‘Dark Matter’ Episode 5 Recap & Ending Explained: What Will Jason2 Do To The Box?


The fourth episode of Dark Matter was dedicated to explaining the mechanics of the box that allowed people to travel between different realities. The characters and the handful of people watching the Apple TV+ series learned that the box was using the traveler’s last thoughts to determine their destination. Since Jason1 and Amanda were in a constant state of distress and anxiety, they ended up in realities that were actively trying to kill them. They even got lost in a snowy reality, and they had to use their wits and grit to get back into the box. Meanwhile, Jason2 was chilling in Jason1’s reality. He secured his future by starting negotiations with Leighton1 for the rights to the box so that he could shower Daniela and Charlie with gifts and money. But that didn’t go down well with Daniela at all. Additionally, in an attempt to catch Jason1 and Amanda, Leighton2 entered the multiverse and regretted it almost immediately. Episode 5 of Dark Matter is centered around Jason1 and Amanda’s efforts to get back to his home, while Jason 2 seals the deal with Leighton1. So, let’s talk about it.

Spoiler Alert

Jason1 And Amanda Meet Blair2

Episode 5 of Dark Matter opens with Jason1 and Amanda getting drowned because, despite convincing themselves that they want to go home, the box detects what’s going on in their subconscious and sends them to a reality where Chicago has been flooded. They barely manage to make it back to the multiversal corridor and they realize that even if a single cell in their body is having second thoughts, then the box is not going to work the way they want it to work. They dry out their clothes and talk about the other candidates who went into the box and didn’t return. Blair Caplan’s name comes up. So, when Jason1 and Amanda go to sleep, the box takes them to the reality Blair2 (I’m calling her Blair2 because Blair1 is the one who is in Jason1’s reality) is currently in. This shows that if the reality-traveler takes the psychoactive drug and goes to sleep in the multiversal corridor, then the box is going to register their last thoughts before they go to sleep and take them to the reality that’s connected to said thoughts. 

Blair2 says that she has been in this particular reality for around three months. The human species has apparently gone extinct because another version of Blair brought in a swarm of bird-sized killer hornets. Those insects multiplied exponentially and killed everything and everyone there. Blair2 risks her life every day to do supply runs and she is holed up in the room where the box is kept and surviving on the blessings of the emergency generators. The obvious question is that, why doesn’t she just chug a vial of the psychoactive drug and take her chances in the multiverse? Well, apparently, she is suffering from PTSD, and she doesn’t want to step into the box until she is absolutely sure that she can maneuver it without entering a treacherous realm. 

Jason2 and Leighton1 are seen having a funny conversation about a reality where Chicago has turned into a barren landscape where gangs are fighting for resources. Leighton1 says that that sounds a lot like the world of Mad Max (coincidentally, the latest installment of the Mad Max franchise, Furiosa, released last week). Jason2 initially says that he doesn’t know anything about Mad Max or the fact that Tina Turner acted in one of the films, but then says he’s joking about it. I don’t know if Jason2 is joking about his knowledge of the franchise or the fact that there’s a Mad Max-esque reality out there. That said, Jason2 repeatedly tells Leighton1 that using the box shouldn’t be treated as a joke. It can seem fun, but one wrong step can turn it into a one-way street. Blair2 says something similar to Amanda. She highlights the fact that endlessly traveling the multiverse can cause a person to “crack.” She has settled in this killer-hornet-infested world because the act of multiversal traveling was beginning to take a toll on her. She advises Amanda to stop caring about Jason1, choose a world for herself, and settle down, or else she is probably going to die.

Jason1 Has To See A Version Of Daniela Die

Jason2 tells Leighton1 that they don’t have access to the entire multiverse. They can only enter those realities that are alternate versions of the one they are from. That probably means that if a version of the traveler never existed in a certain reality, they can’t enter that realm. A version of them can be dead in a reality, and that’ll probably be accessible to the traveler. But if the reality-traveler wasn’t born, then that reality is inaccessible to them. Another tidbit is that, even if the effects of the psychoactive drug, that allows a traveler to use the box, wears off while they are in a world, the box is going to stay put. Then, the traveler can get back into it, take the drug, and enter the multiverse again. But, as seen in today’s episode of Dark Matter and in last week’s episode, if the box is submerged in ice, water, or any other thing, then the traveler is stuck in that reality. Blair2 gives her field notes to Amanda and reminds her that they’ve to be very sure of where they want to go, or else it’s going to backfire on them. 

