In episode 6, we discover that Young Jonas is Schrödinger’s cat. Martha goes to live in a cage, like Hansel waiting for the fairy-tale witch to eat him/her. We finally learn the contents of Martha’s letter to Stranger Jonas, but of course the letter leaves him bitter, because that is Jonas’ relationship to letters from the dead. We relive the apocalypse in the Prime world, because we just can’t get enough, and live through Martha’s apocalypse for the first time.
Meanwhile, in the Prime world, we jump back to the end of S2, where Young Jonas kneels over Dead Prime Martha’s body and promises he’ll make this right, somehow, somewhere, sometime. But right now, a nuclear apocalypse is coming, so he’s going to abandon her body to its fate and run downstairs to hide in his mom’s basement.
What, that’s not how you remember the end of season 2 going? Go check the footage. I’ll wait.
Actually, I won’t. Times to travel, recaps to write, who cares what we all thought happened way back in season 2. It’s a new day and a new Jonas. You accepted a new Martha, didn’t you? Well, the Jonas you’ve watched for 2.5 seasons just died for reals over in Martha’s world.
But wait! I think I hear angels singing!
A new Jonas pops back into the same moment, as theoretically the same Jonas, but also one who never went to Martha’s world and doesn’t have those memories, because in this universe, if you do a mash-up with oversouls, a cosmic consciousness, multiverse theory and the Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment, that’s what you get. It’s convoluted, but, their universe, their rules. The show will explain Jonas’ reappearance eventually.
For now, Stranger Jonas just had a nightmare in 1888 that was remarkably similar to what happened to the other Jonas in the Alt world.
Or If You’d Like a Little More Explanation Now…
Minor Spoilers Ahead
Remember how in episode 4 Prime Adult Claudia thought Jonas was dead? That’s because he really did leave their world and hasn’t been seen in 3 months. She understandably assumed he’d died. As external viewers, we know he went to Martha’s world instead.
At the moment that he died in Martha’s world, he popped back into being in the Prime world at the moment he left and it became as if he’d always been there. He doesn’t remember any other outcome and thinks he’s been living alone and working on the God particle alone for 3 months- which is now true.
But his trip to Martha’s world wasn’t erased. Both outcomes are now true. This is now a multiple timeline universe- a multiverse. Dark is layering the timelines strangely, but that’s what they’re doing.
They are also calling multiple timelines or dimensions “worlds”, which helps add to the confusion. The show isn’t explaining the many worlds theory well, since they want to stick to the pretense that there are 3 worlds locked in a trinity cycle, but they also want multiple timelines to spawn when different decisions are made, which is how new worlds are created in the many worlds theory.
By all rights, the Dark world should have new worlds popping up every time they go through the cycles and changes are made to the timeline or characters make major decisions that could go either way, such as when Jonas decided whether to go to the power plant or back to Eva’s lair.
Logically, there may (should) actually be at least two versions of Martha’s world/timeline out there now, one where Jonas went with her at the end of S2 and one where he didn’t, but we’re only going to follow the one where he went with her, because we need to keep up the pretense of a symbolic number of linked worlds, okay? Just go with it.
Also, I guess Claudia just didn’t bother to look for Jonas, the date who brought her to the apocalypse, during the 3 months she thought he was dead. That would be in character for her. She also didn’t bother to try to save her son-in-law, grandson or Tronte. Not even a quick phone call asking them to meet Regina in the bunker.
At the moment when Jonas either went with Alt Martha or ran to Hannah’s basement, time split into two streams, with two versions of Jonas going in two different directions. Because Claudia now lives outside of normal time, she sees more of reality than he does in this moment and realizes the truth. Of course she doesn’t tell him what happened. This is another moment where she lies to him by omission.
Why did a second version of Jonas appear in the Prime world while the original died in the Alt world, rather than the original reviving in the Alt world ? They are amending the rule that says characters can’t die before their time to include a stipulation that if the death isn’t in the character’s original world, they will come back to life in their origin world rather than where they died. I assume their soul is bound to their original world, but we only see this rule applied once, possibly twice, so it’s hard to know.
(The Marthas just sort of come and go so quickly around here and the scenes are so out of order but all look alike and it all ends up not mattering anyway, so why bother sorting it out? I’m not sure the writers and showrunners even know- to some extent, they’re just throwing cool ideas at the camera, answering a few questions, then dropping in a twist ending and hoping we’ll forget most of what came before 3.5, like the characters do.)
In episode 7, Tannhaus will explain this exception and the multiverse it forms using the classic Schrödinger’s cat experiment. Maybe Jonas is simply the cat bouncing back to the box he began in. In recent years, scientists have put photons (particles of light) into a state of quantum entanglement and observed that they were also in a state of superposition, the layering of potential states of being/actions/outcomes before one is chosen, akin to the cat in the box that’s both alive and dead.
There’s only one cat in Schrödinger’s one box, but the universe is comprised of an infinite number of boxes, bound together, creating the gears or threads or house of cards of the universe(s). The rule for individual characters in the Dark universe has always been that the Jonas who’s always existed comes back to life by whatever means necessary. Jonas is always Jonas.
Other than very specific circumstances, that will continue to be the rule and that rule will, in fact, be stated straight out. But the many worlds/timelines aspect will also continue to be included and expanded. Personally, I find the Schrödinger’s cat example to be a clunky, confusing way to approach an explanation of many worlds theory, but since this is Dark, that’s probably the point.
Also, It might be helpful to look at these last 4 episodes as a separate mini season, with their own separate themes, rules, personality changes and influences. This experience changes Jonas and Martha in much the same way that a cycle change produces personality changes. Since these are their worlds, people close to them also feel the change.
Okay, Maybe It’s A Lot More Explanation…
I really should have talked about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave about 20 episodes ago. Socrates uses this analogy to describe the process of becoming aware of the true nature of reality.
This summary is from a Psychology Today article:
Human beings spend all their lives in an underground cave with its mouth open towards the light. They have their legs and necks shackled so that they can only see in front of them, towards the back of the cave. Behind the prisoners, a fire is blazing, and between them and the fire there is a low wall behind which men carry diverse statues above their heads, such that the fire casts the shadows of the statues onto the back of the cave. Because the shadows are all the prisoners ever see, they suppose that the shadows are the objects themselves.
If a prisoner is unshackled and turned towards the light, his eyes suffer sharp pains, but in time they grow accustomed to the light and he begins to discern the statues. He is then dragged out of the cave, where the light is so bright that he is only able to look, first at the shadows, and then at the reflections, of the actual objects. At last, he is able to gaze upon the objects themselves, of which the statues were but pale imitations. In time, he looks up at the sun, and understands that the sun is the cause of everything that he sees around him, of light, and sight, and the objects of sight.
The purpose of education is to drag the prisoner as far out of the cave as possible; not merely to instill knowledge into his soul, but to turn his whole soul towards the sun, which is the Form of the Good.
Only a few are capable of leaving the cave and fewer still are capable of achieving each level of education/enlightenment. The end result was meant to be highly educated philosopher-kings who would reluctantly return to the cave to rule ignorant common folk who are incapable of making decisions for themselves. This analogy is usually related to philosophy and politics, but religious and scientific beliefs are other obvious uses.
While it’s generally understood that Plato and his narrator, Socrates, tell this story to explain why education and a classist society are necessary, the deeper metaphor explains the nature of reality and the levels of growth the human soul goes through before full understanding is reached and the soul is ready to experience the full light of God.
The allegory explains human life as a theatre of the mind, in which the oversoul is an observer of the physical body as it goes through a mundane life on the lowest plane of existence, our lives on Earth. In this life, we are blinded to the realities of the universe by our dependence on experiencing life through the dull senses of our physical bodies and processing those experiences with our organic brains, instead of having full access to our souls.
Once we awaken to the truth of reality and gain access to the deeper abilities of our souls, we go through several more levels of waking up and becoming able to tolerate more light, since it takes time and practice to adjust to the strength and brightness of the truth.
