Holy cow, “Netflix Dark Season 3 Walkthrough Explanation” – I have to say, that that is literally, the most daunting title I have ever written. I am going to explain to you Dark Season 3? Hahaha. How about a title more like this – “Together, We Will Meander Our Way Towards Some Sort of basic, non-specific understanding, Maybe, Of What The Heck Just Happened?!?” But that doesn’t sell papers. So – “Netflix Dark Season 3 Walkthrough Explained” it is! hahah. But I do have to say, I’ve got over 5,000 words and 20 pages of notes that I took while watching season 3. How many pages of notes do you have? hahah. So, to that end, I will walk through each episode and we’ll talk through what I thought happened. Feel free to correct me in the comments… that would be welcomed. We’ll totally have to do this together. Yes, I have the single most downloaded Dark Family Tree on the internet – but that doesn’t mean I have all the answers.
Here is what I have planned for our Dark Season 3 Festivities – first, is the Dark Family Tree: I have updated my infamous season 1, Dark Family Tree, as well as my season 2 family tree, to make way for all the episode 3 changes (and OH MY GOOD LORD IN HEAVEN, are there a lot). And holy crap Batman was that a lot of work. Next, I am currently working on doing this episode by episode walk through of season 3.
Ok first? If you’ve never watched an episode of Dark… please stop. This is literally the single best television show ever. Nothing holds a candle to it. Not even Knight Rider or The Dukes of Hazard. I know – Right? That’s about as big a television compliment I could give. You are right dear random interwebs denizen. Boy are you right. So, with that said, stop. Do not continue on. Head directly to Netflix, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Watch season one, THEN, pull up my season 1 family tree. Because, boy, are you going to need it. Then, after watching season 2, pull up my Dark season 2 family tree… because if you though season 1 and 2 were hard to understand without a guide, season 3 is basically impossible. Then come back and read this – then read my Dark Season 3 Family tree. And then, if you are feeling super super grateful for all this great help I’ve given you – maybe considering a couple bucks donation? You are too kind!
Alright – I am not going to assume that all the poser Dark Fans are gone now. Right? Great. Let’s start this crazy journey:
Dark Season 3 Episode 1 Walkthrough
When season 2 ended, we learned that Martha wasn’t from a specific time, but from a different universe all together. Or, maybe a better way to put it is that she is from a different alternate reality. So, from now on, when I can differentiate, characters from an alternate reality will be titled with a 2 behind their name. Ready? Let’s try it, Martha2. See? That wasn’t hard.
One of the really important things to grok right away are all the differences between World2 (aka Martha’s world), and World1 (you know, Jonas’ world). There are a number of key differences you sort of just have to memorize quickly:
- Single biggest difference in World2 is that there is no Jonas2 here
- Katharina2 and Ulrich2 are divorced
- Ulrich2 and Hannah2 are living together – and Hannah2 is pregnant.
- Ulrich2 is having an affair with Charlotte2, his coworker
- Martha2 is dating Kilian2. He is the brother of Erik Obendorf, the first modern missing child in Winden
- Bartosz2 doesn’t appear to be in a love triangle with Kilian2 and Martha2, does he?
- Franziska2 is deaf – and Elisabeth2, her sister, is not
- Regina Tiedemann2 passed away from cancer back in 2019
- Aleksander Tiedemann2 has taken over as the manager of the Winden power plant
- Daniel Kahnwald2 (or Noah2 if you will) died back in 1964
- Which means, although Ines2 exists she doesn’t connect with Mikkel2.
- Heck, Mikkel2 isn’t even abducted
- Helge’s scar from his Ulrich beating is on his eye, not his ear.
Yes, this isn’t an exhaustive list – and I’d appreciate help adding to it. If you’ve got a difference to add, shout it out in the comments. Especially familial connection differences, as it will help a lot with the family tree. But unless we explicitly see a difference declared in season 3, I’m going to assume that it mirrors Jonas’ world perfectly. Fair? Great.
On 9/27/1981, there appears three people, of three distinct ages, all with a cleft palate. These three are called The Unknown. And their lineage and connection to the story are really, really important. That and the fact that they must be someone’s heavy, because they kick the season off like a wrecking ball. We see as they start out that they are determined to get the master key for the Winden Nuclear Power plant. But who are these three? Any Tom, Dick, or Harry could tell that all three are actually the same guy, but from three different time periods. That they always move through time together is super strange, creepy, and really really scary actually. But they must be important, as they are allowed to move with impunity by one of the key forces of Dark. Maybe they have sided with Adam? Maybe Claudia? Or are they another new force to be reckoned with?
