Dark season 3, episode 1 recap and breakdown – “Deja-vu”

June 27, 2020
Daniel Hart 13
Netflix, TV Recaps


Dark season 3, episode 1, “Deja-vu” is adding a decisive layer to the final chapters that will likely bring up more questions within the community.

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Dark season 3, episode 1, “Deja-vu” is adding a decisive layer to the final chapters that will likely bring up more questions within the community.

This recap and breakdown of Netflix series Dark season 3, episode 1, “Deja-vu” contains significant spoilers.

Access the archive of all episode recaps.

Please note, for reference and the purpose of recapping Dark, descriptors like Child, Teen, Adult, Elderly, or a specific year will be used to determine the character in the plot at the beginning of paragraphs. For example:

  • Jonas (teen)
  • The Stranger (adult)
  • Adam (elderly)


  • Young Helge (child – 1953)
How does Dark season 3, episode 1, “Deja-vu” open?

Episode 1 begins with an unknown man in Adam’s office that we frequently saw in season 2. A child and an elderly man arrive and they set fire to the place.

A promise

Deja-vu then shows up on the screen and the apocalypse begins again and we arrive at the scene between Jonas (teen) and Martha (for now she will be known as Martha counterpart teen). They both arrive at the caves. Martha explains that this is where it all started, the day they met each other; she expands and states that both of their worlds form a knot that is inextricably intertwined. Martha promises to make it all right before using her device again to disappear.

November 4, 2019 — the other world

Martha (teen) suddenly wakes up and gets out of bed. She wakes up and Katharina (adult) is making breakfast for Martha and Mikkel (child). Magnus (teen) is upstairs having sex with Franziska (teen). Noticeably, Magnus has dark hair and tattoos — these characters are counterparts and from the other world that Martha mentioned. Katharina tells Martha that she will be staying at her father’s the next day; in this world, Katharina and Ulrich are separated.

Ulrich (adult version) wakes up Hannah (adult version). Hannah gets up and she’s pregnant. There are clearly many differences in the other world.

For the purpose of the recap of episode 1, assume that all the characters are now counterparts unless stated otherwise. Dark season 3, episode 1, “Deja-vu” is adding a decisive layer to the final chapters that will likely bring up more questions within the community.

Martha with the yellow jacket – November 4, 2019 – the other world

As Martha (teen) rides her bicycle, she stops briefly to look at the nuclear power plant but then sees a missing poster for Erik. Noticeably, Martha is wearing the yellow jacket — it seems like a role reversal of her and Jonas from the original world. Meanwhile, Jonas (teen) walks out into this other world from the cave. Martha arrives at school for the rehearsal and it’s revealed she is in a relationship with a boy named Kilian.

Helge (elderly) keeps repeating “it will happen again” in the nursing home. Peter (adult) and Charlotte (adult) are worried that he has kept repeating that phrase all morning. Helge then starts repeating “tick-tock”. This episode has all the remnants of what occurred in the first-ever episode.

Exploring – November 4, 2019 – the other world

Jonas (teen) explores the other world and sees the similarities but one thing strikes him: a photo of Martha, Kilian and Bartosz — he doesn’t exist in this world. Meanwhile, at the police station, the disappearance of Erik is the hot news.

Jonas goes to the school and enters a class and says “I am Jonas” but they are not aware of that name. He finds a desk to sit on. Martha (teen version) slowly looks back at him. Meanwhile, Charlotte (adult) requests full access to the nuclear power plant off Aleksander (adult).

Jonas approaches Martha and she has no idea who he is and Kilian interrupts the conversation so she walks off. Jonas asks the teacher what day it is — it is November 4, 2019, and Jonas suddenly walks off. He then sees Hannah (adult) and calls her “mother” but again, she has no idea who he is. Dark season 3, episode 1, “Deja-vu” is a difficult one for teenage Jonas, experiencing a life where he does not exist.

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Rehearsals — November 4, 2019 — the other world

Jonas (teen) attends the rehearsals and sees Martha (teen) is in a relationship with Kilian. He approaches Martha once again and she’s angry because she doesn’t know him. She also doesn’t know who Mikkel or Michael is and reveals that Hannah’s husband is her father, Ulrich.

Magnus (teen) and Franziska (teen) meet in a bunker in the middle of the woods and hook-up. It’s revealed that Franziska is deaf so she uses sign-language to slow things down before they have sex. They both declare their love for each other.

When Jonas enters a graveyard he sees the gravestone that states the following: “Regina Tiedemann — August 1, 1971 — September 2, 2019”. Peter (adult) asks Jonas if he needs any help with anything. He’s looking for Michael, but Peter says a Daniel Kahnwald died in 1964. Jonas mutters that he thinks he is here so it doesn’t happen again.

September 21, 1987

Bernd (elderly) greets a teen in his house that asks for the master key for the nuclear plant and Bernd thinks its a joke and threatens to ring the police. The man from the start of the episode, who set Adam’s office on fire, walks in and says “nothing is free” and starts strangling Bernd. The assumption is that this is in original world.

