Mind control! The enemy within! Murder, treachery... politics! Oh, plus that Ryo guy. Dark Matter Season 3 Episode 8 featured the crew's former friend as the primary antagonist, but the story really didn't shine except for a few key moments.
From the over-used but under-explained sci-fi/fantasy tropes to the less-than-shocking whodunnit twist at the end, "Hot Chocolate" unfortunately felt more boring than exciting.
Did they ever explain exactly how the Android came to be hacked? When did Zairon ever get the opportunity? I can't imagine the Android walks around with open, unsecured network connections.
Not to mention the utterly insane amount of bandwidth an active hack like that would take! Let's just call it 'magic' and be done with it, because that's pretty much how the episode treated it.
For the most part, the Android's hacking was simply a plot device, the AI version of a mind control plot. Though it did directly pave the way for the episode's best moment:
Hacked Android: You’re a troublesome girl, aren’t you?
Five: I want my friend back.
Hacked Android: Your friend? You’re referring to this android?
Five: I’m taking her back.
Hacked Android: And how are you going to do that, little one?
Five: ‘Hot chocolate.’ [The Android shuts down and reboots.]
I did appreciate the continuity with Five being both properly paranoid and prepared when the situation arose. Remember when she took all the bullets out of Three's guns in Dark Matter Season 1?
Speaking of Three...
Three: If you’re headed to the mess hall, I’d reconsider. Debate club’s in session.
Five: How’s it going in there?
Three: Oh, about as well as you’d expect, which is somewhere between hopeless and terrible.
One of the big complaints about the Star Wars prequels is that it gets bogged down in politics, people standing around talking at each other, trade treaties, and the like.
This episode introduced viewers to some of the previously-mentioned leaders of the would-be independent colonies, who then spent most of the episode bickering and being generally useless.
Any bets on whether Quill (the woman who at least seemed to listen to Six) is the murderer? (Does it even matter?)
Beyond the whole mess being boring to watch (even super-nice-guy Six was at the end of his patience in-universe), there was a major disconnect from the previous episode, when Six adamantly refused to go to the meeting.
Furthermore, Ferrous Corp's whole interrogation of Six intended to extract the location of the secret meeting. So how, pray tell, did they discover its location to attack? And if they knew, why bother interrogating Six?
This again smacked of plot device; the plot required that the representatives end up on the Raza, so there they were.
I confess to feeling some sympathy for Alex Mallari, Jr., who plays Ryo. That does not stop me from wanting to press the 'fast forward' button whenever Ryo pops up on screen.
Is it just me, or did Ryo totally forget about the crew of the Raza supposedly stealing one of his desperately-needed cruisers in Dark Matter Season 3 Episode 7? Did someone explain about their evil doppelgangers doing the deed?
He's apparently suffering either convenient amnesia or uncharacteristic forgiveness. This is the guy who has been going around executing people who cross him.
Then again, he did appear to be on something of a nostalgia tour.
The fight scene between Two and Ryo was entertaining and dynamic, but really the only reason Two didn't win boiled down to, once more, "because the plot said so."
Please, Ryo, just go away. Or at least do something vaguely interesting.
"Hot Chocolate" featured several shining moments, but most of it just bogged down. The delegates were important people from their colonies, but we only just met them.
The Android was hacked, but they never sufficiently answered how, nor did they give any indication that they would attempt to prevent such a thing from happening in the future.
Little thought was given to the potential consequences to the Android of the hack, either. She described it as an uncomfortable experience, but that was pretty much it. Uh... okay?
Ryo simply let the Raza go on their merry way, despite having reinforcements which were literally on the other side of the airlock. (Seriously: burn through!)
This episode could have been so much more.
As a coda, let's talk briefly about Sarah. She interacted with the real world, using a command line interface to communicate, albeit simply, with Five. (Too bad she decided to play the pronoun game, instead of simply writing "Ryo's coming!")
The frustrating aspect of this story, once again, is that I simply can't see it ending well. I'm still waiting for her to go completely psycho, possess the Android (or the Raza!), and go on a killing spree or something.
Be sure to stop by our Dark Matter quotes page for a rundown on some of the notable lines from this episode.
Remember, you can always watch Dark Matter online! And stay tuned for Dark Matter Season 3 Episode 9, "Isn't That a Paradox," which is scheduled to air on Friday, July 28, 2017 at 9/8c on Syfy Channel.
What did you think of "Hot Chocolate"? Did you find the episode exciting or boring? Did you enjoy the reunion(ish) between the crew of the Raza and Ryo? Let us know in the comments section below!