28 June 2020 00:36
At the end of season two, Martha was shot to death by Adam, setting Jonas on the path to eventually become Adam. Right before she leaves, this Martha tells Jonas that he needs to prevent the apocalypse and break the cycle so that both versions of Winden — along with its people — can live. Not only does he have to deal with a new version of Winden, but he also has to face a powerful new force in the form of Eva, which happens to be the older Martha who's in charge of making sure everything in this parallel universe happens exactly the way it's supposed to. Just like how Adam manipulates Jonas and Noah in his world, Eva only uses Jonas and the younger Martha as pawns in a much bigger play. She wants to preserve the knot and makes sure that the time loop keeps happening while Adam wants to do the opposite; to sever the knot and break the cycle so that he could destroy both of these worlds and create a new one where time does not exist.
But there's a real reason why Eva wants to maintain the time loop, and it's all explained in the season's fourth episode 'The Origin'. And then Martha is impregnated with a baby whom Eva and Adam refer to as "the origin", the beginning of everything that connects these two worlds in the same time loop. Adam wants to kill this version of Martha and destroy the baby in an attempt to end the cycle once and for all. And through this conflict between Eva and Martha, the show manages to drill that theme home even deeper, showing us the extreme lengths people will go to save their loved ones. While Adam and Eva are busy fighting each other, Claudia Tiedemann, otherwise known as the White Devil, emerges as the unsung hero of the season.
Claudia also realises that these two worlds aren't supposed to exist in the first place, and it's actually a mistake created by the clock-master HG Tannhaus in the original world. When he tried to invent the first time-traveling apparatus, he ended up splitting the world into three. The only way to destroy the time loop is to prevent Tannhaus from creating the apparatus in the first place, which is triggered by the death of his son, his daughter-in-law, and his granddaughter Charlotte in a car crash. Claudia explains this to Adam so he can guide Jonas and Martha into the original world and prevent that car crash from happening. Jonas and Martha head into the original universe via the cave's passageway to complete their final mission. But here comes the catch: if they prevent the car crash and the creation of the time-traveling apparatus, all who are born out of the time loop will not exist in the original world. In the end, Jonas and Martha choose the "right" option, preventing the car crash which would've inspired Tannhaus to invent the time-traveling apparatus. Dark may begin as an intricate show about time-travel and loss, but it ends as something completely different: a bittersweet love story and an emotional look into human nature. Of course, it's sad there won't be any more episodes, but just as how Dark reminds us in these final moments, all beautiful things must eventually come to an end. Succeeding where other series often fail, this third and final season continues its delicate time-traveling balancing act all the way through to a thrilling conclusion. Even before the third and final season of the German-language Netflix sci-fi time travel epic, each new wrinkle has arrived with a shock, but also with the storytelling confidence that this is always how it would unfold. The giant gambit at the end of last season was that not only were Jonas (Louis Hofmann) and Martha (Lisa Vicari) destined to experience their tragic love story across increasingly stratified generations, they would have an entire new reality to contend with. Though Season 3's most significant new character comes closest to that idea, "Dark" offers each of the established Winden mainstays their own chance to reckon with their part in this ever-expanding moral quandary. Even though it's certainly something that's been part of the "Dark" conversation since the opening season, it really can't be overstated how breathtaking the casting on this series continues to be. With so many competing motivations and diabolical schemes being maneuvered in real time, "Dark" finds connective tissue in the idea that it's understandable to want to do what's best for the ones we love. So while the season and the series move toward an ending that seems more and more destined as the full scope of this philosophical struggle comes into view, there's still something thrilling about seeing these dozens of people fling themselves into the unknown.