If you prefer a web series with a convoluted, disconcerting narrative designed to leave you dumbfound and full of mysteries, no other show fits the profile better. It does what amazing shows like Lost and Game of Thrones failed miserably at – It makes perfect sense out of the seemingly impossible. The show on Netflix being talked about is the one whose name is synonymous to many political and acting careers – DARK.
The two types of people reading this review are the ones who have watched the series and the other who have not. The ones who have already watched it are probably googling for explanations right now and they are not to be blamed. For those who have not watched it, there are no spoilers ahead. Even if spoilers are given, you will still need a packet of almonds to understand the nuances of it and you will wait for this review to end as you are waiting for the intellectual development of a 50-year-old kid.
The show is setup in a small town of Germany called Winden where a certain amount of anxiety is generated by the unseen forces that exist in a realm occupied by Quantum Science. It takes the notion of time travel and spins it on its axis. There are no chicken and eggs but only scrambled. The story revolves around four interconnected, conflicted families and this season lays down the foundation for the next two flabbergasting seasons. A nuclear power plant is also introduced where God particle is created due to an accident which plays a very fundamental role in the first two seasons. All the time travelers in the show use this God particle to move into different dimensions and time periods bending the logic of time and space.
Jonas(Louis Hoffman) goes on an impossible journey through time when a tragic suicide of his father forces him to do the same which opens a pathway to destiny where he has to differentiate between the good and the evil. His father left him a letter before committing suicide and the content of the letter plays a very important role.
The disappearance of Mikkel Nielsen, the youngest son of Ulrich Nielsen (who is in the police) sets the context and we can see more dead bodies of young children from different time periods in the later episodes. It also shows the conspiracy behind the accident that happened in the nuclear power plant.
The one thing which separates this show is that it uses time travel as a religious metaphor were characters talk about time as if it were God. This season is set in 2019 and whatever happened in 1986 is having an impact in the present. Impressively, it adults are presented as vastly complex beings, far more emotionally knotted and mixed-up than realized by the teenagers. Jonas’s mother (who is mourning her husband) has taken a lover and that lover is the local detective Ulrich who is in charge of investigation into his missing son. As an exploration of evil and the weirdness that festers on the fringes of everyday life, Stranger Things cannot hold a candle to it. It sets the audience up for Season 2 and Season 3 beautifully. It is a bit slow in the initial episodes, but you will not regret once you reach the fourth or fifth episode. A pro tip for those who haven’t watched -“Look for the minute details very carefully and remember the family trees at all cost.”
It is one of the best seasons of all time of any TV show. This season is where the series starts to take off leaving the audience startled. Every single episode has so many twists that it will blow your mind. If you think that first season is complicated, wait till you finish Season 2. The whole season exists in five different timelines (2020,1987,1954,1921 and 2053) where past influences the future and vice versa. The best part is when we discover with Jonas that the journey by time travelers is not random but have a logical intention behind it and they belong to a cult called Sic Mundus. Who is the leader Sic Mundus? (As promised, no spoilers!).
Season 2 had a lot of questions to answer: What is the time period that mysterious priest Noah belongs to? What does he want to achieve? Where does Claudia want to reach? What made her become a time travel expert? Are these characters controlled by some human or are they completely dependent on past and future? And the most important question: Does the beginning and the end even exist?
To understand the answers to these questions, watch the episode 4(The Travelers) very carefully. There are multiple time travelers who visit their parents trying to alter the past. They visit their grandchildren and even their own pasts trying to alter the course of the future. There are competing factions who want to dominate the time itself, kidnapping and murdering for their cause. A book about the whole process of time travel is brought to the past from the future and that is the only reason for its existence. There are realizations for a character that if he manages to change the events, it will mean that he will never be born. For a few characters, it is the fight of existence in future. There are people meeting their younger or older selves and advising them unsuccessfully to not follow certain instincts as it would lead to a future chaos. There are characters trying to prevent a certain apocalypse and doomsday.
The show is also a crash course on the hypothetical working of time travel. Does the future affect the past? Does the past affect the future? Does both affect each other?
Can we change the course of events? Did Big Bang create the universe or did God create Big bang to form the universe? The season beautifully highlights the paradoxes and simplifies the theories conceptually using the journey of residents of Winden.
At the end of Season 2, you are left baffled with what you have seen and the anticipation of what is to come in Season 3 arises manifold. Three Cheers to director Baran bo Odar and writer Jantje Friese who have us caught throughout the season in this mysterious and an interesting journey of time travel.
This is where Dark takes a big lead over any other web series. It gives us the best finale season ever seen of any TV show which is a very hard feat to achieve. If you think that Inception was confusing, hold your horses. If you think there cannot be more twists after Season 2 and you have solved the puzzle, hold your horses. Get ready to unlearn what you have learnt in the previous two seasons. If you think no one can give inferiority complex to The Professor of Money Heist when it comes to planning, hold your horses. Dark takes Inception 50 notches above and it demands the attention and intelligence of the audience at a level that even if you skip 5 minutes of the show, you will not understand anything that is to come. Some people might find it very slow and confusing, but patience is the key.
If you are a fan of the Sci-Fi genre, you simply cannot miss it.
Season 3 is divided into three worlds: the world of Jonas, the world of Martha and the world of Claudia (which is the origin world). Why did I give this bifurcation? (As promised, No Spoilers!). Those who have watched Season 3 but are not able to understand what went on, let me try to break it down for you without any spoilers. The world of Jonas is exactly mirrored by the world of Martha. So much attention is given to the detail, that you can even see the houses as mirror images in the two worlds. The difference in the two worlds is the character who is the epicentre of these worlds. You have to understand that mirroring something is not the same as being identical to something. The series of events can be different and the relationship between characters in the two worlds can also be different, but the timeline would almost be similar. Jonas is travelling in the past and future of his world for a specific reason and Martha is doing the same in her world for another specific reason. Jonas wants to destroy the infinity loop by killing Martha which is repeating itself and Martha wants to keep this loop intact by not letting Jonas kill her. Why? (That is for you to figure out by watching this masterpiece).
Amongst all this, Claudia enters with a third concept of origin world. If Jonas of different world and Martha of different world go together to the origin world, only then the sequence of events can be changed destroying the two alternate worlds of Martha and Jonas. Watch the show to know what happens in the origin world but whatever happens in that changes the whole dynamics of the show. The question you will ask is: Why were the first two seasons there? The more complex the show is, the simpler is its ending. After the last shot, your mind will be blown into pieces and your perception of time travel is bound to change.
This is the best Sci-Fi Series ever made and the worst part is that it is very underrated even now. When its first season aired in 2017, it was overshadowed gigantically by the popularity of Stranger Things, but that show isn’t even 0.01% of what Dark is. It does not mean that it was bad, but its third season was even worse than the Finale season of Game of Thrones. The best part about Dark is that from the first episode till last, everything is to the point and dead serious. There is no unnecessary comedy or stupid subplots and the point of view from which the show is written makes it the greatest ever.So, eat a lot of almonds and binge-watch this beauty.