Netflix Dark Season 3 Episode 8 Recap: The Paradise

A girl and boy sit in a tunnel covered in stars
Martha and Jonas watch as Tannhaus opens the portal for the first time

"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.

So here we are, at the end, or is it just the beginning? Writing my final Dark recap makes me feel an eensy bit emotional. But I must complete my mission.

Episode 3.8 The Paradise

The episode begins with a replay of Michael Kahnwald sealing the suicide note and hanging himself on the ceiling rafters. Jonas then wakes up. This was the first episode of the show, and the showrunners poignantly start the ending where it all began.

The first chapter of the episode is a 20-minute conversation we witness between Claudia and Adam, as she patiently explains how everything is really connected.

"Every journey has a beginning, but yours has no end. It goes on forever and ever. I'm here to finally make your journey come to an end." Adam is confused because he had Claudia killed. I won't bore how by recapping what's essentially a 20-minute monologue, but here are the highlights to the conversation.

  • Every attempt Adam has made at untangling the knot has just led to the same conclusion.
  • He didn't kill the origin when he killed Martha because the Unknown is not the true origin.
  • The true origin lies outside in a third world. The concept of triquetra comes to bite Adam in the butt, and he is embarrassed that he missed it. Nothing is complete without a third dimension.
  • Neither of these worlds is better than the other. They aren't exactly the same, but people suffer in both worlds.
  • In the origin world, Tannhaus tried to bring back someone from the dead, but instead he split and destroyed his world, creating what became Adam's world and Eva's world. The glow from the machine is orange, splitting into yellow and red. This explains why the primary color at the school and the power plant in Adam's world is yellow, and in Eva's world, we see red.
  • In order to untangle the knot, Adam (Jonas) and Eva (Martha) must prevent the invention of time travel in the origin world.
  • Claudia feels bad that she had to hide the truth from Jonas, but she needed him to stay the course. She needed everything to keep happening as it always had.
  • But this is the first time they are having this conversation. Change can happen.
  • Claudia knows this because she spent 33 years looking for answers and realized that not everyone is part of the knot.
  • Adam can use the loophole during the apocalypse when time stands still for a fraction of a second. During that brief second, the chain of cause and effect is broken and true change is possible.
  • Adam will send Jonas to use this loophole to create a fourth ending.
A school with red trim
Winden High in world 2, red with black accents

A school with yellow trim
Winden High in world 1, yellow accents

As Claudia describes the intricacies of trinity to Jonas, she uses many of the exact lines that Tannhaus did when talking to Stranger Jonas in season 1 in his workshop. This means that all along, main writer Jantje Friese was giving us hints as to the show's big reveal. If you look closely now, you can see they gave us the red threads to untangle this labyrinth from the beginning.

Something that may go unnoticed, too, is that Claudia mentions that in the origin world, Tannhaus' action destroyed the world. Theoretically, if we traveled to world 3 after Tannhaus created the passage, we would find nothing or another type of apocalypse. In a sense, the destruction in Adam and Eva's world is an effect of that in the origin world.

In the middle of the monologue, we see Eva instructing alt-Martha with the giant gash on her left cheek about why she must kill Jonas. Eva tells Martha that she carries both worlds inside of her. Martha's son will give life to everyone in the knot. As Eva finishes sharing this revelation, the Unknown comes into the Erit Lux lair. The smallest Unknown comes forward and grips Martha tightly around her waist. This is the first time he will meet his mother. This is the only time we see the Unknown show any affection and only the second time we have seen him try to connect with another human – the first was Tronte.

Martha doesn't seem to know what to think. Based on Martha's response, is she repulsed by his presence? That makes me feel sad for the Unknown, who seems genuinely happy to finally meet this mother. Martha cries but doesn't embrace him back. Then the middle-aged Unknown touches Martha tenderly on the face, like men do to Hannah. He wipes a tear from her eye. We have come to associate this type of touch with a level of disinterest, so it doesn't come across as pleasant.

Stranger Martha comes into the lair and gives her a change of clothes and a gun. Eva tells her that if she wants Jonas to live, that she must do what has always been done. Bartosz is now nowhere to be found. All sense of rescue, familiarity, or warmth has now been taken from Martha.

