Dark season 3, episode 8 recap and breakdown – the final episode explained You and I are perfect for each other.

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Summary

The final ever episode of Dark deserves all the praise it gets. It’s painfully tragic but it confidently weaves the storylines together to bring a conclusive, beautiful and murky ending.

This recap and breakdown of Netflix series Dark season 3, episode 8, “The Paradise”, the final ever chapter 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 8, “The Paradise”, the final ever chapter open?

The final episode opens up with Michael leaving his suicide letter. Claudia narrates — “Every journey has a beginning. But yours has no end”. Jonas (teen) wakes up. The scene then flits to the original world in 2020 and Claudia (elderly) is telling Adam that she’s here to finally make his journey come to an end. Adam believes it is impossible and that Claudia should be dead. Claudia tells him that he doesn’t know how this game is played — “You want to destroy the knot, but every action you take continues its existence”. Adam believes he has killed the origin (Martha and the baby).

A third world

Claudia explains: “Your world and Eva’s world, they both should never have existed. You thought that the origin lies in the bindings of both worlds. But in reality, it’s outside of both worlds. Our thinking is shaped by dualities. Black, white. Light and shadow. Your world and Eva’s world. But this is false. You need a third dimension to fulfill it all.” Adam turns to her, looking defeated and upset and says, “The triqueta. This means a third world?”. Dark season 3, episode 8, “The Paradise” teases out the third world, the origin world, in the final ever episode, and it’s fascinating.

Claudia agrees and references how Tannhaus tried to bring back the dead in the origin world but instead divided and destroyed his world and created two. She explains there is a way to destroy the knot in the origin world by preventing the invention of travel through space and time in the first place. Claudia tells Adam that every step has to be taken as before until this very moment and that this moment here, “You and I” has never happened. The final ever episode suggests that this experience is a new event in the timeline, with Claudia being the ultimate orchestra to fixing the chaos. Everything is fitting into place. This chapter is not about time, it’s about what world.

Your son

Meanwhile, Eva tells Martha (teen — counterpart) that they must all die so everyone is reborn correctly and states that her son is the origin. At this point, the unknown man, child, and elderly man walk in and the child hugs her, thus confirming who her son is — all three of them are. Audiences will understand in this scene why Eva and Martha are so intent on protecting the worlds; there’s a motherly instinct placed within the theme. Claudia narrates that Eva cannot help but try to save her son. Martha (elderly — counterpart) walks in and gives her a gun and Eva explains they need to do what they’ve always done. Claudia narrates that they (Martha and Jonas) cannot give up their deepest desires. Dark season 3, episode 8, “The Paradise” puts the audience into the driving seat in the dying embers of the story.

Breaking the chain

We are then brought back to the scene in 2019 in the other world where Martha (counterpart — teen) kills Jonas (teen) with the gun. Claudia narrates that they will all end up facing each other again and again — “Your two worlds should have never existed. You and Eva should never have existed”.

Claudia states she spent 33 years trying to figure it all out, doing horrific things to try and fix it between both worlds for Regina’s sake — “A way to break the chain of cause and effect”. That’s when she learned that the two worlds were created from another world — “That she (Regina) can only live in the world which everything was created from. The origin world. I lied to you. And to Eva. But the knot had to stay tied. I had to make sure you were both in the dark. To keep everyone in this knot in the dark. Everything had to happen the way it always has.” Claudia calls it an infinite cause and effect in both worlds — “No fate in one world is better than the other // no-one in this knot can escape their fate”.

There’s a sense in this scene that all versions of Claudia have understood each other to some level, that has led to this finale.

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Loophole

Claudia (elderly) tells Adam she knows where the loophole is — “Time. During the apocalypse, it stood still for a fraction of a second at that point and that threw everything out of balance. But when time stands still, it also momentarily breaks the chain of cause and effect”. Claudia explains that she and Eva have used it to change the course of events and that Adam should use it to change Jonas’s path to break the cycle. She tells him to send Jonas and Martha to the origin world so they can put an end to this. Dark season 3, episode 8, “The Paradise” brings a cruel path for Jonas and Martha — this mission is a sacrifice.

2019 — the original world — the apocalypse

We are back to the moment in 2019 where Jonas (teen) is promising a dead Martha (teen) that he will make it right. Adam walks in and Jonas is evidently upset and angry, asking what Adam wants from him. Adam gets out the time-traveling device — “This is our last hope”. When they arrive at their destination, Jonas asks, “What time is this?” Adam says it’s about what world not what time — “There is a way that you can avoid becoming me,” and continues to explain to Jonas that there is a way of ending the chaos if he trusts him. This scene sounds unbelievable in its own right if it wasn’t for the performances; Adam, for the first time, in the final episode, looks sincere — his face softening and appearing more trustworthy.

