Daniella looks at Jason incredulously
(Apple TV+)

The Mind-Bending 8th Episode of ‘Dark Matter’ Was a Jason-on-Jason Showdown

Just when we thought the Apple TV+ series Dark Matter couldn’t get any more twisty or turny, episode 8 came along to show us how wrong we could be. The episode aired on June 19, 2024, setting the series up for a doozy of a finale on June 26.

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Spoilers ahead!

Dark Matter is a sci-fi show based on the 2016 novel by Blake Crouch, who also serves as co-writer, co-executive producer, and showrunner for the production. The plot revolves around a brilliant physicist named Jason Dessen (Joel Edgerton) who gets pulled into the multiverse by a version of himself who comes from a different version of reality. That Jason, Jason 2, wants to steal the original Jason’s happy life with his family in Chicago, and he’ll do anything to make that happen.

Jason 1 must learn to use the Box, something another version of himself invented, to bounce between parallel worlds and return to his family. At the end of episode 7, we learned that there are way more versions of Jason than we thought. The gun shop scene changed the game entirely, and episode 8 picks up right where that one left off.

Episode 8, “Jupiter”

The episode begins with Jason 2 (we think!) brutally murdering another Jason in an alley, showing just how far he’s willing to go to claim his spot in this reality. Daniela (Jennifer Connelly) has a revealing conversation with Ryan (Jimmi Simpson), who is not the same guy she has always known and trusted. This Ryan insists he’s an auto mechanic, not an award-winning physicist, and says he got drunk the night before with a stranger at a bar. The stranger turns out to be one of the Jasons, confusing Daniela and further arousing her suspicions.

Meanwhile, you can’t shake a stick in the city of Chicago without hitting a version of Jason. There are so many, we lose track and stop trying to label them. Two of them sit down together at a bar and try to figure out what’s going on, deciding that every time the original Jason got inside the Box, a new clone must have been created. All of these clones believe that they’re the original Jason and are trying to get back to his family.

Charlie and Daniela grow suspicious

Jason 2 attempts to show his son Charlie (Oakes Fegley) around his alma mater, the University of Chicago, even though this version of Jason has never set foot on campus. Suddenly, an angry Jason with a gnarly burn scar appears, and the two Jasons duke it out in the library before Jason 2 defeats the other guy.

Elsewhere, Jason 1 gets himself arrested so Daniela has to come pick him up at the police station. He tries to tell her the truth, but of course she doesn’t believe him. (Who would?) Still, she agrees to meet him later at the Bean, a Chicago landmark, and agrees on a safe word: Jupiter. When she gets home, she finds Jason 2 packing his stuff and insisting they flee together right away due to unnamed dangers. Eventually, she realizes he’s an imposter and shoves him into the basement. Finally! We’ve been dying for her to do that!

The episode gains still more momentum as Jason 1 (or is he? Nope!) and Daniela wind up in a car speeding around town, only to be crashed into by yet another Jason. Daniela and Charlie do manage to make it to the Bean finally, and the Jason waiting for them knows the safe word … but Daniela is not convinced he’s actually her husband.

What will the finale bring?

With so many Jasons running around, it’s impossible to know where the show will go from here! We assume Daniela’s doubts will intensify in spite of this Jason seeming to know the safe word. It’s entirely possible that this is not actually the original Jason at all; he could have just overpowered Jason 1 and gotten the safe word out of him somehow.

Potential future spoiler below!

We know that in the book, the original Jason reunites with his family, and they all use the Box to find an alternate reality where they can be together and rebuild their lives, but it would be silly for Crouch et al to wrap up the story that neatly for the series because it could remove the possibility of a second season. Something tells us the family will indeed escape, but there will be some last minute clue that indicates this Jason isn’t Jason 1 after all. Just a hunch!

Luckily, we don’t have to wait to find out the answer. The Dark Matter season finale is June 26, 2024, which means all episodes of the show are currently streaming on Apple TV+.

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Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins (she/her) is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She writes about pop culture, entertainment, and web memes, and has published a book or a funny day-to-day desk calendar about web humor every year for a decade. When not writing, she's listening to audiobooks or watching streaming movies under a pile of her very loved (spoiled) pets.