Back to November 4, 2019 — the other world

Martha (teen) in her yellow jacket heads out into the woods. She hears someone nearby and believes it is Kilian (teen) but it is Jonas (teen). He tells her that they know each other in another time — Jonas senses that she has seen this before — the woods, the light and him — Jonas believes he was sent here for a purpose and that she wanted to save him. Magnus (teen) joins them and asks Jonas how he knows his brother. Magnus states that Mikkel is old enough to look after himself.

Martha and the group walk off further into the woods and they see the cave — they believe the police might have missed something. They suddenly hear a loud noise coming from the cave and they run away — Martha falls over and shouts for Kilian — a whispering female voice says “Martha”. She turns around and sees a woman covered in a substance and in fright, Martha runs off. Like in season 1, the town’s lights flicker and there’s an eeriness about the place. Martha finds the rest of the group and they keep on running. Meanwhile, Jonas finds Mikkel asleep in his bed peacefully.

Bunker — November 4, 2019 — the other world

Martha and the group head into the bunker and dark matter appears in front of them and a kid falls out of it; he’s dead. Martha checks out the kid’s jacket and a student card reads: “Mads Nielsen, December 4, 1973”.

As Jonas (teen) wanders outside, an elderly woman speaks to him from the distance — she tells him that Mikkel didn’t travel back in time in this world and he won’t become his father and that Jonas was never born — “A world without you. Isn’t that what you wanted?” She explains despite Jonas not existing in this world, it has become damned, like his — “Again and again because of you and because of me”. The old woman is Martha (Elderly). Dark season 3, episode 1, “Deja-vu” sets its ground early on with Martha being the deciding factor for once in the timelines, rather than Jonas. It’s a role reversal that works — it’s not just a “boy meets girl and wants to save the world” subplot anymore — there’s a double meaning.

How does Dark season 3, episode 1, “Deja-vu” end?

The scene then flits to the Tannhaus estate on September 21, 1888 — Martha (teen — counterpart – 1888) is there. She enters a shed. She sees Jonas (adult — 1888) inside the shed. Jonas is emotional to see her — “You’re alive”. She says she is not his Martha, which confirms they are back in the original world. Martha tells Jonas that she’s going to help him find the origin — “The one thing that’s the beginning of everything in your world and mine”.

Additional notes
  • Hannah (adult version) asks Katharina (adult) if Ulrich brought something round for the kids — it’s tense and frosty.
  • At the police station, it is revealed that Ulrich (adult) and Charlotte (adult) are having an affair.

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13 thoughts on “Dark season 3, episode 1 recap and breakdown – “Deja-vu”

  • June 28, 2020 at 3:54 am

    I think Bernd is killed in the original world. Everything in the “other” world is a mirror image, but in that scene, the house is the same orientation we’ve seen it in in seasons 1 and 2. Plus, the weird quick zoom cut to and from that scene implies jumping from one world to the other.

    • June 28, 2020 at 7:29 am

      Hi Natalie, thank you for reading! I’ve changed the assumption to the original world. And yes, you are right about the weird quick zoom cut — it’s a change of world. I must of missed it.

  • June 28, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    Thanks for the article Daniel. Do we know the “killer trio” identity? And who did they kill in the 80s power plant?

  • June 28, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    I’ve been reading multiple reviews and recaps and find it amusing that no one seems to comment on the mirror image aspect of episode 1. Stairwells, building and room layouts, the nuclear plant layout, Franzciska climbs out the second floor of the Nielsen house and the ivy is on the opposite side from where Ulrich climbed it I Season 1. Definitely don’t know what it means but as really interesting to watch.

    • June 28, 2020 at 6:13 pm

      I’d have to rewatch it, which I plan to do so but I did notice the mirroring. I suppose I should have mentioned it.

      Thanks for reading!


  • June 28, 2020 at 11:35 pm

    Haha oh dear, it’s been so long since I watched the last season. Your recap and explanation of worlds timelines, what in the world was going on was a godsend! I am someway following what’s going on now!! Thank you for this.

  • July 1, 2020 at 12:54 am

    HI, does anyone know who is the girl covered with black matters in the woods seen by Martha? She looks like Martha and even if i finished to look all te episodes I still cannot understand

    • July 3, 2020 at 1:16 pm

      I asked the same thing. So in Adam’s world, Jonas saw his father in the woods covered in the matter. We brushed it off as hallucinations from being in a psych ward (so naive in 2017) but I can’t figure out who it is Martha sees or why.

      • July 3, 2020 at 1:22 pm

        Yes I remember this, but why she was there ? And why covered of black matter?

  • July 3, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    Who did Martha see in the woods covered in the black matter? I know in Adam’s world, Jonas saw his father in the same manner but I can’t discern who whispered “Martha” or who the woman was. It’s driving me crazy (yes, THIS is the one thing that I’m baffled about).

    • July 3, 2020 at 1:18 pm

      I think it si Martha itself coming from future. My opinion (spoiler alert) she is the same Martha that Adam tried to kill at the end of the season. She is dressed in the same way. Maybe Adam in that way was not able to kill her but maybe she travelled back. …

  • July 3, 2020 at 1:18 pm

    I think this is covered in episode 3, Jonas says to Martha counterpart that he knows she saw herself in the woods, because older Martha tells him.

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