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Netflix Dark Season 3 Episode 4 Recap: The Origin

A woman looks at her reflection in the mirror
Egon gives Hannah a St. Christopher medallion

"Dark" is one of the best Netflix original series to date. To see a description of the show and all of my episode recaps, go here.

In the last episode, Jonas and Martha help try to guide each other in both worlds, deepening our mythology and understanding of their unbreakable bond. We also dig deep into the early days of Sic Mundus and discover the backstory of the Tannhaus family.

Episode 3.4 The Origin

The episode opens in the 1950s. Tronte now looks like a teenager, rather than a little boy. He walks home in the woods, wearing a dark maroon scarf. He finds himself drawn to the caves. He hears noises within. A voice interrupts his thoughts: "We're attracted to the dark like moths to light. We are born out of the darkness, and we return to it."

It's the Unknown. He approaches Tronte with an air of intimacy and curiosity. Tronte wonders if they know one another. The Unknown replies that he knew his mother a long time ago. The wording feels similar to what The Stranger said when he approached Jonas for the first time. The Unknown notices Tronte's similarity to Agnes, especially his eyes. He tells Tronte he himself doesn't have a name but gave Tronte his own name. This scene and others with the Unknown make some progress in humanizing him. He has wisdom to share.

The Unknown gives Tronte the ouroboros bracelet
The other two Unknown converge upon him in a triangle formation. Tronte looks frightened, but the adult one holds up his hand in a calming motion. They mean Tronte no harm. The Unknown gifts him an ouroboros bracelet, the snake eating its own tail. He tells Tronte it belonged to his mother once. Cue title credits.

Across town, Egon and Hannah have sex. There's enthusiasm, but not true emotion in the act. But wouldn't Ulrich hate that he and Egon slept with the same woman. Afterward, she puts on makeup in front of the mirror as Egon dresses. He tells her he loves her, but Hannah just smiles. There's no guile in his words. Unlike Ulrich, he says all the right words, at least after intimacy.

He then gives her a St. Christopher medallion, perhaps the first pass we have seen chronologically? He places it around her neck. She's wearing a blue robe. She glances dejectedly at the pendant. Egon notices her lack of enthusiasm, but she just says she hasn't been feeling well. She wants to see him later, but he decides it's best to stay home tonight. Before he leaves, he tells Hannah how glad he is that she stayed in Winden. He tucks her hair behind her ear and tells her she's beautiful, a haunting reminder of Ulrich's words. Hannah seems disturbed by the deja vu.

Jana looks on disapproval as Ines and Claudia look at girly magazines
September 24, 1954: Young Claudia and Ines Kahnwald giggle as they look at pictures in a girly magazine. Jana stands close by but tries to stay apart from the other two girls and the shocking images. Ines tells Claudia that she found it in her dad's stuff. Jana tries to get them to move toward school, but the girls resist, insisting that you don't really learn anything in the classroom.

Ines slyly asks Claudia if she's ever seen a naked man before – one that's not her dad. Claudia nods yes and reveals that she's seen all of Tronte – shocking Jana and pleasing Ines. The girls wonder aloud where Agnes has gone.

Ines is one of the most mysterious characters on the show. All we know is that she is the daughter of Daniel Kahnwald and a friend to Jana. She never marries and works at the local hospital as a nurse, eventually becoming the adoptive mother to a lost Mikkel Nielsen. While we don't know much about Ines, we have met her father. We know he encouraged Egon to find a younger, compliant woman as a side piece, and we also know he likes to digest porn. Perhaps Ines did just steal the magazine from her father, but her question to her friends about if they have seen another man naked "other than their father," makes me wonder if he has sexually abused his daughter or talked to her about sexual topics in an inappropriate way.

Egon goes to work and finds Doris in his office. She questions his tardiness at work, and he makes a pitiful excuse. She shows him a handkerchief with the initials HT. She found it in one of Agnes' blouses. She wonders if Egon might use it to track Agnes down via her husband who used to be a minister. The priest's name was Hanno Tauber. She shows him a newspaper clipping. Doris Tiedemann makes a pretty good detective, eh?

