Dark season 3, episode 7 recap and breakdown – “Between the Time” Choosing life or death.

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Summary

Dark season 3, episode 7, “Between the Time” offers an incredible penultimate episode as we reach the finale of this wholesome, complex series.

This recap and breakdown of Netflix series Dark season 3, episode 7, “Between the Time” 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)

or

  • Helge (child – 1953)
How does Dark season 3, episode 7, “Between the Time” open?

Episode 7 opens up with a young adult Tannhaus presenting a scientific theory:

“What is reality? Is it singular in nature? Or do several parallel realities exist at the same time?

To address this, Erwin Schroedinger constructed an extremely interesting thought experiment. Schrödinger’s cat. A cat is locked inside a steel chamber with a small amount of a radioactive substance, a Geiger counter, a vial of poison and a hammer. As soon as a radioactive atom disintegrates inside the steel chamber, the Gieger counter triggers the hammer, which smashes the vial of poison. The cat is dead. However, due to the wave characteristics of the quantum world, the atom is indeed disintegrated and intact. Both states are true until we view it in a definitive state of existence.

Until the moment, we check and see, we don’t know if the cat is dead or still alive. It continues to exist in two superposed states. The attributes “dead” and “alive” exist here, in the microcosm, at identical instances.”.

The scene then flits to Martha (teen — counterpart) and Tannhaus continues to narrate: “But what if the simultaneity of life and death also applied to the world in the macrocosm?” Martha then approaches Jonas (teen) in the original world who is looking over Martha’s (teen) dead body — “Could different realities exist side by side? Could we split time and let it run in two different directions?” The scene then flits back to Tannhaus’s presentation — “And as with this cat, induce a state of death and life simultaneously? And if so, how many different realities could exist side by side?”.

Splitting realities

At this point in the highly scientific explanation to open up the penultimate episode, it flits to a split-screen of Martha (teen — counterpart) walking to the house where Jonas (teen) resides in two different realities. In one of the realities, Bartosz (teen — counterpart) calls her name to stop her and tells her that Adam and the others lied to her. He gets out a time travel device and saves her. She never saves Jonas who ends up running down into the basement and he’s presumed dead for now. Dark season 3, episode 7, “Between the Time” continues to intensify the creative writing despite the series ending forever — it’s brilliant.

1974 — overlapping realities

Episode 7, “Between the Time” then takes the audiences to various time points that lead to this reality where Martha does not save Jonas in the house. In 1974, Tannhaus (adult) is working on a machine and he narrates how humans struggle to accept their own mortality and are desperate to reverse death. He puts a teddy bear on a grave that says “Charlotte, May 30, 1971”. Tannhaus narrates, discussing the possibility of simultaneous overlapping if different realities and bringing back the dead. Tannhaus checks out the bunker.

2021 — the original world — Adam will keep to his promise

Noah (teen) is in the cave with Elisabeth (teen) attempting to move the rocks so they can get to the door. Noah tells her what paradise will be like and that Adam will keep to his promise.

1890 — the original world — achieving paradise

Jonas (adult) is testing out the machine he has built and dark matter begins to appears but he manages to electrocute himself. Bartosz (teen) is growing impatient with Jonas’s ideas, especially with the portal not working. Bartosz believes his intention isn’t to end the apocalypse and Jonas implies the same notion — “This is larger than we are”. He wants to find the origin and achieve paradise — this is the first scene where we see pre-Adam Jonas speaking like his older self — he’s turning into Adam, evidently bitter stuck in this place since 1888. Out in the forest, Bartosz sees a woman who startled him. She introduces herself as Silja (teen) and they shake hands.

2023 — the original world — stick to your promise

Jonas (teen) is attempting to start the portal by activating the black matter but it doesn’t work. Claudia (adult) suggests starting a new series of experiments and tells Jonas not to lose faith but he already looks defeated. Jonas checks out his old house and creates a noose and puts it around his neck and tries to kill himself but Noah (teen) stops him. He’s angry, telling Jonas that he made a promise and that the apocalypse must happen — “You cannot die”. Noah gives him a gun and every time Jonas pulls the trigger towards his head, no bullets are released but as soon as Noah tests out the gun, bullets fire — “You cannot take your own life. Because your older self still exists. Time won’t permit it.”

