Dark season 3 review: Light at the end of the cave
The final season of Dark ends on a great note that befits the tone and style of the series
Friedrich Nietzche's philosophy has become the playing ground for many creators. From True Detective to Russian Doll to The Fall, numerous series have employed his often misunderstood ideas. Dark, which has come to a wonderful end with the third and final season, is the latest series to use the philosopher's concept of 'eternal recurrence'. It is thoroughly understandable if a viewer gets annoyed by the repeated use of the dialogue: End is the beginning. Beginning is the end.
Dark, set in a small German town Winden, is about a series of missing children and supernatural occurrences that change the lives of a few families. When an 11-year-old boy Mikkel (Daan Lennard Liebrenz) disappears near an ancient cave in 2019, residents of Winden fear that the events are similar to what happened 33 years ago. With every episode, the number of missing people increases and so do the timelines and the characters. After a point, watching Dark becomes a task, but a pleasurable one. The joy stems from figuring out the labyrinth that the writers have carefully constructed (sometimes contrived) and being in awe of it.
Creators: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese
Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari , Andreas Pietschmann, Dietrich Hollinderbäumer
The second season concluded with events that seemed irrevocable for Jonas (Louis Hofmann) and Martha (Lisa Vicari), but our protagonists get saved by a deus ex machina that brings a whole new reality to the Dark universe. Superficially, it might seem like the writers took a convenient way out of this self-made puzzle. However, a careful examination reveals that the series was inching towards such a new reality all along. There were clues.
The interesting aspect of this Netflix Original is that despite having many recurring events, scenes, varying timelines, parallel worlds, and different realities, Dark is not redundant (it does come close at times). It is because of the clever writing. For example, a significant portion of the final season is a deja vu of the first, yet the writers have come up with creative ways to simultaneously portray the differences and similarities of the worlds of Adam and Eva. It is interesting to see how Hannah (Maja Schone) remains the same in the 'Jonas-less world' even after acquiring what she covets.
I also loved the creators' intent to make this complex mess as lucid as possible with enough visual cues. In a way, you get habituated to the editing patterns and color tones of the different timelines to an extent that intertitles and datelines become unnecessary. But the sound design, composer Ben Frost's original background score, and the amazing soundtrack choices surpass every other aspect of the series.
However, the show is not without its flaws. Dark turns out to be a tad bit predictable towards the end and the organic flow that was found in the first season is evidently missing in season 3. Also, with dead characters coming back alive more often than not, nothing is at stake in the Dark universe. Even the death of a major character doesn't invoke a sense of shock as we very much expect that he/she will come back. But if you can put up with such shortcomings and the series' occasional self-indulgence, you will be rewarded with a consistently-engaging sci-fi thriller that is high on emotions.