Netflix’s Dark
3×04: “The Origin”
Directed by Baran bo Obar
Written by Jantje Friese

* For a recap & review of 3×03, “Adam and Eva” – click here
* For a recap & review of 3×05, “Life and Death” – click here
Father Son Holy Gore - Dark - The Three UnknownsIn 1954, young Tronte is in the forest when he meets the three unknowns with the cleft lips. He doesn’t recognise the middle man, but the man says he once knew Tronte’s mother, and that he doesn’t have his own name yet he was the one who gave a name to Tronte— is this man Tronte’s real father? Seems so. He’s brought Tronte a bracelet that looks like the ouroboros. Tronte takes it then rushes off quickly. The concentric circles of Dark continue to deepen even as this swan song season pushes further towards its end.

Also in 1954 is Hannah— calling herself Katharina— who’s just bedded Egon Tiedemann. He gives her a necklace with St. Christopher on it, putting it around her neck. She’s melancholy about it. She isn’t feeling well in general. And her relationship with Egon is, weird. Y’know, apart from the fact she’s not living in 2020 where she ought to be, that’s probably got a lot to do with it. At work, Egon finds his wife Doris waiting. She’s brought a handkerchief with a monogram on it, found in Agnes Nielsen’s blouse— H.T., which also happens to be the initials of Hanno Tauber a.k.a Noah. Agnes’s husband was supposed to be dead, but she did say he was a “Man of God.” And Doris refuses to believe Agnes would disappear for no reason. She loved Agnes. Funny that
Elsewhere in the woods, Ines Kahnwald and Claudia Tiedemann are looking at a dirty magazine. Jana Nielsen doesn’t want any part of it. They talk about dirty stuff, but they also mention Tronte and how his mother disappeared. Obviously the Nielsen family were a bit outcast compared to other families in Winden.
Father Son Holy Gore - Dark - Ouroborous

“The ways of the heart cannot be explained.
It does what it wants.”

Father Son Holy Gore - Dark - AdamIn 2053, Adam isn’t telling Martha everything. He hasn’t told her of “the origin.” Yet it sounds as if Agnes Nielsen(!!!) knows about it herself. Adam says she chose the “right side.” Martha’s waking up there to meet an aged Magnus. He reflects on how things changed after she left them in 1888, and that it’s all one big figure-eight, essentially— that it was his future self, along with Noah, and Agnes apparently, who sent her back to the late 19th-century to do exactly what she’s done. Mindfuck.
Jump back slightly to 2052, where Jonas and the other Martha have gone to see her future from the perspective of this other older Martha. They hear about the apocalypse that will happen in a couple days there. It’s difficult for Martha to grasp so quickly. She can’t accept it’s real. This world and time they’re in is the future if they can’t stop the apocalypse. Martha won’t accept any of this, no matter how much her future self or Jonas tell her, or how they explain it. That doesn’t change the fact she’s just travelled through time by way of a cave. Jonas calmly tells Martha he knows how difficult it is to comprehend. His poor brain’s been melted since Season 1.

Hannah gets news in 1954: she’s pregnant.
At the station, Egon speaks with Greta Doppler, who’s there about the “missing minister.” She’s concerned about the congregation at church. Egon begins to ask questions about whether Tauber was ever seen with a woman, and this immediately pisses Greta off. She wants the minister found. Over at the church, Doris finds no priest, she comes upon the three unknown men with the cleft lips. She gets a lot of cryptic nonsense from the middle man. He can see through her because he knows the past, the present, the future. He plants a few seeds of doubt in Doris’s mind about Egon’s affair. Later, Egon hears from Hannah about the pregnancy and acts like a proper cunt about it, too. He also gives her a number for a woman who can do an abortion, in an twist of dramatic irony it came from Daniel Kahnwald— Hannah’s in-law.
At the town hall, Winden’s mayor is confronted in his car by the three unknowns. They want to know how much he was paid by the “coal industry” to block the power plant’s construction. The middle man pontificates on time/space, as he is wont to do. He hands over a building permit for the power plant, urging the mayor to sign: “To the future.”
Father Son Holy Gore - Dark - Future Martha and Noah in 2052

“You eat and fuck and think you’re God”

Father Son Holy Gore - Dark - Nuclear Power PlantIn 2053, Agnes heads out towards the God Particle. Where’s she going?
Rather, when is she going?
Slightly backwards, in 2052, Noah’s working with the other future Martha. They look over the “infinite circle” of people effectively beget by everything Jonas has done. There is “no beginning,” and there is “no end.” An absolute, existential tangle.

Hannah goes to see Mrs. Obendorf in ’54— this is where she’ll get her abortion.
She meets a young girl there, for whom she leaves the St. Christopher medallion. The girl is a young Helen Albers, who we’ve already seen grown up, wearing the medallion around her neck. Meanwhile, Egon’s stewing because Doris has left him, and he’s descending into the bottle rather fast, which is the beginning of his alcohol troubles that what know he carried into old age during the ’80s.

Martha talks with Adam in the future and he tells her the truth about the origin. He says it took “66 years” for him to unravel everything, to understand how it’s all connected. He explains to her that the child the other Martha and Jonas have, as we see them have sex together in the alternate 2019, is this origin, the point where all these concentric circles of identity and family converge at a single point. The older Martha never intended to stop an apocalypse, she wanted to create its origin. Is it then possible that three unknowns with the cleft lips are this child? They’re the ones who’ve helped get the power plant built, evidenced by their strong-arming of the Mayor of Winden in ’54. Not to mention that cut from Jonas and Martha directly to the middle unknown man writing in that book is highly suggestive. Just like the cut from Martha holding her belly to the middle unknown standing in front of the Adam and Eve painting. Wow!

Soundtrack: “The Labyrinth Song” by Asaf Avidan plays nearing the end
Father Son Holy Gore - Dark - The OriginEven though Dark continually grows larger, expanding itself, it always manages to retain such a strong emotional core— shared across a big cast of characters— that the wild spiderweb of events and relationships(etc) never feels out of control. At least that’s how it is for this viewer. And even as the final season closes, we are understanding so much more about this whole fictional universe.

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