Jason1 and Amanda take a beat to think about the repercussions of Jason2’s decision to open the multiverse. And the way Jason1 describes the crossroads he was in while deciding whether he wanted to have a family with Daniela or if he wanted to pursue his career, I think he blames himself for having that doubt. Of course, it’s a natural thing to have doubts about what you want to do in your life. But since that has led to the creation of a version of himself (because the multiverse works on the concept of the road not taken), Jason1 probably feels that if he was a little more confident about building a life with Daniela, Jason2 wouldn’t have existed, and all these lives that are getting ruined, they would have remained unharmed. Jason1 assumes that Jason2 wants to live the quaint, serene, family life that he had. But when you see Jason2 making a deal with Leighton1 where the former is going to get a million dollars for every vial of the psychoactive drug, it becomes abundantly clear that he isn’t built for that life. If Jason2 wanted to live the life that Jason1 has lived, he would’ve tried to achieve that in his own reality. Jason2 thinks that by hijacking Jason1’s reality, he is giving himself another chance. However, it’s pointless because he is using this reality to feed his ambition, greed, and thirst for money. 

Anyway, coming back to Jason1 and Amanda, he writes down where he wants to go, but they still end up in a reality where humans are on the brink of extinction because of a COVID-19-like illness. The version of Jason that used to live in this reality is already dead, and so is Charlie. A version of Daniela is on her last legs, and the only thing that Jason1 can do for her is give her a painless death and share a few warm words. While returning to the box, Jason1 and Amanda realize that it’s impossible to cheat the box. Jason1 was clearly having dark thoughts about Amanda and Charlie before opening the door, and that’s why they ended up in a reality which was plagued by a deadly sickness. Like Jason2 said to Leighton1, the conscious part of the mind and the subconscious has to be in complete sync to make it work. The slightest amount of uncertainty can have disastrous consequences.

What Will Jason2 Do To The Box?

Jason1 and Amanda try to enter Jason1’s original reality one more time. Unlike the reality plagued by a killer disease, things seem fine on the surface here. The way the whole scene is edited – with Jason2 and Daniela having a conversation about his drastic actions and Jason1 and Amanda approaching what he thinks is his house – it does look like Jason1 has returned to his reality and is about to confront Jason2 regarding his transgressions. But as soon as Jason1 comes across alternate versions of Daniela and Charlie, it becomes clear that he is in a reality where Jason Dessen is a fugitive who is in jail. Jason1 and Amanda try to get a ride back to the box but are unable to do so because the cops are out looking for him. So, Amanda decides to visit her mother and take her car. That decision almost backfires because this reality’s Amanda is dead. With no other option left, Amanda convinces this reality’s version of her mother that she is merely a ghost of her daughter and that her daughter is in a peaceful place. Jason1 hilariously points out that Amanda gave that woman such a religious and otherworldly experience, and then stole her car. It’s a rare comedic moment in the show. Sadly, this levity doesn’t last too long.

In Dark Matter episode 5’s ending, we see the blight on the multiverse, Jason2, traveling to his reality to get the psychoactive drugs. He learns from his co-worker, Mara, that Jason1 is in the multiverse, and he is trying to get back home. That’s when he decides that, after sending Leighton1 into the multiverse, he is going to seal the box. Leighton1 gets a little worried, but Jason2 assures him that if he shuts off the box in Jason1’s reality, that’s not going to affect the multiverse or the other boxes that exist in all the different realities. By the way, since the box in Jason2’s universe is the original box that started it all, will its destruction completely shut off everyone’s access to the multiverse? Well, we have to wait to find out. That said, the show has just ramped up the stakes and increased the urgency of Jason1’s journey. Until now, he was taking his time to figure out how the box functioned and how he could use it to get to his reality. However, he has to speed up this process or Jason2 is going to make sure that he never gets back home. 

Personally speaking, I am really enjoying Dark Matter. Initially, I was under the impression that it’s a lot like every other multiversal story out there. But it has surprised me with its emotional depth and storytelling. I don’t know how many people are watching this show, but if it sticks the landing in a world where the concept of multiverse has been used for dumb cameos and nostalgia-baiting, it’s going to go down as one of the best stories about the multiverse.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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