3×06: “Light and Shadow”
Directed by Baran bo Odar
Written by Jantje Friese & Marc O. Seng
* For a recap & review of 3×05, “Life and Death” – click here
* For a recap & review of 3×07, “Between the Time” – click here
The God Particle appears over the power plant, spreading out over Winden.
We go back to 2020 when Jonas hears the destruction outside, saying goodbye to Martha who’s left bleeding on the floor. He rushes off through a door as a cloud of radioactive dust flows over the house in a wave. Then, in 1888, older Jonas wakes up from this horrible dream/memory. He opens the letter from Martha. She writes that there is a way to “save me and you.” We simultaneously see alternate 2019 Martha with Jonas, who’s bled out from being shot by Eva. The other time-travelling Martha is locked in a cage by Adam’s people. The letter from Martha says the apocalypse has to happen so she can live.
“We are a perfect match,” the letter reads. But which Martha actually wrote this letter?
Alternate 2020 Martha returns to her house on the day of the apocalypse. She desperately washes the blood off her. Magnus finds her in distress and his sister tells him that Bartosz was right about “the end of the world.” She frantically talks about Aleksander, the barrels at the plant. Obviously her brother thinks she’s lost her mind, dismissing it as “psycho crap.” If only he knew. Sure, it’s a difficult thing to hear, but he reacts like a total dick. Martha holds the St. Christopher medallion. We see the other Martha with the scar, a younger Eva, with her future self. The older Martha explains that she’ll learn to Jonas go. We see them in 2052, where the Adam and Eve portraits are decayed and half-worn away.
In 2053, Adam talks to Martha about Tannhaus’s belief they could create a paradise free of pain— a third world, outside of their own two. He now thinks paradise means “eternal darkness” where nothing exists. Adam wants to apocalypse to happen, in both worlds, in order for everything to end.
Only 6 hours remain before the apocalypse.
Aleksander tells Bartosz he’s being blackmailed. He shows his son a newspaper about a murder 33 years ago. He comes clean about his real past, that his name’s Boris Niewald. He acts like murder’s something we can sweep under the rug, like any other mistake. Bartosz is rightly shocked, curious if his mother knew. His father says Regina didn’t know before she died and that just makes it easier for him to hate Aleksander.
When Charlotte goes to see Ulrich she and Hannah have a tense little moment. Then Ulrich and Charlotte speak about what she’s found in the bunker. She shows him the penny Helge has and the penny she found in the bunker— they’re identical coins. She knows that Helge’s had the penny since she’s known him. So, how does another identical penny turn up there? Charlotte knows it had to have “travelled through time,” even if that’s, as far as SHE knows, an impossibility. Or, does she? After all, Tannhaus did raise her. She knows about this kind of thing.
Poor Martha’s in the midst of a full-fledged, time-travelling identity crisis. She chops off her hair, to the length we’ve seen Eva and the other different Marthas wear. Then she has a chat with her mother. Katharina has some timely things to say to her daughter about fate and choosing our own paths. She also says that though she and Ulrich are apart it “doesn‘t mean things are bad.” This is a poignant thing to say, given all the twisty futures and pasts we’ve seen, and have yet to see. Katharina has no idea that what she’s saying may literally come to bear on the flow of space and time.
In the original 2020, Claudia has a look at a map marked with the location of the God Particle. She goes back into the ruined power plant wearing a radioactive suit. She heads right to the core, reaching out to touch the Particle. But someone yells for her to stop. She turns to see it’s Jonas, who’s alive again! Of course. OF COURSE!
Elsewhere, the other Martha is with her future selves. Eva talks about the junction in this loop of time where things can go one way or another, revolving around the moment when original Martha dies— time-travelling Martha either comes to take Jonas to the other world, or she doesn’t, so either Jonas lives, or Jonas dies, and these possibilities run on in a loop in either world, a “quantum entanglement.” The worlds cannot be separated. We also see the letter sent to older Jonas on the table.
The still living Jonas is back on a course to correct things, to save Martha and Mikkel. Claudia brings him to the device, which doesn’t work anymore. This Jonas questions why the other Claudia didn’t tell him everything. This Claudia says she can help him save everybody.
