Dark, set against the backdrop of the German town of Winden is about a few children, their families and the extraordinary events that transform their lives. As the seasons progress, you get to know the characters better as dark secrets about their lives begin to emerge.
After a child vanishes, the inhabitants of the town find that there is a wormhole in a cave, in close proximity of a nuclear plant, from which characters indulge in time travel. The discovery, prompts new intriguing disclosures that frequently change the way one perceives the whole story.
I am not a fan of sci-fi or complexity and tend to watch content purely for the need of recreation and relaxation. Dark doesn’t fit the bill. For the most part, I tried valiantly to keep up with the storyline and the identity of the characters across various timelines. And that was taxing to say the least.
Yet, I found myself fascinated by the sheer intelligence and novel concept of the series. In the first two seasons, the series successfully combines science fiction elements with emotional drama. There are four intertwined family trees spanning across four generations. Most of their members travel across timelines and this makes it hard to discern their identities. Ultimately, I downloaded a family tree off the internet to keep track of the characters across generations. Add to this mix, a time loop and Nietzsche philosophies, and you get possibly one of the most intellectual and original sci-fi shows of all time.
The third season picks up at the apocalypse. As the clock strikes its way to zero in Jonas’s Winden, Martha makes a sudden appearance to take Jonas to a parallel world. In this world. the four families are similar but not affected by Michael Kahnwald’s suicide or Mikkel Nielsen’s disappearance. In this particular world, it is Martha who travels through time to discern the mysteries of their world. Thus, we have a dichotomy of worlds into Jonas’ world and Martha’s world where each travels through time to solve the problems of their respective worlds.
As we traverse the intricacies of Martha and Jonas Windens worlds, Dark ups the ante on the determinism versus unrestrained choice discussion. Are our lives governed by destiny or individual decisions? Can the future change the past or vice versa? While the overarching idea of the first two seasons was based on the disappearing of MIkkel, the third season re-imagines a world in which that does not occur. Across eight episodes, it explores topics of time loops, Biblical concepts of Adam and Eve likened to Jonas and Martha and how the future influences the past. However, the key highlight of the season is familial ties and the extent to which a parent will go to guarantee the safety and well-being of their child.
This season is far more complicated that the previous two. Driven by quantum physics, it also takes a deep dive into the cause and effect concept and even dwells upon the Shrodingers cat experiment paradox. The main question is how much can we influence the flow of time and events by engaging or interfering with a particular situation? It bears similarity to Winden, where the characters travel back and forth in time, influencing the causes and effects of their actions.
My Honest Opinion
While it may not have been my first choice to watch out of the other options on Netflix, I was quickly drawn into the world of Dark and particularly its characters. At one point, I was afraid that the build-up was so good, that the climax would be disappointing.
I was happy to be proven wrong. While Dark’s final season does leave some unanswered questions, the story culminates in a beautiful way. It’s so different and new that it’s tough to talk about it without leaving a spoiler.
The only issue I had was the lack of shock value when a major character dies. We are so accustomed to see characters dying and coming back to life across the seasons and timelines, that we expect them to return back to life sooner or later.
However, if you can turn a blind eye to these very minuscule issues, you will be treated to a highly engaging sci-fi thriller, rife with emotion and brimming with intelligence. Everything else is but a minor glitch in the matrix.