We begin in the woods, once again, mercifully there is no rain and sunlight tries to break through those interminable rows of trees, yet, there is still an all pervasive feeling of fear and dread in attendance. It has the ambiance of a modern reinterpretation of a Grimms’ Fairy Tale. For is not ‘Hansel and Gretel‘ a terrifying story of child abuse and cannibalism? A very young Tronte with his school satchel is walking through the woods and as he reaches the caves he pauses and looks into its gaping chasm. A voice we know begins its monologue about ”moths” and ”light” and chillingly declares: ”The dark is what we are born out of”. It is the mature, death-dealing Fury. Then we see all 3 versions, menacingly surround Tronte. Tronte is bewildered. ”Who are you?” he asks. The Fury tells Tronte he was never named (Frankenstein’s creature?) but that he knew his mother and it was he, who named him, ‘Tronte‘. He hands him a bracelet that belonged to Tronte’s mother. It is the ‘Ouroboros‘ bracelet that Tronte’s wife was touching during the wake for their son, Mads. Everything is connected.
Next we see the young policeman Tiedemann and Hannah making love. It is the 1950’s. In fact it is 24th September 1954. He gives her a St Christopher. The irony is obvious. He of course has no idea that she is a ‘traveler‘ in time. He says she looks pale and tells her to see a doctor. Jana, Ines and Claudia are in the woods talking about Tronte. They mention his mothers disappearance. We then cut to Doris (Tiedemann’s wife) who has brought her husband some information as to who might be responsible for Agnes Nielsen’s sudden disappearance. She shows him an initialed handkerchief (H.T.) and a cutting about the local priest Hanno Tauber (Noah). She is visibly distressed. Tiedemann isn’t bothered. He is only concerned about his wife suspecting him of adultery.
Then we see Agnes with Adam. She is holding the newspaper cutting that Agnes has given, and will give, to Claudia. Adam tells her that she chose the right side. But she responds to him with concern for Martha and has he (Adam) told her ”What the origin really is?” He does not answer and looks into the spinning unstable portal. Martha abruptly awakes in the caves without Jonas. An ageing Magnus mentions her leaving them in 1888 but is now aware that she was ordered to do that by ‘Sic Mundus‘ in 1921. We then see Martha in November 6th 2052. There are 2 timelines now operating with the parallel Martha. In the 2052 post-apocalyptic Winden of desert and desolation, the walls in the bunker have no photos. They are covered in Latin phrases and a rudimentary memento mori drawn in white chalk. Not cave paintings of our ancestors but chalked remnants of a dead language and the sacrificial victims of another death-cult. No Paradise here. Just the abyss. Mad Max Martha tells Martha that the apocalypse will take place in the parallel world in 2 days. Both worlds are connected. Martha questions this reality. Who wouldn’t?
We jump back to 1954 and Hannah has seen the doctor. She is pregnant. But that’s impossible she responds. The doctor then echoes what Adam said to Agnes about life being a gift. (He does whilst smoking a cigarette which seems so truly awful now but was acceptable just 50 years ago.) Jonas I am sure would have something to say about the gift of life he was given. More of a curse.
Mrs Doppler arrives to see Tiedemann. He thinks its about the attack upon young Helge. But it is about the missing minister, Hanno Tauber. Suddenly the penny (or the pfennig) drops for Tiedemann. ”Was he ever in the company of a woman?” asks Tiedemann. Mrs Doppler is outraged at such a suggestion even though Freud would have had a field-day with her repressed sexual emotions. We immediately cut to Mrs Tiedemann entering the church. Inside are the triquetra of Furies. The mature one is holding that infamous brown book. ”Are you the new minister?” she asks. ”I once was” is the very chilling reply–given the murderous acts we have witnessed from him. Mrs Tiedemann like a scared but brave little mouse explains why she is there and her concern for Agnes and her son. It is like a mouse trying to explain to a snake why it shouldn’t be eaten for dinner. The snake replies to her: ”Not all human connections are formed out of fondness.” He then calls her a liar and to her shock tells her she is more interested in the woman than the boy, Tronte. Well we know that’s true. As they close in on her the snake questions her husband’s fidelity. It seems he is ready to pounce but no, not this time and the mouse escapes.
Jana is walking through the woods and comes across Tronte sitting on a tree stump alone rubbing the bracelet and no doubt thinking about his mother. Jana tells him how much she likes the bracelet. Tronte tells Jana he likes it here because it is so ”desolate” and he likes to write ”stories’‘. It is a strange scene like something from a dark ‘Hansel and Gretel‘ although it does show a developing connection between the two.Then we witness those Furies using all their powers of charm and persuasion to make sure that building permission for the nuclear power plant is signed off by Winden Council.