2019 — the other world — you must save Martha

They then enter the other world — Adam and Jonas (teen) leave the caves and Adam tells him to save the other Martha — “But it’s just as much her fault. You are two parts of the same whole. Only together can you return to the origin world.” Adam and Jonas see Helge (elderly — counterpart) walking through the woods saying, “tick-tock”. It’s the day of apocalypse in the other world — “The loophole also exists here. For a moment time will stand still. You must get Martha before Magnus and Franziska get her. And before everything happens again. You two are our last hope”. A slightly shocked Jonas receives the time-traveling device from Jonas. Dark season 3, episode 8, “The Paradise” offers a break in the cycle — Adam can finally see what the real problem is.

2020 — the original world — tell papa that I’m sorry

Claudia (elderly) tells the slightly younger Claudia that Jonas will fix everything. The younger Claudia asks her elderly self to tell their father that she’s sorry. Claudia (elderly) says if this all works, then Regina will live. There’s the motive here for Claudia in the final episode, but it is a sacrificial one.

2019 — the other world — stopping Magnus and Franziska

Martha (teen — counterpart) is on the bike with Bartosz (teen — counterpart) on the way to the nuclear plant. Jonas sees Magnus (adult) and Franziska (adult) and realizes he must quickly stop them. Jonas prepares his time-traveling device and runs towards Martha and they disappear.

June, 21 — 1986 — the original world

When they arrive in the original world, Martha (teen — counterpart) is shocked to see Jonas (teen) is alive and Jonas is shocked that Martha looks almost identical to the one in his world. They are both upset and heartbroken and you can feel the weight of their love, on the cusps of both worlds starting to hit the breaking point as we reach the final stages. Martha angrily asks where they are. Jonas explains the period they are in and its relevance — “The day our worlds were created // Tannhaus, the clockmaker, will open the passage for the first time today”. Dark season 3, episode 8, “The Paradise” sees Jonas understanding the task at hand and what it means. If you remember in previous episodes, Adam suggests that his younger self is naive — he still is, but this time, his naivety is leading to the ultimate solution to all this.

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Burning Adam and Eve

Meanwhile, Adam is in the other world and he burns the portrait of Adam and Eva. He then heads to the dark matter and stabilizes it.

June, 21 — 1986 — the original world — we are a glitch

Jonas (teen) and Martha (teen — counterpart) head to the caves. Jonas explains that they are returning someone from the dead — “We have to get to them before they die”. Martha grabs him and Jonas explains that they are the reason all this happens, time and time again — “Because you can’t let go of what you want. And I can’t let go of what I want. But we are the glitch. The glitch in the matrix”. Martha asks if he doesn’t want them both to exist — “Your world and mine. That we never exist”. The true weight of what’s happening dawns on Martha here and she’s clearly devastated but willing to go to the end with Jonas.

Adam visits Eva

Adam visits Eva. She sees he is carrying a gun but she says, “Every death is just a new beginning.” Eva grabs the gun and points it at her chest and tells Adam that he cannot win. She asks him, “What are you waiting for?” and pulls the trigger but no bullets are released. Adam shows her the bullets in his hands. Eva is confused as it hasn’t gone the way she expects.

Adam explains that they will both die and tells her what he has done — “Everything we have done will be ultimately forgotten. We are responsible for this never-ending déjà vu. And we’re the ones who have to end it. We are the mistake. You and I”. Adam explains how Tannhaus could never let go of the pain in the origin world when his family died and Jonas and Martha must take his pain away so that he never looks for a way to undo it all. Adam and Eva hug.

This scene is oddly touching and sinister at the same time — seeing both characters in their elderly forms finally hugging each other, knowing that their undying love created the glitch and all the problems feel easily conclusive — they are exhausted by what they were and what they’ve become. Adam and Eva are finally at peace.

We were created

Meanwhile, Jonas and Martha go deep into the cave and reach the door in the final episode — they go through it. Jonas explains that this is the moment the passage was first opened in any world and Tannhaus created the knot — “We were created”. Tannhaus starts his machine in the origin world and the passage opens in front of Martha and Jonas.

Suddenly, Jonas is in a never-ending abyss of life and he cannot see Martha. Martha is also in a never-ending abyss of life and she cannot see Jonas. They yell for each other but it’s distorted. Suddenly, a door opens in front of Jonas and a child Martha looks through it and tells her mother Katharina that “he looks sad,” referring to Jonas. Martha sees a door open and she sees a child Jonas with his father. Child Jonas says there’s a girl standing there. Both doors close and they walk backward to bump into each other.

It’s clear they saw the passages to their opposite worlds and then they see the passage to origin world, the one that created all this. Jonas gets out the time-traveling device and they walk through that passage. Dark season 3, episode 8, “The Paradise” brings a touching moment in this scene — it’s incredible how Dark has managed to convey the love between Martha and Jonas; both characters seemed emotionally inflicted by seeing the child versions of each other.

