Welcome to the Heavy Spoilers show, I’m your host Deffinition and if you’re still in the Dark over well…Dark, this is the article for you.
The third and final season has just wrapped up and there’s a lot to unpack from it. The timey wimey wibbly wobbly series feels like you need a PhD in theoretical physics to understand but we’ve hopefully created a breakdown that’s gonna be Dark For Dummies and should guide you through the series as simply as possible.
Obviously there will be heavy spoilers here so if you haven’t had a chance to check it our yet then I highly recommend that you turn off now.
With that out the way, thanks for clicking this now let’s get into our breakdown of Dark.
Dark Season 3 Breakdown
Ok so Dark as a whole has very much about ensuing one’s survival no matter what. This has been shown through several of the characters who pretty much all have had to do something bad in order to guarantee that the way that things happen is the way that things will always happen.
Adam is a key character that signifies this and in order to make sure that Jonas would go on to become him he killed Martha just before the apocalypse at the end of Season 2. In his eyes, this would set things in motion that would continue the loop in which Jonas would become him and thus the status quo would remain. However Dark threw a curveball in the final few moments of season two and we were introduced to an alternate version of Martha that saved him from the apocalypse.
The third entry is very much about breaking this loop of being selfish so you survive and it culminates with Claudia convincing Adam to do so by the actions we’ve seen her carry out throughout the show.
The Three Travelers
Predominantly the three travelers we need to be aware of are Jonas, Martha, and Claudia as they are pretty much what the show revolves around. Now my notes for this look like the walls of a psychiatric war but I’ll try to keep things as simple as possible so I will be glossing over certain elements and moments just so we aren’t looking at an 80,000 word long article.
Initially, it seems like there are two worlds with all the timelines happening at once which leads to a straight line in which all intertwine.
Season 3 opens immediately after the head-scratching ending of Season 2 and begins with the burning of the family tree that has been at the center of the time travel show. This signifies the message that all must end in order to save everyone and it’s a neat way to open the show so we sort of have the subtext of what must be done.
If you thought things couldn’t get anymore confusing then prepare to be proven wrong because the first half of the third entry feels like trying to put a jigsaw together, blindfolded, with your hands tied behind your back.
Martha and Jonas journey through to the mirror world which is exemplified by the title sequence being reversed. In this world everything is sort of taking a similar course to the last two seasons we’ve seen, however, at the same time, everything has changed too.
There are minor details that are very subtle and we can see this in the chair outside the cave switching sides. It also appears in other elements such as the house being reversed.
This B world forms a knot with the A world and Martha abandons Jonas in 2019B so that he can learn about breaking the cycle.
In B world the apocalypse still happens on June 27th 2020…wait that’s today, however, Martha and Jonas have switched places as the traveler. This is the alternate timeline that Claudia was referring to as the world without Jonas.
On the whole, a lot of characters in the show exist because of something known as the bootstrap paradox. In this theoretical situation, a scientist finds a book on his doorstep. This book details all of the ins and outs of time travel and he uses it to build a time machine. He then travels back in time to leave himself the book and thus the loop can continue.
This is how a lot of the characters were created in the show and primarily, most of them exist because someone in the future traveled back to the past to set things in motion. Thus, you remove one element such as Mikkel then Jonas can’t be born and everything changes.
Other notable differences we see early on are that Ulrich is cheating on Hannah with Charlotte, this dude doesn’t have an arm instead of an eye, and Regina Tiedmann also died prematurely.
We learn that older Jonas, who I’ll be referring to as The Stranger so things don’t get confusing, traveled back to the 1880s in World A and Martha goes to visit him in order to supposedly lead him on a different path. She tells The Stranger about Jonas from their world informing her of this, which the former doesn’t remember and thus he believes that things may be able to be altered in the loop. However, we learn this was actually from Adam who knew that his past self would be too gullible to question anything.
This was in exchange for Martha learning of the origin aka her unborn child and yeah…It’s a lot of timey whimey wibbly wobbly stuff.
Breaking The Loop
However, breaking the loop is something that we’ve had paid lip service too in earlier seasons and this is the key to everything. It was said that every time a loop happens something minor changes so if enough of these minor changes happen then one thing could end up being the straw that breaks the camel’s back or rather ties everything together.
I’ll discuss how this fulfills in just a bit but the binding of things is something you must bear in mind.