Meanwhile back in 2052 Mad Max Martha tells Jonas that both worlds cannot be saved and that his dead Martha cannot be resurrected. Only the parallel world can be saved. The barrels must be stopped from being opened. Martha still believes she will soon wake up from this ”crappy dream” and she rushes out of the bunker. As Jonas goes after her, Mad Max Martha tells him that the two of them are ”impossible” in this world. Schopenhauer’s famous line that began this Season springs to mind: ”Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills”. Jonas tries to comfort a deeply distraught Martha. He tells her he is going to find a way to make everything return to the way it was. His seriousness and equanimity in purpose convinces her that what she is experiencing is very much the real. No dream of a butterfly for Martha. Remember Ines telling Mikkel the story of Zhuang Zhou?
We return to 1954 and Tronte tells Jana he is glad his mother has gone and really doesn’t care if that man in the woods was his father. Little does he know. He shows her the scars on his arm from abuse he received at the Home he was sent to. So many have been abused like Tronte. The weak and the vulnerable still are. He gives Jana the bracelet.
Hannah tells Tiedemann that she is pregnant. She tells him she has always wanted unattainable things and she realises she will be better off alone. He gives her an address for an abortion and leaves the money. Jonas and Martha head back into the caves as we see Mad Max Martha draw a chalk line to connect them to the sign of infinity. Noah appears. He chants the ‘beginning and the end’ mantra and then adds: ”We are all born of him” and finishes with: ”A line without a beginning or an end. An infinite circle”, as the infinity sign looms large upon the screen.
Tiedemann returns home where his wife tells him she knows what he has been up to with Hannah. She repeats the words said to her by the mature Fury. Doris will not live with secrets and lies. A bold and brave decision for the period. Hannah goes to Mrs. Obendorf to have the abortion and a young girl lets her in to the flat. It is a place as grim and traumatic as the look upon the young girl’s face. She introduces herself as Helene Albers (Katherina’s mother). The girl repeats what Mrs. Obendorf has told her that the aborted babies go to hell. Hannah disagrees, telling the girl that hell is what we make it. Helene notices the St Christopher around Hannah’s neck. The girl is called in. Hannah has second thoughts and exits but leaves the St. Christopher behind for Helene. This very short scene (for me personally) is one of the grimmest, darkest, most unsettling moments in the whole of ‘Dark‘. Helene Albers is a child. Tronte is a child. We are witness to the real world horror of psychological and emotional abuse. And the adult Tiedemann is drowning his sorrows. Lost a mistress and now a wife, and another child, his young daughter, Claudia, who loved her father so much. Without love, there is nothing, but emptiness.
Next we see Adam inside the destroyed power plant still looking at the fluctuating portal when Martha enters and asks for her reward for keeping the bargain they had. She wants to know where the ‘origin‘ is. Adam tells her that its taken him 66 years to find out exactly that. We cut to Jonas and Martha arriving back from the future. They are in his house where his beloved was killed, at his own hands. Martha is now realising that she has known Jonas before. The sense of deja-vu is overwhelming and they both begin to cry. Their love for each other crosses time and space. Powerful stuff. Beautiful stuff.
Then we cut to the mature Fury making a final entry into the triquetra book and it is the ‘Sic Mundus‘ motto: ‘THE BEGINNING IS THE END. AND THE END IS THE BEGINNING‘ And we see exactly this in short scenes to the accompaniment of: ‘The Labyrinth Song‘ by Asaf Avidan. Read the lyrics.
Adam takes Martha to what remains of the home that Jonas lived in. He informs her that this was where everything began. That she and Jonas were sent back not to stop the apocalypse but to create it. They are the origin or rather their sexual union (the seed) will create the infinite circle as drawn in the triquetra book, and, they will be responsible for the cataclysm and the resultant memento mori on Eva’s marble floor. Adam takes her hand and places it on her stomach. ”This is the origin” he declares and explains her pregnancy will connect both worlds together and will tie all fates together in a ”knot”. Martha is shaking. Adam finishes with the coup de grace: ”Your son. He is the origin”. Standing upon the floor directly in front of the infinity sign is the mature, murdering psychotic Fury. He looks up. He is looking at the painting of Adam and Eve. We know who and what he is now. The beginning and, the end.