Noah shows Jonas the cave, stating the door will open eventually, and then Adam can show them paradise. According to Adam, Noah and Jonas will become friends before Jonas betrays him. It’s strange how we’ve come here, with Jonas becoming more and more disenfranchised with his existence as the story progresses and Dark season 3, episode 7, “Between the Time” shows this notion more than ever.

1904 — the original world — the birth of Noah

Silja (adult) is giving birth — Bartosz (adult) is the father. It’s a boy. Silja names the baby Hanno and suddenly Bartosz realizes they have created Noah. Old Tannhaus narrates that “Fate is playing a cruel trick on us”. It’s definitely cruel fate and you can sense the discontent on Bartosz’s face as he realizes where he stands in all this.

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1974 — the original world — making progress

Tannhaus (adult) is in his bunker again. He’s creating his own space for experiments. Over the years, Tannhaus (now elderly) creates his own machine.

2049 — the original world — this is necessary.

Noah (now adult), Claudia (now elderly), and Jonas (now adult) start the machine. It works at first as the God Particle turns into the dark matter, however, it does not sustain. Afterward, Jonas asks Noah why it isn’t working. Noah asks if he trusts Claudia. Jonas tells Noah that he isn’t turning into Adam and he’s seen the portal work in the future — “If I travel back I can change everything”. Noah raises doubts about Claudia again.

Noah’s doubts turn out to be true because Claudia (adult — counterpart) is asking Claudia (elderly) if Jonas suspects anything. Claudia (adult — counterpart) tells Claudia (elderly) that the machine must not work yet so the knots remain in both worlds. Claudia (elderly) asks her counterpart if Eva knows what she is doing and recounts a time when her older self stated that if this all this works, Regina lives; she doesn’t want Regina to suffer endlessly and points the gun at her counterpart — “There must be a way of untying the knot, without destroying all life in it”. Claudia (elderly) talks about finding a new path that neither Adam nor Eva know about and shoots her counterpart in the head.

Put this in Claudia’s hands

Claudia (elderly) then visits the other world using the time-traveling device and approaches Eva. You almost get a sense that Eva knows this isn’t the actual Claudia she’s been working with — there’s something unsettling happening. Eva rolls up blueprints and says, “Put this in Claudia’s hands. And she must give it to Tannhaus. Does she understand why this is necessary? Why everything has to happen again?”. Dark season 3, episode 7, “Between the Time” gives the sense of how important Claudia is going to be in all this — there are so many variables and is still keeping the audience guessing to how all this is going to end.

1910 — the original world — Agnes

Bartosz (adult) sees Silja (adult) on the bed with blood on her clothes — she’s pregnant again. Erna states that they tried everything and that Silja wanted to name the baby Agnes — Silja is dying from childbirth.

2041 — the original world — the kidnapping

Elisabeth (adult) and Charlotte (adult) who have traveled from the future take baby Charlotte. When Noah sees the baby is gone, Elisabeth (younger adult) is distraught but Noah is angry, believing Jonas has betrayed him. He strangles Jonas (adult) and asks where Charlotte is. Jonas appears to not know anything. Noah tells Elisabeth (younger adult) that he will find her. Tannhaus narrates — “You can choose as you want, but your wants are chosen for you”.

1986 — the original world — the starting of the machine

Tannhaus looks at the family portrait and then starts his machine.

1911 — the original world — you are in the wrong place

While Bartosz (adult) is fixing a car he is approached by Hannah (adult) and her daughter Silja (child). Hannah is looking for Jonas. Bartosz makes him aware that traveling has taken a toll on Jonas.

