Dark: Deja-vu
June 27, 2020 7:23 AM - Season 3, Episode 1 - Subscribe

In 2019, Jonas emerges from the cave into a strange but familiar world: the town of Winden reeling from the recent disappearance of a young boy.

Man can do what he wills, but he cannot will what he wills -- Arthur Schopenhauer

"If we knew how things would end... where our journey would take us... would we still make the same decisions? Or would we choose a different path? Could we even escape our fate? Or would what is deep within us lead us to the same end, like an invisible hand? Does it matter which path we choose if we end up facing ourselves again and again?" -- Old Claudia

*A man with a cleft-palate scar enters the Sic Mundus room with the wall of Winden resident portrait photos. He retrieves a blueprint from the scattered papers, and is joined by old man & young boy versions of himself, and they set fire to the room with their lanterns.

*We pick up from the end of S2 with the God-particle dome forming over Winden, and other-world Martha activating her golden orb device with Jonas at the house. They dematerialize and rematerialize in the Winden caves. Other-world Martha tells Jonas that this is the day they first met, that their worlds are inextricably intertwined, but she's going to make it right, then she zaps herself away.

*November 4, 2019. Martha wakes gasping. In this world, she, Mikkel, Magnus, and Katherina live in the Khanwald house. Magnus has goth-black hair and tattoos, and he and Franziska secretly fuck, then she leaves via the window. Katharina reminds Martha that tomorrow they're at her father's.

*At the Neilson house, Ulrich lives with a very pregnant Hannah.

*Martha (in the yellow raincoat) bicycles to school, looking at the power plant towers, and passing a Missing poster for Erik Obendorf. She meets Magnus & Bartosz at school, as well as Erik's brother Killian, who kisses her.

*Peter & Charlotte Doppler watch over old Helge (who has a scarred-over eye in this world rather than a scarred-over ear) who is repeating "It will happen again" & "tick tock".

*Jonas goes home, but sees the Neilson family (sans Ulrich) photo downstairs, and in his/Martha's room a photo of her with Killian & Bartosz.

*At the police station, Ulrich leads a briefing about the Obendorf case, sends Charlotte to the power plant. (Other-Wöller is missing an arm instead of an eye.) Later at the power plant, Charlotte asks Aleksander for the employee schedules from during Erik's disappearance, and he agrees to have someone look into it.

*While house-cleaning, Hannah finds a blond hair on Ulrich's jacket, and smells the jacket (just like Katharina did back in season 1.)

*Jonas goes to the school and joins Martha's classroom, where Bartosz is doing a presentation on black holes.

*In a school hallway Hannah stops Katharina, fishing for info on Ulrich by asking if he stopped by that morning, but Katharina is dismissive.

*After class, Jonas tells Martha she didn't tell him why he's here, but she says she's never met him. He sees his mother in the hall, but Hannah doesn't know him either.

*At the police station, Ulrich brings Charlotte into the file room and they kiss, but are interrupted by Wöller with tire tread evidence info, which Charlotte says she'll correlate with the power plant worker info.

*Jonas watches Martha rehearsing the Ariadne play with Killian. Jonas tries to talk to her afterwards about Michael/Mikkel Khanwald, Hannah's husband, but she's never heard of him, says her dad Ulrich is Hannah's husband.

*Magnus enters the bunker, and Franziska (who is deaf in this world) is there. They exchange 'I love you's' and have another fuck session.

*Elisabeth Doppler (who is not deaf in this world) comes home and calls out for mom & dad when she sees old Helge on the couch, still repeating "It will happen again" & "tick tock." "the beginning is the end. the end is the beginning."

*Jonas sees a gravestone for Regina Teidemann 8/1/1971-9/2/2019 at the graveyard. Peter Doppler (a priest here), tells him there's no Michael Kahnwald in the graveyard, only a Daniel Kahnwald from '64.

*September 21, 1987 -- The cleft-palate trio enter old power plant boss Berndt's house, asking for the master key to the power plant, which Berndt denies having, then trio middle-man garrotes Berndt when he tries to call the police, as the boy & elder man watch.

