The final episode in DIMENSION 404's first season is another impressive entry. "IMPULSE" tells the tale of a young, wannabe e-gaming star named Val "Speedrun" Hernandez.
Val's star performances fall only slightly short of the bar needed to defeat the reigning champion, "Killohertz". Desperate to become the champion, amid a life that she is ignoring in search of that goal - Val turns to Impulse 9 (an energy drink that slows down her perception of time).
Although Impulse 9 increases Val's already brilliant performances, there's a darker side to the story: the effects cause the drinker to black out and wake up ("snap back" is the phrase) some time in the future, having missed significant periods of their lives.
Somehow, this bullet time effect manipulates time for everyone. When usage of Impulse 9 becomes widespread, Val "snaps back" in a post-apocalyptic war zone. She has no apparent memory of how the intervening ten years came about or the two kids she had in the meantime.
This narrative shift comes wildly out of left field (though not for any of you readers, if you've come here first), and it does make the episode feel oddly disjointed. The leap from regular life and technologies to exactly the image you conjure in your head of a post-apocalyptic city is sudden and shocking - but that is the whole point.
Once this "transition" (use the term loosely, for transition would suggest some degree of smoothness) has happened, the episode deals with a lot of emotional turmoil. Val primarily experiences guilt and confusion, but also suffers with not being able to be who she is, or do what she loves. All of this is topped with the knowledge that she is in part responsible for the world she snapped back into.
The final dilemma the episode poses is how can Val do the right thing now? How can she make amends for her actions? Can she make amends? Well, if you haven't yet watched, I recommend you go and see. Lorenza Izzo (Val) and Matt Lauria (Evan, her boyfriend) star.
It finally feels like Dimension 404 has found its rhythm or tone. Some episodes have been heartbreaking, some uplifting, some dark and horror. The better episodes have always come with a light-hearted, almost cartoonish storyline and a director who utilises wide shots and bright visuals. "Impulse" does that perfectly, either side of that crucial "snap back" moment that throws us into a shocking future. It's one of the reasons - aside from an interesting plot, good cast and emotional demand, that this stands out.
I've had a great time reviewing Dimension 404's first season; here's to hoping Hulu finds it in their hearts to renew! And if you're craving another thought-provoking anthology series, I recommend Room 104, Electric Dreams or the king of modern anthologies, Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror!
- Aired on Syfy, November 9 2017 at 21:00.