And sometimes, to the harshness of it. Generally, this metaphor cares little for individual human lives or attachments or even the Earth itself, since all will be reborn. There are Eastern variations that teach sacredness and respect, though.
These basic ideas have been played with by artists, philosophers, scientists, religions, etc. for millennia. Schopenhauer wrote about the self as the subject and the rest of the world as objects which exist because the Will of the subject has dreamed them into being. “The world that we perceive can be understood as a “presentation” of objects in the theatre of our own mind.”
He thought that the Will/desires of the subject create the shadow puppet show of mundane life. Suppression of the Will/desires could allow one to move past those desires toward the truth. Giving in to the Will provides momentary pleasure, but ultimately creates a painful, out of control addiction to this temporary rush that must continue to be fed.
We’ve watched Dark play with the notion of the shadows in the cave vs the light of knowledge and love. We’ve seen the characters struggle with their desires until they become undeniable, destructive addictions, but also with their attempts to suppress their desires until they’re driven to suicide from the deprivation. Some of them have known since season 1 that they are in a false, theatrical world and they’ve tried to grow beyond it or escape it.
Adam and Eva have both used the system of naivety, innocence and death to explain waking up to the truth, which they call the light, in Eva’s case, or the dark, in Adam’s case. They’ve both created apocalypses to blast their way out of the metaphorical cave, which they call “the origin”, and they’ve tried the light of true
but forbidden love in attempts to simply turn away from the shadow puppets. But the shackles of this mundane plane of existence are complicated and Claudia continuously ties the knots of their bindings tighter.
They’ve both been guided by Claudia, the white devil, every step of the way, because she has work for them to do, so she needs them bound to their worlds by these knots.
Ariadne’s thread will only lead you out of the labyrinth if the string is set up to take you where you want to go.
What if the labyrinth is actually a maze, with more exits and entrances than you realized, and Ariadne has been misleading you all along for her own purposes? Or you’re actually Odysseus, stuck on the island with Ariadne’s aunt Circe for 1 enchanted year that turns out to be hundreds of cycles, with a cord tied to your ankle that will only allow you to walk in circles?
Also see: Russian Doll, The Truman Show, Palm Springs, Reprisal (the whole season plays with self awareness, escape and return, but episode 8 actually goes to a shadow puppet show, then has successive characters become more aware of the truth of their situation)
When his dream ends, Stranger Jonas startles awake. He’s been sleeping in Alt Martha’s bed, because he both loves and hates her and because there’s only one bed in 1888. He picks up the letter from Martha that Young Noah brought him at the end of S2. Martha reads it aloud, so we know some version of her wrote it, probably the one who’s now in a cage:
“Dear Jonas: You promised to make everything right again. I want you to know that you will do that. You must never lose hope that there is a way out of this maze. A way to save me and yourself. But we have to make sacrifices, do unimaginable things, to untie the knot at the end. Each fate in this knot is tied to the next. A thread, blood red, that connects all our actions. In light and in shadow. But the apocalypse must take place. You must let me die, so I can live. We have to let some things go so they can find their way back to us. You and I are perfect for each other. Never believe anything else.”
Jonas burns the letter.
It’s the ultimate manipulation of his emotions. I’m willing to bet that Adam still has it memorized and believes it, deep down, even if he dictated it to Martha. After all, there is a set of objects, including two letters and a light, that trail around after him throughout his life. Why not Martha as well?
Jonas has had to find a way to live through everything, since he can’t die, and he hasn’t had the luxury of giving up and sinking into peaceful madness, the way Prime Ulrich has. The cycle requires continuous action from Jonas, so he needs something to get him out of bed in the morning besides startling awake and sniffing the milk, especially once the cows are vaporized.
Dark Emo Alt Martha would have heard Jonas promise to make things right. Maybe she heard Prime Martha tell Jonas they’re perfect for each other. Or maybe Adam betrayed everyone again.
There are currently so many Alt Marthas that I’m honestly not trying too hard to keep close track of their movements. (Are they spawning them in the lake like the maid and butler in Watchmen?) Now that we know a Chosen One can die and it doesn’t matter because a new body will pop up somewhere like it’s Easter Sunday, it’s gone beyond the pathos of Jonas wishing he could die and into farce for me.
Is Martha in a cage so Adam knows where she’ll reappear after he eats her? Dark hasn’t done cannibalism yet. Isn’t it time? A constantly reappearing Chosen One like Martha or Jonas could be the best thing that ever happened to cannibals in an apocalypse. What better way to express their enduring love than by spending an entire cycle keeping each other in cages and ritually eating each other with their followers like it’s Christmas dinner?
While Martha reads the letter, we’re also shown Yellow Raincoat Martha sitting over Really Most Sincerely Dead Jonas’ body, which is artfully situated on the family tree. His head is touching Noah’s square. BFFs forever, even though this Jonas will never get to experience that frenemyship. Martha’s bloody hands clutch the medal that’s supposed to protect travelers.
Is the St Christopher Medal Cursed?
Spending time attached to Helene’s body maybe lessened the St Christopher medal’s power to protect and increased its ability to attract violence. That woman was a bad witch, but who knows what kind of influences were in her past. Or maybe the cursed medal turned her into a bad witch instead of a passive victim.
It did enter the story through Claudia’s daddy, before it became a Nielsen totem. Then it became connected to a chain of death- Claudia killed Egon, who gave the medal to Hannah. Hannah gave the medal to Helene, who killed Katharina. As a teenager Katherina tied Regina to a tree, which may have lead to her exposure to radiation and have eventually given Claudia’s daughter cancer, leading to her early death.
Jonas and Martha found the medal where Katharina dropped it. A different Martha kills one Jonas. Thanks to Claudia, the day after he finds the medal, Jonas is accidentally responsible for his father’s death and then for child Mikkel’s disappearance a few months later. This ultimately leads Katharina’s accomplice, Ulrich, to travel to the 1950s. He spends the rest of his life incarcerated in a psych ward.
Jonas eventually kills the Martha he’s with when he finds the medal, and well, fate will eventually close the loop with Hannah. She keeps her baby (Silja) instead of having an abortion, so Fate needs her alive for a few years.
I think Egon cursed Claudia as he died. Did Claudia curse the Nielsens for their role in Regina’s life and death? In this sense, the red that’s associated with women and fate, and with the Nielsen women this season in particular, could signify Original Sin- blood red that can bring life or death, guilt or love.
Red can be seen as a tipping point between black and white in this sense. Life is the tipping point between the light of Heaven and the shadow of Death/the Underworld. We can make moral choices while alive, but can’t change those choices after death.
Dark is about regret and attempts to change choices. While Regina was tied to the tree all night, Claudia was with Tronte. She was working as the director of the power plant. She blames herself for being an inattentive parent and for working in an industry which exposed her daughter to harmful radiation. But she also blames the family and town who put her daughter at risk and the culture of abusive behavior which led to such harsh bullying of Regina. Is she trying to punish all of Winden, but some more than others?
The 3 Marthas of Fate are in their God particle room. Someone just traveled, but we aren’t shown who or where. Current best guess is that this scene is shifted from later in the episode, when Eva sends her minions out into the world.
It could be that the scenes which are inserted early throughout the series and appear to be awkward foreshadowing are actually glimpses of other timelines/worlds which are very close to the Prime world. When Jonas convinced Martha to help him erase himself from the timeline, Martha’s world became distinct enough for us to notice it as a separate world. At some point Claudia visited it and the travelers created a connection to it. In addition to the Prime world and Martha’s world, we may have been seeing 1 or 2 other worlds all along, which are still too close to distinguish other than in brief glimpses. Based on Martha’s world, we know that the other worlds can be very similar, but slightly out of sync.
In the Prime world, Young Silja herds Young Alt Martha into the cage Elisabeth kept Jonas in. Silja freed Jonas, who we now know is her brother, but she holds a gun on Martha, who is her cross-world great great grandchild and aunt and who’s pregnant. When Martha doesn’t cooperate quickly enough, Silja roughly shoves her in.
