Directed by Baran bo Odar
Written by Jantje Friese
* For a recap & review of the penultimate episode, “Between the Time” – click here
The series finale has arrived! Will the knot be untied? Or is it doomed to repeat forever?
Michael kills himself, setting Jonas on his original journey— a journey without an end. In 2053, Adam’s killed Martha with the God Particle in order to kill the origin. Claudia says neither of the worlds should have existed. It’s all about the “third dimension” of the triquetra, that’s where the reality of this connection lies. The origin world, which gives birth to the knot, is where Tannhaus made the original mistake of trying to bring someone back from the dead. What he actually did was split the world, creating two new parallel but different existences. Claudia claims the knot can be destroyed ultimately by preventing the discovery of time travel in the origin world.
Adam surveys the ruined Sic Mundus temple. He’s told by Claudia that him trying to stop the origin has all happened before, an infinite number of times, yet this moment between the two of them is the first time. She wants to explain to him how everything’s actually connected. All that Adam and Eva have done have “upheld the knot for eternity.” They created themselves anew, leading everything on this path. Meanwhile, Eva tells the scarred Martha about the origin growing inside her. Then the three unknowns with the cleft lips emerge— they are, as many of us suspected, the child of Martha and Jonas. Eva tells Martha that certain things must be done to ensure her child lives, similar to how Adam’s done many ruthless things to ensure his own aims are accomplished. Such as when she had to shoot Jonas in the temple, precipitating the alternate 2019 Martha’s journey.
Because of everything Eva and Adam have done there is much pain and suffering. Claudia’s not innocent, either. She knows that. Claudia also says not everyone’s part of the knot. So, when you destroy the knot, you destroy all that was borne of it, but everything that existed in the origin world remains. And this is, at least, a sliver of hope for so many, such as Regina, among others.
It’s also why fate in the two mirrored worlds is never any good. It will always happen the same way, regardless of how it literally occurs. Like Ulrich attacking Helge as a boy, caving his skull in, just as he does to grownup Helge later in time. Ulrich drags both bodies into the bunker. But the old Helge attacks Ulrich, finding him with his younger self. The old man beats Ulrich viciously with a crowbar, right before older Claudia turns up. The younger Helge is still alive, and, of course, it’s how he got that brutal scar on his face. Claudia tells Adam the way to actually change things is when the apocalypse happens and, for a moment, space and time stand still. Therefore, Adam has to send Jonas on a different path to “break the cycle.” Claudia says Jonas and Martha are to be sent to the origin world, to undo what they’ve done.
At the moment of the apocalypse, Adam goes to Jonas while Martha bleeds on the floor. He opens the time travel ball and forces Jonas to go with him. They escape to the origin world together. Adam tells Jonas they must trust each other to prevent the younger man from becoming him eventually. They exit the cave and Adam tells Jonas he and Martha are “two parts of a whole,” so they have to go to the origin world as a pair. He also uses the same quote we’ve heard the unknown, their son(s), use about a drop v. an ocean re: knowledge. After that they hear someone coming. It’s old Helge being followed by Ulrich. Adam says the apocalypse is approaching. He tells Jonas to find Martha before the older Magnus and Franziska do. The two older Claudias observe it all through space and time, hoping all goes right so that Regina can live.
Bartosz and Martha are rushing towards the caves as Jonas frantically searches for her. The pair are stopped on the road by older Magnus and Franziska. So, Jonas opens up his time travel ball, runs into the trail, and grabs Martha just as they’re pulled away through time to another place. Bit of a shock for her, though she’s fast getting used to how life and existence as she knew it has changed. She’s stunned to see him alive, and Jonas is slightly unsettled by seeing her alive, as well. He then explains they’re in 1986, on the day their two worlds were first created, the first day the passage in the caves would be opened. They’ve got to stop that from happening. Jonas tells Martha they’re the reason everything perpetually goes on happening.
We witness the burning of the Adam and Eve when Adam lights in on fire.
Following that, he goes to the God Particle and turns on the machine.
“But we are the mistake”
In 2052, Eva and Adam come face to face in the old temple. She places his gun against her chest. She doesn’t believe her death will change anything, it’ll only create another path and everything will return to it once more. She tries to pull the trigger and it won’t fire. He’s not put any bullets in the gun. Eva’s distraught because she thought this was meant to happen, she knows Adam killed her “every time” this moment occurred. He assures her everything that’s come from them will die anyway. He’s potentially changed the course of their existential labyrinth, once and for all. He says that Martha and Jonas have to take away the pain Tannhaus felt in the origin world after losing his family.
In ’86, Jonas and Martha go through the caves until they reach the Emerald Tablet door. He opens it up and they go deeper ahead. Jonas explains to Martha what Tannhaus did, creating the knot, creating them. They’ve got to go back to the moment of Tannhaus’s tragic pain to alter the origin world, thus preventing the worlds in which they exist.
When Tannhaus turns his machine on in the bunker the passage opens in the cave’s tunnel. Moments later, Jonas comes to when time seems to be standing still. Except he can’t find Martha anywhere. Neither can she find him, somewhere else on the starry stretch of road across space and time. Jonas sees a closet door open, where a tiny Martha peers out and sees him there, though Katharina sees nothing, while Martha sees a closet open and a little Jonas sees her but his father doesn’t see a thing. Then Martha and Jonas bump into each other in the space-time vacuum. He takes out the time travel ball and opens it up while they walk towards a spot of light.
A younger Tannhaus is arguing with his son Marek about his obsession with science rather than with his family. The “drop in an infinite ocean” quote returns, this time from Marek, whose anger towards his father is what pushed him and his wife onto the road with their infant daughter during a rainstorm. Marek’s wife Sonja tries to assure her father-in-law that Marek will calm down. But, we know fate had other plans. Suddenly Sonja and Marek see people in the street, swerving to avoid them. Marek gets out yelling at Jonas and Martha to be careful. Jonas tells him the bridge is closed because of an accident. Then he uses the drop v. ocean quote. Martha tells Marek his father loves him and would do anything for him. And so Marek decides not to head for the bridge.
Soundtrack: “Down on the Street” by the Stooges plays on the car’s radio
Tannhaus is still awake when Marek and Sonja return. His son thinks the two people in the road were “angels.” Marek and his father embrace, neither of them able to grasp what nearly just happened to them. Does this one act really forever change the origin world? Do the two worlds cease to exist now that Tannhaus no longer feels the pain that goes on to make him unlock the secrets of time travel? Will the knot truly be undone? On the road, Jonas and Martha wait to see if they’ve completed their task. They talk about seeing their child selves in the light through the closet. They wonder if anything of the two of them will linger on, anything to prove they ever existed.
And they begin to disintegrate into the fabric of space and time, across various times.
Soundtrack: Soap&Skin’s cover of “What a Wonderful World” plays here
In the origin world, things are vastly different in current day.
Everyone’s gathered around the table, like Hannah and Torben— together, expecting a child— Peter and Bernadette, Katharina, and Regina, too. The power goes out and Hannah sees the yellow raincoat Jonas would’ve worn, getting a sense of deja-vu. She says she dreamed this very situation last night, the power going out before the end of the world. She saw the world go dark, yet it was somehow a “good thing.” When the power comes back everyone’s relieved.
And Hannah ponders the name Jonas for her child.
“We’re a perfect match. Never believe anything else.”
What an absolutely amazing finale. There was no other way to do this, and Dark manages to stick its landing, big time. There’ll always be people who complain. But, for this viewer, the series hit its mark all of the time. Even when it got confusing the confusion only lasted a little bit until everything weaved together.
Dark is a masterpiece. One of the greatest shows ever created, my personal favourite.