*Martha cycles to the railroad tracks under the bridge to meet Killian, Bartosz, Magnus, & Franziska, but Jonas arrives first instead, and says they know each other from another time. When the others arrive, he's alarmed not to see Mikkel, but Magnus says his brother is fine at home and is too old for babysitters. Jonas leaves, and the rest go off to the caves to look for Erik.

*At the police station, Ulrich offers Charlotte a ride to the parents' meeting. Wöller looks disapprovingly.

*Outside the caves, Martha & group hear the noise of the passage opening, their flashlights start flickering, and they all run away in panic. Martha trips and falls, hears her name whispered, and sees the figure of a young man covered in black goo reaching out for her, and she gets back up and runs to catch up with the others. In montage, we see the other Winden folk reacting to the flickering lights -- Katharina in the school hallway, Hannah alone at home, Ulrich and Charlotte in a stopped car, Alexander & Obendorf hiding barrels (Aleksander paid him off earlier). Jonas at the now-Nielson home finds Mikkel safe asleep.

*Martha, Magnus, Franziska, Killian, and Bartosz make it to the bunker safely, then the rift in the wall opens and Mads Neilson's dead body drops through.

*Outside the house, Jonas is approached by old other-Martha, who says: "I've waited for this moment for so long. For you to come back. Mikkel. He didn't travel back. He won't become your father. And you... will never be born in this world. A world without you. Isn't that what you wanted? Yet, despite that, this world is doomed to the same fate as yours. Everything will fall apart. In this world, just as it will in yours. Again. And again. Because of you. And because of me."

*September 21, 1888. In the rain, Martha approaches some old industrial-age-looking buildings, with the name Tanhaus over the entry gate. In a large workroom, she finds middle-aged Jonas working on science-electricity machinery. He tears up at the sight of her, but she says she's not his Martha. "I'm here to help you find the origin. The one thing... that's the beginning of everything. In your world... and in mine."
posted by oh yeah! (30 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Welcome back to Winden, everybody. Let me know if I've misspelled anyone's names.

I thought that was a great start. I'm sure I'm going to get more confused as the story goes on, but I kind of like the clean-slate aspect of starting over in this new 2019 Winden where everything is different yet similar. I don't know if they're going to tie everything together again, or if this means that some of the original world's mysteries will never be resolved (like who was that guy that young Noah pick-axed to death that time?), but it's exciting to be starting down a new path.

That was Old Claudia's voice in the opening narration, right? It sounded like her to me, but now I'm wondering if that was Old-Other-Martha.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:30 AM on June 27


Oops, I messed up the date in the last bullet-point -- can a mod change 1988 to 1888 in the last paragraph of the main post?
posted by oh yeah! at 8:28 AM on June 27


[Fixed!]
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:30 AM on June 27


Should probably start labeling bullet points as "universe A" or "universe B" in addition to the date from here out, assuming that's possible to know within the context of a single episode.
posted by LionIndex at 9:49 AM on June 27


Yeah, I'm not sure how I'll handle it if we have a lot of back & forth between Other-Martha's world and Jonas' world. I think it will mostly be clear in context though.
posted by oh yeah! at 10:51 AM on June 27


I thought this was a great start. I'm staking my prediction now that Herr Köller's missing eye / missing arm will never be explained.

I am also wondering whether the mysterious Alexsander Tiedemann ties these two universes together; his sudden appearance to save Regina was never really resolved over in the original universe.

I like how the show gives us subtle visual cues that we're in a new universe, from the character appearances to that kind of snap-in transition between scenes.

Is the 1888 scene taking place in yet a third universe? At first the idea seemed extravagant to me, but there is a lot of imagery that occurs in threes, like the Sic Mundi logo.
posted by whir at 12:16 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Ok my roommates and I just stayed up for an hour past our bedtimes debating how the time loops work on this show. It actually got kinda heated. I am thrilled. This episode was amazing.

We are watching one episode a night and I am DYING to cheat, but it is kind of more fun to have one episode at a time to puzzle over.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:41 PM on June 27


Is the 1888 scene taking place in yet a third universe? At first the idea seemed extravagant to me, but there is a lot of imagery that occurs in threes, like the Sic Mundi logo.