Now, please notice, that one of the key absences here is that Mikkel2 did not accompany Magnus2, Fanziska2, Kilian, or Martha2 out to the woods, like he did in season 1. Not only that, but when Jonas1 asked Mikkel was, Magnus2 laughed off the idea, that Mikkel2 wasn’t old enough to take care of himself. And just like that, Mikkel2 wasn’t transported back in time and abandoned to live with Ines. Is that clear? Mikkel2 isn’t lead out of his time period to live with his nurse, Ines, until he ends up meeting Hannah, marrying her, and having Jonas. See? He doesn’t connect with Hannah2 in alt-world, which is how we have a world sans Jonas.
When the Five, (Magnus2, Fanziska2, Kilian2, Martha2, and Jonas1) head to the shelter, they watch as a portal appears where Mads Nielsen2 falls through. You know Mads, right? Ulrich’s brother, the one that was abducted 33 years prior, right? Great. So, instead of Mikkel going missing in this world to kick events off, it’s Mads’ dead body’s arrival that sends the town into a frenzy.
Jump to, dark Martha2 zapping back in time to 1888.
Wait… hold on a second. I have to say this about Martha. She’s an important character to keep straight. There is Martha1, but she is dead… she was killed by Adam and isn’t coming back. Just let her go. Now, in Alt-World, World2, there are a several Martha’s we kind of need to keep track of. Let me try to describe them:
- Yellow Rain Slick Martha2 – She is clueless. She literally knows nothing. She doesn’t know Jonas. She loves Kilian. She isn’t aware of time travel, of alt-worlds, anything.
- Face scratch Martha2 – She’s aware of Jonas, that he’s chasing her down. But not a whole lot more.
- Face Scar Martha2 – This Martha is all in, and has been indoctrinated by Eva. So much so that she has killed Jonas1… like in the past.
- Middle Aged Martha2 – This Martha is just there to confuse the heck out of us. She is still Team Eva, and she has committed the past 33 years of her life making Eva’s designs happen.
- Eva – Look, if you are shocked that Eva is Martha, I got nothing for you. I really don’t. (You probably are also surprised to find out that Adam is actually Jonas. Oh, stop, close your mouth. I’m moving on.)
So, where was I? Oh, RIGHT. Martha2 (scratch Martha), heads back in time to 1888, to help Middle-Aged Jonas as he works with Bartosz et al. to try and create the first time machine. But they don’t have fuel to make the machine work. So Martha2 tells Jonas that she is giving him her last ball-o-fuel, and then peaces out. And if you think about it, this is the first time machine that will ultimately fuel Tannhouse’s plans. Not only that, but his father, Leopold, and his father, Gustav, and his father Heinrich, were all connected to some elusive group called the Sic Mundus. The Sic Mundus is a secret group of time travelers and consists of Noah, Agnes, Magnus, Franziska, Bartosz, Elizabeth, etc etc. You get the idea. But the Sic Mundus is ultimately run by Adam, who uses the history and the future, and time travel to play out his plans for Winden. But ultimately, this group is searching for “The Origin”. End of episode one.
Thoughts on Episode 1 – I was breathing into a bag as I realized the implications to my Dark Family Tree. But more importantly, I was really having a hard time coping with all the larger implications of the episode on the world of Winden past present and future… and Alternate Windens as well! Way back at episode 1, I couldn’t understand how the creators of the show would be able to introduce us to new variants of our favorite characters and also wrap them up in 8 little episodes. It just didn’t make sense. There was so much to do already in just squaring away all of the details of season 1 and 2 (all that happens in Episode 7 by the way.) I was gobsmacked.
Dark Season 3 Episode 2 Walkthrough
As episode 2 opens, there is a lot going on, all over the place. No, that’s not right, all over the time. We have Martha2 still “assisting” the group in 1888 trying to build a way out of this time they are stuck in. We’ve got Katharina visiting Ines and Mikkel back in 1987(+/-?). We have Jana and Tronte mad at each other because Tronte is looking harder for his missing mistress (Claudia) than he is looking for Mads. We watch as Claudia, soon after she killed Egon (her father), takes Regina, who is very sick, into the future. And we watch as Peter and Elisabeth, in 2020, not long after the apocalypse, continue searching for the people that haven’t been recovered.