She also suggests that Agnes wouldn't leave her son Tronte behind. Egon tells her they are "taking care of it," but Doris isn't impressed. She suspects foul play because why else would Agnes "leave all of this behind?" Egon scoffs and makes fun of what goes in the minds of women, triggering Doris to exit.

A woman in a hazmat suit
Agnes prepares to enter the God particle
We cut forward to September 24, 2053. Agnes watches the unstable God particle. Adam compliments her on choosing the right side. He hands her the newspaper clipping that ran when Claudia's body was found. It reads "Unidentified woman's body found in woods." Adam instructs her to give it to Claudia. This is confusing to me because old Claudia also gave this same newspaper clipping to her in 1953. Does that mean Agnes gave it to her and now Claudia gives it back? We have never seen Agnes give the news clipping to Claudia.

Moving on, Adam tells her that life is a gift for those who know how to use it. She questions Adam if he will tell Martha about the true origin. Adam doesn't respond.

In the same time, alt-Martha wakes up, gasping for air. Magnus sits nearby. He mentions that he used to wonder why she chose to ditch them in 1888. She simply dropped off a piece of dark matter and then disappeared. Now today, it's his older self, along with Adam and probably Franziska, that gives her that order. She apologizes for abandoning him. He tells her that Adam is ready to see her. This very stoic Magnus can't seem to hide that as a teen he was hurt at his sister's actions, even if it's not his world's version of his sister.

We warp to world 2 – the post-apocalyptic Erit Lux world, bright with light. Here's the location of the hatch. It's November 6, 2052. We cut to inside the bunker. The walls are covered with writing. Names of the town's characters appear with dates. Are these the dates of their death?

Stranger Martha tells Martha 2 that this is her future. Martha's shaking – not ready to believe such a horrible thing to be true. She asks about the door to the cave. Jonas stands by wordlessly, but he looks troubled to see Martha's distress. She notices that many names are crossed out, and Stranger Martha tells her those with crossed out names are dead. That all of them die in two days. If they don't stop the apocalypse, this is the future.

We warp back to world 1. Hannah sits in a doctor's office, getting dressed after a checkup. She's wearing an outstanding form-fitting red plaid dress. She stands next to a very uncomfortable-looking examination chair. The doctor informs her that she's pregnant. He encourages her to take things easy. Hannah sits down to steady herself. She finds this news impossible. The doctor lights up a refreshing cigarette. He registers her shock and says, "Some gifts into our lives unexpectedly. Yet they're still gifts." This is the second time that gifts are mentioned in the episode. 

A woman at the police station
Greta asks Egon if he has any news of Hanno Tauber
Egon sits at his desk examining the handkerchief Doris gave him and their family photo. In walks Greta Doppler, looking prim. She asks him for any news. He tells her that without Helge's testimony, they are stuck. She has no interest in Helge. She wants to know where the hot young priest has gone – one Hanno Tauber. She has a cover story that their church needs the minister back.

Egon seizes the opportunity to try and earn some grace back with Doris by asking Greta if she ever saw the minister with a woman. This earns Egon an icy blue stare. Everyone wants to find their boo today.

The Unknown tells Doris about her husband's unfaithfulness
Across town, Doris enters the Sic Mundus church. Inside, she finds the Unknown, with his hands folded together, holding the Sic Mundus diary. She asks if he has any knowledge of the missing Agnes or the missing priest. She claims to be concerned by Tronte, the son of Agnes, but the Unknown sees through her disguise. He says, "With every lie the human soul dies just a little bit. The ways of the heart cannot be explained. It does what it wants."

The three forms converge upon her. They know she longs for Agnes. He encourages her to open her eyes about Egon's behavior. Doris tries to stutter a denial, but it's no use. They don't harm her, but she may never want to step foot in the church again.