I thought that was our own original Middle Jonas at a slightly later point in his personal timeline, on his way to becoming Adam.

It seems to me that all these Jonases are actually different people, not literally each other's pasts. But because the loop is based on Jonas shaping his younger counterparts' lives, each Jonas winds up basically the same way. That would mean it's possible that the Alt-Martha abduction didn't happen to Middle Jonas at all. It certainly seemed like they were meeting for the first time - but that doesn't mean it's not our original universe.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:54 PM on June 27


Yeah, I'm not sure how I'll handle it if we have a lot of back & forth between Other-Martha's world and Jonas' world. I think it will mostly be clear in context though.

In the other world shirt buttons are reversed: men have buttons on the left, women have buttons on the right.
posted by Tsuga at 10:26 PM on June 27 [2 favorites]


Does anyone have a good recap? I read this one, but was still pretty confused by the end of it. Maybe it's a hopeless task with this show? I did learn, however, that June 27, 2020, the release date for this season, is the date the apocalypse was supposed to happen in season 2, which is surely not a coincidence.
posted by Tsuga at 10:54 PM on June 27


oh yeah! linked to a recap in the Season 2 thread. There's also the Dark Wiki but I've been avoiding it like fire until I watch the series entirely (since it was full of big spoilers for Season 2 as soon as that was released).
posted by whir at 10:59 PM on June 27


Maybe everything is mirrored in this new world. Everything in the Kahnwald house seemed to be a mirror of seasons 1 and 2.

Also, I thought the person covered in oil that other world Marta sees was a woman. The parallel to Jonas seeing his father in the very first episode of the series.

I like this two world thing. It seems a good way to break out of the loops established by the first two seasons. I think middle-aged Jonas not knowing other world Marta is the first instance we’ve seen of the timelines diverging. Everything we’ve seen to this point, all the older versions of characters knew everything that happened to their younger selves, but clearly this Jonas didn’t have the experience of meeting other world Marta when he was younger.
posted by Cogito at 12:32 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


Right, I thought the staircase ran the other way in universe A.
posted by LionIndex at 7:46 AM on June 28


In the universe A Kahnwald house, that is.
posted by LionIndex at 7:47 AM on June 28


There were lots of examples of mirrored shots in this episode, it wasn't just the Kahnwald house. The Obendorf greenhouses for sure, I think the school hallway too, and others I'm forgetting.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:25 AM on June 28


I spent twelve hours yesterday doing a near-complete re-watch. I'm glad I did.

I noticed right away that Martha's bedroom is the mirror of Jonas's. Then the rest of the house. The entrance to the caves, as well (you can tell by the leaning tree). But of course the writing isn't mirrored. So it's not literally a mirror universe, which is a good thing for Jonas's and Martha's biology.

Yeah, I also thought it was a woman covered in oil that Martha saw. Speaking of, someone came through the tunnel. Who? In Jonas's universe it was him, come to tragically transport Mikkel. So who was it in Martha's universe? In both universes someone uses the opportunity to experiment with Mads Nielson, presumably Noah (and Helge) in both. But should we assume that future Martha came through that night? Why? Not for the reason Jonas did in his universe. Something similar?

I think the speculation that "Aleksander" is a universe-crosser is promising — that could make him the "origin" in both universes. Hmm. Maybe not.

I wanted to write something clever, like "in Martha's universe, Moderat's 'Bad Kingdom' is sung by a woman", but I guess this is a version I've not heard before. It's a very melancholy song and especially so when slowed down and played on a piano. The title song of the show is "Goodbye" by Apparat, which also involves Sascha Ring, but sung by the distinctive Soap&Skin (Anja Plaschg).

Ulrich is an asshole in all universes. Egon may have been maddeningly obtuse and a prig, but he was right about Ulrich. Notice that Katharina Nielsen's participation in pranking Regina wasn't a one-time thing — on several occasions she proves herself to be a bully like Ulrich. I wonder if she's the same way in Martha's universe. She clearly guesses that Ulrich is cheating on Hannah and has a very smug smile about it at the end of her and Hannah's conversation.

It's interesting that Mikkel is a few years older in this universe than in the other — I assume it's because the actor has visibly aged and there was no avoiding it so they just went with it.