But things slide a little sideways when Martha2 let’s middle aged Jonas know that he is the one that came and visited her, in her world, and let her know what was going on. But, Jonas doesn’t ever remember doing that. So, uh, WHAT? It can’t be Jonas2, there isn’t a Jonas2. So what is happening here? How could he not remember? SOMETHING BIG HAPPENED. We are definitely going to need a resolution on this mind blowing development. Because something really smells rotten in Denmark.
One of my favorite exchanges in episode 2, is between young Noah, talking to Peter, Elisabeth’s father. They are post-Winden Meltdown, and they are just trying to stay alive. And Noah tells Peter that he wants to protect his daughter. And, better yet, that he will after Peter is killed. No, that isn’t literally what he said… time travel verb tenses are fantastic. He literally said, “And I will, after you were killed.” hahaha. So great. (Reminds me of that brilliant line in Primer when someone says, “I’m hungry, I haven’t eaten since later this afternoon.” heheheh.
Jump back to the 80’s, Katharina learns that it is Ulrich that is the one that was suspected of killing the boys. And that he’s there, alive, in the local Winden asylum. And so she naturally has to see him. But when she arrives at the hospital she meets the woman looking after him, and it happens to be her mother. Helene Albers. You remember… she’s Katharina’s abusive mother. The alcoholic? Yeah, we already knew about her. But somehow Katharina needs to get by her in order to visit Ulrich.
We also watch, as The Unknown visit Claudia’s secretary, and kills her. “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” But that is quickly followed by another, more important death. We watch as Tronte walks into Regina’s room, where she is obviously suffering, and then suffocates her. Why?!? Where did he come from? And why would he do such a thing? And let’s be clear about one thing, Tronte has always loved Claudia. Even back when he was a child. But here he is killing Claudia’s daughter? There must be some dark magic happening to cause him to do such a thing. And our only hint is, “She said it was the only way to save you.” By which, we have to assume that Claudia convinced Tronte that in order to help her come back, she needed to die in this world.
And we watch as Bartosz and Martha2 head to the Sic Mundus headquarters, where we learn that the apocalypse that occurred in Jonas’ world will happen in Martha’s world in three days.
Thoughts on Episode 2 – Woah. Episode 2 of Season 3 is literally the most jarring, and most disorienting episode throughout the entirety of all three seasons of Dark. Yeah, those are big words. But look at it from a remove – this show is about time travel, and we have just learned that there are also alternate realities? Wow. But then, we also find out that middle aged Jonas, (remember, there is no Jonas in Eva’s world), doesn’t remember talking to Martha2 and telling her what was going on. Yeah, something seriously strange is going on that’s all we know at this point.
Dark Season 3 Episode 3 Walkthrough
Episode three begins with Gustav. How do we know? Well, he’s blind, and we know that he is a Tannhaus. Thus, we are meeting young Gustav Tannhaus. And what does he have in his hand? It is the play that Martha is cast in for her school, where she plays the part of Ariadne and the Labyrinth. The story of the labyrinth is a fascinating motif running throughout the entirety of the show. It’s a story of Theseus the hero, who will defeat the minotaur, and save his damsel in distress, Ariadne, as they try and conquer this confusing maze of time and space they find themselves in. Understanding Ariadne is really grasping the world of Dark from beginning to end. It isn’t like an analogy… it is the story of Ariadne and the Minotaur. “A glitch in the Matrix.” (Which is also another Ariadne story… Neo attempting to navigate the labyrinth, all the while searching for the truth… but I digress.)
But importantly, we come to the crux of the entire show when Martha2 tells Jonas that he must decide ultimately if he wants Martha1 to live or die. And I read into that, that Martha2 was asking if she would be good enough for him. And yet, the show, the physics, the complexity of everything might have another opinion of the two of them being together ultimately. Which, is funny, because back in season 1, when Jonas learned that Martha was his aunt he thought he was breaking the sacred bonds of the universe and everything. But now that he is considering dating Martha2, it’s no big thing?!? Well, Martha2 tells Jonas he must show her her future in order for her to understand what it is that must be done.
Elsewhere, Hannah2 figures out that Ulrich has been sleeping with Charlotte by her perfume. We learn that one of the original Tannhauses had attempted to bring back his dead wife in order to bring salvation, but instead it only brought damnation. And Martha2 uses The Unknown in order to “preserve the knot”. That her main goal is to keep Martha1 from living. That she has to die in order for everyone else to live. And that is when we learn that The Unknown brought her the master key to the Winden Nuclear Power plant.
