Season 3 of the moody, dark, and apocalyptic Netflix series THE DARK concluded what can only be described as one of the most truly remarkable science-fiction series, so odd and complex it’s one of those TV series you’re surprised got made. Season 3 builds upon the complex relationships and central time travel mystery from the first two seasons while adding another dimension and bringing the whole thing to a powerful and decisive finish.
This was an enjoyable but difficult series to watch. I would have appreciated its intricate details more if I were able to binge-watch it from start to finish, which begs for a second viewing now that the work is complete and I kind of know what’s going on, who’s who in what time period, and how they’re related. The show is not really three discrete seasons but a single vision meticulously planned from the first episode. And holy crap, it’s incredible when you see the whole thing.
During the second season, I have to admit I began to get frustrated with it. Too often, characters appear from offstage to deliver speeches short on real details and long on bland philosophy, while the time travel itself started to rely more and more heavily on the bootstrap paradox. This is a paradox in time travel where, for example, a man has a child, the child goes back in time and has his own child, and that child turns out to be boy’s father (each is the father of the other), resulting in time travel literally creating people, events, and objects living in a time loop. In many movies such as ARRIVAL, it provides an answer or solution that crashes into the plot as deus ex machina, and in THE DARK, it started to feel like the TV show LOST, constantly teasing mysteries that once revealed didn’t really mean anything. THE DARK, however, fooled me, as the bootstrap paradox became the central point of the show, the “knot” the characters seek to maintain or unravel depending on the faction, and with the key to unraveling it being finding the “origin,” the prime mover to a swirling, massive set of events occurring in an endless loop.
Holy crap, it’s dense, it’s enormously atmospheric, it’s tragic, and it’s possibly the work of mad genius. THE DARK isn’t for everybody, but if you like intelligent sci-fi, check it out.