It’s during this time that we see The Stranger slowly being persuaded into creating a Paradise through Sic Mundus. The final episode is called Paradise and thus the idea that The Stranger has to become Adam is planted here. I actually enjoyed seeing Sic Mundus formed and their ideologies and also failures.
They basically believe that time travel can save everything but as we know from Rick and Morty, trying to use it just leads to society eating it’s own tail and it’s a path to damnation in which you never really learn from your mistakes or see how they might eventually have a positive outcome because you’re always trying to fix them.
The Time Machine
This is reflected in Tannhaus who tried to resurrect his family because he believed they would be alive in the macro verse due to the theories of Schroedinger’s Cat. However, he ended up creating divisions from the origin world which gives us an inkling of how things have happened for our protagonists.
It’s great seeing this play out in motion and I loved watching how Martha sort of became the Adam of her world known as Eva…or as Jonas calls her, Aunty. They are the chosen ones from both worlds and the adam and eve picture we see in the season is split down the middle because of it.
Now we basically watch the two mirror one another as they try to navigate the complex landscape of the loops and convince versions of themselves to break the loop and to return things to how they should be.
A lot of the season sort of fills in the blanks and backstory elements that we have only heard about but not really been privy to. This involves Elisabeth and Noah, Charlotte meeting Elisabet in the future, Hannah getting in the past, The Nuclear plant being built, Katrina trying to save Ulrich, Katrina getting killed by her own mother, the Mads murder investigation, Bartosz fathering Agnes and a lot more.
The Future Is The Past
Now one of the most notable elements to be aware of is that Martha and Jonas travel to 2052B in order to lay out the strategy of how things should go ahead. It’s here that we learn that Jonas has to let Martha go in his world in order to save his world and the reason that the apocalypse has happened so many times is because he has refused to. The early parts of the season, namely episodes 1-4 primarily set up the dominoes and the latter 4 episodes tip them over.
Both Adam and Eva were laying the groundwork in order to guarantee that things continue the way that they do because they believe that will untie the knot when ultimately it just binds it tighter.
The Three Worlds
Now by the end, we learn that there are actually three worlds and that A and B are both ones that should have never existed. The origin world is actually the paradise and combination of these two worlds and it is the way things should be. Dark has primarily moved in motions of three with the symbol of the Triquetra being something that ties together everything. Just as we primarily got timeline jumps of 33 years and there being three key events across each of those three timelines, we also have three worlds and so on and so forth.
In numerology 3 is a number that means divinity and this is referenced in the trinity of the father, the son and the holy spirit in Christianity.
In Christianity, the number 333 is in fact seen as an opposite to 666 and if you see it it means you have been visited by guardian angels that will look after you.
Eva also tells Jonas that a human lives three lives and the idea of three is laced throughout the season (episode 5).
Though the worlds in dark are shaped by dualities such as black and white, light and dark however it is far more complex and this third world is sort of…the best of both worlds if you will that brings what should have been together. Thus, everything isn’t about time it’s more about realities and making the best one possible.
An alternate version of Martha shows up and kills Jonas hammering home this idea of there being other options for what we’ve been told and this of course mirrors how Martha was shot at the end of season 2.
This switch points alternate certain passages in action but they always eventually end up coming back around as part of the same path with the realities overlapping and causing one another.
Everything is kinda put on it’s predetermined path with Claudia arriving with an outline of the way things have to go. It’s great watching The Stranger become Adam and yeah, I loved watching everything come together with Hannah coming face to face with her son as we see the monster he’s become.
Martha also gets her scar from herself and yeah, incredible writing as we watch Adam kill Martha.
Dark Season 3 Ending
Now not long after this Claudia visits Adam who’s shocked she’s alive. She reveals that though he has been trying to untie the knot through killing Martha and therefore the origin, that he has actually been ensuring that this causality loop continues. She tells him that he must enforce the way that things are in the past and make sure it all happens exactly the same up until the one moment that we see happening on screen.
Claudia has been trying to save Regina this entire time in moving to a world where she lives and she has kept everyone in the dark, lying to both Adam and Eva throughout their lives so that things inevitably lead to this conversation.
The theme of Motherly instinct appears here and just in how Claudia has been trying to save her child, Eva has been trying to save her child who we learn is the new man that has been introduced into the series as well as his younger and older self.
