By Dustin Cabeal
After two fairly disappointing episodes of Dimension 404, I didn’t have the highest expectations for the third episode. It instantly played on my 80s nostalgia though with a cartoon about time travel and warmness to the screen that screamed 80s. As much as I like Rocket Jump, the biggest downfall of the first two episodes was the fact that it still looked like an internet video rather than TV. That isn’t technical in the least bit, but it’s one of those things that if you were to put them in front of someone that watches TV with any sort of regularity and then showed them the first two episodes of Dimension 404, well, it would look amateurish.
The third episode, Chronos, is an 180. Not only does the episode look professional it sets the tone and the vibe for the entire episode just by capturing the look of the 80s in those opening seconds of the show. From there we see a brilliant little girl grow up and become a procrastinator. She has roughly eight hours to finish her thesis paper to graduate and hasn’t even started. The show very cleverly laces in scenes and noises that have any context as it works to introduce time travel.
Ashley Rickard plays the lead, and I will fully admit that this was my first time seeing her acting, so it’s hard to say if she’s been typecast like the previous episodes, but her acting was great. Utkarsh Ambudkar, on the other hand, is showcased like never before which was fantastic because as I said in my review for the second episode, that’s exactly what a one-shot episode like this should be. Ambudkar plays the friend that’s too shy to be more than a friend and Rickard is clueless to his interests. They play off of each other extremely well and produce several laugh-out-loud moments. Actual, laugh-out-loud moments.
There is a message that’s clear as day with this episode. It deals a lot with nostalgia and in a way leaving the past in the past otherwise; you’ll miss your future. Frankly, it’s the message a lot of people in their thirties need as Hollywood pillages their childhood for IPs. You just gotta let that shit be what it is and move on people.
The other standout improvement for this episode is that there feels like there’s a director in control. The actors are all great for sure, but they’re on the same page. There’s a consistency to their acting and a difference in tone between the characters. Unlike with the second episode where everyone was trying to be a bigger snarky dick than each other, here there’s character types and most importantly, character development. The entire episode hinges on character development more than anything. All this and we didn’t even touch on the great moments that are an homage to Back to the Future or the fact that a real cartoon show could be made from the amount of material created in this episode.
It was unlikely that I was going to stop watching this show since there’s not much else that I’m viewing on Hulu this year, but there was a chance that I would have said fuck it if this episode hadn’t been so damn good. It’s like night and day compared to the previous two episodes which only serves to highlight how weak they are. Hopefully, the rest of the series is more like Chronos.
Dimension 404 E.03 – “Chronos”
Available exclusively on Hulu