Joel Edgerton as Jason Dessen holding a backpack standing in front of the box in Dark Matter | Agents of Fandom

‘Dark Matter’ Episode 3 Recap & Review: Jason Goes Back Into the Box

Leighton continue his atrocities as the Chicago PD closes in.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Dark Matter Episode 3 “The Box”

Fresh off a thrilling two-episode premiere, Apple TV+‘s latest sci-fi series continues its hot start. Dark Matter Episode 3 is now streaming, and similar to previous episodes, features several deviations from Blake Crouch‘s novel.

While the episode still feels wholly faithful to the source material, every small adjustment plants a seed for more intriguing changes in the future. The third episode contains important exposition, so ensure you didn’t miss any details with our Dark Matter Episode 3 recap.

Jason Is Still Coming to Terms With Daniela’s Death in ‘Dark Matter’ Episode 3

Joel Edgerton as Jason Dessen laying on a bed with a painful look on his face in Dark Matter Episode 3 | Agents of Fandom
In a span of three days, Jason has lost the woman of his dreams twice in two different ways. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

Dark Matter Episode 3 opens with Amanda Lucas (Alice Braga) asleep in bed when Leighton Vance (Dayo Okeniyi) calls her. Back at Velocity Labs, Jason (Joel Edgerton) is lying in bed with his hands tied behind his back and Leighton walks in. Leighton says he takes the blame for what happened with Daniela (Jennifer Connelly) at the end of Episode 2.

Jason asks if Leighton sent Dawn (Marquita Brooks) to Daniela’s apartment, but he can’t bring himself to answer. Leighton says he’s just trying to help Jason remember the brilliant man he is. In the other world, Jason 2 (Edgerton) is out having a nice dinner with Daniela, and he’s checking the surveillance of the box before she returns to the table.

Daniela tells Jason that it feels like he’s trying harder than normal to seduce her and then a woman comes up to the table. Jason clearly doesn’t know who she is, but she says she’s “excited about tomorrow.” Jason was unaware there was a dinner party at his house tomorrow, and Daniela has to remind him after yet another slip-up.

Chicago PD Questions Leighton About Jason’s Disappearance

Dayo Okeniyi as Leighton Vance wearing a black coat in Dark Matter Episode 3 | Agents of Fandom
As more people go missing from Velocity Labs, it’s becoming harder and harder for Leighton to cover it up. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

Dark Matter Episode 3 continues at Velocity Labs when Detective Mason (Kate Eastman) of the Chicago PD comes to the office to talk to Leighton. She asks about the company’s origins, Jason, Blair (Amanda Brugel), and what exactly they manufacture. Leighton asks her why he’s being questioned, and Detective Mason tells him that Jason was seen at a hospital a few days ago.

Leighton feigns surprise and asks if Jason is alright, and Mason says she knows Jason and Amanda were involved before they went missing and asks if she can speak to her. Shortly after, Amanda bursts into the security room furious with Leighton about what happened to Daniela and that she had to lie to the police. Amanda says she warned him against hiring Dawn and Leighton decides he’s heard enough.

Leighton says needs to know how Jason found his way back, and Jason comes on the monitor saying he’s finally ready for them to help him remember. Amanda and Leighton come in and talk to him, but they bring several security guards with them. Leighton asks why he ran several nights ago when he first came out of the box, and Jason says it’s because he was afraid.

Jason 1 Relives His Counterparts Incredible Breakthrough Step by Step in ‘Dark Matter’ Episode 3

Joel Edgerton as Jason Dessen looking away from the box with his shadow behind him in Dark Matter Episode 3 | Agents of Fandom
Jason can’t help but be amazed when he learns everything that he could have accomplished if he kept going. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

Dark Matter Episode 3 moves on when Jason tells Leighton that he didn’t tell Daniela or anyone else about what’s happening at Velocity. Leighton cuts his restraints and Jason asks what they’re protecting here that would justify killing someone. Leighton tells him any person who works for Velocity would happily give their life for Jason’s work, including Jason himself.

Just like in the book, Jason is pretending to be the man they think he is. Leighton shows Jason the box, but he says he still can’t remember his breakthrough. Leighton tells him the breakthrough was a layer of adaptive shielding that stops anything trying to get through. Jason then opens the door and goes inside the box, and Amanda tells him he’s the only person to go in and return.

Jason is awestruck with his counterpart’s work on the box, and Leighton shows him a recording of when he first went into the box 14 months ago and Amanda tried to stop him. The footage shows the lab techs opening the box several minutes later to find Jason no longer inside. Back in the other world, Jason 2 takes Charlie to get a new skateboard.

Jason and Amanda Have a Touching Heart-to-Heart in ‘Dark Matter’ Episode 3

Alice Braga as Amanda Lucas sitting in a chair opposite Joel Edgerton's Jason Dessen in Dark Matter Episode 3 | Agents of Fandom
It has to be devastating knowing your partner doesn’t remember anything about your relationship, but Amanda is doing her best to hold everything together. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

Dark Matter Episode 3 continues with Jason shopping for skateboards with Charlie and looking up information to familiarize himself with the people coming to the party. Back at Velocity Labs, Jason 1 is reading through Jason 2’s notes and Amanda comes in to visit. Jason asks Amanda what her role there is, and she says she’s a psychiatrist who trains the box pilots. Jason then asks her about the day he disappeared.

