Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Dark (Season 3)

I remember when I was in high school; a normal season of American TV would consist of 20 to 30 episodes.  Now, it seems that a season might run 8 or ten episodes.  Granted, I have access to a lot of European series.  A run of 20 episodes would seem too much for one stretch.  However, I’ve noticed it with Star Trek: Picard and Stranger Things.  Dark’s entire three-season run of 26 episodes would be one season for a show like Star Trek: The Next Generation.

For those who haven’t seen the first or second seasons, Dark is a German series.  It centers on a small, fictional town named Winden.  There seems to be a bit of a temporal knot.  People can access points in the city’s history at 33-year intervals through a tunnel.  There’s also a machine that seems to allow for shorter jumps.

At the end of the second season, we find out that there’s an alternate dimension.  One of the key factors in the city’s history is a boy that not only goes missing, but becomes displaced in time.  There are a few differences that add up to big changes.

The season deals with going back and forth between the two universes and trying to undo the entire thing, which requires going to a third, main universe.  If you think this is confusing, you’re right.  It’s often difficult to keep track of who belongs in which universe.  This is even true in cases where there’s only one version of a character.  Sometimes, it seems like there should be three or four versions of a character.  This is because they’re bouncing around in time like ping pong balls, covering a span from 1888 to 2053.  (It’s hard enough keeping track of the family trees.  Now this?)

There is a religious/spiritual influence, with one character being named Noah.  The two characters believed to have started the two universes are Adam and Eva, each belonging to a different universe.  It’s also difficult to tell where everything begins.  (Beginnings are endings; endings are beginnings and all that.)

As with the first two seasons, lies factor in to the narrative.  This added to my confusion a little.  Characters realize that they have to be manipulated into maintaining the correct order of events.  Is there even really a way out?  Is there free will enough to end it all and prevent all this suffering or are the characters fated to go around and around for infinity?

This is not a bright and cheery series.  There’s a missing child, time travel, dimensional travel and plenty of secrets to go around.  There’s also the apocalypse hanging over everyone’s head and the knowledge that averting doomsday means that a good chunk of the population might get erased from existence.  Oh, and the fate of three universes hinges on a car accident.  Being erased from existence might be a blessing.

If this hasn’t dissuaded you from watching it, there is a satisfying ending at the all of it.  There is a nice, even pace to the series, even if it is a bit slow.  One good thing about our modern technology is that you could, and probably should, watch them all in one binge.  Don’t do it halfway and take a break.  Watch the entire thing over the course of a week or two, which will probably make it easier to keep track of.

No comments :