The origin world

We are now in the origin world in the final episode. The son Marek is annoyed at Tannhaus for never letting go of his scientific exploration and claims that his mother couldn’t stand it here with the endless lecturing of the Big Bang and Big Crunch. Marek claims he and Sonja have never been interested. Marek walks out and Sonja tells Tannhaus that he will cool off.

There’s a storm outside but Marek drives through it with Sonja and their child anyway. Marek is annoyed that his father never cared about his family but only about science. They kiss while Marek is at the wheel and then Jonas (teen) and Martha (teen -= counterpart) appear in front of them and they swerve and stop the car. Remember, in the original timeline, Marek continued driving in the storm and reaches a bridge where the accident occurs, which kills them and encourages Tannhaus to create a time machine.

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The origin world — visited by angels

Marek gets out of the car and approaches Jonas and Martha. Jonas tells Marek that the bridge is not open as there’s been an accident. Marek thinks it’s a joke but Jonas references his father — “What we know is a drop. What we do not know is an ocean”. Martha then tells Marek that his father loves him. Sonja leaves the car and checks on Marek and he now believes the bridge isn’t open and decides to drive back the next day. Marek and Sonja return to Tannhaus’s house and Sonja tells Tannhaus that Marek thinks he was visited by angels who were warning him. Sonja asks Tannhaus if he’d like to hold the baby — Charlotte. The accident never happened and the two worlds were never created by the origin world.

The origin world — are we just a dream?

Martha (teen — counterpart) asks Jonas (teen) if it worked. Jonas explains how in the light he saw her as a child — “You were looking in my direction as if we could see each other”. Martha asks if that was him when she opened the closet as a child — “It wasn’t a dream”. Martha wonders if any of them will remain or if they are just a dream and never really existed. Suddenly, both Martha and Jonas start disappearing as they are removed from existence. Jonas tells Martha, “You and I are perfect for each other. Never believe anything else”. They hold hands as they both disappear. Adam and Eva hold hands as they disappear and then other characters disappear from existence to “What a Wonderful World” by Soap&Skin.

This is a difficult scene to take in the final episode and it relies on the emotional journey to what we’ve experienced from the start of this series. For Jonas to say, “You and I are perfect for each other,” as they are about to be removed from existence is painful, as it has an entirely different meaning this time around before he said it to Martha with the intention of fixing both worlds — it was a lover’s promise in a circumstance he was not aware was cycling. Using it this time as parting words is tragic. Dark centers love in the story, but it is reckless, endless, forbidden, and tragic love.

Déjà vu

We are then shown a scene with Hannah, Regina, Benni, Peter, Wöller, and Katharina enjoying dinner and drinks as adults in the final scenes of the final episode of Dark. They are all living different lives. As they ask Wöller how his eye sorted, strong thunder and lightning hits. Katharina asks Hannah if she’s okay as she seems beside herself.

Hannah feels she has experienced déjà vu as she looks at a yellow coat — “What happened now, last night, that’s what I dreamed about. The light was flickering, loud thunder outside, and then the place was totally dark. And somehow the world ended // It was just dark and it was never light again. 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”. Hannah blames it on the hormones.

The group all state if they had one wish, they would wish for a world without Winden and toast to it. There could be plenty of theories of what Hannah experienced here, but it’s possible she felt her counterpart disappear from the other worlds when Jonas and Martha set the new future in motion.

How does Dark season 3, episode 8, “The Paradise” end?

The lights turn back on and Wöller puts his hand on Hannah’s pregnant belly and kisses her while stating that the world didn’t end. Katharina asks if Hannah has chosen a name and she says “Jonas”.

The final ever episode of Dark deserves all the praise it gets. It’s painfully tragic but it confidently weaves the storylines together to bring a conclusive, beautiful and murky ending.


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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.

2 thoughts on “Dark season 3, episode 8 recap and breakdown – the final episode explained

  • July 5, 2020 at 12:44 am
    Permalink

    This was a great wrap-up to what is easily one of the best sci fi shows ever. One thing keeps nagging though, and I’ve seen it mentioned elsewhere—if this is the first time they enter the “time bridge”, meaning a direction never before taken as Claudia states, how is it they remember seeing their older selves in the closet?

    Reply
    • July 5, 2020 at 6:53 am
      Permalink

      Yeah, the scene within the time bridge is confusing. The only real interpretation is that this isn’t the first time they’ve done this. It’s another loop. But if it’s a loop, what happened during the previous attempts?

      And the ending with them preventing the accident and thus erasing the creation of the divergent worlds and themselves, means they didn’t exist to to prevent the accident to begin with.

      It’s a paradox that doesn’t seem to make sense, occurring outside of the original loop within their own worlds. So, either the writers wrote themselves into a corner and concocted this unexplainable ending to wrap up the story….

      or….. ?

      Reply

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