Warning: Spoilers for the series finale of Netflix’s Dark are ahead.
The third and final season of Netflix’s German original series Dark is full of unexpected knots — er, twists — filling in some gaps in the timelines and the family tree. As was the case in season 2, the apocalypse is the focus, only here it has already happened in some timelines, causing death and destruction. Jonas and Martha grapple with whether and how they should stop the apocalypse and untie the knot, saving everyone’s lives, as Adam, Claudia, and Eva give the pair conflicting advice over the years.
The third season also throws a new wrench into the extremely complicated works: the existence of other worlds. The season opens in a parallel world to the one we knew from the first two, where the events are the same but everything is just the slightest bit different (and everyone seems to have better hair for some strange reason) — but in the finale, we learn there are more than two worlds. The third world, the origin world, is the one that can save everyone from the apocalypse once and for all. Let’s break down exactly what happened in the series finale.
In the beginning of season 3, we learn the alternative-reality Martha with shorter hair and a fringe is in this world with a very specific purpose: to help Jonas find something called “the Origin.” Halfway through the season she gets an answer as to what, exactly, the Origin is out of Adam, who had been trying to figure it out himself for 66 years. Martha’s older self sent her back in time not to stop the apocalypse but to create its seed with Jonas. When alternative-reality Martha and Jonas slept together in the fourth episode, they created it: their son. “What’s growing inside you is the bridge between both worlds,” Adam explains — it’s the beginning of the knot and also the end. Several episodes later Adam succeeds in killing this Martha, thinking he’s killed the Origin with her.
It turns out Adam was wrong, though. In the finale, Claudia explains that the Origin exists outside both worlds. While everyone thinks in dualities (light and dark, anyone?), we need a third dimension to fulfill it all. Enter the triquetra, or trinity knot, a logo we’re more than familiar with by now.
Martha carries both worlds inside her with the Origin — he’s the one who gives everyone their lives in these parallel worlds. The only way to save everyone is to ensure they are reborn, and that means destroying the Origin.
Who is Martha and Jonas’ son, though? Throughout the season we see a trio of men with scars on their upper lip, the same person as a young boy, adult, and old man. They wreak havoc in the worlds, burning the study, killing characters, and ensuring the nuclear power plant receives its building permit. At one point, the adult man notes he has no name. While we never see Martha give birth we do see her meet the trio of men in the finale. It’s an emotional scene as the young boy embraces his mother.
The only way to destroy the Origin, however, isn’t to kill these men. It’s to ensure they never happen by visiting the third world, the origin world, itself.
The Origin World
Back in the 1980s in episode 7, Tannhaus is using the bunker to build something near and dear to his heart. His son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter have all died in a car accident. Distraught and alone, he creates a sprawling, spider-like machine to bring them back. When he activates it on June 21, 1986, however, he doesn’t bring anyone back from the dead — instead, he opens the passage for the first time. He unintentionally divides and destroys his world, the origin world, creating Adam and Eva’s two worlds.
Martha and Jonas must go back to the origin world and keep Tannhaus’ family alive so he doesn’t have the desire to create this machine and split the worlds. Jonas grabs Martha from the parallel universe and brings her to 1986 so they can stop the passage from being opened. The only way to get there is by sitting in the passage itself until the moment Tannhaus opens it, so they can walk through the light into the third world. Upon entering the origin world Martha and Jonas wait by the bus stop until Marek, Tannhaus’ son, nearly runs them over. They warn him the bridge is closed, so the family returns to Tannhaus instead of meeting their fate.
After Martha and Jonas save the lives of Tannhaus’ family, several people across the worlds begin to disintegrate, including Martha, Jonas, Eva, Adam, Noah, and Claudia, restoring the balance.
It’s here in the origin world that we also discover a key part of the family tree: Tannhaus’ granddaughter is none other than Charlotte, confirming everyone’s suspicions about that pocket watch once and for all.
How Dark Ends
Once things have been righted, we’re with the adult versions of Regina, Hannah, Benni, Peter, Katharina, and Wöller, who all appeared to have grown up in the origin world. Regina even appears healthy and cancer-free and Wöller’s eye is healed, signaling we might be in the oft-discussed Paradise, where the world’s suffering was destroyed before it ever existed.
The group is having a joyous dinner together, but an intense thunderstorm knocks the power out. Hannah, who is pregnant, gets an overwhelming sense of deja vu as she stares at a yellow raincoat by the stairs before telling the group she thinks Jonas might be a good name for her son.
The series ends there, forever, leaving two major questions hanging in the balance: Does Hannah hold onto memories from the now-destroyed worlds? Or is she about to set everything in motion all over again with Jonas’ birth?