Explained

Dark Season 3 Explained: Who, what, where, why and when

Alternate Martha about to time travel in Dark season 3

The third and last season of Dark gets even more complicated. In this article it’s explained who is where and when and most importantly Why all of this is happening and how to stop it.


We already dealt with time travel, a closed loop, paradoxes, a 33 year cycle, but now we also have to deal with an alternate world and even alternate realities, parallel timelines of different versions of a person, within a world. That makes it very hard to follow. With different characters from different worlds and even different timelines created by different choices resulting in another path/reality version of that person who exist side by side. When they take a different choice within one cycle something slightly alters, but the core of the cycle and of the characters themselves stay the same. 

Although that’s the hardest part to follow, who is who and when in which world, it all comes down to destroying the cycle or maintaining the cycle/loop so that everything happens as it always did and will do. But why is this happening? What is the beginning of all of this? 

But first let’s start with the beginning of the Apocalypse.


Where is everybody at June 27 2020?

If you lost track of who’s who and all the relationships in all the different times from season 1. You can read it here:

Dark season 1 explained: who, what, where, why and when.

If you want to catch up with what happened to everybody in season 2. You can read it here:

Dark season 2 explained: who, what, where, why and when.

Jonas, Magnus, Franziska and Bartosz

When the Apocalypse is about to start the characters are split up in different times. Jonas/The Stranger, Magnus, Bartosz and Franziska escape with the time machine. They end up in 1888. With a broken device and no dark matter they are stuck there while Jonas is trying to make a portal, because he had seen it work in the future in 1921. But he misses a part, that will soon be brought to him, by alternate Martha. 

Hannah

Hannah has taken the time travel device from Jonas who showed her how it worked and traveled back in time to 1954 to visit Ulrich who’s in jail for attempted murder of Helge and is a suspect for killing those mysterious boys. But instead of freeing him, she leaves him there. She decides to stay in 1954 and goes on with her life, and starts an affair with Egon Tiedeman. She gets pregnant.

Katharina

Katharina also has been told everything by Hannah before she left and Katharina goes through the tunnel in the caves and travels back in time to 1987 to find Mikkel. Mikkel has left town with Ines after he almost was kidnapped by an escaped Ulrich who has spent all these years in an asylum. When Katharina tries to break him out by trying to steal the keycard from her mother who’s a nurse at the asylum, they fight and Helene kills Katharina. 

Charlotte

In the middle of the epicenter of the Apocalypse in the nuclear power plant, Charlotte touches Elisabeth and Charlotte gets transported to 2052. 

Claudia 1986, Regina, Peter, Ellie and Noah 1921

Meanwhile Claudia 1986, Regina, Peter, Elisabeth and Noah 1921 hide in the bunker and survive the Apocalypse. 

Jonas

But it all centers around Jonas and Martha. We saw that the old Jonas/Adam shot Martha  in order to keep Jonas on the right path. But then another Martha showed up with a spherical time travel device that also allowed her to travel between parallel worlds. So she takes him to her world. And that is the beginning of the end and an important new element or clue. 


Two worlds

Martha takes him to her world and brings him back to a couple of days before the Apocalypse starts in her world, November 4 2019. In this world the characters are the same, but have made some other choices. That also has something to do with Mikkel who doesn’t disappear to the past. So Hannah never met Michael or married him and this means that in this world Jonas doesn’t exist. But Hannah did still had an affair with Ulrich. And because she wasn’t married, he divorced Katharina who now lives with Martha, Magnus and Mikkel in Jonas’ old house. Hannah lives with Ulrich and is expecting his baby. Ulrich is chief of police instead of Charlotte who works under him in multiple ways, as now she is having an affair with Ulrich. And Peter isn’t a psychiatrist but the vicar. 

Regina has already died of cancer. And Bartosz doesn’t have a relationship with Martha. She is with Killian, the older brother of Erik Obendorf who is still missing. Franziska has a relationship with Magnus, but instead of her little sister being deaf and mute, she is and Elisabeth can hear and talk. 


