Dark Matter (2024) – Season 1 Episode 5 Recap & Review


Episode 5 of Dark Matter begins with Jason and Amanda in a bit of a pickle. They open up one of the doors and it happens to be a flooded world. The pair manage to shut it eventually but Jason is feeling the pressure. Amanda believes they need to wait this out given they need to emotionally regulate themselves.

Soaked through, the pair take their wet clothes off and talk about their past. You see, Amanda knows everything about Jason (or at least Masked Jason) but our protagonist knows barely anything about Amanda. This imbalance leads to a rather interesting chat, as the conversation turns to the differences between their worlds. It turns out Blair went through the box first, who was an engineer. As we know, she’s a lawyer in our Jason’s world. Jason tries to stay positive and believes she found her dream world.

Speaking of which, after sleeping it off and seemingly a lot calmer than before, the pair take their chances and open the door to the box. They’re back in the lab, but the place is trashed and all the lights are off. The elevator isn’t working and there’s a big lockdown in place.

The person running this happens to be none other than Blair. The same Blair that Amanda was talking about. This makes sense given Amanda opened the door with Jason and she was thinking about ehr at the time. Blair brings them up to her makeshift office, where she’s been eking it out ever since. There’s no power but she’s been running the emergency generators to at least make some food and survive.

The thing is, this world is absolutely swarmed by deadly giant winged creatures sporting huge stingers. Apparently there’s not much left on the surface and Blair wears a hazmat suit to do supply runs and get whatever food she can.

While Jason is off fiddling with something in the main atrium, Blair admits that Amanda needs to start thinking for herself. She’s worldless right now and needs to make tough decisions and set out to find a world for herself. Blair decides to stay in deadly swarm world until she’s ready to move on, but she does hand over the Field Guide to Amanda before the pair get back in their box and take off.

Elsewhere, masked Jason and Leighton discuss the box and how careful they need to be while inside. Leighton is all in for this and he’s excited… but also a bit scared about what the future holds too. As they walk through the corridors, Jason reveals that they don’t have access to the full breadth of the multiverse, only those worlds that stand adjacent to theirs.

Speaking of worlds, our Jason and Amanda manage to seemingly make it back to the former’s world. Only… there’s a problem. It’s completely deserted. Amanda doesn’t like this but Jason wants to go home. Something is clearly wrong in this world but Jason makes it back home… where he finds a rattled and scared Daniela. Charlie is up in his room as “no one has come to take him yet”. In fact, this whole world is under lockdown as there’s a really deadly virus that’s wiped everything out.

Amanda points out that this isn’t his world and they don’t belong here. Jason though, doesn’t listen. This virus spreads through bodily fluids so he needs to be careful. He doesn’t wear gloves or find a mask, but he does say his goodbyes after handing over the medicine given by the soldiers outside to “ease her passing”.

Jason and Amanda eventually make it back to the box and then head out into another world. This one seems to be “right” but is this our world? While Masked Jason speaks to Daniela and tries to explain his actions last episode, we continue to cut back to our Jason. Now, the framing is led to believe we’re in the same world but in reality, Jason is not. The Jason from this world went to prison and our Jason showing up in the bedroom holding a knife is not a great look. After saying sorry, he heads outside with Amanda and hides.

With sirens blaring and police after him, the pair make it back to the box once more. 

As the episode closes out, Masked Jason heads back to his world temporarily to grab a few bits. However, he sees the blood from the scuffle with our Jason on the floor and learns that he and Amanda are off in the multiverse. Masked Jason makes a big decision as a result of this. He tells Leighton to find his dream world and in the meantime, he’s going to seal up the box so our Jason can’t return, adding a ticking clock element to this sci-fi drama.

The Episode Review

I mentioned it last week but Dark Matter’s biggest problem is pacing. The book is such a rip-roaring page-turning thriller and Apple have basically taken that exciting novel and spread it out unnecessarily across 9 episodes. This really didn’t need to be this long and although we do get some good characterisation at times, the show buckles under the weight of expectation.

The multiverse is not an original concept now and it’s not enough to keep things engaging on its own. The characters are good though to be fair, and the acting is decent, but pacing-wise, it’s hard not to think this would have worked so much better as a 2 hour movie and actually sticking to the source material. It’s not a bad show per-se but it’s not a particularly great one either. Hopefully the episodes ahead will pick up.

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Expect a full-season review once the season ends!

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