While the Unknown brutally killed several people, they only seem to kill when necessary. In the case of Doris, I guess they needed her to leave town, so that Egon could spiral into alcoholic depression and Claudia could grow up without a mother. The cycle must continue.

Tronte and Jana talk at the lake
The camera pans over Winden towards the lake. Jana walks in the woods but stops when she sees Tronte sitting on a log. She has a shock of blonde hair running through one braid. He sits on the same exact spot where Jonas and Martha converged in 2019. She asks about the snake bracelet and compliments its beauty. He sticks the bracelet in his pocket. She wonders why he sits by himself on a log by the lake. He shares that he enjoys solitude. He opens up a little and shares that he likes to write stories. Jana smiles, and he compliments her. Tronte doesn't like to talk much, and Jana's quiet spirit seems to soothe him. We've seen him with the precocious Claudia. Jana doesn't press him for details. We know Tronte is filled with secrets. Perhaps he needs someone who understands the need for space. They share a moment.

A woman in a red coat talks to a man in a police uniform
Hannah tells Egon that she's pregnant
At the police station, Hannah interrupts Egon's smoke break. He's unhappy that she's dropped by (although everyone else does it). Hannah tells him flatly that she's pregnant. He accuses her of not being careful. And then makes the horrible mistake of asking if the child is his. Hannah attacks back. She thought Egon was harmless, but he's just another entitled prick. He offers to drive her home. Did Hannah expect a different outcome from the man who claims to love her? Hannah has never been more relatable.

We cut to the Doppler mansion. We see copies of advertisements promising the wonders of atomic energy. The family in the ad look amazingly like Bernd, Greta, and Helge. Claudia stands awkwardly while she overhears an angry Bernd on the phone, berating some poor bureaucrat about the denial of his building permit.

Bernd finishes the phone call and comes out of his office finding Claudia. He's slightly embarrassed at his outburst. He compliments her beauty and brains, handing her some bills in compensation. Claudia waves him off, insisting that he's paying her too much. But Bernd gives her a life lesson: "If you really want something, then take it. Things don't just happen by themselves." She takes the money. This moment may have been the catalyst for Bernd becoming Claudia's mentor and establishing her as his heir apparent.

City Hall, a crime scene in the making
We cut to the Town Hall. The mayor exits the building and is helped into his car by the older Unknown. The other two also get into the car. The mayor tries to exit, but the youngest one pulls a gun on him. The adult Unknown accuses him of letting the coal industry bribe him into blocking plans for the power plant. They force him to sign the permit.

We warp to world 2. Stranger Martha wants them to stop the apocalypse. They must stop the barrels at the power plant from being opened. Jonas gets irritated that she only talks about this world. He wants to save HIS Martha. Eva told him this was possible. Stranger Martha tells him that she lied. He can't save both worlds. He has to choose. She then encourages him to choose this world because world 1 didn't go so well.

Martha runs out of the bunker. Before he follows her, Stranger Martha tells him that in this world, he and Martha can be together. This is what he wanted. Boy, I would love to see Stranger Jonas and Stranger Martha together. Would they still like one another?

Jonas chases after Martha. He catches up to her and seems to understand her distress. She wonders how this can all be possible. She feels like a crazy person. He understands her and shares that he knows how she feels. And he's not going to give up trying to find a way. He believes alt-Martha is trying to do the same thing. The one who brought him here (Martha with the scars). He expresses faith in the person of Martha.

We warp to world 1. Alt-Martha looks on as Agnes and the girl from the future embrace. Older Franziska, older Magnus, and Adam also watch. Adams says that it's time. Agnes steps into the room with the God particle, wearing one of the yellow suits.

Back in 1954, Tronte and Jana walk home in the woods. She asks about his mother and the man he met in the woods. Is that his father? He mentions he was in a home once. She asks what it was like, and he pulls up his sleeves, showing her the scars on his arm. He shares a secret with her: "I don't want to know if that man is my dad, and I'm glad that my mother's gone." He offers her the ouroboros bracelet. We can view this as an affectionate gift, but he did just say he doesn't care about his mother anymore.

a bracelet
Tronte gives Jana the bracelet
They are intercepted by Claudia, who takes one look at their body language and decides to claim Tronte as her property. She stands next to him and grabs his hands, staking her claim. Tronte doesn't resist.

