Dark season 3, episode 5 recap and breakdown – “Life and Death”

June 27, 2020
Daniel Hart 10
Netflix, TV Recaps


Dark season 3, episode 5, “Life and Death” heightens the war for dominance over time travel between Adam and Eva.

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Dark season 3, episode 5, “Life and Death” heightens the war for dominance over time travel between Adam and Eva.

This recap and breakdown of Netflix series Dark season 3, episode 5, “Life and Death” 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 5, “Life and Death” open?

Episode 5 begins with Claudia (adult) burying the dead Regina — she’s devastated and questions death, pondering whether it is predetermined. Of course, death means many things in Dark.

2052 — the original world — a chance to untie the knot

Adam tells Charlotte (adult) that time always leads here and it is cruel — he asks her if she’s made a decision and that they have a chance to untie the knot. Adam states that Eva won’t claim her goal and that her world is more deserving of salvation. Dark season 3, episode 5, “Life and Death” heightens the war for dominance over time travel between Adam and Eva.

2019 — the other world — one day until the apocalypse

Jonas (teen) and Martha (teen — counterpart — 2019 — the other world) wake up after a night of passion and Jonas suggests that they head to the power plant. Martha wants to say something to him, presumably “I love you”, but she instead says nothing. When they head downstairs Katharina (adult — counterpart) is fretting because she couldn’t find her daughter so Martha hugs her. The other world seems to have a deeper purpose than the original world, with events unfolding at an exponential rate.

1987 — the original world — escape plans

Katharina (adult) tells Ulrich (elderly) her plans to help him escape, which includes bringing Mikkel home. Ulrich apologizes for everything.

Charlotte (teen) visits Tannhaus (elderly) — Charlotte asks whether it’s possible to rewind time and Tannhaus scoffs at the idea and says he has pondered it for a while but then he realizes that Charlotte is growing older and it is time to treat her it. He shows her a photo and she presumes it is her parents. Tannhaus explains that the photo isn’t her or her parents and that the photo is his son, wife, and granddaughter who died in a car accident. He expands further how the same night, two strange women visited the store carrying a bundle — “That bundle was you”. Tannhaus gives her the stopwatch that says “For Charlotte” and Charlotte frustratingly asks about her identity but Tannhaus doesn’t know. Secrets spill out in Dark season 3, episode 5, “Life and Death” as it draws closer to its conclusion. It’s difficult to not feel sorry for Charlotte in this scene.

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2019 — the other world — when did you arrive?

Charlotte (adult — counterpart) visits Aleksander (adult — counterpart) with questions over the dead boy in the bunker. Aleksander is asked to explain when he arrived in Winden and when he started working at the plant — Charlotte asks about 1986 and wants the shift scheduling records.

2020 — the original world — life and death

Claudia (adult) visits the Winden police station. She sees the younger version of herself who introduces herself. Meanwhile, Elisabeth (teen) and Peter (adult) head out again to the wall. Elisabeth suddenly stops and tells her father their family is dead — “Everyone here is dead” — before heading back to the caravan.

The younger adult Claudia is from the other world and tells Claudia that she wants to lead her into the light, explaining that there are two groups fighting for superiority in time travel — light and dark. Claudia (younger adult — counterpart) wants Claudia to join her side — “Eva’s side” — she tells Claudia that Jonas cannot be trusted as he’s on the dark side and wants to untie the knot which results in “the end” but Eva wants to save both worlds.

Claudia (adult) asks her counterpart about the positive feedback loop and she replies, “Jonas opened the passage in 2020. The older Jonas had previously shut it in 2019 after it’d been opened in the summer of 1986 for the first time. In all three moments, they left behind traces of cesium residue, a component of black matter. In the cycle, at each of these three moments, this cesium is carried through the tunnel and back before it’s completely decayed. It exponentially expands endlessly. The counterpart explains that the loop has to repeat — “life and death”. As we reach the latter stages, it’s easy to wonder if there is no “right or wrong” and it’s whether or not time will be the ultimate victor in this war.

2019 — the other world — the scratch

Martha (teen — counterpart — the other world — 2019) asks Jonas (teen) what is in the containers as he tries to create a hole in the fence outside the nuclear plant. He explains that an accident happened in 1986 that allowed time travel. Martha scratches herself by accident and Jonas realizes that the other Martha that brought him here has the same scratch, meaning he’s in a loop — “Why did Eva lie?”. Jonas wonders if it’s he and Martha who make it all start and wants to see Eva for the truth. Dark season 3, episode 5, “Life and Death” sees Jonas trying to stop the loop by noticing similarities.

2020 — the original world — the hungry man

When Elisabeth (teen) returns to her caravan she’s attacked by a man who is stealing food and then tied up. When she wakes up, the man asks if she lives here alone. The man is starving and hasn’t eaten food in days; he then begins to touch Elisabeth’s face and then gets on top of her. Peter (adult) walks in and fights the man. The man starts beating Peter with one of the tins of food. Elisabeth tries to stop the man himself but he knocks her to the floor. The man then stabs Peter in the neck. Elisabeth kills the man with a fire extinguisher, repeatedly smashing his head with the object. Elisabeth realizes Peter is dead and sits on the floor, shaking with blood on her face. Episode 5 brings a shocking, violent moment, bringing apocalyptic-type desperation as all three characters fight for survival. It’s a horrific moment for Elisabeth — this moment shaped her forever.

2052 — the original world — you have to let her go

Elisabeth (adult) looks at the swirling dark matter; she, Charlotte (adult), and Franziska have a group hug. Adam tells Franziska that it is time and that she has to let her go. Charlotte and Elisabeth leave the room, put the suits on, and head towards the dark sphere.

