Disclaimer: Season 3 spoilers abound
As I'm writing this in our darkest timeline, I'm still reeling from the emotionally charged and unbelievably satisfying finale of Dark. The Netflix sci-fi series gained notoriety for its severely complicated, grim and equally captivating narrative, and after raising them to greater and often frustrating heights, the show rewarded its fans with an unforgettable resolution in the span of three seasons that left us all with enough theories to last the pandemic.
Commending Dark appropriately is a difficult task; they did too many things right and doing them all justice requires more words than I can afford. So instead, this review will focus on the one thing that impressed me the most as a writer: the writing. The rest—the perfection in casting for characters in different age groups, the jaw-dropping, mirroring and subtly symbolic cinematography, the impeccable set design, the background score constantly juxtaposing unhinged terror and tearjerkers, and the stellar performance by the ensemble cast—must take a backseat.
Dark reveled in its complex story, but did not lose itself amidst the ever branching, ever overlapping and ever looping narrative. The finale left me thoroughly amazed and equally content, while happily unsure of what aspect of this conclusion to love and applaud the most.
Is it their consistency with the different themes and symbolism? From the creation myth parallel with Adam and Eva to the rule of three, the show kept all its thematic narratives intact, without compromising each other, striding toe to toe with its core plot. My personal favourite was their emphasis on the ironies, tragedies and power of familial bonds. It was the pursuit to protect their children that initially shattered the world, caused ceaseless cruelty and ultimately restored balance.
Or is it their loyalty to the sci-fi roots? The show didn't limit time travel, and later the concept of parallel realities, to a premise alone. They established the understanding of sci-fi elements as integral to the central story but kept it surface-level and fantastical enough to not bog down the narration.
Or is it their masterful unraveling of the labyrinthine plot? In the first two seasons, the story mounted mysteries over mysteries using a single tool: time travel. The last season, instead of resolving those mysteries as expected, dropped in the unforgiving mix of two new sci-fi components: branching realities and parallel universes. And yet, in just two episodes, it all made sense. It was downright impressive how they pulled this off—converging carefully scattered threads using a simple time-skipping montage and cleverly utilising the rule of three with the introduction of the origin world.
The simplicity of the final mission was almost a reward. "You, loyal viewer, have trudged on through this cruel tale. Now it is time not to fret about whose parent is who or which Jonas is this now, but to enjoy the bittersweet culmination of our tragic characters, their flaws and emotions, and etch in your hearts a cave of somber memories."
Fatiul Huq Sujoy is waiting for that sweet release of public holidays to take him to exotic locations with high throwback value. Suggest him books to read during travels to make him look cool at email@example.com