When Hannah sees Jonas, he’s formed into Adam with the scarring and deformations on his faces — this is the earliest form of Adam we have seen in the series. Hannah introduces her daughter, who is his sister. Adam asks how she found him. Hannah explains how there was this old woman who showed up at her doorstep — Eva, who told Hannah that Jonas needed her. Hannah tells Adam that this is all her fault and that she ruined everything but that she’s here now. Adam takes her hand off his face and asks Bartosz to get the room ready for Hannah and Silja. It’s evident that Jonas, now Adam, has suppressed his feelings over the years as he emotionally struggling with that conversation with his mother.

Later in the night, Adam watches his sister and mother asleep in bed. Hannah wakes up and asks what he is doing. He tells her that Silja being here is not right — “All the pieces need to be in the correct position. She’s in the wrong place. So are you”. He apologizes and then strangles his mother to death. Adam wakes up his sister and states he has a secret to show her. Dark season 3, episode 7, “Between the Time” presents the first moments of Adam, who is violent and prepared to do anything to set his own ideology.

1920 — the original world — this will be your last cycle

Noah (adult) enters a bar. He asks the barmaid for a place to rest. She shouts down Hanno (Teen) to give him a room.

Noah then meets Adam. Adam says — “I know you think I lied to you. That I took Charlotte away from you. But I didn’t. You were right. Claudia. She lied to all of us”. Adam asks for the book — it’s the Sic Mundus book. Adam tells Noah to find the missing pages — “They will lead you to Charlotte and to your ultimate destination. You will find your paradise, finally. And Helge will help you”. He finishes his conversation with Noah stating it will be his last cycle.

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2052 — you must not give up hope

Claudia (elderly) states that the dark matter can be stabilized but everything must happen again in exactly the same way — “You have to lead your younger self down the same path”. She’s talking to Jonas (adult) and states that Tannhaus will fix the apparatus — “You must destroy the passage and the knot with it. This time you’ll get it. You must not give up hope”. As Jonas walks off, Claudia rips some notes out of the book.

Back to where it began — a nostalgic set of scenes

And then Dark season 3, episode 7, “Between the Time” brings a series of scenes in motion as Jonas (adult) returns to the past on Claudia’s orders. These scenes piece together the story in quick succession from start to where we have ended up, but at the same time, it gives the fans something to appreciate.

We are back to the start of the series — radio stations are alerting that a second child has gone missing in 2019 in Winden. Jonas (adult) lurks in the woods, Noah (adult) has set up the horrific chair that he uses on children and Claudia (elderly) visits her younger self; Noah asks Bartosz (teen) to get in the car and Claudia (elderly) tells her younger self to stop Adam. The events are restarted and the episode replays scenes to explain the timeline again, bringing a sense of nostalgia; the last scene is Martha (teen — counterpart) getting stopped by Bartosz (teen — counterpart) from going in the house to save Jonas and using the time-traveling device.

Despising yourself

Martha (teen — counterpart) and Bartosz (teen — counterpart) enter the place where Eva usually resides in the other world. Bartosz states that, “They’re the only ones who’ll save us.” Martha states that they are the ones who made it all happen. Bartosz disagrees, stating “they” are the light — they are referring to Eva and her group. Eva walks in and states how uncanny it is that those who despise us the most are the people who are most like them. This scene was odd and ironic and sums up the series rather well — these characters are often at war with themselves and it is uncanny.

How does Dark season 3, episode 7, “Between the Time” end?

Eva states that she lived her whole life believing this moment could never repeat itself again — “That I could never do what my older self did. Because I couldn’t understand how I could ever want what she wanted then. Now, 66 years have passed and I understand. Some pain is never forgotten”. Eva slices Martha’s face with a knife to give her the exact same scar she has as a memento, “So you never forget which side you truly belong on // by choosing us, you’re choosing life. Choosing Adam is choosing death”.

The scene flits back to 2020, in the original world with Adam using the portal and dark matter to destroy Martha (teen — counterpart — the original world — 2020). The dark matter swirls around her and she disappears. Adam sighs and looks sad. Suddenly he looks at his hands and says, “This can’t be”. Claudia (elderly) walks in and greets him. Dark season 3, episode 7, “Between the Time” offers an incredible second-to-last ever episode as we reach the final ever episode to this wholesome, complex series.


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Daniel Hart

Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.

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