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How the final scene of Netflix's 'Dark' brings the mind-melting story full circle

INSIDER logoINSIDER 27/6/2020 insider@insider.com (Kim Renfro)
Louis Hofmann wearing a jacket and smiling at the camera: Jonas in 2019. Netflix © Netflix Jonas in 2019. Netflix
  • Warning: Spoilers ahead for the series finale of Netflix's "Dark."
  • The scene in Netflix's sci-fi series includes a group of important characters, and includes a key throwback line to the third episode of the show.
  • Plus, the song playing over the end-credits ("Irgendwie, Irgendwo, Irgendwann" by Nena) has its own important meaning.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

In the final minutes of Netflix's mind-bending, time-travel-laden series "Dark," the story's sprawling cast of characters is whittled down to a dinner table of six people. 

The dinner party group is made up of a key set of characters, and their connections to one another (plus the important conversation they have in the scene) bring the whole show full circle.

Before we dive into specifics, here's one last warning that the following article includes major spoilers for the series finale of "Dark."

a woman talking on a cell phone: Jonas and Martha in "Dark." Netflix © Netflix Jonas and Martha in "Dark." Netflix

Jonas and Martha erased themselves from existence, creating a ripple effect among their family tree

As revealed over the course of season three, the events we watched in the first two seasons of "Dark" were taking place inside just one of three worlds.

Eva (aka Martha from the second world) and Adam (aka Jonas from the first world) were battling for the existence of their respective worlds. But they eventually understood that their respective worlds were aberrations — and their own lives were "glitches in the matrix," to borrow Jonas' phrase from the pilot episode.

Their worlds were created when, in the "origin world," H.G. Tannhaus created a time machine. He was attempting to reverse the course of events which led to his son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter all dying in a car accident. 

H.G. Tannhaus and the time machine he creates in the origin world. Netflix © Netflix H.G. Tannhaus and the time machine he creates in the origin world. Netflix

But by creating this machine, he accidentally opened up a wormhole and split his own universe off into two additional corrupted paths. In those worlds, Jonas and Martha and their entire family tree was locked in a tragic and tormenting cycle of death and pain. 

So Jonas and Martha (two versions of them, anyways) found their way into the origin world and traveled to the moment just before Tannhaus' family died. They encouraged his son, Marek, to turn the car back and go back to Tannhaus. 

The plan worked. As a result, Martha, Jonas, and almost all of the other characters born from their family tree disappeared. They ceased to exist. 

Their town of Winden, Germany, still lived on in the origin world.

The last supper, and a closer look at who is left alive in the final minutes of 'Dark'

a group of people sitting at a table in a restaurant: The group at the dinner party in Regina's house. Netflix © Netflix The group at the dinner party in Regina's house. Netflix

Without Jonas and Martha, virtually all of the interconnected characters in "Dark" also disappeared. That's why the final scene includes just six key people: Katharina Albers, Hannah Krüger, Torben Wöller, Bernadette Wöller, Peter Doppler, and Regina Tiedemann. 

We know this is the same origin world where Tannhaus and his family lived, because it's in a different aspect ratio (also known as letterboxing, when larger black bars at the top and bottom of your screen are shown). Throughout season three, only scenes in the origin world were displayed with this way way. 

The group seems to be celebrating something, and Regina is hosting at the house best known as the Hannah and Jonas' house (from his world), but was the Nielsen's house in Martha' world. 

Now, in the origin world, Regina lives in this house. We briefly see a picture of young Regina, her mother Claudia, and an older man.

This is Bernd Doppler. If you need a refresher on all the various characters, including Bernd, see our character guide here.

Michael Mendl et al. standing in front of a window: Young Regina, Claudia, and a mystery man. Netflix © Netflix Young Regina, Claudia, and a mystery man. Netflix

According to the official "Dark" website, Bernd was Regina's father all along. So in the origin world, Bernd and Claudia appear to have been happy parents to Regina.

Also, in this origin world Hannah isn't married to Ulrich or Mikkel, because they don't exist in this world. In the other two worlds, Ulrich was the grandson of Martha and Jonas' child, the menacing unnamed man we saw time-traveling with his own younger and older self throughout season three.

You can see this in the connecting family trees that "Eva"/Martha created:

a close up of a keyboard: Eva's family tree. Netflix © Netflix Eva's family tree. Netflix

Ulrich also would have been the descendant of Hannah herself, after she time-traveled and had Silja with Egon Tiedemann. Silja then married young Bartosz (in the past), and they in turn gave birth to Noah and Agnes (who became the start of the Nielsen line). 

In the origin world, Hannah is instead with Torben Wöller, the police officer who has had a mysterious eye patch throughout the show.

The lack of explanation for this injury, a long-theorized plot point among fans, is poked fun at in this final scene when Wöller is about to tell the story but gets interrupted when the power goes out. 

a man and a woman looking at the camera: Regina Tiedemann, Torben Woller, and Hannah Kruger. Netflix © Netflix Regina Tiedemann, Torben Woller, and Hannah Kruger. Netflix

Flickering lights and power surges were previously a sign that the wormhole passageway inside Winden's cave system was being used. Perhaps, in this 2019 moment in the origin world, the temporary blackout at the dinner party was caused when Martha, Jonas, and their worlds were disappearing from existence.

Hannah, who was Jonas' mother in his world, is the most affected by the blackout. She stares at a yellow rain jacket in the hallway— the very thing Martha and Jonas wore in their own worlds. She says it feels like she just experienced "déjà vu," the same thing Martha said in the pilot episode when she felt the effects of the mirror worlds.

a woman standing in front of a window: Hannah explaining her dream to the dinner party. Netflix © Netflix Hannah explaining her dream to the dinner party. Netflix

For Hannah, this feeling is brought by a dream she says she had the night before about lights flickering and going out as the world ended. 

