06/13/2024

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Recap: Dark Matter Episode 4 Squanders Its Potential

The post Recap: Dark Matter Episode 4 Squanders Its Potential appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.

Episode 4 of Dark Matter is emblematic of everything I really don’t like about this show.

There’s so much potential here, and “The Corridor” shows off that potential better that any of the previous episodes have. And yet despite the endlessly compelling premise, the obviously ample budget, and the freedom to tell almost any kind of story within this malleable, ever-fluctuating world, Dark Matter manages to be the one thing that no piece of entertainment media should ever be.

It’s boring.

A Tale of Two Halves

As usual, events are divided more or less into two. In one half, Jason and Amanda explore the inner workings of the cube, grappling with heady multiversal concepts and learning more about the logistics of traveling between worlds.

In the other half, Jason2 continues to worm his way into Jason’s happy domestic life, causing a degree of carnage as he goes. I think it’s the first half I have a problem with.

The Corridor

Episode 4 of Dark Matter is titled after the infinitely long corridor full of doors that Jason and Amanda woke up in at the end of Episode 3. In short, each of the doors leads to a different universe, each sprung to life by a road not taken or a choice not made.

Jason thinks the corridor exists in liminal space. In other words, he thinks it’s the brain’s efforts to comprehend quantum superposition, which it is fundamentally unequipped to do. There are an infinite number of doors; an infinite number of potential outcomes, many of them rendered in good-looking CGI.

Wasted Potential

This is Dark Matter at its most fanciful yet. We get glimpses of alternate universes, some with collapsing buildings, others with no atmosphere, and still more with tsunamis and blizzards. After a while, Jason deduces that the worlds are sprung into life by the minds of Jason and Amanda, their final thoughts the building blocks of each reality they enter.

But we only get snippets of these worlds. Pretty soon, Amanda gets hypothermia in a blizzard and spends most of the episode trying to stay warm. Eventually, she and Jason set out to find the cube, which is always in the same position regardless of reality. It exists at the same coordinates across all of time and space. Based on what they now know, they reckon if they return to it, they can think their way home.

They return to it. And they spend the rest of the episode just sitting in the drab corridor having a chat. All of that rich visual and thematic potential remains locked on the other side of the doors.

Jason2, Family Man

One of the things that Jason and Amanda realize is that Jason2 switched places with Jason to try and claim his family; the thing he gave up to pursue his career in his own reality.

It’s hard to get a bead on Jason2. He tries to pull off Jason’s job, immediately gets annoyed, fails the whole class, and quits. He then goes to see this universe’s Leighton, gives him the drug that makes operating the cube possible, and then takes him to the device to explain how it works.

Jason2 explains at great length how he and his own Leighton build the cube. How Leighton was his closest friend. How the potential of the box means that this Leighton has the chance to reinvent himself in a new world.

But to what end? This remains a little unclear for now.

In the meantime, Jason2 settles deeper and deeper into family life with Daniela and Charlie. Jason and Amanda believe they know how to get back to their respective realities, and Jason2’s Leighton continues to roam the corridor himself, albeit in a bad way.

But it’s just so hard to care. Hopefully, subsequent episodes get a little more interesting for all our sakes.

The post Recap: Dark Matter Episode 4 Squanders Its Potential appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.