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Netflix’s Dark: Season 3 Review

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Knowing when to call it quits on one’s own terms is a rare event for most TV shows, which are either canceled before their time or end up outstaying their welcome by running for far too many seasons. Dark, now in its third and final season on Netflix, joins the likes of AMC’s Breaking Bad and HBO’s The Leftovers, which were able to deliver a satisfying conclusion to their respective stories in five seasons or less. While not quite on par with the “Masterpiece” rating those aforementioned series received from IGN, Dark’s final outing continues the series’ legacy of delivering excellent world-building, complex characters, and fascinating apocalyptic paradoxes.Before we briefly touch on that satisfying ending (don’t worry, no spoilers here), creators Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese throw another paradoxical wrench in their already intricate narrative by introducing the concept of alternate worlds. We were given this surprising revelation at the end of Season 2 when another version of Martha (Lisa Vicari) appears just after Jonas’ (Louis Hofmann) Martha is killed. This new multiple-earths storyline provides Dark with a fresh coat of paint, as we get to see Magnus, Martha, Franziska, and Bartosz with new haircuts and different personalities.

Dark: Season 3 Gallery

But even more fascinating than the town of Winden’s new appearance, is that we get to know more about this particular version of Martha, who Vicari effectively portrays as a bit more rugged and downtrodden due to the fact that she’s traveled between worlds. (Basically, she’s seen some s**t.) The story also continues to skip from 2020 to 2053 to 1954 to 1888, so not only is there a different version of Winden to explore on a different earth, but there’s also all of the time-traveling conundrums from the first two seasons to account for.

Miraculously, it all makes sense somehow. The creators don’t hold up a sign that reads, “Hey, this is Earth-2,” or anything so obvious. But the purposeful way scenes transition from character to character, from year to year, from earth to earth, all track in a way that’s easy to follow. Well, not easy per se, but at least doable for us mere mortals that don’t possess Odar and Friese’s brain capacity.

While the number of point-of-view characters continues to grow in Season 3, Hofmann’s Jonas is still at the center of it all. Continuing in the same vein as Season 2, Jonas is a more proactive character who’s not afraid to show his rage and frustration with all of the unending talk of the apocalypse and time loops. In one exhilarating scene, Jonas bares his teeth when he says, “I’m tired of having all these obligations.” It’s a simple phrase, but as a viewer, watching Jonas’ vulnerability here makes it easier to empathize with him. How much does one guy have to go through to save the world(s)?And speaking of saving, Jonas and Martha’s struggle to find a solution to preserve both of their worlds has less to do with confronting an actual villain in Season 3, and more about battling ideologies between Adam’s (Dietrich Hollinderb√§umer) Sic Mundus organization and some new players that you’ll discover throughout your binge. These philosophical debates do get a bit tiresome after the third or fourth time you hear about “ends” and “beginnings” and “free will,” but it all culminates in a satisfying hour and thirteen-minute finale that doesn’t disappoint.

Without getting into specifics, the finale is able to explain (in great detail) what in the hell has actually been going on these past three seasons. And what’s even more admirable is that Odar and Friese leave enough ambiguity that there’s room for the viewer to use their own imagination for certain unexplained parts of the story. It’s a delicate balance that is handled expertly. In fact, the finale does such a thorough job of explaining itself, that you could just skip to the end. Of course, we don’t recommend that since you would miss out on all of the other mind-bending events in Season 3.

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