Who has control over our future? Netflix’s ‘Dark’ will make you rethink your answer


Graphic by Angel Harper

“The distinction between past, present and future is nothing but an illusion. Yesterday, today and tomorrow are not consecutive, they are connected in a never-ending circle. Everything is connected.”

Sic mundus creatus est.
Thus the world was created.

The latin phrase appears on a small door in the center of a labyrinth-like cave under a nuclear power plant. The door leads to both the beginning and end of time.

Time is stuck in an infinite loop. The past influences the future, and the future influences the past.

I was skeptical when my mom first insisted that I watch this show. I have never understood the horror genre’s obsession with supernatural tropes, because I only find something truly terrifying if it happens in real life. However, my favorite thing about “Dark” is that, while it is technically fiction, the concepts the show explores might already be happening around us.

Dark analyzes the cyclical patterns of time, and by doing so, adds a new perspective to our linear timeline.

The show opens with a mystery; a boy has gone missing in both 1986 and 2019. We follow Jonas, a boy from 2019, as he journeys through Winden’s history and future on a mission to stop the serial killer Noah, a priest who appears to be a godless cynic, and close the time loop forever.

I’ve always been captivated by the concept of time and how it can be measured or manipulated; therefore, I can not express how emphatically I recommend this show. It’s made me question how I perceive my existence in the universe and how I look at history’s relationship with the future. Dark is perfect for anyone interested in physics, philosophy and the mysteries of the universe.

Not only is the premise of the show mind boggling, but also the relationships between each of the characters has just the right amount of mystery to keep me enraptured. Each individual’s life is revealed piece by piece throughout the episodes, tracking their past, present and future. The behavioral patterns of each family mirrors the history and future of its pedigree. It’s really interesting to consider how we follow the same paths our parents did, and to what extent we have control over our destinies.

A question the show asks us is: “Who has control over our future?”

Is it us or is it time?

One of my favorite quotes from the show is, “What if everything that came from the past was influenced by the future,” because it made me examine the similarities between two things I had separated in my head.

Ever since I was little, a respect for time has ruled my life and the decisions I’ve made. I like to be on time for events, have enough time for the things I enjoy and spend my time wisely. But am I the ruler of these decisions? Or have they already been decided for me?

Another question “Dark” poses is, “What controls destiny?” It seems as though the characters in the show have free will, yet the decisions they make for themselves are predetermined by decisions they have made in the future, in the past and generational patterns already etched into history.

A quote that struck me was: “We’re not free in what we do, because we’re not free in what we want.” After I heard a character (no spoilers!) say this, it stuck with me because I’ve never heard this take on free will before. It’s true. I’ve never been able to choose who I’ve crushed on, what subjects I’m good at, what music I’ve liked. Maybe destiny is the unknown, intrinsic entity that dictates our desires, or maybe who we are is completely random and can be manipulated by outside forces.

These are the kinds of philosophical debates you’ll find yourself pondering as you are pulled deeper and deeper into “Dark”’s world.

The work “Dark”’s crew did to bring Winden to life is masterful. The sleek cinematography, creative color palette and eerie soundtrack meld together to create a suspenseful and absorbing show.

Out of all the production elements, the foreboding music is definitely my favorite. The background music is shrill and plunges to low notes out of nowhere. Everytime I hear this sound effect in a tense scene, my stomach drops.

This noise is so striking that my dad likes to randomly produce it when wandering around the house. I can never get it out of my head.

In fact, I think this show and its questions will be bouncing around my head for quite some time. “Dark” is the perfect example of a rewatchable show, because there are so many little details that I missed the first time around that brought me to a new understanding of the story on consecutive viewings.

The only catch is the show is entirely in German, and to watch, you have to be ready to read along with the subtitles.

I highly, highly, highly recommend “Dark”. It will be the most mind melting, mystifying show you will ever see.