Martha goes to Bartosz in the alternate 2020, revealing everything about the accident in the 1980s, the barrels, and how this will all trigger the end of the world, just like he’s been obsessed with for so long. She says they can’t let Aleksander open up the barrels. Bartosz rings his father, who won’t answer, busy contemplating Hannah’s blackmail. His dad opts to call Charlotte. Is he about to confess?
At the morgue, Ulrich goes to see the body of the child found in the bunker, his own brother Mads. He questions the medical examiner whether the body could’ve been preserved. That’s when Ulrich sees the scar on the boy’s chin, knowing there’s more to this story than he understands. He immediately goes to see old Helge in lockup, asking him if he killed Mads. “She said I had to do it,” says the old man. He was told to send the boy to the future, to “fill the gaps.” That’s two references to time travel in one day for Ulrich. He then asks about the pennies. Helge claims he’s supposed to stop Ulrich— stop him from what? The chief decides he’s going to let the old man go free. Maybe Helge will lead Ulrich to something.
In some part of space and time, the three unknowns with the cleft lips are at the God Particle. The middle man throws a switch and the Particle forms a solid black orb. Then, the young unknown and the old unknown walk inside it. The Particle’s shut back to its chaotic form. After that we see the middle unknown holding the time travel ball we’ve seen Martha carry. He’s gearing up to go travelling, too. What are they up to, though?
In 2053, Adam’s sending the older Franziska and Magnus on a journey, as well.
There’s 1 hour until the apocalypse in the alternate 2020.
Franziska thinks there’s more to Martha’s apocalyptic tale than Magnus is willing to consider, given what they experienced at the bunker, plus all the scattering birds and the strange flickering lights. Across Winden, Bartosz and Martha are rushing to the caves at the very same time Aleksander’s suiting up with Charlotte to go have a look at the nuclear reactor’s core. And in the woods, Ulrich follows old Helge out to the caves. He calls Charlotte, knowing she was onto something with the pennies now. And he knows the boy from the bunker is Mads.
In the woods, older Magnus and Franziska stop Bartosz and Martha on the trails. Martha recognises this older version of her brother “from the future,” though the alternate future. Old Magnus tells Martha she’s been lied to, that the group she’s spoken to are actually trying to trigger the apocalypse (even if we all know Adam wants the apocalypse to happen in both worlds). They try to convince Martha to go with them, so she can save Jonas and prevent the apocalypse from happening in “another time.” She’s willing to go, leaving Bartosz behind for better or worse. Quite the thing for Bartosz to witness.
Evan wants to preserve the knot because it gave her, and the others, life. They wouldn’t exist without it. Understandable perspective. But it means a whole bunch of despair. Eva thinks she understands where everything ends and where it begins, whereas Adam hasn’t been able to fully comprehend it. She sees the labyrinth of space and time as shaped by them, everyone from Noah to older Egon to Claudia and more. She starts up the God Particle so everyone can go off to do their part.
Similarly, in 2053, Adam explains “the origin” must die. He tells Martha it isn’t so easy because the origin is “born of both worlds” and the energy in both worlds is necessary to destroy it. That’s why he wants the apocalypse to happen in both worlds because it’s the only thing that can stop the origin, and prevent everything from occurring in the first place. Adam wants “absolute annihilation” of existence. He’s got Martha strapped down when he starts the God Particle.
We see the three unknowns separated through space and time, all headed to the plant.
The older Egon emerges from the cave in alternate 2020, only to go to see Hannah who’s possibly having a miscarriage. In another part of the woods younger Bartosz is confronted by his future self. Ulrich is following Helge further into the caves— he sees where the Sic Mundus panel was, except now it reads Erit Lux (translation: Let There Be Light). Noah brings young Elisabeth down to the bunker where his younger self awaits their arrival. At the plant, Aleksander’s in the core with Charlotte showing her the barrels. The two Claudias meet in the ruins of the power plant in the original 2020. Back in 1888, the other future Martha shows up outside the Tannhaus Machinery. She goes inside to leave the letter and watch for older Jonas.
And the three unknowns, in both times, go to the plant’s controls to flip switches.
The God Particle grows, expanding over Winden, then consumes everything.
“With every death comes a life”
Another intense chapter.
So many wild things happening at once, but the dual timelines, and the other world outside them, is starting to make more sense to me than it did previously. Funny how things get more complicated in Season 3, yet, in a roundabout way, they help make the entire series more coherent, too. The magic of solid writing, as well as having one director take (the majority of) creative control across several seasons.