Now we see Martha "off stage" as she prepares to shoot Jonas. I can't help thinking that this feels like a stage play. Stranger Martha waits outside until she gets her cue, and then enters the room. Martha then enters "stage left" and delivers the lines she must. It all feels like a performance that no one truly wants to attend.

A man touches a woman's face
Martha, meet your son

 The next scene shows Claudia and Tronte, talking in the old graveyard in the apocalypse. Tronte shares that he always thought Regina was his daughter. Claudia wanted that, too, but now she's glad because Regina isn't part of the knot and can truly live. She talks Tronte into killing Regina because she's not living much of a life anyway. She also knows that if Regina dies, her younger self will be motivated to move heaven and earth to find her. Before he leaves, the two old lovers embrace.

During the next part of Claudia's monologue, we see a split screen of the worlds, paralleling what happens between Ulrich and Helge. We have already seen what happens between them in world 1, but not world 2. In world 1, Ulrich arrives in 1953 and encounters little boy Helge, bashing him in the ear with a rock. In world 2, Helge is making pinecone figurines outside of his cabin in 1986. Ulrich comes by, asking if Helge saw an old man come by. Ulrich does not immediately recognize Helge. Today's date is November 8th, 1986.

Ulrich sees the bunker door open and assumes Helge is hiding Mads down there. This time he hits Helge in the eye with a rock. Ulrich then drags middle-aged Helge down the stairs to a bunker, covered in the most heinous yellow wallpaper ever known to mankind. As horrible as the blue wallpaper room is in world 1, I can barely look at this room.

Ulrich hears a scraping sound and turns around to find old Helge, brandishing a crowbar. He proudly smashes Ulrich in the head three times. He then reaches into his pocket and pulls out the two pennies. Just then, Claudia shows up and middle-aged Helge begins to stir. He is alive after all. Ulrich didn't realize you can't kill someone that already exists. So when old Helge told Ulrich that "she said I had to do it," he meant Claudia.

After Claudia finishes her instructions to Adam, we cut to black.

The action picks up on the day of the apocalypse in world 1. At the Kahnwald house, Jonas hovers over the body of Martha, now dead after Adam shot her. Jonas promises to make things right. In walks Adam, who manages to look a little sheepish. He looks down at the body of Martha, too. Jonas lashes out bitterly, asking why he's still there. He grabs Adam by the collar, shaking him.

Adam tells Jonas he can explain everything, but that they have to leave now. Jonas needs to trust him. There is no reason for Jonas to trust this man who has fed him nothing but lies, but this Jonas is at his weakest point. He has just lost everything. Adam powers up the golden snitch, and grabs Jonas by the arm. I do appreciate how Jonas yells, "What is that?" several times. That is how Bartosz felt when the Stranger burst in and forced them all to time travel with him. Adam and Jonas poof out, leaving a trail of golden stars.

They arrive in the cave – the cave where alt Martha took Jonas. Adam explains that they are in another world. Jonas can avoid becoming him if he will listen to Adam and trust him. They leave the cave together in world 2. It's strange to see Jonas coming out of the cave, looking lost. This is his first time in world 2. Louis Hofmann has had to play so many iterations of Jonas.

Adam warns him that he doesn't have much time. He must save the other Martha. Jonas is surprised that there is another Martha. Adam tells him that yes, both of them must go together to accomplish this goal. "What we know is a drop. What we don't know is an ocean." Adam doesn't spend precious moments offering apologies. There is nothing he can do to bring the other Martha back. But he can give Jonas a companion to travel with into the darkness for this last adventure.

Nearby Helge walks towards the cave, saying "Tick Tock." Adam knows it's the day of the apocalypse in Eva's world. The loophole exists here, too. In the moment that time stands still, Jonas must get Martha before Magnus and Franziska. If Jonas misses the loophole, the loop will start again. Alt-Martha will go with Magnus and Franziska back to regular Adam, who will send her to 1888.

Something that could be missed here is that Claudia tells Adam she had to use the loophole to get to him to tell him about the way out of the labyrinth. That means Adam had to wait to travel back in order to use the loop again. This is only made even clearer by the appearance of Helge. We are seeing the scene that we just saw before on the split screen.

