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The final season of ‘Dark’ proves it’s one of the most brilliant series of all time

The final season of ‘Dark’ proves it’s one of the most brilliant series of all time

The final season of ‘Dark’ proves it’s one of the most brilliant series of all time
July 01
12:00 2020

“It was just dark, and it never became light again. I had this peculiar feeling… that it was a good thing for everything to be over.”

June 27 brought us back to the quiet town of Winden, located in the forests of Germany, in the quest to resolve that glitch in the matrix. “Dark” finally untied the knot with its third and final season, which delivered us with the same mind-bending twists and philosophical exploration that captivated us in the first place. Unofficially, “Dark” has become known as Netflix’s best original series, and it will go down as a top contender for the best sci-fi series of all time.

While it’s amassed a bit of a cult following of devoted fans, I’m shocked it’s not as well-known as it should be (I’m sure this is partially due to the fact that it’s entirely in German, and Americans have proven they’re weird about subtitles.) The only reason I heard of it was because it was voted the best Netflix series on Rotten Tomatoes around two months ago.

The thing is, “Dark” isn’t just the best of the Netflix originals or of the sci-fi world — it’s one of the best series to ever grace television, period. From the writing to the directing acting, score, setting and beyond, this is the apex of cinematic television.

Part of what’s so compelling about this show is that it makes you care as deeply about these characters and their lives as an ensemble drama would, which is not something easily achieved in the sci-fi realm. “Dark” isn’t just about the reality of time or the futility of man’s efforts to control it, it’s about how these things play into people’s lives. While otherworldly elements and production displays can often overshadow a show’s narrative (looking at you, “Game of Thrones” season eight), “Dark” maintains the intricate storylines of the characters who make you feel so profoundly. The show mastered the ability to both bewilder through plot and captivate through character.

“Dark” also sports one of the most well-rounded storylines I’ve ever seen. I can’t begin to describe how complex a web showrunners Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar have woven (seriously, one of its Netflix categories is “cerebral”), yet it’s clear to see they fleshed out the entire series, from start to finish, all at once, rather than building on it season by season. Though its astronomically complicated, the plot never became convoluted, and every last detail was strung perfectly into place.

Despite the dazzling sci-fi displays and a mind-blowing plot, what really sucked me in was the poeticism of the script. How I’d missed delighting in the musings of Anthony Hopkins’ character from “Westworld,” and “Dark” again reminded me what masterful prose truly looks like. The introspective natures of both shows, the philosophical questions they raise, yield writing that mesmerizes. Unlike “Westworld,” though, which submits to the sci-fi pull in season three and trades its poetic lyricism for technical jargon, “Dark” follows through with its promises. Even as the plot grows more complex and the chaotic thrills become more frequent, we’re enthralled by the spoken word. We hold our breath from the elegies delivered in pensive moments. We hang on every word.

“I thought I had more time. Why does everyone say that? To have time? When it’s time that has us?”

Its contemplation of time, while living in a period in which time has seemingly escaped us, is especially visceral.

Of course, the impact of these sentiments would be lost if not for their incredible delivery. It’s hard to give a proper nod to the acting, given how many characters there are and how phenomenal a job every single actor does, but there are a few standouts. Maja Schöne shines as the cunning and selfish adult Hannah Kahnwald. Oliver Masucci and Jördis Triebel are gutting as adult Ulrich and Katharina Nielson and are among my favorite on the show. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, Louis Hofmann as young Jonas Kahnwald is magnetic. Jonas represents innocence and goodheartedness and Hofmann expertly reels us in and demands our sympathy. I so desperately rooted for him, moved by his earnestness and decimated by his sufferings.

From start to finish, “Dark” is art in its highest form. But perhaps the show’s most endearing quality, the element that will perpetuate its potency, is how harmoniously the final season rounds out the story arc. The finale offers a sense of closure and yet still blends seamlessly back into the pilot episode, offering a permanent loop in which to watch the show on. I’ve already started season one again and it doesn’t feel like I’m back at square one — rather, I’m just repeating the same cycle of time the characters are subject to.

In fact, I don’t think “Dark” is really over with season three. After all, “The beginning is the end, and the end is the beginning.”

Final rating: 5/5

Featured image: Courtesy Netflix

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Haley Arnold

Haley Arnold

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