"It was just dark and it was never light again," Hannah says. "And the weird thing is ... that it felt really good. For everything to be over. Like suddenly being free of everything. No wants. No needs. Unending darkness. No yesterday. No today. No tomorrow. Nothing."

What she describes is exactly the fate we had just watched Martha and Jonas experience; a disappearance into darkness. The paradise that "Adam"/Jonas was seeking turned out to be a complete untethering from reality as they knew it.

Then Benni, who was known as Bernadette in Jonas' world, breaks the tension. We can probably safely assume that Benni is still Wöller's sibling, just as she was in Jonas' world. 

The question Regina asks perfectly mirrors an exchange between Hannah and Ulrich in a different world, in 1986

a woman holding a candle: Regina Tiedemann at dinner in the season three finale. Netflix © Netflix Regina Tiedemann at dinner in the season three finale. Netflix

Next, Regina asks a heavy question: "If the world were to end today, and you only had one wish, what would you wish for?"

That's when Katharina chimes in. In this timeline, Katharina is not only alive but seems to be thriving. Her toxic relationship with Ulrich in Jonas' world was poisoned not only by Hannah (who had an obsession with Ulrich as a younger girl) but also by the tragedy of the Nielsen family. 

In this world, Katharina is still Katharina Albers, and she and Hannah are clearly friends. Katharina mulls over Regina's question for a moment, then says, "A world without Winden. Let's drink to that."

Winden, the name of the town they live in, is clearly still a small place Katharina perhaps dreams of escaping. But at least it's not a town plagued by an unending cycle of tragedy anymore.

The group cheers each other, and the lights come back on.  

"Looks like Winden doesn't want to just disappear," Peter says.

Stephan Kampwirth looking at the camera: Peter Doppler and Benni. Netflix © Netflix Peter Doppler and Benni. Netflix

Again, in this world, Peter would be alive and well. Without Martha and Jonas, or the advent of time travel, Peter's father, Helge Doppler, never would have been attacked or drawn into a twisted cycle of death and kidnappings. Plus Peter himself would not have met Charlotte and been linked to the Noah/Elisabeth chain of the family tree.

This whole exchange is almost word-for-word the same thing we watch young Ulrich and young Hannah say in season one, episode three, "Past and Present."

In that episode, Ulrich was sitting and smoking at the bus stop in 1986. Hannah rode her bike up and sat near him. Winden was experiencing one of those flickering-light power surges that marked the use of the wormhole tunnel. 

"Is this the apocalypse?" Hannah asked Ulrich. "I thought it would be a lot brighter. And louder." 

A few moments later, she asked young Ulrich a similar question to Regina's.

"If the world ended today, and everything started anew, what would you wish for?" she said.

"Easy," Ulrich said. "A world without Winden."

a man and a woman sitting on a motorcycle: Young Ulrich and Hannah in 1986. Netflix © Netflix Young Ulrich and Hannah in 1986. Netflix

"To a world without Winden," Hannah replied. 

"To a world without Winden," Ulrich repeated.

Just then, the lights stopped flickering and came back on. Both Hannah and Ulrich looked around in slight puzzlement and exchanged smiles. 

"I don't think Winden is going to give up that easily," Hannah said.

"Well, maybe next time," Ulrich said. 

By using the same set of questions and answers in this final dinner scene, which again is presumably the origin world's timeline in 2019, "Dark" was looping itself back to the beginning of its story. Martha and Jonas may have broken the cycle, but there are clearly still lingering parallels between what unfolded in the two corrupted universes and what will now happen in the origin world.

In other words, the end was its own new beginning. 

What does it mean that Hannah chooses the name 'Jonas' for her unborn child?

a close up of a woman: The final shot of "Dark" season three. Netflix © Netflix The final shot of "Dark" season three. Netflix

To this end, it's significant that the final exchange at the dinner table is focused on Hannah's unborn child. Someone asks if she's thought of any names yet. After a long pause, Hannah says "I think Jonas is a beautiful name."

As she speaks, Hannah's face is framed between the candlelit room on side, and pure darkness on the other. This is the final frame of "Dark," another reminder of the battle beween light and dark.

If Jonas is still destined to exist in the origin world, does that mean Martha is, too? Will they have a new version of a love story, just much later in the timeline of the origin world?

The 1984 song "Irgendwie, Irgendwo, Irgendwann" by Nena was first heard at the end of the pilot episode, but it's a recurring theme throughout "Dark," and kicks in one final time over the season three finale's credits. The presence of this song has helped us see Jonas' pending birth in the origin world as a sign of good things to come, rather than more tragedy. 

a man and a woman looking at the camera: Jonas and Martha at the lake in season two, episode six, "An Endless Cycle." Netflix © Netflix Jonas and Martha at the lake in season two, episode six, "An Endless Cycle." Netflix

In English, the title translates to "Somehow, Somewhere, Sometime," which has a clear connection to the ideas of characters traveling through time throughout the show. But here, in the series finale, it's a signal of hope. The opening verse evokes a through-line of optimism for Jonas and Martha's tragic fates:

Falling through space and time

Towards infinity

Moths fly into the light

Just like you and I

Somehow, sometime

Somewhere the future will begin

I don't have to wait long

Love is made out of courage

We believe somehow that Jonas and Martha's love will find a way in this origin world. As Jonas said, again and again throughout the show, they are a perfect match. Fans of "Dark" shouldn't believe anything else. 

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