Recap: In Episode 5, ‘Dark Matter’ Remains A Challenge to Sit Through

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 5, 2024 (Last updated: 2 weeks ago)
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Dark Matter Episode 5 Recap - A Real Tough Sit
Dark Matter | Image via Apple TV+

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS

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Summary

Dark Matter provides some intriguing sequences in alternate worlds, but the core plot still remains incredibly dull.

I’m not one to moan all the time, but Dark Matter is a challenge to sit through, let alone write about. Given there are nine total episodes, Episode 5, “Worldless”, marks us passing the halfway point, and I’m still yet to care about a single thing that’s happening.

That’s quite the achievement given the show’s plot travels through multiple distinct universes. It’s rich with potential for really gripping television, but its ability to select the blandest possible approach for any given subject or setting is absolutely maddening.

“Wordless” at least comes the closest we’ve gotten so far to being interesting with a focus on Blair, who entered the Box before Jason2 and emerged in a world ravaged by dangerous creatures that are somehow less terrifying than the prospect of re-entering the Box and getting stuck in there forever.

Blair isn’t exactly thrilled to see Jason and Amanda, but it’s important to them and the story overall that they ran into her. For one thing, we know that people who enter the box end up somewhere, even if it’s not where they’d like, and it’s perfectly possible to find them under the right circumstances.

But Blair also represents something else arguably more important – consequences. Throughout his escapades, the one thing that Jason2 never considered was the consequences that other people would face for his meddling. He knows how difficult the Box is to comprehend for everyone other than him. He knows how drastically different realities can be. And yet Blair is symptomatic of how his obsession cost other people their own lives, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Amanda.

Not every world that Jason and Amanda visit is this fruitful, though. Episode 5 of Dark Matter is structured almost like an anthology, with the two of them trying different doors and stepping into different versions of their lives; one ravaged by a plague where Daniela is dying, another where Daniela and Charlie are actively hostile to Jason, a convict in that universe. It’s a terrifying thought exercise and you can see how it’d be nightmarish for Jason, but there’s something about how the show presents them in a whistlestop tour format that lessens the overall impact.

Meanwhile, Jason2 continues to be wildly uninteresting, which is annoying since his half of the story should be the most riveting. He can use the Box to nip between worlds on a whim, like a reality-hopping supervillain, but he’s such a charisma trap that it’s hard to care about anything that he’s doing.

For what it’s worth, his latest plan is to seal up the box in Jason’s world so that Jason and Amanda cannot return to it. He comes to this conclusion after nipping back to his own world and realizing that his alternate self and his ex are on the hunt for Jason’s home.

This makes sense as the next thing he’d do, but the big issue is that stealing Jason’s family was the primary motivator for everything Jason2 has done thus far, but he seems pretty uninterested in Daniela and Charlie. He tries now and again, but it’s so blatantly obvious that he’s not their Jason that it seems unfathomable he’ll be able to get anywhere with his plan.

But you never know. Either way, for a show with such a dynamite premise, Dark Matter continues to be woefully uninteresting on almost every level that counts, and it seems unlikely at this stage that it’ll turn things around.


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