After delivering a highly tangled story of people who are connected to each other through a complicated relationship of time, ‘Dark’ wraps up its story with the final season by answering all the queries it had created in the previous seasons. It takes us on one final ride, making it as wild and unpredictable as possible, and delivers an ending that tells us everything we ever wanted to know, while also leaving us bewildered about the entire experience. If you haven’t caught up with the show yet, head over to Netflix. SPOILERS AHEAD
The events of Season 3 pick right after the finale of the second. Martha from the parallel universe arrives just in time to take away Jonas, and the apocalypse destroys his world. Introduced to a new version of everything, Jonas looks at a world without him in it. Here, Mikkel never disappeared, never got stuck in the past, and never became Michael Kahnwald. But the absence of Jonas doesn’t mean that Martha’s world doesn’t have its problems. Things seemed to have flipped here, with everything happening the same way, even if with some differing details. The apocalypse is nigh here as well, and a different version of Adam has waged a war against time.
What is the Origin?
Every problem has a solution, and for that, one must get to the root of it. And for that, one must ask the right question. Is it: how was the problem created or when it was created or where it was created? Since the first episode of ‘Dark’, we kept jumping between these questions, wondering which one will lead us to the answer if there is any answer at all. How you can possibly break out of an infinite time loop that binds your very existence in such a chokehold that every time you think you have beaten it, you fall deeper into its force?
Since the moment Jonas realizes how time has caught him in its trap, he starts finding ways to wriggle out of it. His quest begins with the motive of saving his father and then turns into the mission of saving Martha. He spends all his life, trying to find a loophole in time and saving the ones he loves. By the end, he gets so wound up in it that the only logical solution in front of him is the complete annihilation of the world. If there is no world, no people, there would be no problems. From someone trying to save everyone, Jonas turns into Adam, who kills everyone he thinks would be a hindrance in his path. He pushes Michael into suicide and later, kills Hannah as well. He kills Martha and is ready to kill his own unborn child if that’s what it takes to break out of the loop.
However, despite all his tricks and treacheries and moving everyone like chess pieces in a game, he doesn’t succeed. Every time he thinks he has found the origin of the time loop, he turns out to be wrong, and sometimes, even becomes the very person who caused the problem in the first place. Adult Jonas tries to seal the loop, but it later turns out that he unwittingly created it in doing so. Teenage Jonas tries to talk his father out of suicide and preventing the chain of events that begin after his death, but discovers that it is he who convinces Michael to take his own life.
The first time he thought the caves were the origin point, and the next time he thought his father’s death was the beginning of it all. In the end, he zeroes in on Martha and convinces himself that their child is the beginning of it all. But he is proven wrong all three times, and the reason is that he never asked the right question. The answer is brought to him by Claudia, who had also made the same mistake over and over again.
While Jonas had his own tragedies to deal with, Claudia was pushed into the whole mess because of her daughter. The reason why she wanted to rearrange the timeline was because of Regina and Egon. In every version of her story, Regina would meet her death, and in every attempt to save her father from his imminent death, Claudia would become the reason for it. She spends a lifetime trying to figure out why she can’t save them. After circling around the same mystery with no answer in sight, she eventually changes her tactic and starts asking different questions, which eventually leads her to the answer. All along, after brooding over how, when, and where, she starts to think about the why. Why did Regina have to die every time? Why did Egon have to die? Why did Jonas, despite all his efforts, have to turn into Adam? Why did this time loop exist in the first place? And therein lies the answer.
In finding out why the parallel worlds were created, she discovers that it has to do with a completely different world. The origin of their problems does not lie in their lives, or their times, or even, their worlds. The problem is not the undying connection between Jonas and Martha, or the animosity arising from it for Adam and Eve. They are not at the center of this problem, neither is Claudia, nor is Charlotte. The origin is H.G Tannhaus and the death of his son, his daughter-in-law, and their daughter.
There are three timelines- past, present, and future; three people at the center of it all- Adam, Eve, and Claudia; and just like that there are three worlds connected to each other, following the law of triquetra. The worlds of Jonas and Martha are the anomalies that arose due to Tannhaus’s attempt to bring his family back to life. He wanted to go back in time and get them to safety while they are still alive. He wanted to create a time machine, but in doing so, he mistakenly created two alternate realities that were connected through space and time. The worlds that Jonas and Martha wanted to save so desperately should never even have existed in the first place. This was the origin of the problem.
The Ending: What does it mean?
After realizing that an apocalypse is not the answer to their situation, but the eradication of the entire world, Adam sends Jonas to go to the origin world of Tannhaus with Martha and save his family. If Tannhaus’ son doesn’t die, he wouldn’t have to create a time machine, which wouldn’t lead him to create two additional worlds.
When Tannhaus starts the machine in his world, the effect creates a gateway between the parallel worlds through which Martha and Jonas access the origin world. They appear right on time on the road which Tannhaus’ son has chosen to take that particular night. They convince him to not go forward to the bridge, which is where he and his wife and child are supposed to die. After some consideration, he decides to go back home and makeup with his father.
Since the accident doesn’t take place, there is no need for the time machine, and the two parallel worlds dissolve away into nothingness. In the final scene, we find Hannah, Katharina, Woller, Regina, Benni, and Peter having dinner together. The others, who arose due to the complicated time travel, are not in the picture anymore. It turns out that Peter is with Benni, and Hannah is married to Woller. Regina also looks in better shape than she had been in the parallel universes. Hannah has a deja vu after seeing the yellow raincoat, and she decides to name her child Jonas.
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