Alternate realities

But it’s not only two different worlds we are dealing with. It’s also different versions of different characters. Not only did characters from world 1 and world 2 make different choices which altered their lives slightly, but each character within a world can make different choices. 

That explains why Jonas died in the alternate world shortly after he was brought there by Martha and still lives. We are shown that in one scenario Martha took him to her world, but in another she didn’t and he lived in his own world. How he did escape the Apocalypse, that isn’t told however. It also contradicts what Noah said to Jonas that he can’t die, because there is already an older version of him. Doesn’t another version of the younger Jonas take his place, like he did when he got shot dead, or another version of him?

It also explains why Adam could kill a young alternate Martha in 2052, but she still lived to grow old, as another version of herself. It also explains why her scars are on the left side of her face and sometimes at the right side. It’s another version of her. 

You must also image that it’s a closed loop. So the cycle gets repeated over and over again, also creating an overlap in different versions of themselves showing up, reminiscent of a Droste effect. But that is very hard to keep up with, also due to the fast pace in which mainly Martha shows up at different times as different versions of herself. All within a closed loop, as told to us before. 


The Infinity loop

So alternate worlds, alternate versions within and between worlds. It’s complex and complicated. But why and how and when did this all start. That’s also the big question Adam is pursuing. He wants to end it all. Jonas wants to end it and save everyone, he still does when he is Jonas/The Stranger in 2052 and in 1888. But as he grows older, he only wants to make an end of his suffering. So he wants to destroy both worlds. 

But where’s an Adam there is an Eva. Martha grows old and becomes Eva. Her life evolves around maintaining the loop, making sure that everything happens as it always did. That makes Adam and Eva nemesis and it’s also their actions to achieve their respective goals that keeps the cycle going until infinity. Eva uses her people from her world to achieve her goal, while Adam does the same with his people.


The men with the cleft lift

At the start of the season we see a man with a cleft lip and his younger and older self on a murder spree. They are the new and mysterious characters. Who are they? It is revealed that they are the son of Jonas and alternate Martha, making him a paradox. He is a bridge between two worlds and two people who shouldn’t have come in contact with each other. But they did. They fell in love, made love and Martha got pregnant. Old Adam wants to destroy her by letting her be consumed by the portal. But that’s only with one version of alternate Martha. The other one gives birth to a son. Later as Eva she leads them to kill people to maintain the loop. 

It also shown that he is Infinity. He is the beginning and the end. He is the one who is keeping the cycle going. Why he always acts as a threesome isn’t clear, but it symbolizes and emphasizes the number three.


The family tree

At some time in 1942/1943 he impregnated Agnes. We don’t know if she really was married to him, or that he raped her. The only thing we know is that she was afraid of him. She gave birth to a boy Tronte. He got married to Jana and they had a child Ulrich. Ulrich is the father of both Martha and Mikkel. And Mikkel only disappears in world 1 and married Hannah who gave birth to Jonas. Jonas and Martha had a son: the Infinity. So he is both their son and (great)great-grand father. That is how the loop came to be. The closed loop, mind you in both worlds that connects them. But I have a big question about that latter statement, as I will discuss later in this article.

But there’s more. Agnes is the daughter of Bartosz and Silja, and was born in 1910. And she has a brother Hanno/Noah, born in 1094. They were born while they all were still stuck there with Jonas. So both Noah and Agnes are the children of Bartosz and Silja. But who is Sijla?

Remember that Hannah was pregnant from Egon, she had that child and that was Silja. In 1911 Hannah shows up with little Silja with the time travel suitcase. But that would mean that Silja has to go back in time to meet Bartosz so they get a son Hanno Tauber (Noah) in 1890 and later Agnes. So Adam kills Hannah and waits for Silja to grow up and when the portal works at least in 1921 he sends her back to meet Bartosz. 