Wöller has always been fishy — I wonder if he has some longstanding connection with "Aleksander" (Um, actually Boris Niewald, googling tells me.)
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:59 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


There were lots of examples of mirrored shots in this episode, it wasn't just the Kahnwald house.

To take that theory a step further, in this world Franziska is deaf and Elisabeth is not. And Charlotte, not Peter, is carrying on an illicit relationship.

It took me a while to pick up on the mirroring; at first I thought it was just shooting angles, or a similar technique designed to amplify the disorientation and sense of familiar-yet-different that's often used to convey a sense of 'otherness' in mirror-universe tv/film. It will be interesting to see how far this extends; I didn't manage a re-watch before the drop but it felt like the police station, Doppler house, bunker, and forest/train track sets were mirrored as well. For a series with such fanatic attention to detail it wouldn't surprise me at all if every location in this world is a mirror.

Bartosz seems different as well, and I wondered if that was meant to be a factor, but I get the feeling it may have more to do with Jonas not existing in this world, and that this is who Bartosz becomes without a close friend.

(Too early to tell, but I'm wondering if we're going to be getting a bit of a 'this is what happens to the people you care about when you're erased from their existence' subplot for Jonas, particularly after Old Martha's words about Jonas wishing for a world without him. As someone who loved that twist in 'Fringe' I'd be interested to see that explored here.)

I don't want to laugh at a disability but Wöller having an intact eye but a missing opposite arm was a great sight gag.

Wöller did seem disapproving of Ulrich and Charlotte. I can't recall -- is this just a general disapproval or did he have a latent interest in her in earlier seasons?
posted by myotahapea at 10:13 AM on June 28


Bartosz may be behaving differently because his mother recently died.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:18 AM on June 28


Notice that Katharina Nielsen's participation in pranking Regina wasn't a one-time thing — on several occasions she proves herself to be a bully like Ulrich.

This was one of the things I noticed in earlier seasons; there's a lot of hate for Hannah -- some of it for good reason -- but Katharina doesn't seem any better. She's been a self-absorbed bully in every timeline we've seen, and has treated Hannah (and Regina) like shit since they were children. I had trouble feeling much of any sympathy toward her even with the loss of Mikkel because she's routinely shown as having a massive mean streak and even as an adult and a school administrator is still a petty 'mean girl', bullying and belittling the women she looked down on during their school years, while emotionally neglecting her other children to the point Martha angrily calls her out for never being there for her and Magnus. I don't have high hopes for mirror Katharina.

Ulrich is an asshole in all universes.

He really is. Seems that whole triangle deserved each other.

Bartosz may be behaving differently because his mother recently died.

Good point -- had connected that to Charlotte's conversation with Aleksander, but neglected to consider it wrt Bartosz.
posted by myotahapea at 10:52 AM on June 28 [2 favorites]


Wöller did seem disapproving of Ulrich and Charlotte. I can't recall -- is this just a general disapproval or did he have a latent interest in her in earlier seasons?

Nope, he never did. But you don't need an extra motive to disapprove of your married boss canoodling with your married coworker.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:53 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


It is a testament to the quality of this show that Wöller could wind up being the secret most important character OR could just remain the background flavor character we've seen so far, and I would be completely happy with either scenario. (The thing from last season where he ALMOST tells Clausen what happened to his eye is the best joke in the whole show imo. I knew it was coming on rewatch and it still slayed me.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:28 AM on June 28


I had trouble feeling much of any sympathy toward her even with the loss of Mikkel because she's routinely shown as having a massive mean streak and even as an adult and a school administrator is still a petty 'mean girl', bullying and belittling the women she looked down on during their school years, while emotionally neglecting her other children to the point Martha angrily calls her out for never being there for her and Magnus.

I don't completely disagree, but the end part is unfair imo - that callout happens after her husband and youngest child have been missing for six months. Losing your shit after that is way more forgivable than garden variety bullying. No one on this show whose family went missing handled it great, after all.

