Episode 3 of Dark Matter continued the mystery that was laid out in the first two episodes of the series. It answered a lot of questions the viewers might have had and moved the story forward. The episode at times breaks a little away from the book here, but it mostly works for the show. Spoilers ahead.

Jason2

In Episode 3, we see more of the other Jason Dessen, Jason2, as he tries to fit into the life with Daniela and Charlie. Here is the biggest change from the book, as we see Jason2 researching Jason’s life through Facebook stalking and watching old home videos. Jason2 had been following Jason for a whole year before taking over, and this really helps show the viewer how much he’s done to take over. That being said, the parts of Jason2 drag a little compared to the rest of the episode.

The biggest mystery of Dark Matter so far was how Jason2 was able to get into Jason’s world. In Episode 3, the answer was finally revealed. Jason learns about the Box, and finally puts together the pieces for how it works with the help of Ryan and Leighton Vance. The explanation of how the Box works is scientific enough to be believable, while also not sounding so outrageous that the viewer rolls their eyes.

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Leighton Vance

Leighton shines in the episode. Dayo Okeniyi nails the character. The Head of Velocity Labs has sunk billions into the project, and plays that part brilliantly. He and the company, including head psychologist Amanda Lucas played by Alice Braga, have covered up the disappearance of Jason2 and 3 other employees who have gone into the Box.

Leighton’s motives for using the Box is better explained here than in the book. He wants to find an alternate reality that has cured Cancer or world hunger, and bring that back to Jason2’s world. A good motive, if he can be believed. He will do whatever it takes to learn how to use the Box, with an implied second death of Ryan Holder to keep the secret of what they are doing at Velocity from getting out.

Dark Matter’s Character Work

Both Joel Edgerton and Jimmi Simpson deliver compelling performances as different versions of the same character. However, Jason seems to have got over the death of Daniela2 rather quickly. It’s technically not his wife, but seeing an alternate version of your wife being shot in front of your face can’t have been that easy to deal with. It’ll be interesting to see how Joel continues his performances as we continue moving through the story.

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The internal monologue of Jason from the novel is noticeably missing from the show though. It’s one of the best parts of the book, as you get to see Jason processing new information even when being thrown into a new world. The show hasn’t managed to match it yet, even if it comes close when Jason is explaining his understanding of the box to Amanda and Ryan.

What’s in the Box?

Throughout the episode, the groundwork is laid showing that Amanda doesn’t like what Leighton is doing, and it ends with her helping Jason escape. Their exit from Velocity is blocked by both Leighton and psychopathic security guard Dawn, and so the two must escape into the Box. The episode ends with Jason and Amanda being in the Box, which has turned into an infinitely large hallway with countless doors. The cliffhanger sets up the next part of Jason’s quest to get back to his world, and thus, his wife and son.

Overall, episode 3 of Dark Matter does a good job of advancing the mystery of what happened to Jason. It answers some questions viewers will have, while starting new mysteries. Jason2’s storyline during the episode was on the weaker side of things, and this makes partial sense considering it was added from the books. Still, the ending sets up future episodes and leaves the viewer wanting more.

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