Adam stares at the God particle and at a pristine copy of Martha’s letter.
Over to the Alt world again. It’s the day of the apocalypse.
Yellow Raincoat Martha appears from the mist like the ghost she’s becoming. She slowly walks into her house, then notices her hands are still bloody. Just as Claudia and Helene and Lady Macbeth attempted before her, she tries to wash off death in the kitchen sink. Like them, she can’t remove the stain it’s left on her soul. She realizes that Jonas’ blood is everywhere and peels off her outer layers of clothing. When she hears Magnus coming, she throws the bloody clothing into the trash, including the yellow raincoat.
Symbolically good and virtuous no more, she’s left whichever of the first 2 stages she was supposed to be in. I’ll miss that splash of yellow.
Magnus asks where she was. He says that Katharina cried all night.
It was a tough night for all the Katharinas.
Then he notices the state she’s in and gives her a hug. When he asks what’s wrong, Martha says that Bartosz was right when he told them in the woods that the end of the world was coming. She tries to explain about the barrels and the accident Aleksander is trying to cover up, and that she’s discovered the barrels are going to somehow cause an accident today, which will create an apocalypse.
Magnus tells her she’s crazy and to stop worrying their mom, then walks out on her. She takes out the medal.
Stranger Martha and Dark Emo Martha stand in the Erit Lux lair. The Adam and Eva paintings are scorched and the furniture is covered with drop clothes. Young Martha has a slash across her eye. Stranger Martha consoles the younger Martha. Dark Young Emo Martha holds the St Christopher medal.
Stranger Martha tells her that Jonas had to die because they are black widows and that’s how they break up with guys who are wrong for them in two worlds. Stranger Martha understands that it’s hard, every time you murder an ex, but you get used to it. He’s a busy little murderer too, after all.
Stranger Martha: “He had to die. You two are wrong, in his world and in ours. I know what you’re feeling, but you’ll learn to let him go. Everything will run its course, just as fate determined, for our world and his.”
As with Stranger Jonas, Stranger Martha is a mystic. But where Stranger Jonas helps characters clarify their intentions and see their path forward, Stranger Martha is an oracle who shows us when the characters intentions are set and their paths have gelled such that a particular future is now certain.
In a sense, Stranger Jonas helps travelers with the beginning of the labyrinth, when they might turn around or stop, then Stranger Martha senses when they’ve reached the center and there’s only one way out. (The Stranger on the 3rd world would maybe be a psychopomp who helps face The End with all of its demons. Like Doc Brown or Mad Eye Moody. Adult Bartosz on both worlds will be associated with death and movement.) That last scene is a glimpse of the future that is now destined to happen on Martha’s world and the Prime world and maybe has happened on other worlds.
Back to Cage Martha in the Prime world, who’s fighting the good fight by trying to break the cage. I would say this is a waste of energy, but I once had a puppy bend the metal and break out of a cage in order to get to me, so you never know who might turn out to have super powers. The puppy was uninjured, lived another 16 years and was the best dog I ever had. Never left my side.
Love and devotion are the most powerful forces on Earth when properly applied, other than maybe water, which is also exceptionally versatile and patient.
Adam walks in holding the Time Sphere, so Martha stops fighting the cage and yells at him instead. He lied to her, her older self lied to her and she’s generally been used badly by the universe for everyone else’s purposes. Plus, she’s in a cage. It’s kind of demeaning.
Adam stares at her and the Time Snitch for dramatic effect (I think Father Noah taught him how to do that), then makes his speech: “Sic Mundus. Old Tannhaus. He firmly believed he was creating a paradise where we’d all be free of destiny and free of our pain. A world outside your world and my world. But I have finally realized what this Paradise is. Eternal darkness in which nothing exists. But for that, both apocalypses are needed. In my world and yours.”
He dramatically exits.
Hey, his round glow light is over in the corner. Told you the light follows him around. If only he’d let it back in.
Back to the Alt world. 6 hours until the apocalypse.
Aleksander is at home and on the phone, arguing with Jürgen Obendorf about the barrels. When he gets off, he tells Bartosz that he has to go into work, even though he’d promised to stay home with Bartosz for the day. Bartosz is disappointed, but understands.
Before he goes, Aleksander decides to confess to Bartosz that someone is blackmailing him. He shows Bartosz the newspaper article about the bank robbery and unsolved murder he was involved in 33 years ago, just before he came to Winden. He says that his real name is Boris and that the death was an accident. Aleksander expresses regret for the whole thing and begs Bartosz to believe him.
Bartosz asks if Regina knew the truth about Aleksander. Aleksander says that Regina was everything to him, but he never told her the truth. He apologizes again, then steps toward Bartosz. His son backs away, rejecting Aleksander, who is devastated. Bartosz is all he had left to live for.
This is Alt Aleksander instead of Prime Aleksander, so the stories may be different, but Prime Regina certainly had some sense of the truth. Prime Regina treated Aleksander’s very serious gunshot wound, since he refused to go to the hospital. She certainly knew he was involved in a crime, even if she didn’t know the specifics. When Clausen arrested him in S2, she was frantic to get him out of jail and make the charges go away.
I think Regina understood who Aleksander really was, which included recognizing his flaws, and he was her savior and protector. He had a gun when they met and used it to save her from her dangerous bullies. Alt Aleksander may have glossed over the truth of their relationship with Bartosz to protect Alt Regina’s image with her son. That would be very much in character for him. Whatever his mistakes, he was devoted to her.
Next up, pregnant Alt Hannah is in her dark purple goddess robe and feeling her power. Alt Charlotte shows up at her door asking to see Ulrich, who is in the shower. Charlotte, who is in her mysterious cross-world blue, asks to wait. Hannah pretends to chat for a moment, then warns Charlotte away from her man. Hera is not letting some strumpet from who knows where take Zeus from her.
Ulrich senses that there are too many women in the house and comes running. Charlotte tells him she wants to show him some information about the boy in the bunker. Hannah suggests that Charlotte bring Peter over sometime soon and they all go out on a double date before the baby is born!! She hugs Charlotte and kisses Ulrich before trotting off to the shower.
As soon as Hannah’s out of sight, Zeus whisper yells at Charlotte not to ever show up there again without calling first.
He must have learned how Ulrich and Katharina’s lives turned out in the Prime World.
Charlotte doesn’t take this threat seriously at all. She explains that she has very important information, that just couldn’t wait, regarding the 33 year old disappearance and death of Mads and her intense need to put Old Helge in jail. She’s discovered that the penny Helge carries with him and the penny she found in the bunker are the same penny. “It’s as if the penny traveled through time.”
Ulrich takes the pennies and rushes to the police station to confront Old Helge, leaving Charlotte standing alone in the house he just warned her not to visit. Charlotte is the girl who always walks alone in the woods, so I’m not sure anyone can save her from herself, but Ulrich’s scatterbrained attempts to protect people are also frustrating.
Ex Yellow Raincoat Martha sits alone in her room. She’s sad, so it’s time for a life change via haircut and makeover. Cut to Alt Katharina asleep on the couch, with New and Improved Young Alt Martha sitting on the end, staring at her, looking like the monster in an Asian horror film.
You have to watch the video, then make a copy and pass it on, okay kids? Then Scary Alt Martha won’t kill you.
Lol. I guess she did make a copy of Jonas, then pass him on. Yet he still kills her every time. Maybe the formula only works on female demons.
Katharina wakes up and notices that Martha changed her hair. Martha asks if she believes in fate. Plucky Katharina believes in free will, so she’s no help to Martha right now. She tells Martha that she’s there for her anyway and “it gets better”. Martha appreciates her mother’s attempt to help, so she gives her a big hug, but it’s unlikely that Martha can “just say no” to the apocalypse. Or Eva and Claudia.
She tells Katharina she has something she has to do, then leaves.
Back to the Prime world, September 2020.
Adult Claudia looks at the map of Winden and decides to go find the spot in the power plant where the proto God particle should be. The map tells her to follow the geiger counter radiation signal to the God particle, just as Jonas’ map in S1 told him to follow the signal in the caves to the passage.