Amanda says he went to see Daniela the night before, and Jason once again starts to think he’s losing his mind. He asks what if he’s not the person everyone thinks he is, and Amanda leaves the room and runs into Dawn in the hallway. In the original world, Jason 2 and Daniela host the dinner party. Jason is talking to several guests when Ryan (Jimmi Simpson) comes up and hugs him from behind.

Ryan says Daniela invited him and he and Jason catch up in the kitchen. Ryan apologizes again for talking to Daniela about the job, but Jason forgives him and says they’re cool. Back at Velocity, Leighton asks if looking through old files is ringing any bells for Jason, but he says no. Leighton is starting to catch on that this isn’t his Jason and demands he tell him the truth. Leighton waves a hand and Dawn reveals they brought in Ryan Holder for questioning.

Jason Can’t Keep Up This Rouse of Pretending To Be Someone He Isn’t Any Longer

Dayo Okeniyi as Leighton Vance and Joel Edgerton as Jason Dessen sitting across a table from each other in Dark Matter Episode 3 | Agents of Fandom
Leighton is tired of listening to Jason’s lies, and Jason is tired of lying to everyone. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

The interrogation in Dark Matter Episode 3 ends abruptly when Jason jumps across the table and attacks Leighton, landing one solid strike before Dawn intervenes. At the dinner party, Daniela asks Jason 2 about a trip they took last Thanksgiving, and Jason barely gives her the right answer in time before people get suspicious. The camera then pans back and forth between Dawn striking Jason 1, and Jason 2 giving a toast at the dinner party.

Dawn is ready to slit Jason’s throat, but Leighton walks in and calls her off. Leighton is frustrated he doesn’t know how to use the box because he wants to solve problems like cancer and world hunger. Jason insists he doesn’t know how to work the box, and Leighton leaves the room. In the original world, Daniela turns on music after the dinner party and asks Jason to dance with her.

Jason asks if she’s drunk, and she says yes, and then she asks why everything has been so different the last few days. Back at Velocity Labs, security throws Jason in a room with Ryan. Jason tells Ryan that they killed Daniela, and Ryan breaks down, blaming himself for her death. Ryan reveals that Jason asked him to build a drug that alters the prefrontal cortex to put certain areas of it to sleep. The goal of the drug is to allow the brain to comprehend going into superposition and seeing other worlds.

Jason 2 Finally Comes Clean to Daniela (With Another Lie)

Joel Edgerton as Jason Dessen and Jennifer Connelly as Daniela Dessen standing face to face staring at each other in Dark Matter Episode 3 | Agents of Fandom
It’s been days and Daniela still has no idea that the man in her house is not her husband. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

Dark Matter Episode 3 continues when Jason tells Daniela the reason he’s been acting strange is that he almost got hit by a cab on his way home from Ryan’s celebration and his life flashed before his eyes. Back at Velocity, Amanda comes and gets Jason and says they need to leave right now and Ryan is dead. They briefly hide in a closet on their way to the exit to avoid someone walking by, and Jason asks why she’s helping him.

Amanda says she can’t come back from what she’s been a part of at Velocity. They ride the elevator to the top floor, and the door opens as Leighton is walking by, but Jason punches him, and they close the elevator door back again. They can’t get into the room with the box because they froze Amanda’s clearance, but Jason gets them in just in time.

Jason and Amanda narrowly make it into the box, the closing door cuts off Dawn’s fingers, and they have three minutes before the door opens. Jason doesn’t want Amanda to come with him, but she says she has no other choice. The two inject themselves with Ryan’s drug and the box takes full effect. In the other world, Jason 2 watches videos of Jason 1 and his family to learn more about their behavior.

Jason and Amanda Now See the World Through a Different Lens in “The Box”

Joel Edgerton as Jason Dessen and Alice Braga as Amanda Lucas standing in a corridor | Agents of Fandom
Jason and Amanda are currently experiencing something the human brain hasn’t even evolved to comprehend. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

While looking through old birth certificates in Dark Matter Episode 3, Jason finds a certificate for Maximilian Dessen. At the end of the episode, inside the box at Velocity Labs, Jason and Amanda wake up to the sound of the three-minute timer going off, and they’re standing in an endless corridor and the episode cuts to black.

There are only two large changes to note in Dark Matter Episode 3 from book to series. In the book, Jason doesn’t attack Leighton, he only thinks about it after Daniela is killed. There is also no Maximilian Dessen in the book; this character is an original creation for the show.

The end of Episode 2 showed off one of the more jarring moments from the book, and Dark Matter Episode 3 picks up the action without skipping a beat. Now roughly 33% through a nine-episode season, Dark Matter has the potential to get even more thrilling as the series moves on.

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'Dark Matter' Episode 3 "The Box" Review

'Dark Matter' Episode 3 "The Box" Review
5 5 0 1
5.0 rating
Total Score

The Good

  • Joel Edgerton continues to be stellar as Jason.
  • Production design for the box and Velocity is stunning.
  • New twists to keep book readers engaged while remaining accessible.

The Bad

  • There's so much going on at times it can be hard to follow.
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