Back in Sic Mundus, older Claudia tells middle-aged Claudia that Adam will send Jonas on the mission. He and Martha will stop this from happening. Middle-aged Claudia asks older Claudia to tell dad (Egon) that she's sorry. They hug. Older Claudia just reminds her that if all goes well, Regina will live. This could be somewhat confusing. If Adam will travel to Jonas and send he and Martha to the origin world, why does older Claudia have to keep traveling? Wouldn't her work be done? But no, she must go to 1987 to talk to her younger self with the red hair and then bury the suitcase time machine for that Regina to find in 1987. Otherwise, those things will never happen. She also must send Stranger Jonas on his way and tear the pages from the diary. She must stop Jonas from interfering with Michael's suicide. And she has appointments with Tannhaus, Agnes, Noah, and Egon. When Claudia goes to Helge's cabin to be shot, her work is complete. She can rest, knowing Regina will live.

We cut back to world 2. We pick up with Bartosz and Martha, riding like the wind on a bicycle towards the Winden power plant. They were trying to intercept Alexander before he opened the barrels. Nearby in the forest, Jonas walks quickly, then runs, towards the meeting point where Magnus and Franziska block their way.

Martha and Bartosz arrive. Jonas pulls the golden snitch from his bag and sets the machine for the right time, before placing it in his pocket. He then runs towards the quartet, reaching Martha just in the nick of time. He holds on to her, and the two of them disappear in a trail of stars.

The two appear next to the bus stop. This must be world 1. They regard each other with suspicion. For Jonas, it's his first time meeting "other Martha." Martha has a visible reaction. Here, she thought Jonas was dead, and here he is alive and well. However, this Jonas doesn't know her. This Martha had her life turned upside down when Jonas crashed into her world, insisting they were connected, had sex with her, and then turned cold the next morning. She then had to watch him die in cold blood. Now she must bear the pain of him not knowing her. She's back to square one with him.

Two paintings of a man and a woman
The now burned Adam and Eva paintings in Erit Lux
She demands to know what year it is, getting more angry as the seconds count forward. Jonas is going through his own emotions, but he's still somewhat cold. He tells her that today is June 21, 1986 – the day that both of their worlds were created in Tannhaus' world. Tannhaus the clockmaker will open the passage for the first time today. They have to stop it from happening.

We then warp to world 2. Adam holds a gun in his hand. He enters Erit Lux and sets the Adam and Eva paintings on fire. He walks into her time travel portal room, perhaps admiring how well constructed everything looks. He flips the switch to make the globe stand still. He will travel to Eva.

In world 1, Jonas and Martha stop outside the cave. She stops to ask where they are going. Jonas tells her that they are bringing someone back from the dead. In order to do this, they have to get to them before they die. That's not enough to get Martha on board. She wants to know why. Jonas finally stops to look her in the eye: "You and I. We're the reason everything happens the way it does. Because neither of us can let go of what we want. But we are the mistake. The glitch in the matrix." This isn't entirely true. The worlds themselves are the mistake that Tannhaus made. Yet I guess in order for Jonas to do this, he has to feel responsible. It's not just Jonas and Martha who can't let go of what they want. It's all of Winden.

A teen girl follows behind a teen boy
Martha decides to go with Jonas
Martha can't help but feel a little hurt. Does Jonas want their worlds to not exist – for them to not exist? Jonas nods his head yes and walks towards the caves. In every world, in every time, this is where Martha kisses Jonas to try and convince him to choose her. But this time she doesn't. After a moment, Martha finds her resolve and follows him into the darkness.

In world 2, in 2053, Eva regards the burned paintings. She looks down at the St. Christopher pendant in her hand. In walks Adam. Eva has been expecting him. As always, she puts on a brave face to show she isn't shaken by what he does. Adam holds a gun. Eva pulls the gun to her chest. Adam won't win because his murdering Eva is what convinces Martha to avenge her older self. She will turn against Adam once and for all. But Adam doesn't shoot Eva.

Eva gets impatient and uses her hand to try and pull the trigger on herself. This is when Adam reveals he has removed the bullets. Time doesn't intervene – instead good old-fashioned free will. Adam makes the choice not to shoot Eva. Eva is befuddled and a little afraid. What can this mean? Adam always shoots her.

