With its intriguing mystery and excellent performances, Dark Matter has solidified itself as one of the most interesting Television Shows of 2024. In Episode 4, we found out whats in the box and began to explore the multiverse. This week, Dark Matter delivers one of its best episodes yet, showcasing several fascinating What Ifs which teach Jason and Amanda about themselves and each other.

The Multiverse Expands

Last week, Jason and Amanda learned that their mindset factors into the multiverse they will enter. Each time they open a door within The Box, what they’re thinking dictates what will be on the other side. In Episode 4, Amanda thought of a whiteout blizzard from her childhood, which spawned them into a world where Chicago had been ravaged by a new Ice Age.

In Episode 5, the versions of Chicago we see are much more similar to the world we inhabit in real life. However, some have major changes, specifically in regards to Jason’s life. He tries to control the world they will enter by focusing his mindset by writing what he wants. However, his subconscious fears get in the way, putting them in some really devastating alternate realities. Spoilers Ahead.

When I’m Back in Chicago, I Feel It

As I said earlier, Jason makes his way to some worlds that resemble the one he left behind. At least physically. There’s a really devastating sequence where Jason believes he’s returned home, as The Box leads them to a warehouse where he remembers Jason2 briefly holding him hostage. However, one major change has befallen this world. Chicago has fallen victim to a viral pandemic.

It’s hard to believe this sequence comes from the Novel, published in 2016. As a person who worked as a delivery driver in an Urban Area at the height of 2020’s Lockdown, some of these sights were all too familiar. As soon as Jason and Amanda found the lights on but the streets empty, I knew what was up. Jason goes back to his home in this world, and meets its Daniela. She has fallen victim to a devastating virus. All Hospitals and Triage have been at capacity for weeks. The only thing Jason can do for this Daniela, who believes him to be her own, is administer a drug that will end her life early so she doesn’t have to die a slow death of disease. Charlie has already been killed by the virus by the time of Jason’s arrival, and we’re told he lie in his bedroom as no one has been able to come to recover his body. It is a devastating outcome, and one which informs Jasons through the rest of the episode.

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Unlike the artist Daniela in episode 2, Jason doesn’t try to save or mend things with this version of his wife. He ends up in another world which resembles his, and grabs an oversized kitchen knife with the intent of attacking Jason2. This scene is so brilliantly executed, as we’re lead to believe this is his world. That is, up until Daniela sees him with the knife, and calls the police to inform them that her ex-husband, who is supposed to be in prison, as in her room with a weapon. He leaves and heads right back to The Box, uninterested in the curiosity Amanda has for what he did to end up in prison in this world. Now, Jason is focused. He must get back to his Daniela, even if it means things are worse off for some others.

Characters and Performances

One of the most compelling aspects of Dark Matter so far has been the show’s ability to portray vastly different versions of the same characters. The trend continues in this episode. The divide between Jason and Jason2 has never been wider, with it being clear that in an effort to live life to the fullest, Jason2 may be unraveling the marriage he so desperately wants to keep with Daniela.

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We also see a new version of Blaire (pictured aobve). In Jason’s world, Blaire is a close friend of Daniela’s, and has appeared before in the series at dinner parties. We encounter the version of her that Amanda knows, who is living in Velocity Labs in one of the most terrifying visions of Chicago yet. In this world, humanity has undergone an extinction event. Now, the dominant life on this Earth is a super-predator bird, which searches and destroys life in massive hordes. Though this world is horrific, Blaire chooses to stay as he has for seemingly quite some time. She is more afraid of the horrors of what else could potentially be in the box than she is apocalyptic nightmare she inhabits. It poses, and for at least her character answers, some fascinating questions about what could happen to a person with access to the multiverse.

Amanda

Last but not least, Amanda (pictured left) is the definitive highlight of this episode. She has never gotten a chance to shine like she does here. Her relationship with Jason is evolving in such fascinating ways, as she realizes Jason2 doesn’t love her and left her to pursue Daniela, whom he always regretted not settling down with. Inversely, Amanda is realizing that the Jason we know and love is a good man, who is not capable of damning people to the suffering Jason2 has caused. It seems clear she cares for him deeply, and I am intrigued how their dynamic will evolve. Regardless, Amanda is growing on me quite a bit as the series progresses, and I so desperately hope she finds a happy ending.

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All in all, Episode 5 of Dark Matter delivers on the promise of its premise better than the series has yet. The episode has incredible sci-fi visuals and familiar dystopias which remind of what could have happened in the darkest days of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Beyond its sprawling multiverse, Dark Matter Episode 5 is evolving a very human story, with characters whose relationships continue to evolve and compel in a way that makes it difficult for me to do anything else but binge the show to its end.

Dark Matter is available to stream on Apple TV+

THE GOOD
Varied, yet Multiverses
Incredible Performances
Character Development
Editing and Pacing
Improving Soundtrack
THE BAD
9
Superb

Review Summary

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