Warning: Spoilers for the ending of Dark, which encompasses its series finale and Season 3 conclusion, are discussed below.
What a crazy and winding road was that? Dark drew to a close after a wonderfully enthralling start. On the bright side for the series that gripped Netflix subscribers back in 2017, Season 3 is coherent as it threads the needle through its elaborate time travel storyline with seeming ease.
The good news for this fan (and hopefully others) is that the ending of Dark is in no way a Game of Thrones situation. An end so controversial that fans are still debating it over a year later. And yes, yours truly still has strong feelings about it. That said, there is a lot I am still having a tough time getting past (pun fully intended) with the series finale.
Dark stays true to its characters and does not feel rushed as it wraps up the seemingly impossible task before it. Suffice it to say that the writers of Dark earned those royalty payments. In the end, Jonas and Martha undid the accident that caused the time machine to be made in the first place by saving H.G. Tannhaus’s son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter from dying.
Thus, making Tannhaus not invent the time machine and erasing Martha and Jonas’ respective existence and the first timeline/world as viewers knew it. So, without further build-up (there were three seasons of that), it is time to launch into the series finale of Dark, the ending, and what I cannot get over.
Sadly, A Lot Of People Died
When you think about the ending, no one actually died. They just never existed to begin with, and while that is true, it still felt a lot like death. For instance, Dark’s ending meant that Magnus never existed, which means he and Franziska never got together. It was a twisted family tree and everything, but I could not help feeling attached to many of its branches. Jonas and Martha were not the only characters impacted.
Where is Regina’s Husband?
I get that the new world got shaken by the disappearing timelines of characters that no longer existed. There is just one person’s absence that does not make much sense – Regina’s husband, Aleksander/Boris. They were one of the true love stories of Dark, in my opinion. He was so devoted to Regina, for her not to end up with him is both confusing and bewildering. Why did Tronte not existing in Winden mean Aleksander never did?
Hannah Did Not Deserve Happiness
Jonas’ troubled mother destroyed lives throughout numerous timelines, while she grasped some sort of redemption in the “original” Dark timeline in Season 3, it was not enough for me. Hannah did not deserve to be one of those at the table that was happy. Aleksander is devoted to Regina, and they do not end up together, but Hannah finds happiness with Torben? I do not even remember them sharing many consequential scenes. Strange.
Why Ulrich And Martha Should Have Never Existed Was Not Explained
Dark spent so much time drilling into people’s minds that Jonas would not exist without Mikkel that it forgot to share another vital fact. Super long story short, without Tronte Nielsen, there is no Ulrich and hence, no Martha, Magnus, or Mikkel. Martha was every bit a “force” against nature as Jonas, and the show did not emphasize why that is. They were both related to Tronte (who was their grandson?), and that was their undoing.
The Paternity Reveals Were Even Crazier This Season
Dark’s paternity reveals in Season 3 were even crazier than last season’s stunner. It turns out that in the first world, Bartosz was the father of Noah/Hanno and the grandfather of Ulrich. Also, Ulrich’s grandfather is Jonas and Martha’s son, The Unknown. Hence, making Bartosz the great-grandfather of Martha, Bartosz’s one-time girlfriend. Is it as crazy as learning your daughter is your mother? It is tough to say, but the Bartosz reveal was certainly more disturbing.
Viewers Still Do Not Know Who Regina’s Father Is
Speaking of family members, Claudia ended up figuring out that Regina was not related to the “knot.” It turned out that Regina was not Tronte’s child, which would have made her disappear right along with Ulrich and Jonas. Regina’s father is subsequently never identified outside of ruling out Tronte as her father. Did I want that answered? Yes, and heck yes. Dark unraveled a lot of paternity mysteries, why not Regina’s?
Jonas And Martha Never Properly Reacted To Being Related
Martha learning that she was Jonas’ aunt (hello Game of Thrones’ Daenerys and Jon Snow) in Season 3 never led to a “proper” reaction from her. Instead of causing her to question a romantic relationship with Jonas, she and he both continued to insist they made sense together even though they were biologically related. It never seemed to faze them or Dark. Maybe, we are on different wavelengths, but I think it should have.
Old Ulrich Never Learned Katarina Was Killed
In one of Dark’s crueler moments, Original Ulrich (if you will) never learned that “present-day” Katarina had been murdered by her mom. So, his existence theoretically ended in the mental institution waiting for her to show up as she had promised. For Katarina’s sake, it is sad to think of Ulrich imagining that she had somehow betrayed him when she had only ever been loyal to him. Plus, Katarina’s mother got away with killing her daughter’s time-travel self.
No Bonding Moment Between Jonas And His Kid
Okay, this is going to sound counter-intuitive considering how I felt about Dark making such a non-issue about Jonas being in love with his aunt. That said, it was strange that Jonas never really confronted the idea of having a son with Martha. Nor did Adam (Jonas’ older self) talk about having any conflicting feelings over his son, who, in all fairness, turned out to be a murderer.
As for the ending overall, the Regina/Aleksander thing is not as upsetting as Jon Snow’s ending on Game of Thrones, but it is pretty far up there. Dark had a chance for Regina to have a happy ending, aside from being alive, and it did not go there. Meanwhile, Hannah got a full-blown happy conclusion.
Despite all of this, I have to say that Dark’s series finale offered up a 90% satisfying ending. More than a week after watching the series finale and subsequent end of Dark, I am still working through a lot of the emotions mentioned above. A lot of what frustrated and stung at first feels less raw now.
Of course, as Dark and its time-traveling multiverse will tell you, time can be a very healing thing. You can currently stream Dark in its entirety on Netflix, which also be home to lots of new 2020 content. To potentially find your next sci-fi television obsession, check out this summer’s premieres.