She enters the room with a radiation suit on, flashlight in hand. Jonas has already started work on the God particle, which is currently in the form of a cosmic egg, the shape proto universes take according to both science and myth. This one might be a stray bubble universe.
While overall, the room is utterly destroyed, scientific equipment is set up and running in one corner. The proto God particle/cosmic egg is a small glowing ball in its usual corner, giving off a radioactive signal, as promised.
As Claudia draws closer to it, we can hear that it has a heartbeat. It has red streaks inside, like a nebula, that flow and pulse. Its light and radiation also pulse. All of the proto God particle’s pulses get faster as Claudia tries to touch it.
It’s scared of her. It probably senses her avarice toward it. We’ve never seen her look at anything the way she looks at the cosmic egg.
Jonas yells at her to stop. Claudia is surprised that the other Claudia was right and he’s alive.
As I have argued before, he is the practical scientist, while her strengths are in theory and management. And manipulation.
Over to the Alt world, November 2019.
Eva and Stranger Martha supervise Shooter Emo Martha as she writes a replacement copy of the letter from Martha to Stranger Jonas that Jonas burned after his nightmare. Shooter Martha asks why Jonas is still alive in the Prime world, when she just killed him. Eva draws an infinity sign and explains that the connection to the other world is a bit like a railroad switch. The Jonas train has a couple of choices for the direction he takes at the moment of the apocalypse, which acts like a switch in the tracks at the center point of the figure 8/infinity sign.
Eva: “There’s a switch point at the junction in the loop of time. The moment that allows things to run in one direction or the other. You bring him to our world or you don’t. A line that meets itself again in a loop. Two possible paths, along the outer edge of the line or the inner edge of the line. And yet it is the same line. Two overlapping realities. On one of these paths, he dies. On the other, he doesn’t. Both possibilities recur in the loop, repeating endlessly. One triggers the other. Quantum entanglement. Adam has tried to sever this entanglement for 33 years so that the thing growing inside you will never be born. But it’s impossible. Our worlds can never be disconnected. Every step Jonas takes is guided by us. He cannot escape his fate.”
Who knows if Eva is correct that she’s controlling Jonas’ every move? She’s got a lot competition. Adam wants to destroy everything, Noah wants to destroy him (and Claudia), Eva wants to maintain the cycle by erasing most of it and Claudia wants to save Regina by any means necessary (and maybe get revenge for her death). The Unknown wants to be left alone, which might equal self determination or might equal annihilation. That all boils down to mostly destructive energy.
Back to Jonas and Claudia in the Prime world, 2020.
She asks about the cosmic egg. He tells her it’s what was left after the catastrophe. She names it the God particle, then asks about the electronic equipment he’s set up. He explains that he’s seen the God particle working as a portal in the future (when he came through the rift after touching Helge’s hand). Since the passage was destroyed, again, the only way to travel back to the past is to get the God particle portal working, again. If he can do that, he can go back and save everyone- Martha, Mikkel, etc.
Has he forgotten that he can’t save Mikkel? Were his other memories affected as well when he popped back into the Prime world after he died in the Alt world?
Then he pauses and asks how Claudia knew to look for him there. The last time they saw each other was when they split up at the mouth of the cave at the end of S2, a few hours before the apocalypse. They split up while they went to find their loved ones to bring them back to the bunker. Claudia made it to the bunker with Regina, but Jonas got caught up at Hannah’s house with Martha and Adam.
Claudia gets nervous for a second, then brings up the time travel device, which we’re now calling the apparatus. He gets excited. If the apparatus works, they could use that to go back in time and save everyone in some unspecified way that Jonas is unrealistically obsessed with.
Alas, it’s broken, burned out by the time overload of the catastrophe, just like all of the other time travel methods except the sphere. Claudia suggests that maybe everything has to break before it can be fixed, in order to change the cycle next time. They changed the cycle last time by bringing the Cesium 137 into the passage, which changed the variables in the equation. Maybe next time they’ll get it right!
I’m not going to try to make sense of that paragraph, since it’s mostly her feeding him BS to stall and distract him.
Jonas isn’t in the mood for a solution that requires him to live through an endless number of painful cycles before things have a chance of getting better. However, buried inside Claudia’s suggestion is the truth that creation is born out of destruction. She just doesn’t explain it in a way that allows him to understand or draw hope from it, given how raw his pain is.
And even when he does meet a Martha who lives, as Stranger Jonas in 1888, she’s already been corrupted into betraying him in multiple ways, as he is eventually corrupted into betraying her. Jonas and Martha’s souls are bound in a never ending cycle of love, creation and destruction.
Young Jonas also tells Claudia that since her older self must have known what would happen to Martha and she never said anything to him, he has no reason to trust her now. Claudia replies that she knows what the Cesium 137 is and she can help him get the God particle portal working so that he can save Martha.
Claudia successfully distracts Jonas from the question of why she came to the power plant, when it should be a barren, radioactive deathzone. That’s why it’s about to be walled off, as the soldiers told Peter earlier in the season. Remember how 2050s Elisabeth was killing anyone who entered the restricted zone?
Claudia doesn’t tell Jonas that she knew to come to the power plant because she has the triquetra diary, which probably answers all of his questions. We know she shows it to him at some point, but not until she’s got him hooked and removed certain pages.
Back to the Alt world. 3 hours until the apocalypse.
Ex Yellow Raincoat Martha goes to Bartosz’s house and tells him all about the barrels at the power plant and the upcoming apocalypse. She asks him to help her stop it.
Ulrich goes to the morgue to take another look at the body found in the bunker. The morgue attendant says that the boy died just before the body was found. Ulrich asks if the body could have died at an earlier time, then been preserved, confusing the morgue attendant. He notices a scar on the boy’s chin just like the one Mads had.
Ulrich goes to Helge’s cell to question him about Mads. He’s still not convinced that the body is that of his brother. He asks Helge how the boy in the bunker can be identical to Mads.
Helge: “She said I had to do it… Send him to the future… To fill the gaps.”
So Adult Helge wasn’t working with Noah in the Alt world. But who was he taking orders from? Claudia or maybe Stranger Martha?
Ulrich takes the matching pennies out of his pocket and asks Helge about them. They trigger a memory in Helge. He says he has to stop “him”. Ulrich asks who Helge has to stop. “You.”
Ulrich doesn’t understand the answer. He decides to let Helge go, then follow him to see what kind of scenario plays out.
Martha confesses the whole strange story of her and Jonas to Bartosz. He’s having a weird day with confessions. Bartosz didn’t know Jonas in this reality and it was an alternate Martha who killed him anyway, so he doesn’t reject Martha the way he did with Aleksander. Martha convinces Bartosz that she’s seen the future and it’s bad. He tries to call Aleksander to stop him from starting the apocalypse.
Aleksander doesn’t answer the phone, maybe because he thinks Bartosz is angry with him. Maybe because it’s convenient to the plot. He calls Charlotte instead, and tells her to meet him at the power plant so that he can show her something.
The Unknown Child and Old Man go through Eva’s God particle. Once they’re gone, Adult Unknown pulls out the Golden Time Snitch.
Over in the Prime world, 2053, Silja forces Alt Martha back out of the cage. Martha has one last date with Adam/Jonas, but first Silja needs her clothes. While she undresses, Martha asks why Silja follows Adam’s orders.
Silja: “We chosen few must fill the gaps so that you find your way here and so can Adam. And we finally reach salvation.”
By gaps, Silja and Helge mean the holes left in the continuity of the cycle where bootstrap paradoxes have been created. Sometimes entire characters are missing, sometimes events have been so disrupted that there’s no way for predetermined events to occur naturally anymore. So the most devoted Sic Mundus followers, along with the Unknown, help events along to make sure that the outcomes that need to happen still happen somehow.
