2020 – Our World
The season 3 finale of Dark begins with Old Claudia arriving and greeting Adam, telling him that his actions have led to this outcome. However, there is a third world where everything originates from. This third world happens to be where we’ve seen Tannhaus in the past and his decision created the two worlds we’ve been jumping between.
The only way to stop this reality playing out in the fashion it has is to stop the chain of events leading up to Tannhaus creating his machine in the third world. This is why Adam and Claudia have had to follow their predetermined paths for so long to achieve this goal – it’s solely to lead up to this moment.
Martha finds out as much from Eve too, leading Martha into shooting Jonas. Claudia however has been consumed by trying to save Regina, jumping between both worlds to find a breaking point. Claudia tasks Adam with a new role – sending Martha and Jonas to the origin world to stop this from occurring once and for all.
1986 – Both Worlds
In our world, Helge is knocked down to the ground just as before and Ulrich bashes his face in with a rock. At the same time, Ulrich in the other world bashes a much older Helge’s face in but despite the differences between worlds, things still play out in pretty much the same way. The difference here is that in the other world, the older Helge lay in wait and bashed Ulrich’s face in with a crowbar and killed him.
2020 – The Other World
Adam jumps back through time and snatches Jonas up before he travels down the familiar pathway to either the other world or surviving the apocalypse to become Adam. He tells Jonas to save the other Martha. As they lie in wait, they watch from a distance as Helge marches into the cave.
Handing over the time travel machine, Adam tells Jonas he’s their only hope of saving the future but he needs to get to Martha before Magnus and Fran do. Charging through the forest, he finds Martha and grabs her, whisking her away from that time before Magnus and Fran can tell her to jump back and save Jonas.
21st June 1986 – The Third World
“You’re alive,” Martha says as they transport to this new time period. Only, for Jonas everything that’s transpired in the past for this iteration of Martha hasn’t taken place so he doesn’t remember what happened in Sic Mundus – especially with being shot.
Martha finally understands though what they need to do, partly thanks to Jonas’ sombre look and determined walk toward the cave. They’re going to destroy the machine and in doing so, prevent both worlds from ever existing.
Jonas crawls through the passage and awaits it being opened. It turns out Tannhaus wanted to create a world where his family were still alive and to go back and be with them. This moment of pain is the exact time they’re trying to get back to in a bid to save their fates.
Adam travels across to the future to confront Eve, holding a gun up to her. She tells him everything has played out in this way before. In the past, it turns out Adam shoots her which is when Martha found her dead body and eventually becomes her.
Adam however decides to change the future, emptying the gun and letting the bullets clatter to the ground. Their fates are now in the hands of Martha and Jonas and as they both realize this, they embrace and await what the future may hold for them.
The Tranquil Moments Between
As Tannhaus’ machine is fired up in The Origin World, both Jonas and Martha find themselves separated and standing in a strange time stream. Eventually they find one another and as a strange glowing intensifies near them, they walk into it and face whatever lies beyond.
The Origin World
Tannhaus watches as his family walk away after a fight, out into the storm. However, instead of their car crashing off the bridge it’s stopped mid-route by Jonas and Martha who tell the duo that “The bridge is not open.” Thankfully they don’t drive past and continue (admittedly my initial thought went to another ironic bootstrap paradox here) and instead drive back to the warehouse.
As they arrive, Tannhaus hugs his son tightly and tells him he’s glad they’re back. With the future saved and both worlds now ceasing to exist, Jonas and Martha dissolve and fade from existence hand in hand. Adam, Eve, The Stranger and everyone else do too as the world looks like it’s finally going to be course-corrected.
The New World Order
With the two worlds no longer existing, in the origin world everything appears to have course-corrected itself. Regina, Hannah and Katharina sit with Benni, Peter and Woller who sit around the table and listen to Hannah’s bleak story.
Katharina raises a glass and toasts to “A world without Winden.”; an ironic throwback to Ulrich who ended up as the catalyst that destroyed Katharina and Hannah’s relationship. With him now gone, they seem to have found their perfect partners.
As the episode closes out, Hannah decides on a new name for her baby – Jonas.
The Review Write-Up
With any big show like this, it’s always difficult to wrap everything up in a way that’ll satisfy everyone. It’s a rare feat nowadays to find an ending to such an eagerly anticipated series finish things in a way that feels right and ties up many of the loose ends.
The inclusion of the Origin World is such a great concept and ties in beautifully with the main themes of this series. The final dinner scene is such a deliciously dark and ironic way of ending things too; all the people we’ve lost coming together and seemingly living their own version of paradise. In a way, this means both Claudia and Tannhaus have been successful in their mission of resurrecting the dead but obviously not quite in a way either of them expected.
If there’s one blemish here though it comes from the Boris/Aleksander sub-plot that’s never really given that much closure. We still don’t know for sure what happened despite a few clues along the way and it’s a little disappointing not to have received something more conclusive with this.
What’s particularly impressive here though is just how well the writers have tied everything else up at the end. Massive congratulations to everyone involved with this show because Dark will go down as one of, if the not the best, time travel series of all time.
As the final credits roll, and we’re left wondering quite what happened to Woller’s eye, Dark is a momentous achievement on the small screen and a brilliant series overall worthy of awards.