Take note Hollywood and television writers / executives, this is how you write a sci-fi story. This is how you create a living, breathing world full of interesting characters. This is how you write an ending.
Leading up to season 3’s release, I re-watched the first 2 seasons with my spouse (it was her first time watching the show). While a lot of the mystery had disappeared on the second viewing, it felt more rewarding as I was able to pick up on a lot of things that I wasn’t able to the first time around (mostly due to the fact that I knew the twists so I knew what kinds of clues to look out for). Even though I rated season 2 quite highly (an 8/10), I felt like I underrated it quite a bit. After all, very few shows match the vision and execution of ‘Dark’. Especially its fantastic second season. Re-watching the show made me wish that I had given the show’s second season a 9/10 and placed it on my end of the year list for 2019.
Admittedly, I found season 3 disappointing on my initial viewing. I appreciated and enjoyed a lot of what they did: the depiction of its post-apocalyptic world, the importance of Claudia in undoing the knot, the symmetry of Adam and Eva, the scenes from 1888 and subsequent years (the scene in which Jonas murders his mother is terrifying, as he begins to look and act more like the Adam we know), “The Origin”. However, there was a lot that I wasn’t a fan of as well: the Tannhaus story-line felt a bit too forced, the quantum world that Jonas and Martha enter towards the end gave me ‘Interstellar’ flashbacks, the ending dinner scene felt awkward and unnecessary, the way that the loop was broken didn’t make sense to me.
But then I re-watched the third season with my spouse (I watched it alone the first time since she was gone the weekend it came out). And yet again the show managed to make more sense the second time around as the connections between people, places, and things became more obvious. I wouldn’t say that all of my questions were answered but being able to go into the third season again with an open mind and a willingness to take it for what it was helped in my overall understanding and enjoyment of the show’s final season. The Tannhaus story-line felt like a natural conclusion to the story’s themes, the quantum world towards the end was executed far more brilliantly than in ‘Interstellar’, the ending dinner scene was a nice way of summarizing the outcome of the events that we have witnessed as well as hinting that the old worlds exist in some ghost-like manner in the origin world, and the way the loop was broken still didn’t make sense to me. Seriously, I don’t understand how Claudia managed to avoid acting in the way that she always had. If she can discover the loophole this time around, doesn’t that mean she would have discovered it every other time as well?
That being said, getting hung up on every little detail would be missing the point of the show. The show’s brilliant creativity should be commended. Sure, there are faults. But unlike creators such as Nolan, ‘Dark’ does not collapse under the sheer weight of its ambition. Instead, ‘Dark’ upholds its ambition through its execution. It is exemplary in its building of character in order to instigate an emotional and philosophical reaction in the viewer. It uses its sci-fi elements to strengthen the human elements, telling a story that is only possible through a depiction of the unbelievable.
In summary, ‘Dark’ season 3 serves as a fantastic closer to a brilliant series, cementing the series as my second favourite show of all-time (behind the one and only ‘Twin Peaks’).
9/10 – Amazing