The family tree world 2

But how was the family tree in world 2 put together?There is only one Jonas, right? So that Jonas can only be in one world at the time. So he and Martha make Infinity. Infinity gets Agnes pregnant. And Agnes is the daughter of Silja and Bartosz. But if there is only one Jonas who took Bartosz, Franziska and Magnus in world 1 to 1888, how can there also be a Jonas in world 2 who did the same? So how can there be two alternate versions of Agnes and Noah, if Jonas didn’t bring them to 1988 in world 2?? 

So that means that Eva had to stage everything. While Jonas is the single different element in world 1, the spherical time/dimension travel device is the single different element only belonging to world 2. With that device Martha could travel between worlds and mirror everything. At one point in time she found out about Adam plan and she wanted the loop going, so she has to stage everything to get everybody in the right place at the right time, so it all happened in world 2 what happened in world 1, so that her son would always be born.

While we don’t see that explicitly, it is subtly shown, when she recruits young pregnant Martha, older Martha, 1954 Egon Tiedeman, Noah and 1921 Noah, 1986 Claudia, and Bartosz. They are the protectors of the knot and she thinks what the origin is. But she is wrong. She manipulated people in both worlds so that the knot and the cycle would remain and everything stayed the same.


When is the cycle complete within the story arc

Jonas lived through the Apocalypse in another timeline when Martha didn’t rescue him. But how did he escape that thundering destroying force? That question is not answered. 

After surviving the Apocalypse he gets help from Ellie and Noah who traveled from 1921 to 2020 and Claudia 1986. In 2040 they have successfully created a portal, but it doesn’t work yet. But it’s only in 2052 that Claudia urges Jonas to go back in time with the time machine to 1986 to let it get fixed. She has with her the suitcase with the time machine and got the blueprints from Eva in the alternate world. How Eva got the suitcase or blueprints is not clear. But it could even have been Claudia who secretly operated on her own. That is not shown or told. 

But how does Jonas go back in time? We don’t see him travel. The tunnel doesn’t work anymore. But the portal works now in 2052. We know that because we have seen it in season two and it’s where old Adam resides in the future. So when Jonas/The Stranger goes back in time to 2019 to send his younger self on the same path, we are back to season 1. After that he goes to 1888 and slowly becomes Adam. Only after alternate Martha brings him the black matter he can build the portal to travel to the 2052 portal which he had already build.

The closed cycle is complete and everything repeats itself. Even if they want to change something. That is because Adam and Eva each have their own schemes to accomplish their goals, counterbalancing each other, never breaking the cycle. 


Three worlds

For now we have talked about two worlds, but we have to keep in mind that everything in Dark evolves round the number 3. A 33 year cycle. The Triquetra. Jonas, Martha and Infinity who are the beginning and the end. So it’s not hard to imagine that there are not two worlds, but three. Outside the closed loops. 

There is however one person who can break the cycle. Although world 1 Claudia was recruited by alternate Claudia to nudge Jonas in the right way, making sure the cycle stayed the same, she had her own agenda and motives. Her only motive was to make sure that Regina lived. And after a long time, she discovered something important. It wasn’t the closed loop at all they had to break. Infinity wasn’t the end and the beginning. Only of their own closed loops, but not what caused the loops in the first place. That lies not within their worlds, but outside. 

There is a third world. The origin world. In that world Tannhaus lost his son Marek and daughter-in-law Sonja and granddaughter Charlotte to a car crash in 1971. Struck with grief he build a time machine, a portal that created in 1986 the first portal and by doing so the split the world. Two other worlds came into existence. With Tannhaus as a god, creating a world with an Adam and another world with an Eva who would connect both their worlds. Without Tannhaus knowing anything about it. 


Ending the cycle

World 1 old Claudia convinces old Adam of this knowledge. To prevent the accident from happening they can prevent the two worlds from existing and so breaking a cycle full of pain and loss and grief and battle. So old Adam goes back in time when the Apocalypse is about to start. Another version of him just shot Martha and alternate Martha didn’t show up (yet).

