Episode three of Dark continues to set up the time-travel side of the show while also hinting at answers about what’s going on at the ever-present and looming nuclear power plant. We ended the last episode in the eighties with a time-displaced Mikkel and episode three picks up right where two dropped us off. Mikkel is standing at the door of his 2019 house, only it’s 33 years prior. His sixteen-year-old mom and dad blew him off at the end of the last episode, so he does what any 12-year-old would do in this situation—goes into the house on his own. There he finds his distraught grandmother. She of course is gone to pieces over the disappearance of her son, Ulrich’s brother, so you can imagine how much of a mind melter it would be to have a boy the same age as your son come waltzing into your living room. Naturally she thinks he is her son at first, and I am sure this thoroughly weirds Mikkel out.
The distraught grandmother crying on the floor completes our cold open. I have yet to mention this by the way, but Dark’s intro is a very nice complement to the tone of the show. It consists of a mirror image split screens and a song that is haunting while weirdly energizing. I could just really like the song but I definitely don’t have the urge to hit Skip Intro, as Netflix loves to remind me I have the ability to do.
Last episode we got our first taste of time travel and this time we spend almost the whole episode in the eighties, being reintroduced to the characters we’ve met during the first two episodes. Only this time they’re 33 years younger. Last episode Mikkel ran into his awesomely eighties punky German father and his mom, but this week we see all present-day characters in the past. We are also introduced to a few new characters, including minor ones such as Ines, a nurse who treats Mikkel and turns out to be the mysterious woman who opens Jonas’ fathers letter in 2019. Oh what a tangled web we weave.
Here, we meet the mother of Regina, the boss at the current day power plant. She is at her first day on the job and comes across something pretty terrifying, giving us a glimpse into what is going on at the plant. A man in a wheelchair (former power plant boss) takes Claudia to what I thought might be the 1986 version of the cave where they lost Mikkel, but turns out is ANOTHER CAVE. This one with a crazy rope drop that Claudia expertly rappels in heels and 1980’s shoulder pads, like a straight up boss. Once she gets down there, things get interesting. She goes deep into a tunnel (not the tunnel) and stumbles upon what can only be described as a plethora of nuclear waste containers.
Next up we have a repeat of the mass animal death from episode two. As this is happening, Winden’s electricity starts going nuts and 2019 Mikkel thinks this is his chance to get back home. He bolts back to the cave from whence he came, and we are treated to a very cool piece of filmmaking. Time is literally folding up on itself as at one point Ulrich can hear Mikkel yelling for help and Mikkel can hear Ulrich trying to beat down the mysterious nuclear hazard door. Ultimately, Mikkel doesn’t cross back over and Ulrich is left distraught, but the juxtaposition of timelines got my adrenaline pumping.
The show continues with this side-by-side screen to introduce and confirm who the 1986 versions of present-day characters are. We are shown that Ines is Jonas’ grandmother and keeper of his father’s time letter and it is confirmed that Claudia is Regina’s mother. The end of the episode shows us someone we haven’t seen before—a wizened old German clock maker, who is putting the finishing touches on either the world’s most ornate and intricate clock or on a time machine. Dark is picking up steam and layering its complicated plot in a magnificent way. I can’t wait to keep watching.
This episode earns a: 8.8/10