Adam tells her they will both die and everything that has come with them. "Life is a labyrinth. Some wander around inside it until their death, in search of a way out. But there is only one path, and it leads ever deeper inside. Only when one reaches the center will one understand. All that we have done will ultimately be forgotten. We are responsible for this never-ending deja vu. And we're the ones who have to end it. We are the mistake. You and I." Eva begins to weep. Adam touches her face. For the first time in years, they act kindly toward one another.

Adam makes a vulnerable admission here. Their younger selves had a deep abiding love for one another, but as they grew and lost hope and became twisted versions of themselves, they stayed connected through hatred. Everything they did was an attempt to thwart the other's plans. Thus, the knot was created. Essentially their lives have become one big middle finger directed at each other.

We then see HG Tannhaus. "Every pain entices us to act, shapes our will. Tannhaus lost all that ever meant anything to him in the origin world. His son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter died in a car accident. They were forced off a bridge, and drowned in the river. He never forgot that pain." If Jonas and Martha take away that pain, he won't need to look for a way to fix it. Tannhaus is standing inside what looks like a classroom. He turns the television off and walks out. He walks outside and ends up in front of the bunker.

In the Winden caves, Jonas and Martha follow the red thread to the Sic Mundus door. They open the door and crawl inside. When they come to a sealed off portion, they sit down and wait for Tannhaus to open the portal. Jonas explains that Tannhaus tried to time travel so he could bring his family back. Instead he split the worlds and created them. In that moment there will be a bridge between all three worlds. They will then travel to where Tannhaus' pain began.

Jonas finally allows himself the privilege of looking at Martha. He wants to know what the Jonas in her world was like. It's an interesting question because in one sense, there is no Jonas in her world. But now, in actuality, there was a Jonas in her world. Because alt-Martha brought him there. But the Jonas in her world is actually the Jonas from his world. Him. Only it's Jonas before all of that. This is a slightly less jaded Jonas. Yes he saw Martha die, but he hasn't survived an apocalypse in a basement or spent years trying to recreate the god particle.

Martha doesn't answer the question. We then cut to Tannhaus pushing the red buttons. The nuclear device lights up orange. The path of stars begins to fill the caves and the portal. Eva and Adam embrace, finally ready to forgive one another. The portal to the third world opens, showing a blinding light.

Jonas opens his eyes, and he's in an eternal hallway, like the infinity room in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, only covered with black glittery stars. The stars move in lines around him. He calls for Martha. She's nowhere to be found, and his voice echoes in a chasm of nothingness. He begins to walk as if he can reach the end.

We then see Martha also in the stargate. She calls for Jonas. It's as if the two can hear each other, but dimly. Martha tries to run, but there's nowhere to go. Jonas then turns. He hears laughter.

A door opens at the end of the portal. A little girl with dark hair stares at him through a closet door. We then hear and see Katharina calling for Martha. This little girl is a wee little Martha, with big brown eyes. She tells her mother that the boy looks sad. Katharina can't see a little boy. Martha's wallpaper appears to be green and pink, and it makes me think of the pink scarf Martha wore the first time we saw her.

A small girl with dark hair
Little Martha Nielsen
Elsewhere, Martha sees a similar portal and a little boy with blonde red hair and a yellow rain jacket stares at her through the open doorway of his basement. Michael comes to check on him. Martha begins to cry and smiles at the image of sweet little Jonas.

A small boy with blonde hair
Little Jonas Kahnwald with Michael
Fun fact, there are three characters in different life phases in this stargate: Jonas, Martha, and Mikkel/Michael. In Jonas' house, Michael is the loving father. In Martha's world, he's a coming attraction in Katharina's very pregnant belly. In case you feel this show has forgotten him, they feature him prominently in this important moment.

  Both Martha and Jonas begin to back up and find each other at an invisible corner. Jonas then powers up the golden snitch, and they walk towards the portal, dissolving into the light. There are a lot of fun posts on reddit to analyze what this strange interlude means. But I also encourage you to go back and watch episode 1.8 So You Sow, So You Shall Reap or read my recap, because the dialogue between Tannhaus and The Stranger basically channels this whole final episode. Pay attention to the parts about the wormhole and the light coming from behind you. I think the wormhole is exactly what happens here. 