Her bad relationships with Hannah and Regina as adults are also kinda understandable to me - the Regina thing is because she thinks Regina made the false rape accusation and the Hannah thing is pretty justified frankly, definitely in universe A anyway. And I assumed in universe B that Ulrich left Katarina for Hannah after an affair, and that Katarina's smirk at the end was "you're about to go through exactly what you put me through."

I don't think she's a great person, but I'm not sure she's much worse than any other adult on this show.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:40 AM on June 28 [2 favorites]


Say, does anyone know what denomination Alt-Peter is likely to be? I didn't realize anyone but Catholics and Anglicans wore those collars, and he's certainly not Catholic, what with the wife and all. Do pastors/priests of other protestant denominations dress that way in Germany? Lutherans maybe?
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:44 AM on June 28


I seem to recall Lutheran pastors wearing clerical collars, so it's possible that is Peter's denomination -- I believe Lutheranism is one of the more popular ones in Germany as well, though I'm hardly an expert.

I don't think she's a great person, but I'm not sure she's much worse than any other adult on this show.

You're probably right about that. Something about Katharina sticks out to me more than most others, but there's a whole spectrum of greys in Winden.

Martha trips and falls, hears her name whispered, and sees the figure of a young man covered in black goo reaching out for her, and she gets back up and runs to catch up with the others.

I thought that was Martha herself that she saw.

Will be interested to find out who the cleft palate trio are. This show continues to be amazing with casting; each version of that guy is a slightly different flavour of creepy. (Not to mention I keep wondering what it would be like to wander through life constantly accompanied by two other iterations of myself. The OG version is too much most days.)

Every time we see those establishing shots of the town I want to move to Winden. Sure, it may be ground zero for the end of the world as we know it, but that seems a decent trade-off for being in a town in the middle of a forest, full of ivy-covered houses shrouded in atmospheric fog.
posted by myotahapea at 1:23 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


Two things:
1) does *anybody* in this town lock their doors?
2) Netflix could save a little screen real estate by replacing the frequent "[menacing music plays]" with just "[music plays]", because, let's face it.

Sorry, three things:
3) does anyone know which hand the wedding ring is usually on, in Germany? All through S1 and S2, wedding rings were on the right hand, but now they are on the left.
posted by Mogur at 5:01 PM on June 28


In Germany the traditional engagement ring is usually a gold band worn on the left hand. After the wedding the same ring is worn on the right hand. Men also wear their wedding ring on the right hand.
From https://www.howtogermany.com/pages/german-weddings.html
posted by Cogito at 6:02 PM on June 28


I'm watching this, God help me.
posted by fleacircus at 9:21 PM on June 28


Is Marta B's orb the first we've seen of precision time jumping? My memories are so hazy and were confused in the first place. Like normally the cave is only open for a brief window every thirty years, and when you pass through, just the calendar year changes, not the day. Right? And that even holds if you're using a time machine?

In the other world shirt buttons are reversed: men have buttons on the left, women have buttons on the right.

Wow neat spotting! I didn't notice the mirror imaging! I guess they just flipped the shots in editing. The actor's hair parts seemed to be flipped in Universe B -- including Jonas's. They have done some really prominent writing like "NO FUTURE" on Marta's doofus brother's jacket, and that seems like what you do if you are flpping the image and feeling cheeky.

My guess is they noticed all the damn kaleidoscoping they did in their own intro credits and were like, hey wait.

There's hints that there is going to be some less strict flipping ideas too, like with gender, with Traveler Marta B as a flipped Traveler Jonas B. I see you, "Adam and Eva" episode title. Then there's the trans prostitute character.. feelin nervous about this complementary binary shit.

All in all looking at the flipped world might entertain me enough to make it through the season, because otherwise I don't really care much about any of these characters. Like The OA, and unlike True Detective, they seem to recognize the proper direction to go is more wild.
posted by fleacircus at 11:47 PM on June 28


Is Marta B's orb the first we've seen of precision time jumping?

No, Adam sends Jonas back to the day Mikkel left, and he gives a whole speech about how this is the final evolution of time travel tech.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:40 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


I just realized that Adam/Jonas has to be wrong about the whole time travel mess being because of him. It is NOW, it seems like, but it can't have been Jonas who caused the loops to begin in the first place, because before the loops began, he didn't exist.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:44 AM on June 29


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