Adam has been in the future with Agnes, Silja, Charlotte, Elizabeth, Franziska, Magnus and Alt Martha. Over the course of 3 days, he’s sending them out to their final assignments. Agnes went to pick up Tronte from the group home so they could move in with Doris and Egon back in S2. We’ve also seen Charlotte and Elizabeth leave, but haven’t yet been shown where they went.
Now Adam sends Magnus and Franziska out. This is the first time we’ve seen them leave the safety of whatever encampment Sic Mundus has been using at any given time. They are almost always together, in the inner sanctum, often close to the God particle or Adam. When Adam tells them it’s time to go and that they know what to do, they clasp hands tightly, as devoted to each other as ever.
Over on the Alt world, it’s 1 hour until the apocalypse and Young Alt Franziska and Magnus are sitting on the shore of the lake overlooking the power plant, wondering if what Martha told Magnus is true. They agree that if they’re dying today, they will die together. Then they make out. Franziska is in red and black plaid.
They’re all about going down in a blaze of glory. They even mentioned the bunker, but neither considers going there.
Don’t they teach duck and cover in schools anymore?
I think it’s worth noting that Magnus pulled Katharina off of Regina back in S1 when they got into the fight at the high school after Martha’s play. While Magnus, Helge (Claudia’s childhood friend) and the Dopplers who are descendants of Helge don’t live easy lives, they also aren’t tortured and murdered as much as the younger Nielsens are. Peter and Helge die sacrificial deaths to rescue children. Franziska and Magnus, in particular, are kept safe and alive up until the last minute on both worlds, which suggests their deaths might have something to do with the time science/magic that’s accomplished with this apocalypse.
Ex Yellow Raincoat Martha and Bartosz perform a high speed bike ride toward the power plant in a last ditch attempt to save the world. Bartosz has his red and black plaid scarf on, which means he’s important but also maybe a little guilty of something.
It’s very Stranger Things. Or ET.
Ulrich follows Helge to the caves. Before he goes in, he leaves a phone message for Charlotte telling her that the boy in the bunker is Mads.
Alt Bartosz and Martha turn down the forest road. Prime Magnus and Franziska step out to stop them. Magnus makes Martha guess who he is. Why are brothers always like this?
Magnus and Franziska explain that Eva and Stranger Martha lied to her. They want the apocalypse to happen. But Young Martha can change everything if she trusts Jonas and chooses his world.
This Martha didn’t know that Jonas popped back to life in his world, so this is a compelling plan. Franziska says that Jonas can tell her what the origin is. But first, she has to save him from the apocalypse in his world and bring him to her world.
Magnus pulls out the time sphere and says that Martha can’t stop the apocalypse that’s about to happen, but if she helps them now, she’ll be able to stop the next one.
That sounds so familiar. Plus, this is the next one, so obviously the apocalypses haven’t been stopped.
Time for Some Time Theory
My guess is that something about bringing Alt Martha and Prime Jonas together for the end of both worlds syncs up their apocalypses energetically, even though they are chronologically out of sync. (His happens in June, while hers happens in November.)
Killing Prime Martha unbinds Jonas’ soul from hers, but if Alt Martha is right there, his soul will immediately become re-entangled (on a quantum level- it’s hard to distinguish quantum physics from religion at times) with the next version of Martha that it finds. Since they are each the Chosen One of their worlds, binding their souls binds the two worlds together.
That’s the actual connection between the two worlds. The Unknown stabilizes the connection, but he’s not the origin. And once the connection is made, it’s as if it’s always been there, affecting events in the past, present and future. This is how there could be references made to Martha’s world in S2, and probably characters from that world- at some point, the connection became a certainty, and so it also became a reality, even though it technically hadn’t happened yet.
Martha and Jonas and the Prime and Alt worlds are anchored to each other through the genetic knot, sex, a child, violence and loops Jonas and Martha made through time on and between both planets. By eliminating their alternates on each other’s worlds, the binding is made strong.
They are somehow each tied to their God particle in a way that makes them and the binding immortal. That’s probably why they both need to die on both worlds, then come back, as part of the process- it binds them to their world, the other world and the God particle. New Jonas has the same soul as Old Jonas, but he’s a still a slightly different Jonas, with slightly different memories- he was changed by the experience. He’s a phoenix or the next iteration of Dr Who. The same but different.
Like all strong magic or science, time magic/science has redundancies built in and isn’t easily broken.
While Franziska, Magnus and Martha talk, Bartosz is in the background asking questions that no one answers. Martha decides to go with them and asks Bartosz to come with her. Franziska says that he’s on Team Eva, so they need to leave him behind to be saved by his own people. Within a moment, Bartosz is left alone with his bike, watching a puff of glitter fade.
Bartosz hasn’t been obvious about working for Eva, but he has subtly guided characters in the right direction a few times and he was quick to believe Martha’s outlandish story.
Team Eva has assembled in the Erit Lux lair for their pre apocalypse pep talk. Let’s meet the players.
Eva: “It’s time. Adam has moved each of his pawns into position. It’s time that we do the same. This knot has given us all life and we are its keepers in both worlds.”
She puts her hand on Emo Martha’s pregnant belly: “He’ll never be able to untie this knot. In all these years, he’s never understood how everything is connected. How it all ends and begins. Not only in our world, but also in his. We are destiny.”
Go, team, go.
She moves on to Stranger Martha: “We raise the walls of this labyrinth. Each of us shapes the paths and extends their hand.”
She is the oracle. The letter that Martha just rewrote will help guide Jonas’ path and give him the strength to keep going.
To Adult Bartosz, who should look familiar from his fatal encounter with young Noah early in S2: “Bartosz, you must save yourself to save our lives.”
Young Bartosz is stranded on the forest road. He needs a lift and new instructions.
To Adult Claudia: “Claudia, you must guide yourself to be our eyes in Adam’s world.”
Her task is to meet her Prime self for the first time.
To Old Egon: “Egon, you must create your past to preserve the family tree.”
He needs to help Alt Hannah get back to his younger self, so that Silja can be born. That doesn’t happen on its own without Stranger Jonas there to tell Hannah about time travel and give her the apparatus.
Egon is filling in the gap left by the absence of Jonas, another sign that he used to be part of this world.
To Adult Noah: “Noah, you bring love…”
To Young Noah: “To make everything new.”
The Noahs will take care of Elisabeth, who is now named as the representative of love and renewal in this world, giving her the status of Persephone and turning Noah into Hades, god of the underworld. I guess without a Jonas, he’s the only one left to take on the role. They are going to the bunker.
“Every darkness is followed by light. With every death comes a life.”
Destruction leads to creation.
She turns on the God particle.
Back in the Prime world, Adam is preparing for the next apocalypse by playing Dr Frankenstein. He’s riffing on The Bride of Frankenstein this time, with Martha tied to scaffolding under the God particle. She’s wearing The White Slip of Doom and that super unlucky St Christopher medal, which should probably be taken back to Mordor already. Jonas has always had a flair for setting a dramatic scene, you have to give him that.
Jonas remains in his S3 coat- was the budget that small, or did something extra terrible terrible happen to his body on the way to turning this God particle white? No, don’t tell me, I’m already traumatized by what he’s done to himself.
Martha’s asking the usual victim questions like why would he and how could he and such. He doesn’t answer until she asks where everyone else went. Then he tells her that they’re all off fulfilling their destinies, sustaining the cycle so that the two of them can exist in this moment. Martha asks what he’s saying. She wasn’t paying close attention when he spoke of the prophecy earlier.
He makes a very grand speech about how he’s about to kill her and the baby inside her because the baby is the Big Bad Spooky Origin. He’s decided, or Claudia implied at some point, that the baby needs to be killed by the energy of both worlds, so he’s built a suped up God particle machine which will focus the energy of the apocalypses on both worlds onto her.
“Your son only exists because the matter exists. And now he will die through the matter and all of us with him. None of this will exist anymore. Both worlds will extinguish one another. Absolute annihilation.”
Martha: “You’ve gone insane.”
Adam tells her there’s no hope, salvation or paradise. “We are wrong, you and I. In your world and in mine.” He yanks off the medal and goes to the control booth.