We cut to Egon and Hannah in her room. He wonders what they should do. She tells him she doesn't want to keep the baby. She says, "Why do some people have everything and others nothing?" She puts her hand on his face, like he did to her. Like Ulrich did to her. She wants to know what it feels like to let someone go. She's tired of trying to hold onto a man. She doesn't need anyone. She repeats the words her son once said to her. She holds them as a token and a point of pride now.

He gives her the contact information of someone who can help her get rid of the baby quietly. The name on the paper reads Mrs. Obendorf.

We warp back to world 2. Jonas and raincoat Martha walk towards the caves. She looks behind her before entering. Back in the bunker, Stranger Martha draws a line between Martha and Jonas on the family tree. Underneath is an infinity symbol. In walks Noah 2. He asks if she sent them off. He says, "The beginning is the end, and the end is the beginning. We are all born of him. You gave him life, and he will give us ours. Him, Agnes, Tronte, Jana, Ulrich, Katharina, You. A line without a beginning or an end." So in world 2, Noah works for Eva, just as he does for Adam in world 1.

A woman on a staircase, a man enters the house
Doris waits for Egon to come home
We warp back to world 1. Egon comes home with flowers. Doris on the stairwell, waiting for him. He sits down next to her, although there's not much room. He apologizes for his behavior that morning. Now that he's done with Hannah, he's desperate to make amends. But she tells him she knows about his affair and wants a divorce. There's just too many secrets. She repeats the words of the Unknown: The ways of the heart cannot be explained. It does what it wants."

Despite the threatening behavior of the Unknown, Doris has been freed by his words. He's become her patron saint in a way.

Hannah rings the bell at a door labeled Obendorf. The door is answered by a very shy teenage girl, who lets her in. Both of them sit in chairs outside the door. This is the waiting room. She tells Hannah that her mother told her that the aborted babies go to hell. Hannah refutes this theory since she doesn't believe in Hell. The girl introduces herself as Helene, meaning Helene Albers, future mother of Katharina. The name startles Hannah, and they shake hands.

Hannah meets young Helene Albers at the home of Mrs. Obendorf
Hannah introduces herself as Katharina. Helene loves that name. Helene recognizes the St. Christopher pendant. It's comforting to think of someone carrying them on their journey. The door opens and Mrs. Obendorf calls Helene in. Is this the mother of Jurgen?

Hannah looks thoughtfully at the chair where Helene sat. She places the St. Christopher pendant on the woman's coat, deciding not to go through with an abortion after all. This interaction must touch Helene deeply because she ends up naming a daughter after the woman we know as Hannah. And the Hannah Helene meets that day is the best version. Beautiful, fashionable, kind, and serene.

Egon sits at the table, getting drunk. Claudia and Tronte come home and find him there. Something about his behavior alerts Tronte that he needs to usher Claudia and himself as far away from Egon as possible. He's probably seen this before. They go upstairs.

Claudia comes home to find Egon drunk
Bernd Doppler opens his front door to find the building permit signed for the power plant.

In 2053, Adam looks at a picture of The Unknown and places it inside his copy of the Sic Mundus journal. In walks alt-Martha. She wants what he promised her. She's wearing the St. Christopher pendant. He knows she wants to know where the origin is and how to destroy it. She will know eventually. It took him 66 years to realize how it's all connected. It's time for her to know, too.

We warp to world 2. At the Kahnwald house, Martha 2 shows Jonas her bedroom. She tells him that when he walked in the door at school, she felt she knew him. He apologizes to her for messing up her life. She asks what she was like in his world. She wonders if she was different. Jonas reaches to touch her face. They both get weepy. They kiss deeply and melt into one another.