2020 — the original world — again and again

Claudia (adult — counterpart) tells Claudia (adult) that Adam must not untie the knot and that she must lead Jonas, Noah, and Elisabeth down the same path “again and again”. Claudia (adult — counterpart) then uses a time-traveling device to disappear. Dark season 3, episode 5, “Life and Death” suggests that Eva wants the loop to repeat eternally.

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2019 — the other world — I’m wrong here.

Martha (teen — counterpart — the other world — 2019) asks Jonas (teen) what if the truth is that only one world can survive. His silence gives her the answer — “You want to return to your world”. Jonas says he didn’t want any of this. Martha reminds him about the previous night when they had sex — “You didn’t want that?”. Jonas states that he is wrong here. Martha kisses him — “So that’s wrong then?”. This is a mirror of the same scene in season 1 when Jonas tells Martha that they are not right for each other and it felt even more tragic than the first time. Dark has done a compelling job making these two characters appear helplessly in love and drawn to each other.

1987 — the original world — mother and daughter.

Katharina (adult) follows Helene (adult) in the woods and threatens her with a knife and asks her for the key card — they have a brief struggle as they battle with the knife and Katharina calls her “Momma” which freaks out Helene and she runs off. Katharina ends up knocking Helene out and starts looking for the key card. Helene gets up and knocks Katharina to the floor, stating the devil sent her before beating her to death repeatedly with a rock — Katharina unclenches her first to show the necklace. Helene drags Katharina’s dead body into the lake. Meanwhile, Ines (adult) and Michael (teen) return to Winden — Michael looks slightly out of place.

Helene returns home and is frantic and Katharina (teen) is worried about her mother. Helene sees a mark on Katharina’s neck and asks if it is from Ulrich and starts beating her — “I should have made you go away too”. In the psychiatric hospital, Ulrich (elderly) looks at the clock, realizing he will not be freed. Episode 5 brings another violent struggle, with a mother struggling to handle seeing the future version of her daughter and ironically, killing her.

How does Dark season 3, episode 5, “Life and Death” end?

In 2019, in the other world, Jonas (teen) and Martha (teen — counterpart — the other world — 2019) head to Eva’s place where the secret society resides. Jonas tells Martha this is what she will become. Martha sees the portrait and looks provoked by Adam and Eve.

Eva walks in and says, “And so it begins all anew”. Jonas accuses Eva of lying about saving both worlds and demands that he returns to his world. Eva tells him there’s no way back for him — “A human lives three lives. The first ends with the loss of naiveté. The second one with the loss of innocence. And the third with the loss of life itself. Yours ends here and now”. Martha (adult — counterpart) walks in while Eva tells Jonas that he has accomplished what he was sent to this world to accomplish. Martha (teen — counterpart) protests but Martha (adult — counterpart) cuts her off, stating she will understand everything soon.

Martha (teen – counterpart – the one that brought Jonas to the other world) walks in and tells the other teen Martha that she’s sorry before shooting Jonas point-blank in the chest. Martha is distraught watching him die, blood flowing everywhere, while the other teen Martha who shot him holds back the tears before walking away with Eva and the adult Martha. Episode 5 ends in shocking circumstances, with Dark ramping up the deaths as the war draws closer to the conclusion.

Additional points
  • In 1987, a teenage boy asks Charlotte (teen) how long would it take to walk to Winden from the bus stop. Charlotte is upset so the boy asks if she’s okay. The boy states his mother recently died and his father lives here and he has only just found out that he lives here. The boy is Peter (teen).
  • In 2019, in the other world, Charlotte (adult — counterpart) tells Peter (adult — counterpart) that the day Mads disappeared, Helge was working at the plant — “His shift was over at 6:00 p.m. and Mads vanished around 6.21. Peter dismisses the idea and gets paranoid when she mentions Ulrich’s theory that this is all connected.

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10 thoughts on “Dark season 3, episode 5 recap and breakdown – “Life and Death”

  • June 29, 2020 at 6:59 am

    You missed a scene between the hungry man and the scratch.

  • June 29, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    My only issue with this episode is Jonas not being phased by Eva giving him the same “A human lives three lives.” Quote Adam gave him in Season 2

  • June 30, 2020 at 4:20 am

    Just want to say thanks for taking the time to write the recap.i have to watch the show and read this as i get confused who is who lol.

    • June 30, 2020 at 5:58 am

      Thank you for reading Jason! Glad they have helped.

  • July 3, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    I’m a little confused by the all the Martha’s. If one was shot dead in the season 2 finale, the one that shoots Jonas is from Eva’s world? Which Martha kneels beside Jonas in the yellow coat? Is the Martha who shot Jonas a future alternate world Martha? So there are three teen Martha’s (kind of except one is dead?!)? Or have I confused myself?

    • July 4, 2020 at 4:34 pm

      Same question here! There should be only 2 teen-Martha’s… no?
      so confused right now. But best episode this season so far!

    • July 9, 2020 at 7:36 pm

      Yes three teenage Marthas. One from original world who is dead and two from the alternate. One being slightly older that the first!

  • July 4, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    I’m confused of Jonas death.. Wouldn’t the adult and elder Jonas cease to exist?

    • July 9, 2020 at 10:39 pm

      Wait for the next episode…

      • August 10, 2020 at 3:42 am

        Watched the next episode and the question still remains. It doesn’t make sense. There are two of each due to the alternative world. But in the alternative world there is no Jonas, which means only one Jonas in total. Which means there is no Jonas left to become Adam. Ever. That scene doesn’t make any sense.

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