Untying The Knot
Claudia says that they have to prevent the invention of time travel by Tannhaus which makes both worlds become created as offshoots. The gateway to this opens during the creation in a moment in which time will stand still and thus they can break the chain as the chain does not exist then. Claudia has already used this moment to change things and Adam possesses the ability to do so too.
However, in order for this to happen, things must always happen the way they have up until a certain point which is why Martha killed Jonas in the scene from earlier.
Now, with things slightly altered, Adam is able to visit Jonas at the moment of the apocalypse and together they travel to world B.
Here he tells him that everything that has happened in World A and B has been caused because of their stubbornness but he’s finally ready to changed things.
Adam sends Jonas to stop Martha from coming into contact with Magnus and Franziska and thus he will not become Adam and she will not become Eva. He manages to pull it off and together they travel with one another in order to bring Tannhaus’ wife back to life so that he never goes on to build a time machine. Adam burns the picture of Adam and Eva, signifying the end of their message.
Dark Season 3 Ending Explained
He stabilizes the Dark matter whilst Jonas tells Martha that they must sacrifice their lives to make sure that all of the sorrow they eventually go on to cause never happens. They are the glitch in the matrix that leads to their worlds becoming hells on Earth and the paradise they need to be maintained is the reality in which things don’t travel down the route we’ve seen across the series.
Adam visits Eva as he has always done but where he would normally kill her, he has removed the bullets and shows that things can change. It’s actually a touching moment between the two as he tells them that everything that they have done will be forgotten as both will be wiped out. They actually share a hug and yeah it’s amazing seeing things change, their love and hate is what caused so much pain and they are finally at peace after realizing they can’t escape the labyrinth that they’ve created for themselves, they can only embrace it.
In the tunnel, Martha and Jonas reach the doorway in the cave and when Tanhaus switches on the machine they’re transported to an abyss without time in which they can see each other’s realities. This the moment in which everything splits and thus they can travel to the origin world.
Here we witness Marek, Tannhaus’ son who has a blazing row with his father before driving away into a storm with Sonja and their child. Jonas and Martha materialize and stop him from traveling to the bridge which is where the family ended up being in an accident. They convince him to stop by showing that they know him and thus save his life.
So Tanenhaus never needs to create the time machine.
Marek returns to his father and says that he believes the pair were angels and this ties into the number 3 as mentioned earlier.
Now, with the worlds no longer being created, neither Jonas or Martha can exist as how they were and they slowly start to disappear with Jonas stating “you and I are perfect for each other, never believe anything else.” They hold hands as they disintegrate which mirrors the other travelers vanishing too.
The Meaning Of The Ending
Finally, they have broken the loop and it’s a bittersweet moment in which we see them no longer existing. Both had been trying to ensure their survival all this time in order to carry on the loop, however, they realized that they had to break it in order to make it so that everyone else had a better life and it’s a really sentimental moment that speaks to the notion of sacrifice.
Their world and lives will have just been a dream and we cut to the characters, namely Hannah and Regina living in the original world, the paradise in which there was no apocalypse.
We see Hannah, Woller, Benni, Peter, Regina and more having a dinner party. Woller’s eye isn’t as bad and Hannah is pregnant. She has a sudden moment where she stares at a raincoat and I believe this Deja-Vu is her remembering for just a brief moment their other lives in the mirror worlds.
She says they are free of everything and no longer tied to the predetermined paths that have had them existing with one another on an almost permanent loop for eternity.
She says Hannah felt good being free of it so we do know that the characters did get a happy ending. They stopped the world from ending and now they all have a future that won’t involve the past and so on.
The season ends with the group asking Hannah if she’s thought of any names and she stares at the jacket and says Jonas before it cuts to black.
Are Jonas And Martha Still Alive?
Now what this means is that the Jonas we knew will live on in some form or another as will most of the characters that we’ve grown to love. However, their dark nightmare will just be a dream and the characters will instead get happy lives instead of the torture that they’ve endured over several lifetimes.
Things have changed but they have changed for the better and all of the events that would lead to the murder of children, the deaths of millions and more have all been taken out of the future because of Jonas and Martha’s sacrifice.
They finally broke the chain so that the world could continue without the versions of them that we’ve witnessed and the lights going off and on in the house symbolize that they have taken us out of the dark and into the light.
It ends the season and series as a whole, leaving Dark as one of the best Sci-Fi shows ever made.
Obviously I’d love to hear your thoughts on Dark and if there’s any alternate theories or things you have that you feel like talking about. Make sure you comment below and let me know.