Adam takes Jonas and tells him everything. He tells him to rescue alternate Martha from becoming  Eva, so Jonas takes alternate Martha just before Franziska and Magnus can take her to Adam. Martha has just witnessed Jonas being shot by another version of her in her world and Jonas just witnessed his Martha begin shot by Adam in his world.

He tells her everything and together they go to the caves into the tunnel and wait for the moment the particles enter the tunnel and create a nanosecond in which time stands still. In the Matrix they use the spherical time/dimension travel device and go back to 1971 in the origin world, the third world. There they stop Marek and Sonja convincing them Tannhaus loves them and they go back. 

When they have averted the accident, there is no cause for Tannhaus to create the portal. This means that the other two worlds never existed. Jonas, Martha and all the others dissolve into nothingness like stardust. 


The End

What does that mean? It means the two worlds have never existed and that characters only existing in those worlds don’t exist in the real origin world. 

While Mikkel never travels back in time Jonas doesn’t exist. While Jonas never exists he can’t have a son with Martha. While that son never existed Martha can’t exist, nor Tronte, Ulrich, Mads, Martha, Magnus, Mikkel and Jonas. 

While Hannah never traveled back in time and had a child Silja, Agnes and Noah also were never born. This means Charlotte couldn’t be born either. Peter never married her and didn’t have Franziska and Ellie who in turn did not give birth to Charlotte. 


So who did live in the origin world?

We see that they all are having a dinner party. Katharina is single. Peter is happy with Benni the transgender, Regina didn’t have cancer but is single and Hannah is happy with Wöller and is expecting a child whom she wants to call Jonas. 


Themes

Everything that happened is caused due to great grief and the inability to let go. To want something so badly they keep trying to accomplish that, even if they make the same mistakes over and over again, resulting in even more pain. It started with Tannhaus. Both worlds symbolize his pain and attempts to bring back the dead.

But Adam acted also with grief over the loss of Martha, first wanting to fix everything creating a paradise, and later on wanting to destroy everything because he didn’t believe in paradise anymore and wanted the pain to end. 

Martha acted to protect her son. She wanted to keep the loop going so her son would always live. 

Claudia also acted out of love for Regina. She wanted her to live and joined both Adam and Eva to find out how she could accomplish that. She even killed alternate Claudia and imposed as her in front of Eva to gain information. It turned out that her motivation  brought her on the right path and it worked. Regina is alive in the origin world and happy. 


Unanswered questions

Where did the spherical time/dimension travel device come from?

We also don’t know how the spherical time/dimension travel device was made in the alternate world. We do know that Martha used that device to rescue Jonas and that she used it to travel to 2052 to make a deal with Adam. She had to deliver dark matter to Jonas/The Stranger in 1888 so that he could work on his portal so that it would work in 1921. In exchange Adam told her what the origin of the time loop was. But he was wrong. Maybe Tannhaus created that more advanced device in the alternate world instead of the time machine. 

Who is Aleksander?

We never get an answer to that. He tells Bartosz he once killed a man and fled to Winden, but that it was an accident. He’s real name was Boris Niewald. Is that a merge between Nielsen and Kahnwald? Does that mean he is from their lineage and therefore can’t exist. Because he is not present at the dinner party. That does also mean that Bartosz also doesn’t exist. 

Who was Regina’s father?

We never got an answer to that. We know for sure that it wasn’t Tronte who had an affair with Claudia. If he did was the father, Regina wouldn’t exist in the origin world. 

Is saving Marek not creating another glitch in time?

Well, that’s an interesting question because two people who shouldn’t have existed in the first place traveled to the past in an alternate world to save three people from dying. That is somewhat complicated. But can even complicate things in a more sinister way. If we are speaking of changing the past and the future, if anything we have learned is that no good can come from it.

Maybe it would have been better to travel to 1986 and convince Tannhaus to stop trying to make a portal to bring his son back. Now two people who don’t belong changed the timeline. And with what consequences? Creating another reality maybe. An even darker one? But that’s another story. 


Read more about Dark:


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