Time Travel TV Comparison: Dark vs 12 Monkeys vs Travelers

A reader requested that we write up a compare and contrast review between 12 Monkeys and Dark. Now that all of the Dark recaps are done, we thought we’d do that, and add in Travelers, the other fan favorite time travel show around here.

All 3 shows premiered and completed their runs between 2015 and 2020. They are all anchored in the present day, but also take place in the future and the past. They all deal with dystopian futures which the main characters want to prevent using time travel and the knowledge of events they’ve gained through time travel and advanced technology. All 3 also have ensemble casts that include time travelers, their handlers and mad scientists, though the groups tend to be fluid- almost everyone will time travel or have a good idea eventually.

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Dark Season 3 Episode 8: The Paradise Recap

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The end is the beginning and the beginning is the end. Michael dies again, Jonas startles awake again. Claudia explains it all, then convinces Jonas and Martha to take a star bridge into space.

Adam finally goes full Nosferatu.

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I had to kill her! The fate of the multiverse depends on it!

Dark S3Ep7 Nosferatu Adam

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Dark Season 3 Episode 7: Between the Time Recap

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In episode 6, the worlds ended, thanks to Adam’s double apocalypse. In episode 7, we meet the new world. And tie up a few loose ends.

Recap

The episode begins with a twist on the opening voice over- a segment from HG Tannhaus’ science show from the 1970s:

Tannhaus: “What is reality? Is it singular in nature? Or do several parallel realities exist at the same time? To address this, Erwin Schrodinger constructed an extremely interesting thought experiment. Schrodinger’s cat. A cat is locked in a steel chamber with a tiny amount of a radioactive substance, a Geiger counter, a vial of poison and a hammer. As soon as a radioactive atom disintegrates inside the steel chamber, the Geiger counter triggers the release of the hammer, which smashes the vial of poison. The cat is dead.

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Dark Season 3 Episode 6: Light and Shadow Recap

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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.

Recap

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.

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Dark Season 3 Episode 2: The Survivors

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After the Harry Potter costume party of getting to know Martha/Eva’s world in S3EP1, in episode 2 it’s finally time to visit Adam’s post-apocalypse world, which is a form of the world without Winden that Hannah and Ulrich have dreamed of for decades. Ironically, Hannah and Ulrich both flaked out on the apocalypse and have retired separately in the Winden of previous decades. Katharina followed Ulrich.

Peter and Elizabeth serve as our point of view characters for the aftermath of the shockwave as they search for Charlotte and Franziska. Charlotte has jumped forward 33 years and is now in the barren future with Adult Elizabeth. The version of Young Alt Martha who transported Jonas to her world, then left him behind, is with Stranger, Bartosz, Franziska and Magnus in 1888.

We spend much of this episode in 1987, where things have changed in the last 3 months.

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 8: These Are His Revolutions Recap

Snowpiercer S1Ep8 LJ & Javi

Revolution comes to Snowpiercer in episode 8, along with the truth about Mr Wilford’s fate. Melanie is taken into custody by the jackboots and everyone finally has to choose their side. Miss Audrey finds a fabulous outfit for the occasion and LJ fires the first shot before things take their bloody turn.

Recap

Ruth has the voiceover this week. At first it appears we’re viewing a commercial for her posh Bed & Breakfast from the Old World, but before long the ways she’s been changed by life on the train sneak in. This is the Ruth whose Hospitality protocols include freezing off the arms of children in retaliation for their attempts to make a better life for themselves, not the Ruth who takes in strangers from the storm and gives them personal attention even though they don’t have a reservation.

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 7: The Universe Is Indifferent Recap

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Episode 7, aptly titled The Universe Is Indifferent, brings us not just the fridging of Josie, but the actual freezing, at the hands of her fellow white woman, Melanie Cavill. Though she dies so that others can live and emote, Josie goes out calling for justice and a sense of morality based on what’s right and wrong, rather than moral relativism based on convenience.

This might have the most self-aware fridging in TV history, given the way Snowpiercer narrowly avoided the Bury Your Gays trope. Josie could have saved herself by giving up the name of Bess Till, a lesbian character, probably dooming Bess to death instead, but she refused to betray another woman the way Zarah betrayed her. (Zarah is pregnant and her unborn child was threatened, so that’s a different issue.)

Josie hasn’t been one of my favorite characters, but she went out fighting for the greater good even beyond the needs of the train, proving she was the conscience of the Tail all along. I respect that. Before she died, she passed the role of Train Conscience on to Bess. Let’s hope Bess can rise to the occasion. And stay alive.

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Dark Season 3 Episode 1: Deja-vu Recap

 

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“You and I are perfect for each other. Never believe anything else.” – Jonas Kahnwald, June 20, 2019, in an episodic pattern of behavior with no beginning or end.

“We’re never free in what we do because we aren’t free in what we desire.” – Noah, opening voice over, S2,Ep8

Buckle up, kids, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. As we enter the post apocalypse prime world and the Alt Martha world and try to figure out whatever Claudia’s up to this time around, let’s keep the endgame in mind.

What is the endgame? Lol, I’m not going to give away spoilers!

Or am I? Even I don’t know anymore.

“What we know is a drop. What we don’t know is an ocean.” – Bernd Doppler, November 5, 1986, S1Ep3

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 6: Trouble Comes Sideways Recap

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In episode 6, Melanie saves the train from derailment and a workers’ strike, Andre tries and fails to assassinate Melanie, and the train has a party. It’s another busy day in the life of Mr Wilford and the Train Detective, odd couple of the apocalypse.

However, the train is bleeding and none of Melanie’s fixes address the underlying causes.

Recap

Snowpiercer S1E6 Oz Finishes Shaving

Oz gets the voiceover this week. It’s the morning after Till knocked him out so she could help Josie save Layton. He seems not only recovered, but feeling good after his ordeal in the Drawers and wherever he disappeared to while she was gone.

Oz is in his tiny, industrial gray cabin, shaving with a straight razor.

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Reprisal Season 1 Episode 8: The Horse Cabbage Heart Recap

Reprisal S1Ep8 Queenie Confronts Burt & Joel

In episode 8 of Reprisal, the characters deal with the aftermath of Katherine’s attack on the Bang-A-Rang and other recent events. Joel tries to go backsies on Konstantinov’s death, but Jukes points out that if there’s anything you can’t take back, it’s a relatively unprovoked murder. Avron discovers that the Monster Ring had an inside man among the Brawlers, but Bru doesn’t want to believe him, since no one likes him anyway. Ethan, the inside man, knows Avron’s right and alerts Katherine.

This is the episode of hitting bottom. Between Burt and Katherine’s messes, most of the characters feel angry, betrayed, helpless and confused, even Katherine herself. They’ve all made mistakes and are letting their emotions get in the way of good judgement, compounding the mistakes. This episode is spent gathering information while also ignoring the obvious. Or mentally escaping and then forming the beginnings of their next terrible plans.

We also learn more about Katherine and Witt’s pasts. Katherine is the queen of personal reinvention that allows one to stay the same deep down and Witt is the king of lying to oneself in order to ignore painful truths forever. Both skill sets allow them to protect their true selves when Burt and the Brawlers try to break them.

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