‘Dark Matter’ Episode 3 Slows To A Crawl

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: May 15, 2024 (Last updated: 6 days ago)
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Dark Matter Episode 3 Recap - "The Box" Meanders Badly
Dark Matter | Image via Apple TV+




Dark Matter slows to a crawl in its third episode, and while it builds to an exciting climax, it feels like too little too late after so much plodding, circular dialogue.

Dark Matter was better when it was bonkers. I think that’s fair to say after Episode 3, “The Box”, which settles down to a glacial pace so that two versions of the same character can meander through their new realities, seemingly in no rush to be anywhere else.

Joel Edgerton’s still good in this. The potential of the premise is still vast, and anyone who has read the book knows the story is heading to more interesting and mind-bending places sooner rather than later. But this episode was a bit of a snooze all the same.

Three People Have Gone Missing From Velocity Labs

The lion’s share of the episode is spent in Jason2’s universe, with Jason playing the role of an amnesiac to learn more about Velocity Labs and Jason2 without tipping anyone off to the fact that he’s really a multiversal imposter.

Leighton and the others, who’re holding Jason captive after killing Daniela in Episode 2, think that he’s Jason2, and are completely puzzled by how he has managed to return after he ventured into the cube.

And his return is problematic for Velocity Labs. Leighton has invested billions in the research, but three people are missing, including a former employee named Blair Caplan. Detective Jamie Mason is looking into the disappearances, which Jason’s sudden reappearance has made much more difficult to explain.

Jason Plays Dumb

With Leighton panicking about the cops potentially putting two and two together, he tries to jog Jason’s memory. And Jason is happy to let him since it allows him to learn a little more about what is going on.

Leighton shows Jason the cube, explaining briefly how he built it and what it does. He explains that he’s the only person to ever enter it and come back out; three people tried before him and never returned, hence the disappearances. Jason2 followed Blair in, ostensibly out of a sense of responsibility. He built the cube, after all. It should be him who figures out how it works.

Of course, we know his ulterior motive was to steal Jason’s family life after sacrificing his own to pursue his career, but we’ll check in with Jason2 in a minute.

Leighton Interrogates Jason

After a while, Leighton lets on that he knows Jason is an imposter and interrogates him. Dawn, who seems to have no utility to Velocity other than being a henchwoman, throws him around and holds a knife to his throat. Of course, Jason has no answers. He doesn’t even know how he got there.

Jason’s given a few minutes with Ryan, who tells him that Jason2 had asked him to develop a drug that puts portions of the prefrontal cortex to sleep. This is key since it stops the human consciousness from rejecting the superposition. Remember Schrödinger’s cat. Superposition requires two states to exist simultaneously until they’re observed.

Jason2 Plays Happy Families

Meanwhile in Dark Matter Episode 3, Jason2 continues to ingratiate himself into Jason’s life with Daniela and Charlie. There’s a lightly comedic note to these sequences, but it isn’t played for outright laughs. Instead, Jason2’s calculating manipulation is a little horrifying.

After buying some expensive bottles of wine — I like this detail, that super-successful Jason2 is super cavalier with his money, not even considering that Jason’s finances might not be so accommodating of his indulgences — and trying to sleep with Daniela, Jason2 learns that he’s hosting a dinner party the next night. As well as having to pretend he knew about it, he also has to do his research on the attendees so he can play-act knowing them.

This goes better than you’d expect. Blair Caplan is one of the guests. The surprise arrival of Ryan does throw Jason2 for a bit of a loop, but he’s able to more or less get away with it. Daniela notices something has been off the last few days, but since she can’t put her finger on what, Jason2 is able to talk his way out of it. For now, at least.

Dark Matter Episode 3 Recap - "The Box" Meanders Badly

Dark Matter | Image via Apple TV+

Amanda Helps Jason Escape

At the end of Dark Matter Episode 3, Amanda helps Jason escape from Velocity Labs. However, there’s only one feasible way out — through “The Box”.

Using Jason’s clearance to get inside the hanger — he guesses Jason2’s passcode; a nice touch — they both enter the box with Leighton and the others hot on their heels. Dawn loses her fingers as the doors snap shut. Trapped inside with Dawn’s digits, Jason and Amanda have three minutes to inject themselves with Ryan’s magic drug and prepare themselves for multiversal travel.

After the timer elapses, Jason and Amanda wake up to find themselves within an infinitely long corridor, presumably somewhere between realities.

RELATED: Dark Matter Episode 4 Explained

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