Lol. They are wrong together, but he’s keeping the wedding token in the divorce this time.
Okay, let’s go through this reasoning again, since Jonas can’t get it through his head. Nothing he said had anything to do with creating or destroying worlds in Dark’s system. Well, obviously an apocalypse can do that on the level of destroying the matter the planets are made from, but he’s not talking about that, even though he mentioned matter, too.
He thinks that an abortion is the key to ending the eternal recurrence of two worlds which are bound together. He said himself that he was destroying the matter the child is made from, not the quantum energy. So instead of being destroyed, Martha will pop back up on her world, or maybe some other world, since the God particle is involved.
Adam still might not know that he’s creating cross world transportation using the God particle specifically, but he should know enough to realize that that energy is indestructible and immortal. It doesn’t die, it just goes somewhere else. This is a basic law of physics.
I suspect he’s confusing the loss of the Cesium 137 from the apparatus when they traveled from 2019 to 1888 during the last apocalypse with death and assuming he can kill Martha, the Unknown and the God particle together. My guess is that the black goo is equivalent to the God particle’s life force or blood, but it has a greater ability to live independently than blood cells do.
The dark matter is also probably able to escape its captivity under certain conditions. The apparitions that Jonas and Martha see may be the God particle trying to speak through quantum entanglement. Claudia said in her notes that it can live simultaneously as all 3 states of matter. That’s likely not the only thing it does all at once, since it’s a universe in a cloud. Maybe it can hijack the spirits of dead people to use as avatars on occasion.
Martha screams his name. Jonas/Adam turns on the machine. The lightning starts.
Eva, who really does have a lot in common with Claudia, starts talking about the end and the beginning. She says that connections need to be closed in both worlds. No loose ends.
The Unknown stand in front of the bus stop and look at the shelter. The Adult is the Prime world and the Old Man and Child are in the Alt world. Quite a few significant conversations have happened in the shelter that they could be thinking of. The most significant to them might be when Agnes brought Tronte to town and stopped at this spot to ask directions from Ulrich in 1953. Or maybe when Teen Hannah and her dad stopped in 1986 to offer a ride to Young Jonas so he could get out of the radioactive rain.
Possibly when Ulrich and Hannah, Zeus and Hera, wished for a world without Winden in 1986 in S1Ep1. Maybe they unknowingly created everything. MAYBE THAT’S THE ORIGIN.
The Unknown continue walking to the power plant.
Eva keeps talking about everything being connected and light and shadow. As Alt Young Elizabeth walks down the forest road in a bright red jacket, she meets Alt Adult Noah, in much the same way she met Prime Adult Noah for the first time while she was wearing Franziska’s bright red lipstick. He holds out his hand to her, then takes her to the bunker and Young Noah. They are the only ones in the bunker. Adult Noah leaves.
Old Egon stands at the mouth of the cave and looks confused. He’s coming from 1986 to 2019, so he’ll need to get his bearings.
Hannah sits at her kitchen table and handles Aleksander’s gun. When the radiation from the reactor starts, she begins to miscarry. Old Egon comes to get her. His job will be to take her through the passage to a safe time period where she can get medical treatment. Then Hannah needs to have an affair with Adult Egon in the 1950s and get pregnant with Silja.
Alt Claudia introduces herself to Prime Claudia.
Adult Bartosz uses the sphere to jump in near Teen Bartosz, who’s just been left behind by Martha on the forest road.
Stranger Martha goes to 1888 and sneaks into the factory where Stranger Jonas is at work on his God Particle. She goes to his bedroom and leaves the new copy of the letter and the For Charlotte pocket watch on the table.
In each world, the Unknown use the keys they took from Bernd to enter the nuclear power plant’s volume control room and open valves to set off a reaction and meltdown, filling in the gap, since this time there aren’t multiple time travel devices in multiple periods to set off the chain reaction, the way there were at the end of S2.
At the same time, Aleksander brings Charlotte to the plant to show her the barrels in order to stop Hannah from blackmailing him. I’m not sure if he intends to kill Charlotte, commit murder-suicide or turn himself in for the cover up. They put on red hazmat suits, in contrast to the Prime world’s yellow suits, then enter the room alone. Aleksander opens a barrel as the radiation level rises and Adam’s God particle is at full strength in the Prime world. Another God particle quickly rises out of the barrel in the Alt world.
The two God particles are in the same place in two different, but connected, worlds. On one world, Martha is pregnant with the child of two worlds. On the other world, Charlotte, who comes from a mysterious background, is in the room. Her alternate self has already gone through a time rift in the previous cycle.
I’ve wondered for a while if there was a round robin performed with the infant Charlottes from 3 worlds. It could be that it’s necessary to have Charlotte in the room at this point for that reason. Remember, she is also in the room in the Prime world 2020, even though we aren’t being shown that right now. She will be sent forward to 2053, where Adam is currently torturing Alt Martha in September and Elisabeth is waiting for her in June. Presumably Alt Charlotte will be sent forward as well. Since Alt Elisabeth is in the Alt bunker, she should be in the Alt future to touch Charlotte’s hand and then receive her in the future.
Where will Alt Martha and the Unknown fetus be sent? To the 3rd world? And is each Charlotte sent forward in the world she lives in or is she sent forward and to her birth world, if I’m right about the baby swap theory?
Alt Ulrich follows the red thread to the passage.
Adam’s God particle spins faster and faster and opens up a portal over Martha’s head. The God particle turns into a tube of light and shadow, like a worm hole, and slides down over Martha. She screams, since she’s getting zapped by lightning and who knows what else. Adam closes his eyes and waits for the end of time.
The Unknowns are all bathed in bright red flashing warning lights. They calmly wait for the end of the world.
Alt Magnus and Franziska watch with alarm as a black hole dome forms over the power plant and then a shockwave emanates outward toward them. They’re engulfed by it before they can react.
It’s the End of the World as We Know It.
You’ve made it to the center of the Dark S3 labyrinth. Congratulations. Now you have 2 episodes to fight your way back out. The pacing is a little off this season. Or maybe this was the end of the labyrinth and we’re on our own from now on.
I love the forest road scene and all of its ridiculous iterations. The fact that it will eventually end in at least 4 different multi person poofs of golden glitter, each of which should spawn their own timeline, just makes it even better. We’ve seen the first two- Bartosz and Martha become a team, but Magnus and Franziska finally realize their potential as cult members and lie their butts off to convince Martha to come to the Prime world.
Then after Martha, Franziska and Magnus leave, Stranger Bartosz leaps in to save his younger self from the apocalypse and bring him into the light. Or has Teen Bartosz been Eva’s acolyte all season and just leading Martha on? I want a sequel series that takes place in the sunlit glass house that Bartosz lives in. It can be called Light. He and his action hero other selves can go around saving the worlds that Jonas screws up, with their superdog sidekick Gretchen always at their side.
The Bartoszes will always do what Gretchen thinks is best, because that dog deserves a break and is clearly full of light. Martha will be the damsel in distress who needs rescuing on every single world. Jonas will always be Stranger Jonas, who does an excellent mustache twirling villain opposite Bartosz. I’ll cast the roles for the rest of Bartosz’s family later, but I feel Noah and Elizabeth have earned large roles for needlessly spending decades in the post apocalypse world and giving up their infant daughter. Plus, have you seen Elisabeth in action? She literally takes no prisoners.
In order to get Martha to go with them on the forest road, Magnus and Franziska use some circular logic on her that makes no sense at all. What matters is their lead point- Jonas is alive in their world, but he’s about to die unless she saves him.
Except, in reality, Jonas will save himself, unless she brings him to her world like they want, where she’ll kill him again. Why does Adam want Martha to bring Jonas to the Alt world and murder him when there’s been no previous evidence that he even understands that happened, beyond the fact that she’s somehow pregnant? Um, I guess so he can get her pregnant with the Origin again, so he can get mad about the Origin again, so he can kill it and her again?