A boy and girl look at each other in a starry background
Martha and Jonas in the wormhole

We hear a storm raging outside. We are now in the origin world, 1971. On the desk is a family photo of Marek, Sonja, and baby Charlotte. There is a lot of pink in the photo, with the blanket, Sonja's coat, and the stroller. We enter mid-argument between HG Tannhaus and his son, Marek. The argument seems to be about whether or not Marek wants to own the store one day. Tannhaus always assumed he would, but Marek feels his dad never really listens to what he has to say. Sonja stands by awkwardly, holding baby Charlotte. You can tell this is an argument they've had before.

There's something about this couple that reminds me of Magnus and Franziska – probably because of the hair lengths and colors. Technically they are no relation, since Tannhaus is only Charlotte's adopted grandfather.

Marek gets angry and blames his father for chasing his mother off. He's only ever interested in theorizing about science. Marek wants his dad to see him for who he is. Tannhaus just remarks that it's raining outside. The ways of the human heart aren't something he can communicate about easily. Marek's face expresses a world of hurt. He walks out, clearly ready to hit the road. He's not interested in being around his father anymore.

A man and woman with wet hair look upset
Marek and Sonja Tannhaus
Tannhaus tells Sonja he thought they would stay a few more days. Sonja sheepishly reponds that Marek will calm down eventually. She walks out, too, and they take off in the car.

The rain is coming down hard, and the two drive down what might be Forest Road. Sonja talks to Marek softly, trying to get him to calm down a bit. He says, "You have no idea what he's like. Growing up that way. He lives in his head, in his big ideas. Have you ever seen what he does? I don't get why anyone watches that stuff. He only ever looked up: stars, galaxies, stupid universes, but me . . . He never saw me. "

Sonja mainly just listens, but she does remark that you can't choose your family. Marek responds, "I chose you." They smile at each other and kiss. The comparison to Magnus and Franziska continues as these two lovers listen to rock music and talk to each other. If they die, then together. Which is what can happen when you kiss while driving in the rain.

Just then, Jonas and Martha appear in a cloud of stars in the middle of the road. Marek and Sonja scream as the car swerves, barely missing the strange duo. The screech to a halt, and Sonja checks that the baby is okay. No one is hurt. They look out the windshield and see Jonas and Martha, the travelers, blocking the road like a couple of guardian angels. Marek gets out to check on them, yelling at their irresponsibility. Neither Martha or Jonas says anything, leaving Marek unsure what to do next.

He asks if they are okay and wants to know if they need help. Jonas just says, "The bridge is closed. There was an accident." Then Marek starts to get mad, thinking they are pulling a prank. He starts to walk back to the car, so Jonas says, "What we know is a drop. What we don't know is an ocean." Marek stops dead in his tracks. Jonas doesn't know that this is a magical phrase that Tannhaus used to say; he just heard it from Adam. Martha follows up by saying, "Your father loves you. He would do anything for you." Now Marek looks nervous – frozen by these two guardian angels that come with messages of philosophy and love.

Jonas and Martha block Marek's car
Jonas and Martha block Marek's path
Sonja finally gets out of the car to check on her husband. Marek decides to listen to the pair and echoes that the bridge is out. Both the messages of Jonas and Martha were needed. Jonas repeats a phrase that Marek knows is unique to his father. This gets his attention. But perhaps that alone wouldn't have been enough to stop Marek from trying to leave that night. Martha speaks the words he's been desperate to hear – that his father cares about him and places value on having a relationship with him. Perhaps he doesn't believe it at that moment, but Martha's words may spark a seed of hope that the love is there, and that is enough to make him turn around. They get in the car and head back to Tannhaus' home. They will leave tomorrow.

They turn the car around in front of the famous bus stop. There are three red stop lights, making a triangle. In the middle are Martha and Jonas. Martha and Jonas watch the car drive off, and again, the taillights make a triangle with the other two points being Jonas and Martha. Martha and Jonas look at each other, wondering if it worked.

At the clockshop, Marek and Sonja enter, making the bell ring. Tannhaus comes out, expressing his surprise at their return. Sonja mentions that Marek thinks they met a pair of angels. Marek looks at his father oddly, perhaps looking for signs of the love. Tannhaus steps forward and embraces his son, maybe something he hasn't done much. Marek hugs him back. These two men don't seem to know what to do next, and Marek breaks the ice by taking the luggage upstairs.