The adult Unknown looks down at the journal. He opens the book and begins to write: "I am left to die alone, and I am my sole judge. The beginning is the end, and the end is the beginning." He closes the book. It's done.

Our montage song begins: The Labyrinth Song by Asaf Avidan.

Lyrics: "Oh Ariadne, I'm coming, I just need to work this maze inside my heart
I was blind, I thought you'd bind me, but you offered me a chart
Oh Ariadne, I just need to work this maze inside my heart
If I'd known that you could guide me, I'd have listened from the start."

Hannah walks out of her 1950s room with the time machine suitcase. Martha and Jonas undress and begin to make love. Egon drinks alone, flowers on the table. Doris holds the yellow dress and inhales deeply. Tronte sits on his bed and looks at his scars. Claudia comes in and closes the door behind her. She removes her nightgown, taking what she wants. Jana looks at the ceiling, holding the bracelet.

The Unknown is the Origin
We warp back to world 1. Adam walks into his bedroom in the Kahnwald house. The same room. Alt-Martha is with him. He tells her that this is where it all began in her world. He shows her the journal. Her older self sent them back for one purpose. Not to stop the apocalypse but to create the origin. He grabs her hand and places it on her stomach. This is the origin. Her son is the origin.

We warp back to world 2. The family tree is emblazoned in marble on the floor. The Unknown steps forward, gazing at the Adam and Eve painting. The end.

Obviously this whole episode is about the revelation of the origin. They want to keep us guessing the whole time. Martha and Jonas are wrong, and their love has created a monster. The Minotaur himself – the Unknown. They give the Minotaur an air of humanity in this episode. He carries an air of sadness. His final quote hints at a creature who is totally alone. That is why he keeps his own company. 

Jonas and alt-Martha become one in this world and create a life. Because we met Martha 1 first, it's easy for us to think of this Martha as the copy – the lesser Martha. But what if Jonas was drawn to Martha 1 because she reminds him of this Martha? This Martha and Jonas have a similar path. Martha 1 could never relate to what Jonas was going through. She was a phenomenal actress in her school play, but Martha 1 mostly just wrung her hands and pined after Jonas. This Martha has actual worries and feels more like his match. She now carries the weight of a world on her shoulders. Their union is poignant and emotionally resonant.

Lingering questions:

  • Is Egon really the father of Hannah's child? I'm wondering if it could be Ulrich. In world 2, Hannah carries Ulrich's child.
  • Does Doris ever find Agnes again?
  • What drives Tronte to marry Jana but also have an affair with Claudia?
  • After Doris leaves, what happens to Tronte?
  • What about her interaction with Helene causes Hannah to change her mind?
  • Does the show tie-in Hannah's baby with the Unknown through this talk of gifts?

Sic Mundus Creatus Est


Anonymous said…
Hi Lindsey,
Hey, where did everybody go? No comments on Season 3? I'm beginning to think I've drifted into another world (or time?) from your other followers. Anyway, just wanted to let you know you still have fans who find your summaries essential. I have just finished episode 3.4 and hesitate to continue without your guidance.
Thank You,
Lindsey said…
Thank you Tim. That means the world to me. I have been wondering where all the people are who begged me for season 3. But I trust that it’s still needed.
TJ said…
I'm here :)

I want to echo Tim and say that your recaps (along with abusing the rewind/back button on my remote) are essential for keeping up with this fantastic show. You are a beautiful writer as well.

Ready and nervous for the final 4 episodes of this journey
Lizzie said…

I am just discovering Dark and have found your recaps invaluable. The time and effort you put in to them are much appreciated. I have the last 3 episodes to watch (how will I cope without your insights!) but will keep checking back to hear your final thoughts. I will also be checking out your other reviews.

Thanks again,
Lindsey said…
Hello Lizzie, I should have episode 6 done this week. Thank you for your patience.
Foggy Flora said…
Honestly this show is so confusing I may have given up on it without your recaps. Thank you!