Charlotte2 realizes that the 1 pfennig coin necklace in the bunker. And when she compares it microscopically with Helge’s necklace, she determines that they are literally the same coin. Which is a little confounding to think about. Hannah2 re-blackmails Aleksander with the information she has had all these years about him all over again. But this time, she points him at Charlotte, and tells him to destroy her.
Later, Jonas1 is needing to convince yellow jacket Martha2 that he has always known her. That in his world, the two of them share the same past. Then he blows her mind by telling her that Martha2‘s future self told him that she saw herself in the forest. Which, is important, because when she attempted to tell that to Magnus, he told her she was out of her mind. That Kilian had given her one too many drugs. (And it was this theory that ultimately got Ulrich to get Kilian kicked out of school.)
When 1888 Jonas attempts to utilize the god particle that Martha2 had given him, he succeeds in making it respond, but ultimately fails. And it’s at this moment that the show pulls out the coolest song in the entire season. A song by Chris Avantgarde, featuring Red Rosamond entitled Inside. And oh by the way, it isn’t released anywhere. The Dark producers apparently traveled to the future to find this song.
September 2053, Martha2 goes to Adam, and he asks, “you gave it to him?” When she says yes, he responds with “I was always too gullible.” And when Jonah takes Martha2 out into the desert waste of the future, he tells her that she’ll explain it. And there is middle age Martha2, “Welcome to the future.”
Thoughts on Episode 3 – every moment in season 3 is important. It’s a conclusion to an amazing show – so the season needs to clean up loose threads, and connect dots that are still confusing. It also needs to get us to the Origin at the same time. And when we realize what the Origin actually is it’s mind blowing that the show’s creators were able to pull it all off in just 8 shows. But Ep3 is mainly about getting Eva’s world into the know about what is going on in the world of Dark. Time travel, alternate realities, duplicate pennies, etc etc. It did some really heavy lifting here.
Dark Season 3 Episode 4 Walkthrough
The title of this episode is “The Origin”… and it’s where we begin to investigate who… or what… the origin really is. And the episode opens with The Unknown telling Tronte that he knew his mother once… but that was a long time ago. Ah?! What is the significance of this? If you go back up to my Dark Family Tree, you’ll notice something key about this moment. There in the center of the tree is The Unknown. The trio stand outside of Alt.World 1, Alt.World 2, and The Origin. And more importantly, they connect back in to Agnes in Adam’s World, as well as Agnes in Eva’s World. Now we know that Agnes said in previous episodes that Tronte’s father was a priest. And that he had left her. We also know from Tronte’s telling, that whoever his father was, he had left cigarette burns down his arms. And from this, as well as The Unknown’s comment about having known Agnes years before, that the Unknown is Tronte’s father. Oh, and The Unknown shares one other key detail that is interesting. He says to Tronte, after Tronte asks what his name is – “I was never given a name. But I chose your name long ago.” So The Unknown goes without a name – but he selected Tronte’s name for him years prior. Does that make the Unknown the Origin? Or maybe Tronte? Or maybe it’s something else entirely?
Cut to Hannah1 having sex with Egon1. And Egon gives her the necklace – you know, the one of the patron saint of travelers that everyone in the show has? The one that Hannah’s mother gave her? Yeah that one. Now, jump to September 1954, where we watch as Ines, Claudia, and Silja (? Need help placing her. I’m not 100%) are looking at a magazine of nude girls. They talk about Tronte, and his mother Agnes’ disappearance.
Jump to the future – and Martha2 is questioned by middle aged Jonas as to why she abandoned them all there in 1888. But it was because older Jonas (Adam) told him too. And back in the 50’s we see that Hannah is pregnant with Egon’s child… who, will eventually turn out to be Siljin. It’s really interesting to watch Hannah thrash for purpose, for love, for acceptance.
Then we jump to a very important moment in the future. Adam assembles his team: Magnus, Martha, Adam, Agnes, etc etc. And Adam tells them all that it’s time. And he sends Agnes into the god particle time machine. (I have to say, that Agnes was the single most interesting character in the show to me. She owned the screen every time she was on camera – and now she’s been resorted to a lacky? I really wasn’t okay with that.) But this move here by Adam is key in that it is when a number of key connections will be made to ensure the loop continues forward.