Sonja asks if he would like to hold baby Charlotte and leaves the room to help Marek. Tannhaus looks down at Charlotte. And it's not 100% clear, but it almost looks like Charlotte has a scar above her lip, like the Unknown. Tannhaus' pain has been erased.

Across town, Jonas and Martha wait near the bus stop to see what will happen next. She wonders if it worked. Jonas walks toward her. Their mission complete, he finally makes an effort to connect with her. He tells her he saw her inside the light as a child. It looked like she could see him, too. Martha begins to cry. She thought it was a dream. She asks if any of them will remain. Or were they just a dream, too? They both weep. Their bodies begin to dissolve into tiny particles. Jonas then says, "We're a perfect match. Never believe anything else." They hold hands as their existence turns into dust. They look towards the space behind the bus stop, where the power plant used to be in their worlds. In the Origin world, it doesn't exist. 

A teen boy and girl hold hands
Jonas and Martha hold hands as they dissolve
Our final montage begins to the tune of "What a Wonderful World," with a cover done by Soap & Skin. Eva and Adam disappear. They hold hands. In the late 1800s, Stranger Jonas disappears as he looks at the St. Christopher pendant. In 2053, Stranger Martha disappears, as well as the chalkboard of names. Middle-aged Claudia disappears in front of the murder board.

We cut to black. In the origin world, we are outside the Kahnwald house. A storm rages on. But when we go inside, the first thing we see is a family photo of Bernd Doppler, Claudia, and Regina. This leads me to believe that this house belongs to Regina in this world. Bernd wears a yellow orange jacket. They look happy. It's quite a bomb to drop in the last 9 minutes that Bernd is Regina's father – or at least, that's what the picture seems to imply.

There's a group having a dinner party, with lasagne and wine. A pregnant Hannah sits down. In attendance: Hannah, Woller, Katharina, Peter, Bernadette, and Regina. Hannah and Woller are together, as well as Peter and Bernadette. Everyone stares at Woller, remarking that his eye looks much better and teasing him that he never told the story about what happened. Woller's eye is scarred, but he doesn't wear an eye patch. After he swears them all to secrecy, he starts to tell the story. But the power goes out, and the mystery remains unspoken.

They joke that it's the apocalypse, and Regina gets up to find some candles. Hannah has a weird look on her face, and Katharina checks in on her friend. Hannah gazes at a yellow rain jacket on top of a chair with a red pillow. Hannah mentions it feels like deja vu. She had a dream last night: "The light was flickering. There was a loud bang. And then suddenly everything was dark. And somehow the world had ended. It was just dark, and it never became light again. I had this peculiar feeling that it was a good thing for everything to be over. Like suddenly being free of everything. No wanting. No having to. Infinite darkness. No yesterday. No today. No tomorrow. Nothing."

The group teases her a little, saying she needs to get that looked at. Regina asks, "If the world were to end today, and you had one wish, what would you wish for? Katharina decides, "A world without Winden," a haunting shadow of thoughts from Ulrich and Hannah's secret relationship. They all drink to that thought. It's a bleak reminder that although the knot has been severed and trauma put to rest, this group is far from happy about their lives.

The lights come back on and Woller mentions he's happy Winden still exists, glancing meaningfully at her belly. They kiss. The group asks if the baby has a name yet. After a moment, Hannah mentions that she thinks Jonas is a beautiful name. And cut to black.

What an ending. What a show!

1. Okay a few wild thoughts. The floor plan inside this last iteration of the Kahnwald house is blowing my mind. This house is owned by Regina but has the Nielsen fireplace, and the Kahnwald staircase. It seems to be a combo floor plan. This theory was first professed by the Dark Companion podcast. Please check out their episode named Scar Tissue, if you want to hear their commentary and see photos. 

2. There are at least two schools of thought about the use of the term "over and over" or "the loop" or "the knot." Although, according to this show, there should be at least one more, to make a triquetra. When they say loop, do they actually mean that these actions have taken place more than once throughout eternity? The speeches the characters make, especially in this last episode, point to things happening more than once, with statements of "this time," but other people think it only happened once but because the characters have played different roles in multiple scenarios, it feels like a loop.