(This also shows that Jonas understands that the time stream splits, producing two versions of him and two of her at various points- he already knows it’s not an aberration for that to happen, just a thing time does sometimes. But at this point we are dealing with mental illness, cults and systemic abuse on many levels without the show acknowledging much of it. Apparently everyone is happy just to follow orders, except for Prime Noah, who is dead because he woke up too much and went against Claudia and Jonas. As many a savior can tell you, enlightenment is a dangerous game. Which is why shows and films like this back away from their original point in the last episode.)
Instead of all of this craziness, Jonas could just try breaking the cycle by accepting the existence of his kid and his ex, then patent some of his minor inventions, send Alt Martha child support payments and move on with his life. She moved onto to her own planet and set up her own
cult business. What more does he want from her?
And the Unknown is far from the worst kid in the Nielsen family. At least he has a job and takes care of his mother. He never became a murderous time hobo bent on revenge like Noah, Jonas and Ulrich. He came back home to his mama after all of his vengeful time murdering. He takes after Bartosz’s side of the family that way. Maybe Alt Bartosz was a father figure for him.
Or Jonas could just let Old Franziska and Magnus live out their last days in the time period of their choice and leave Martha to the apocalypse. That’s where it becomes clear that Claudia is actually pulling the strings because the energy produced by the apocalypses, etc is useful to her. Jonas isn’t vindictive on his own, except toward himself.
Jonas and Bartosz have matching glass boxes to live in. Or maybe they’re glass cages where both are trapped with their families. Bartosz’s box is in the sunlight, but Jonas’ builds his in the light of the God particle.
How adorable is it that Prime Bartosz and Hanno have matching father-son Emerald Tablet tattoos- Bartosz on his chest and Hanno on his back? Maybe not so adorable when Jonas orders Hanno to kill his father because he’s become a liability, right around the time that adult Noah comes home to the 1920s. Jonas didn’t want those 2 ganging up on him and wanted the guilt Hanno/Noah felt about murdering his father to cloud his mind. Plus, getting a little revenge on Claudia by having her grandson killed might have finally been too much to resist.
Hanno is guilty about his father. Noah is guilty about Charlotte. At least he has a period of love and happiness with Elisabeth in between. He’s a character that’s caught in the middle of Jonas and Claudia’s war, choosing his own side in the end, but used as a pawn by both of them until the end. He’s also the only one who seriously questions Claudia’s honesty, and brings those questions to Jonas, which makes him a liability to her. But he’s also Claudia’s great grandson. He’s a one person knot.
After 33 years of planning how he would save Martha when the cycle change came around again, at the end of season 2 Stranger Jonas politely gave up on her and walked away, based on a letter delivered by a frenemy. It didn’t occur to him that handwriting is easily forged, especially when you’ve had 33 years to practice. Or that the last time he saw Hanno/Noah, he had a huge grudge against Jonas. It doesn’t really matter that the letter was written by another Martha. If she wasn’t there, Adam would have had one of the other women forge the letter. Either he or Claudia probably did, in earlier cycles before the two worlds connected.
Hey, the S1 reliance on phones for communication is back. I really wanted to see a call between worlds. Maybe Tannhaus will invent a device in the sequel series.
On Eva’s world, at least so far, Noah didn’t kill Bartosz, Claudia didn’t kill Egon and Katharina hasn’t lost Mikkel. Hannah and Adult Egon may have a chance to stay together and raise Silja for longer. On the other hand, some of the people who survived the apocalypse on Jonas’ world will die on Eva’s world, like Magnus and Franziska.
The Death and Rebirth of the Light
Do we know when Adam’s birthday is? I’m certain he’s a Gemini. Nobody does mood swings like a Gemini. Or impatience, when in a bad mood (and patience when in a good mood, obviously). (Disclaimer: I am a Gemini.)
June 21st, the day Michael Kahnwald kills himself, is the Summer Solstice, day of the death of the light/Sun King. Lots of significance for Jonas, if you think about it- the death of his father, the death of the Light, the death of the Sun God. The death of hope, since it’s the time when Claudia convinced him that Michael/Mikkel couldn’t be saved.
But it’s also the growing season and early harvest season, which is part of why gods start to die then- they are harvested as the fruit of the earth to feed their people, which is, in the end, a leader’s responsibility, whether they’re a monarch or a deity, and in the long run they will give their life to it, one way or another. Ritual pseudo cannibalism still exists, even in Christianity, for a reason. And pregnant black widows eat their mates as a birthright.
Did you notice Adam mentioned that Old Tannhaus and Sic Mundus knew there are 3 worlds in the system and they were working toward connecting with the 3rd world, which they believed would be Paradise? Jonas, however, has decided that it won’t actually be much different from the world they’re in, so he’s opting for annihilation still/again. His double annihilation will not so coincidentally raise a ton of power that someone, probably Claudia, will surely find a use for. The overall annihilation also threatens Eva’s child, keeping her busy so that she pays attention to Adam’s machinations instead of Claudia’s.
This is why Eva and Adam’s war doesn’t need to make sense. It just needs to keep them focused on each other and sometimes doing what Claudia needs them to do, even though they don’t understand the real reason why they’re doing it. She keeps them in continuous motion and in emotional turmoil so that they don’t stop to think their actions through. She doesn’t want them to reach a clear state of mind where they could cooperate with each other and sort through her actions in order to realize what she’s doing.
Noah, Charlotte’s father, is the only one, besides the Unknown, who suspects her, so she turns him against Jonas and goads Adam into killing him before he figures out her plan.
As I have said before, Jonas is being driven mad on purpose. A mad scientist with a penchant for darkness will create the energy you need for some of your larger time travel projects, if you can goad him into what you want at the right time and place. And Jonas is so predictable. Claudia and Eva can easily keep him preoccupied with this and that so he doesn’t ever figure out what they’re really up to. Claudia uses the same trick on Eva.
Tannhaus’ beliefs may have been based on a Gnostic or Hermetic myth or on Dante’s Divine Comedy. Dante progresses through several levels of an Inferno based on the worst of humanity, then several levels of Purgatory based on both Love and the Seven Deadly Sins and then through several levels of Paradise, which are based on Cardinal and Theological Virtues assigned to celestial bodies. When Dante has made it through the levels of Paradise, he’s ready to ascend into the light of God along with his true love.
There may be a cynical reason for Claudia’s out of character drive to save Regina- she can take her time travel ambitions further if she allows herself the humanity of feeling deep love for one person and letting that motivate her toward the light. Travel and enlightenment are easier with a partner.
While Adam speaks of Sic Mundus and their intention to create Paradise, we’re shown the golden sphere. Gold symbolizes the highest form of good. Old Tannhaus’ Paradise and intentions were pure. Jonas’ face is surrounded by darkness when he speaks of his own intentions. When he says that both apocalypses are needed, the light ball is shown next to them. The double apocalypse won’t create annihilation. It will create more light.
It will also create the ability to travel further in time. Claudia insists on repeating the cycles over and over, into infinity, because repeatedly sending radiation and time energy through the passage is building up its power. It took me several times through these last four episodes of the season to get what she means in this conversation with herself, but that’s what she’s saying.
What makes Jonas and Martha’s (and Bartosz’s) worlds unique is the combination of a nuclear power plant on top of the cave where time travel experiments were done. The build up and layering of the residue from each use of the passage increases the power of the passage. This is why timing is everything with Claudia. She’s waiting for the moment when the passage is finally powerful enough to do what she needs it to do to save Regina. She needs all of the different kinds of energy created by everything she talks everyone into doing, in order to direct the passage where she wants it to go.
From the first meeting between the Claudias, S3Ep5:
Alt Claudia: “Jonas opened the passage in 2020. The older Jonas has closed it in 2019, as well. After it had been opened for the first time in summer 1986. In all three moments, they left behind traces of Cesium residue, a component of the black matter.”
Prime Claudia: “Radioactive half-lives.”
Alt Claudia: “In each cycle, in all three moments, this Cesium is carried through the tunnel and back before it’s completely decayed. It exponentially expands endlessly.”
