For many characters in Dark, their purpose revolves around a knot. The knot. For us, the audience, watching the show is untangling that knot. Episode by episode, we crawl along its turns and intersections, marveling at how the timelines criss and cross, its characters weaving among one another, tied in unknowable ways.
The grim inhabitants of Winden, a small German town dwarfed by the nearby nuclear power plant, guide us through a slow mystery. Horrifying splashes mark many episodes spent staring at the strange, or whiling away infinite hours in cryptic conversations. At times, the pace is maddening. At times, you wonder why nobody can speak a straightforward sentence.
Dark holds a reward for those who wait to reach the knots center. Explanations abound in increasing frequency as the finale approaches, and those vague dialogues come to have a purpose. Characters once ghosting around the fringes are found to have integral purpose, though some side arcs dwindle without much effect. At journey's end, it's hard to go back and find a scene that served no purpose, which is quite the wonderful feeling. Like finishing a delicious plate and reveling in every bite.
Make it that far and you'll find a brave ending. Dark doesn't shy away from its consequences, and doesn't paper over its dire tones with a faux fairy tale conclusion. When the credits rolled on its last episode, I felt fulfilled, not wishing for more nor checking my watch for lost time.
If I'm being vague here, too, it's because spoiling this show wouldn't do anyone any favors. There are other sites and other articles that will outline Dark's every little mystery. They exist, and they should be ignored until you have taken the wandering trip down Dark's temporal trails.
Watch it slow, savoring each episode and coming up with your own ideas about who is who, what is what, when is when. Tease at Dark's ends and see whether you manage to unravel the answer before the show does. If not, you'll be as taken aback as the show's stars. If you do, then you'll be treated to a satisfying treat and not a slapdash conclusion meant to goose on another season.
Dark, all three seasons, are on Netflix now. I recommend watching in German, with subtitles, and with the lights off.
In other news, Rogue Bet comes out next week! Feel free to snag it at its pre-order price, and catch another adventure for Davin Masters and his motley mercenary bunch as they get themselves into too much trouble . . . again.
Also, this week, Drop Zone, the opener to Sever Squad, is free! I'll talk a little more about this one on Friday, and about how accidental dallies can sometimes start you on far longer journeys than you expected. If you're looking for something to help the real world disappear for a couple weeks, Drop Zone can definitely deliver a quick escape to a different reality.