3. Tannhaus tells both Charlotte and Stranger Jonas that he used to want more, but that he knows that he is meant to be in this shop here and now, to be with Charlotte. One could theorize that this Tannhaus in world 1 is playing a role given him by his true maker, the real Tannhaus in the origin world. He was slated to play a part the day that the two worlds were created. It could also be origin Tannhaus projecting onto his world 1 conduit that he needs to treasure the person he is caretaker for more than anything else.

4. If Tannhaus' trauma created Adam and Eva's world, is it possible that all of the characters are actually figments of Tannhaus' story: emotional unavailability, desire, not being able to show you care, the passion of Sonja and Marek, the search for truth, an estranged wife, a love of science, the need to turn back time. And it's always raining in world 1 Winden perhaps because it was raining when the world was created. 

5. Before Martha and Jonas enter the origin world in 1971, they look directly at the camera. This makes me think about the thought experiment of Schrodinger's cat. The outcome depends on the role of an observer identifying the status of the cat. In a similar way, us watching the show helps a different outcome to happen, thus breaking the knot.

A boy and girl look out at the camera
Notice how Martha and Jonas seems to be looking right at audience
Recapping Dark has been a passion project for three years. I have mixed feelings about reaching the end of this journey, but I want to end by talking about what I believe are the key themes of the show. Of course, the great thing about this show is that you could get something different out of it each time you watch. But here are my current thoughts.
  • Free will vs. determinism
The characters have different outlooks about whether or not their existence can have any impact on the world around them. It's the will of Claudia and her belief that she can change things that inevitably breaks the cycle. But part of the cycle, trauma, and suffering happened because one person refused to let things go. Their desire to exert control created suffering for everyone in the town for hundreds of years. So the show seems to be saying that you can change things, but you should always stop to think of the repercussions.
  • Generational trauma
Whatever trauma does not get resolved gets passed onto the next generation unless something interrupts and says no. Even when parents tried to protect their children from ugly things (Charlotte and Peter), the ugliness has a way of coming out and manifesting in a different way. It's better to handle things honestly instead of hoping things go away.
  • Selflessness is the key
Any hope comes from selflessness and sacrifice. In order for Jonas and Martha to break the cycle, they had to put others' needs in front of theirs. They laid down their lives and existence to make the nightmare end. At times, Jonas does try to help others. He wants to help Mikkel, but then the Stranger stops him from doing this because then he would never exist. But that's exactly what needed to happen. As sad as this is, the show seems to agree with Jonas' statement that he and Martha are wrong. They are the mistake.
  • Never make yourself the main character of the story
This goes with the previous bullet point. Jonas spends three seasons of television believing the story is about him, only to discover he's a side character in someone else's story (Tannhaus). We all suffer, but never believe your suffering is greater or more important than anyone else's.

Sic Mundus Creatus Est

A chart of Jonas Kahnwald's family
Bonus: I thought it would be fun to make a chart of Jonas' family. I ran out of room.


Anonymous said…
Thank you so much for this wonderful recap of my absolute favorite show.
I wanted to rewatch Dark for a long time now, but thought the timing wasn‘t right. In the end of december, i thought to myself that now is the perfect time. Through that i stumbled onto your blog and it was a very good help to keep track of important questions and plotpoints. So thank you very much for your work!
One question tho: How do you interpret that Martha and Jonas saw each other as children? Shouldn‘t that mean that they have been there (between the different worlds) before?
Lindsey said…
This was the first time their being the teens in the portal but yes I interpret that to mean that they saw each other as kids and this was part of the loop all along. If you really want to get into it. I suggest you listen to the podcast discussion of this and then the dArk wrap up one. We took a pretty deep dive into this topic on both episodes and I changed my mind in between the episode 8 recap and the Wrap up. Claudia's discovery was also a Schrodinger's Cat and in one world Claudia discovered world 3 and in the other she doesn't. So Jonas and Martha seeing each other in the portal was part of the loop. The only experienced each part 1 time though. The kids see each their older versions and then the teen versions see their kid selves. But I don't think they were between worlds until this moment.
Lindsey said…
P.S. the podcast episodes can be found on the 1 of my Stories podcast on Apple podcast, Spotify or Soundcloud. The episode 8 recaps is linked in this post. I would listen to part 2.
Amy K said…
Just finished watching Dark for the first time. My family had already watched it. What an unbelievable show! Thank you for your recaps Lindsey--they were invaluable! Now on to your podcasts!