Prime Claudia: “So that’s how the passage was created.”
Alt Claudia: “And that’s how it must continue to exist for eternity. Everything has to happen again. Jonas bringing the matter into the passage. The opening of one of the drums in the plant triggering the apocalypse. Everything in this loop repeats itself. Life and death.”
Baby Universes and Exhausted Deities
Many cultures around the world describe a cosmic egg, also known as a world egg or ylem, as part of their creation stories. In mythology, it’s associated with Chronos and other time gods. It’s also associated with Dionysus, Zeus, snakes, oracles and the third eye. The ylem is one name for the super condensed gravitational singularity that existed right after the Big Bang.
The cosmic egg is also a symbol of fertility, birth, life, and femaleness, with a woman’s pregnant uterus being the most obvious inspiration for the symbol after a bird’s egg. The ancients showed people hatching from eggs- an 8 or 9 month pregnant belly is literally a big flesh egg with a person inside. If you are the one inside, it is your universe. If you are the mother, it’s also your universe. You are the goddess in charge of creation.
For each world, Dark gives us a version of pregnant goddess Hannah, Queen of Heaven. Hera is goddess of marriage and childbirth and hates men who mistreat their wives. She has a fierce personality, because she is a protector goddess. She has a universe to protect. The male gods find this threatening at times.
Cosmic eggs typically have universes and or deities or both inside. This one certainly seems sentient (meaning it has a cosmic consciousness or Oneness), which means the characters are essentially creating sentient universes or deities with every apocalypse, then torturing and enslaving them. That basically follows Adams mythology from season 2, when he told us that Time is a god who he’s trying to destroy. Apparently he’s trying to create and destroy multiple universal time gods.
Where does this fit with the rest of the show’s mythology? Raising energy, as one does with an apocalypse, creates and destroys. The cosmic egg was created. The real question is why did it stay in the power plant?
This could be an alien. It could be another world/dimension that was supposed to form, but was captured and is now stunted. Ask the cat in the box. I will say that when Jonas zapped the Cesium 137, it looked like it was alive to me as well, with those little tentacles, which suggests that this stuff is immortal in every form. It just understandably goes dormant at times. Claudia said that it maintains homeostasis/energetic equilibrium on its own. Torturing and enslaving it might not be the best idea in the long run. Maybe that’s why Jonas’ world has turned into He11.
Also, like I said- there are typically deities and universes inside cosmic eggs, Jonas referred to Time as a deity and Claudia referred to its homeostasis, which means by every description we’ve heard or seen, its self-sustaining and unkillable. I imagine that applies to universes/dimensions/worlds when they’re allowed to expand to their full potential as well, but what do I know? I don’t make the rules, I just observe the quantum entanglement.
Remember Jonas’ round glow light, though? Doesn’t it look like a little cosmic egg that follows him around like a devoted puppy that just won’t give up on his tattered soul? I wonder if these embryonic universes are eternally entangled with their chosen one at birth, essentially turning the chosen one, or maybe a chosen few at the center of a knot, into deities.
Meanwhile, as Adam, Jonas is trying to blow two worlds up, sending them straight back to the cosmic egg stage. How many of his worlds do you suppose he’s succeeded with, and are those now following him around like little puppies who desperately want him back? Is Jonas actually a constellation? Probably he and Martha together are the constellation of Gemini, since he’s blowing up her world at the same time and their souls are bound.
Bartosz is probably glad that Grandma leaves his world out of this fiasco.
Now Let’s Take A Quick look at Motivations
Claudia was completely mesmerised by that egg. I don’t think we’ve ever seen her look at something with pure greed in her eyes the way she looked at that embryo.
And then Jonas distracted her from it, because it’s his, made from his apocalypse. As with all things his, Jonas is going to be possessive about it and love it, but also treat it badly and try to kill it. Claudia is going to spend quite a bit of time standing enigmatically in the background, “leading” him when he gets frustrated. That look we just saw in her eye, combined with the way she walked out on her entire life when Benrd Doppler gave her the original data on the God particle, says something about how important time science is to her.
Claudia is as torn in two as Jonas. The science involved with the God particle is everything to her. But so is saving Regina from an early death. Alt Claudia had Alt Tronte murder Prime Regina in order to motivate this Claudia to pursue the science to some end that would allow Regina to live. The fact that she needed to change the timeline means that pursuing the science alone doesn’t fulfill the goal of saving Regina or bring Claudia fulfillment on its own, even in the Alt world, where Alt Claudia could also save Tronte and have him with her if she wants.
It shows that the Claudias have each independently decided that the most important goal is to save their daughter. They are working toward that goal, rather than following the exact path that the cycles have followed before. Prime Claudia may even be looking at the cosmic egg with greed because it’s the key to saving Regina in the long run. She’s been in contact with her older self all along, who knows as much or more than Alt Claudia does about time science and the future.
Jonas is perpetually torn between his overwhelming love for Prime Martha and his need to do what’s right, which leads him to draw close to her, then reject her, over and over. He plays out the same pattern in his other relationships, until he gets to the point of compulsively severing family ties between Sic Mundus members and ordering murders between family members.
Even though he supposedly doesn’t remember dying, the coldness within him starts here, in 2020. This is when he internally becomes the Stranger. Something in his soul remembers that Alt Martha murdered him and that she’s pregnant. Combined with the way he’s forced to hurt Mikkel/Michael, he mentally breaks even further. It mostly leads to coldness and contemplation during this period of his life, because he’s working on the God particle, but he’s not completely alone. He has Noah’s friendship.
The coldness turns murderous in the 1800s, after he’s unable to save Prime Martha and he’s betrayed again and again at the end of season 2 and beginning of season 3. He becomes Adam inside when Gustav is murdered, Alt Martha leaves with the sphere and Bartosz continues to blame him for everything. Magnus and Franziska were never his close friends and they remain passive assistants now that he’s 33 years older than them. He loses all hope for himself.
I’m not convinced that Jonas came up with the huge, intricate Nielsen knot on his own, but it’s possible. It’s also possible that it’s a vestige of an earlier plan whose origin is now impossible to trace.
Or the knot could be a natural phenomenon, a series of mutations caused by Winden’s constant exposure to radiation and time energy. Time energy could act like any other pollutant on a small town, causing changes in the natural reproductive cycles of the residents. There are people missing from the timeline, like HG Tannhaus’ father, and people who are time shifted, then die young, like Michael and Katharina, who may have originally played larger roles.
Meanwhile, Alt Martha is torn between her love for Jonas and her love for her child. She also seems to hate both of them, so her motivations are especially confusing. They both have love-hate relationships with her as well. There’s no happy outcome possible for Alt Martha once she shoots Jonas, so she’s mostly going through the motions and trying to convince herself she’s doing the right thing or that it doesn’t matter. Alt Martha’s contradictory actions seem to be more dictated by Claudia than by her own motivations. But she’s so immersed in the cycles that she never raises her head out of the shadows far enough to understand what’s been done to her.
The Unknown sees right through Eva, which is why he hates her (and loves her). He knows that he’s an afterthought for both parents, since, despite the motivations Claudia plants in them, neither Martha nor Jonas are all that attached to their worlds, just to each other. They’d leave him behind in a heartbeat if they could walk away from the worlds they’re shackled to and just be themselves somewhere.
(Characters say Alt Martha is doing everything for her son, but she’s not. She’s doing much of it to continue her contact with Jonas. She rarely even looks at the Unknown and didn’t even bother to name him. Martha’s devotion to him is one Claudia’s biggest lies. Martha would have gotten rid of him, since he’s the product of incest and so much pain.)
Unlike Adam and Eva, Claudia maintains her identity as she ages. She doesn’t hide behind another name and she doesn’t create a secret society. She becomes more purely herself, and she owns that identity. And she doesn’t feel the need to justify or advertise who she is to the others. She becomes more and more reliant on only herself, trusting no one, not even her younger or alternate selves, with her secrets.
Images courtesy of Netflix.