The Android’s Day
Specialized Review of Dark Matter 205: “We Voted Not To Space You”
Before I begin, here are a few notes about this review:
- There WILL be spoilers!
- This review is about Season 2, Episode 5 (7/29/16), but will include things that’ve been developing all season.
- This is a specialized review, focusing on the episode’s star character.
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WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Through the whole series, we have seen the Android (Zoie Palmer) get fleshed out, and clearly become more of an individual than just the crew’s servant. This is an especially large part in Season 2. Besides her questioning her programming, she also runs into a group of fellow androids in S2:E4. These androids have advanced, illegal tech that allows them to pass as human through better programming of human mannerisms and such. One of them, Victor, gives her the upgraded tech, and tells her to think about it. Her whole problem throughout the series is that she isn’t seemingly sure she WANTS to seem more human.
This changes in S2:E4 however, with her observing human PDA, and seeing what she could be, in the presence of Victor and the others. Then in S2:E5, she reveals the new tech to the crew, and they agree to let her install it so that she can go undercover. The key thing here is that she WANTS to go undercover and be helpful. It was her suggestion from the start, not the crew’s. When the Android is next seen on the screen, the change is overwhelming. If you didn’t know any better, you would think that she’s always been a flesh and blood human. There’s no adjustment time to these new feelings and mannerisms, such as in many other similar series and movies, such as Data’s Emotion Chip from Star Trek: TNG.
I actually was lucky enough to get to meet Anthony Lemke (Three) and Zoie Palmer (Android) two weeks ago at ShoreLeave 38. They were both incredibly kind, and were more than happy to answer my questions; As long as the answers didn’t require spoilers of course! I was able to ask Zoie about her inspiration for the role, and who, if any other android character, was her model. She told me that she did not base the Android off of any other established character. She has not seen ST:TNG, and while she knows who Data is, did not use the character as inspiration. Instead, she approached it from the perspective of having no knowledge of her character, beyond it being an android. As beloved as Data is, I think Zoie has made the right choice in not using him as a model. Her approach to the character is fresh, and this is seen in the immediate conversion to the upgraded technology. In fact, it seems more realistic to me, as a computer engineering major, that it would take effect immediately.
The Android really seems to enjoy being more human in this episode, including slightly seducing a GA guard after getting purposefully arrested by accessing a restricted area and ripping off parts of another GA officer. But at the end, her hologram copy DID come back and question her. She once again brought up the idea that maybe there was something wrong with the physical version of herself, and we are left to wonder what she will decide. I think that while the personification of an android is in many ways an overused plot, Dark Matter has handled it extremely well. It is truly a credit to the writers, directors, and Zoie. The journey hasn’t been too short, and it has proceeded very naturally, without feeling shoe-horned in. I am truly loving season 2 of Dark Matter, and can’t wait to see where they take this story! I give this episode 4 out of 5 stars!
~ Michael Daugherty