Directed by Baran bo Odar
Written by Odar & Jantje Friese
* For a recap & review of 2×08, “Endings and Beginnings” – click here
* For a recap & review of 3×02, “The Survivors” – click here
A perfect Arthur Schopenhauer quote opens Season 3.
Because it all comes down to what people want, and what they will to happen.
We see Adam’s room, the painting (The Fall of the Damned), everything left as if deserted long ago. A man with a cleft lip surveys the place, seeing papers with diagrams on them that look like they might be for that time travel ball Martha had at the end of Season 2. He’s joined by his himself from the past and the future. He then tosses his lamp onto the painting and watches it burn while his other selves help burn the rest of the room. All those books and papers, as well as the family trees on the wall burn.
We go back to see the massive black thing expanding over Winden. The other Martha who’s just appeared opens the strange mechanical ball, then lays it on the floor. The object opens and Martha’s reveals she’s from an entirely other world, not simply a different time. Does this mean the Martha of here and now in 2020 can be brought back somehow? Well, Jonas is taken on a trip with this new Martha to some other place. They’ve arrived at the time when Martha and Jonas first meet, when their worlds formed a knot that’s “inextricably intertwined.” Naturally this all confuses Jonas, whose seen different times but not different worlds. This other Martha then uses her ball again to disappear, leaving Jonas.
Jump back to 2019. Cher is playing perfectly in the background. Martha wakes up with her family like normal with Mikkel at the table. Magnus and Franziska are upstairs banging before it’s time to go to school. Nothing feels too out of place. Except Magnus has black hair, he’s covered with tattoos, and Mikkel doesn’t even seem like the same kid anymore. It’s not even their same home. Not to mention Ulrich’s off with Hannah, who’s currently quite pregnant. A young guy from Winden named Erik is missing, too. So all’s not perfect.
Oh, and, this 2019 is an entirely other world— a world that Jonas, who stumbles out of the cave, comes to realise is an existence in which he was never born. The revelation’s obviously a shock to him.
“It will happen again”
Ulrich, Charlotte Doppler, and the rest of the police force are trying to find any leads on what’s happened to Erik, but things are clearly grim. Ulrich appears to be the police chief now rather than Charlotte, too. Quite a vastly different 2019 than before. Jonas goes to the school, barging in on a class where Martha and his friends are sitting, listening to Bartosz Tiedemann talk about black holes and succinctly explaining what’s happening right now with these differing worlds. This is where the realisation of being in a whole other 2019 world really dawns on Jonas, seeing that Martha does not recognise him in the slightest. Worse still is when he sees Hannah walk through the halls and his own mother doesn’t know him, either.
Not everything is different. Regina has died, leaving Aleksander a widower. He’s managing well enough and continuing to run the power plant. He gets a visit from Charlotte asking whether Erik could’ve gotten into the caves below the power plant, to which Aleksander responds it would be impossible because access to the caves was sealed up years prior. Oh, and Ulrich is STILL cheating, except in this 2019 he’s having an affair behind Hannah’s back with Charlotte. In a way, things just stay the same. Martha’s still acting in a play about Ariadne, as well, even if a few roles are switched.
Jonas tries talking to Martha even if she knows nothing about him. He starts to figure out that not only does he not exist, his father Michael doesn’t exist, either. Because Mikkel never went missing in this 2019. Therefore, Michael never came to be, and he never would’ve gone on to father Jonas. A sad, twisted reality.
Out at the bunker, Magnus and Franziska meet to fuck.
We now see that Franziska is the deaf sister, and young Elisabeth is not. Elisabeth goes to visit her crazy grandfather Helge in the psychiatric hospital. All the old guy can think of is the “tick, tock” of the existential clock that continues ticking around them all. There are many secrets locked up inside him. Elsewhere, Jonas goes to see Regina’s grave, and he, again, finds no trace of his father’s grave.
In September of 1987, we again see the three people of past, present, and future with the cleft lip. They’re headed up to a large house where the Doppler family used to live, at least in the other timeline. They’re seeking the “master key” for the power plant. The boy goes inside asking for it, and when the old man living there calls the police, one of his older counterparts comes in with him to do some violence. “Nothing is in vain,” the middle of the three tells the old man prior to killing him.
In 2019, Martha’s in the woods and Jonas catches up with her. He tries to tell her about what’s going on. He uses “a glitch in the matrix” and “deja–vu” to try getting through to her. His story isn’t quite what you’d call easy to believe. Then Magnus and Martha’s boyfriend Kilian come by, and Jonas starts to ask if Mikkel’s with them, prompting a bunch of awkwardness that makes Jonas look crazier than he seems to them already. Yet there’s a little more in Martha’s eyes, like she might just feel the existential lure. The group walk off— with Martha wearing a familiar yellow coat like Jonas wore in 2019— and wind up at the cave’s entrance. They hear a strange noise and their flashlights flicker, so everyone runs. Martha trips and gets left behind. She hears a voice call out and when she turns it looks like a version of her, covered in an oily substance exactly how Jonas saw his father in Season 1. She runs off again, finding Kilian and the others.
Soundtrack: “Bad Kingdom” by May & Robot Koch plays here
The group get to the bunker, then out of nowhere a piece of time unzips and a child’s corpse falls to the floor— like the ones we’ve seen before with the burned eyes from Noah’s machine. Except this body belongs to none other than Mads Nielsen, Ulrich’s long ago disappeared brother. Odd first time for Magnus and Martha to meet their dead uncle. At the same time, Jonas comes across an older Martha who comes to tell him more about what’s really happening. She explains that, even though Jonas does not exist in this world the world will go on falling apart, over and over again, all because of him and her, and the events that have transpired.
Across time in September of 1888, Martha’s headed to the Tannhaus estate. It’s there she finds the older Jonas, the previous time travelling stranger. Through space and time the two are reunited. Jonas is amazed to see Martha’s alive, though he comes to see that she isn’t the Martha he knew. She’s come to help Jonas find “the origin“— how it all began in both of their worlds.
“A world without you”
An utterly STUNNING opener for Season 3, this swan song for one of the greatest goddamn shows that’s ever been. Dark has been a masterpiece from day one, yet somehow it continually reinvents itself and adds more to the story without making it complicated simply for complication’s sake. Others may feel differently. I think that this will go down as a classic, and this last season’s off to a beautiful start.