A picture of a young Oakes Fegley as Max Dessen under his tree in Dark Matter Episode 4 | Agents of Fandom

Who Is Maximillian Dessen? ‘Dark Matter’s Biggest Change Explained

Max may not appear in the show, but his presence resonates with Jason, Daniela, and Charlie.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Apple TV+’s Dark Matter.

Apple TV+’s Dark Matter is a mind-bending sci-fi series based on the novel of the same name by Blake Crouch. While there are changes with any adaptation, one in particular at the end of Episode 3 has fans in a frenzy.

In the book, Jason (Joel Edgerton) and Daniela (Jennifer Connelly) only have one son, Charlie (Oakes Fegley). However, the series reveals they had another child long ago named Max (short for Maximillian), so who is he, and what do we know about him?

What Happened to Jason and Daniela’s Son Maximillian Dessen in ‘Dark Matter’?

A birth certificate and social security card with the name Maximillian Dessen in Dark Matter Episode 3 | Agents of Fandom
Like the audience, curiosity strikes Jason when he comes across a birth certificate named Maximillian Dessen. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

The audience is first introduced to Max after Episode 3 when Jason 2 sits inside his (really Jason 1’s) office looking through notes and old documents. He stumbles upon Charlie’s birth certificate, which he admires with a smile, and then notices there is another birth certificate attached. The other certificate has the name “Maximillian Dessen” stamped at the top, with the same birthday as Charlie, October 7.

In two parts, we then learn more about Max in Dark Matter Episode 4. First, Daniela, Jason, and Charlie have a tradition of going outside to sit at Max’s tree every year on his birthday. In the fourth episode, Jason 2 is not there to go to the tree because he’s off exploring the multiverse via the box with Leighton (Dayo Okeniyi). Every year at the tree, Daniela tells Charlie the story of the two of them being born (they are twins). She relays to him that Max was a fighter and the first of the two of them to be born; they were inseparable.

Also in Dark Matter Episode 4, while trapped in the box with Amanda (Alice Braga), Jason tells her the story of how Max died, that even before he was born he had “abnormalities” with his heart. Jason says Max couldn’t handle all the surgeries required to get him back on the right track and that he didn’t make it through the third one. Jason tells Amanda it’s still hard on Charlie, but he doesn’t talk about it. In honor of Max, Jason, Daniela, and Charlie planted a tree in the backyard mixing some of his ashes in with the soil.

The Dessen Family Still Honors Max Every Year

Jennifer Connelly holding her hand on a box of ashes that says Max in Dark Matter Episode 4 | Agents of Fando
Daniela and Charlie can’t believe Jason isn’t there to sit by Max’s tree, and they won’t forgive him anytime soon. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

In short, Maximillian Dessen is Jason and Daniela’s son and Charlie’s twin who passed away several years after birth. He is arguably Dark Matter‘s biggest change from novel to series, aside from whitewashing Daniela. While he hasn’t been prevalent in every episode thus far, the very knowledge that Jason and Daniela had another son who passed away changes everything. Not only is it another outlet for Jason 2 to potentially slip up like he does in Episode 4, but it’s even more incentive for Jason 1 to make it home and be with his family.

Dark Matter is now streaming on Apple TV+. Follow the Agents of Fandom socials for all the latest entertainment news and reviews.

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