3D map of the large-scale distribution of dark matter, reconstructed from measurements of weak gravitational lensing with the Hubble Space Telescope.

Dark Matter – Episode 1 (S1E1)

Dark Matter first appeared on my radar during the run up to Shore Leave 38 when Zoie Palmer (the Android) and Anthony Lemke (Three) were announced as guests. The show’s description, about a spaceship crew waking up with no recollection of their identities struck me as potentially interesting, but it also reminded me of an element from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
In Mostly Harmless – The fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhikers Trilogy, Douglas Adams introduces a race known as “the Grebulons”. Much like the characters in Dark Matter, the Grebulons don’t know who they are, or what their mission might be, so they settle on Rupert (the 10th planet of our solar system) and observe our culture by watching TV.
Unlike the Grebulons however, the Dark Matter characters want to find out who they are. Starting by exploring the ship, and once they learn their original destination, they visit the planet in search of answers, and along the way are attacked, without any known provocation, by the crew of another ship.
It’s an interesting set up, and I’ll probably continue watching.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
During the episode, the android attempts to recover data about the ship’s crew and mission and at the end she succeeds leading to the big reveal: They’re all criminals. Instead of saving the people on the planet, they seem to have been sent to kill them.
This does seem to make sense.
The damage to the ship could have been caused by an attack trying to stop them. Likewise, the ship that attacked them might have been the attackers come back to finish the job.
This also fits with Three’s tendency to run around with guns all the time, looking for an excuse to shoot someone. (He kinda reminds me of Jayne Cobb, but with fewer redeeming characteristics.)
But, not everything fits. Maybe it’s a problem with the writing, but I’m betting it’s deliberate. Consider:
Why would a band of mercenaries keep a collection of what’s essentially their wanted posters? (OK, some sort of perverse pride, but it still seems odd.) Could this be a trick to confuse them?
If they’re the legitimate crew of this ship, why would the “security measure” set the android to attack them?
And none of this explains the group amnesia. The android’s memory loss is explained fairly well, but for nobody else to know who they are… that doesn’t make a lot of sense as result of the initial attack. (Unless they really are Grebulons and the hard drive containing their memories was destroyed by the meteorite.)
One other item I couldn’t help notice – the android recovered “rap sheets” for everyone except Five. What’s up with her?
Lots of mysteries. I’ll keep watching.
(Cover photo credit: NASA, ESA and R. Massey (California Institute of Technology via Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International)

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