When Adam and Martha2 go to the desert future – middle aged Martha informs younger Martha2 that the end is the beginning and the beginning is the end. But then she says that, “We are all born of him. You gave him life. And he will give us ours.” Obviously we know now that she is referring to The Unknown. The child of Jonas1 and Martha2. You know, the guy that always walks around with an older and younger version of himself concurrently? That guy.
Jumping back in time, Hannah goes to have an abortion, but she meets Helena Albers, you know, Katarina’s mother. But Hannah introduces herself as Katarina, to which Helena gets the idea to name her future child that same name. And Hannah goes even further by giving the necklace that Egon gave to her to Helena – which, eventually, Helena will give to her daughter. (It’d be interesting to map the movement in time and place of that stupid necklace! haha.)
Thoughts on Episode 4 – Did you notice that as the episode was coming to a conclusion Martha2 asked if Jonas thought she was so very different from Martha1. The big takeaway in this episode for me was that these two will always be starcrossed lovers. Think about it, Season 1, Jonas can’t quite get to Martha because of Bartosz. Then he learns that Martha is his AUNT, and realizes that it’d be wrong. He puts that behind him in season 2, and then Martha finds out she’s his aunt. Oh, and then Adam kills her, which, is a bit of a problem for a budding relationship. Then Martha2 appears. And now the thing keeping them separate is the fact that they ARE FROM ALTERNATE REALITIES! And yeah, they get together… and even have a child together, but it’s because of this mistake that the loop is created and sustained. They literally are the two single most star-crossed lovers of all literature and film.
Dark Season 3 Episode 5 Walkthrough
Jonas and Martha2 bounce out of bed (hello The Unknown!) and head out to the Winden Power Plant.
But more interestingly, we watch as Katharina, knowing that Ulrich has been trapped in a madhouse for years and years, is going to break her husband out. But to do so, she’s going to need to get her mother’s keycard. So she tells Ulrich to wait for her, and that she’s coming. And after she gets him out, they’ll go get Mikkel as well. Now, think about that – the mess that it would make to really everything! hahah. My brain can’t even comprehend it if she were to be successful.
Jump back to Eva’s world – we watch as Charlotte2 is still researching the murders and she wants to know when Aleksander2 arrived in Winden.
Then there is a scene I don’t totally grok. We watch as two different Claudia’s circle each other. Are they Eva and Adam Claudia’s? I assume that is what they are – because ClaudiaA (is that Claudia1?) pitches ClaudiaB (Claudia2?) on joining Eva’s side in order to force the repetition to occur.
Joining back up with postapocalypse Elisabeth1 when she leaves her father, and heads back to the trailer. Come on, we’ve all been waiting for this to happen. She’s accosted by some random guy who attempts to rape her – but her father stumbles into the trailer, and is killed gruesomely by the intruder. And then Elisabeth ends up killing him.
We learn that all of the people sent out by Adam to tie loose ends up, that they are all ultimately following the guidance of the journal. Which, we’ve known for a couple seasons now since Noah was mindlessly following the journal as he searched for the final three pages. But we learn that it was The Unknown that originally wrote it. Basically he just chronicled everything that would happen, and the details of what would keep it going.
Ooooh exciting! This is when Katharina is going to kill her mother and get the key card!! Oh. Or not! hahahaha. Ultimately it is Helena that gets the upper hand and yells and yells, “I got rid of you!” – to which she is referring to her abortion years before. Then Helena ditches her daughters body in the lake. When Helena gets home, Katharina, the younger version, has a hickey on her neck, and it causes her mother to lose it. Did the perpetual looping chaos cause Katharina’s mother to just go mad, which in return is what causes her to be a horrible mother?
As the episode winds down, we see an amazing family tree in the marble floor of the Sic Mundus clubhouse. I literally used that as the first steps of creating of my season 3 family tree (which you can find at the top of this post.) Out walks Eva (please see my discussion of how to tell the Marthas apart earlier in this post, because I just can’t right now.), middle aged Martah2, and long cheek cut Martha2. The only Martha we’re missing is the young non-cheek cut Martha… you know, the one with the gun? Oh, THERE SHE IS! And she wanders out – and shoots Jonas, and kills him.
Thoughts on Episode 5 – This was the first episode where I realized things were quickly coming to a resolution. I still didn’t know what the Origin was… but wow, everything seemed to be coming to a close, resolving, closing loops, etc etc. But what the heck is the ORIGIN?!?
Dark Season 3 Episode 6 Walkthrough
…. I’m still working on it dangit…