leaves, but Five follows him, and when she catches up she begins to question him about why the others left him behind. Armed with one of the bomb detectors, she knows now what I suspected, that Arrian is the bomb.
She wants to stop it, but he tells her there’s no way to he can control or prevent it from going off. Ironically, the upgrade Neiman gave him that shielded his composition, and allowed him to sneak in as a human, is also what gives him feelings for Five, to care about others, and ultimately, for the plan to bomb the place to fail. He takes the only way out he can think of, and entering a nearby airlock he spaces himself moments before the bomb explodes.
Meanwhile Three arrives on the Raza, he utters a verbal code that shuts Ann down, and goes to steal the Blink Drive leaving Misaki to stand watch for the return of the others. Nyx, the only crew member left on the ship has the misfortune to encounter Misaki, who instead of using non lethal force to prevent any interference, as she was instructed to do, decides to engage Nyx in a knife fight, because she’s jealous and wants to kill her so she can have Ryo to herself.
They fight, and Nyx because of her seer powers, actually wins, but gets a small wound form Misaki’s blade which is poisoned. Misaki leaves her lying on the deck of the ship, meets Ryo, and they leave with the Blink Drive. After he leaves Ryo utters a command through a communicator that wakes up Ann, who reports to Two what has happened and soon after finds Nyx lying on the deck of the ship.
Naturally the explosion outside causes a stir inside the station,, and Kierken puts the place on lockdown. Two tries to contact the others, but gets him instead, because he helped himself to Six’s communicator. and she convinces him there may still be a different threat to the station in the form of another attack.
Kierken tracks down the soldier Ryo left behind who he finds fiddling with the controls of the stuff that powers the place, and he orders him to stop, when the soldier doesn’t comply with his orders, Kierken shoots him, but the soldier pushes one last button as he falls, which makes the the system overload (which we know because of a handy flashing signs that says so)
This is followed by a massive explosion with a fireball that envelops Kieren where he stands, followed by other powerful explosion around the station. One explosion causes the forcefield holding Six prisoner to fail, and he begins to run. Four is awakened by the explosions, still on the floor where he was beaten, and Two is shown going down a corridor which explodes as she passes.
Five runs into Truffaut in the resulting chaos, who grabs her and take her with her on her way to escape, but its not shown whether they are safe either. Things looks dire for the crew of the Raza, and everyone else unlucky enough to be on space station DL7. Th events match what happened in the alternate universe, and it looks like war will be imminent. Whew!
Like I said a very eventful episode, almost overstuffed with events that will decided the fate of the crew of the entire universe the show takes place in. The episode had more than a little corn in the content of its narrative, and like a lot of other shows it sometimes telegraphs what’s coming next, so that surprises are not as surprising as they could be if you’re paying attention, but still it was a very entertaining and exciting finale for my favorite summer series. that’s right, I am officially crowning Dark matter as my favorite summer series this time around. It had some good competition, like Braindead, and Mr Robot, which still hasn’t aired its finale. Killjoys had a good finale but overall it still didn’t do it for me like the other shows mentioned here.
While its true Dark matter wins partially by virtue of being good old fashioned outer space adventure, it also had what i felt was better writing, and great storytelling that really got me engaged in the characters and what happened to them. Good stuff from Mallozzi, Mullie, and the other folks over at Syfy that make this great series possible.
I am saddened by the idea we have to wait until next June or so to find out what happens next to the Raza and her crew. Who survives, who doesn’t and how, and the war that may have been started, and the zillion other things I want to know about what the show has in store for us next time.
The fact that the new regular tv season is beginning will go a long way to help me get through the next few months while i am forced to wait for of this fun and entertaining series to return. Tough work, but somebody’s got to do it. Happy viewing.