Caution: Spoilers for Netflix’s Dark are ahead, including some mild spoilers for season 3.
To say there are a lot of dates in Netflix’s Dark is an understatement. The German series, set in the fictional town of Winden, deals with not only traveling through time but also traveling through different worlds. Time is a circle and characters are able to travel 33 years into the past and future. Events repeat themselves across the different worlds with slight variations, but Dark brings us to the same few time periods: the 1880s, 1920s, 1950s, 1980s, 2019-2020, and the 2050s. One date in particular stands out in the series, regardless of what world you’re in, however: June 27, 2020. The apocalypse.
The date looms heavily over season 2 as we count down to the apocalypse among many, many other timelines. (It’s also the release date for season 3, naturally.) The apocalypse is triggered by a multitude of actions across timelines: Elisabeth’s activation of the God particle in 2053, Magnus and Franziska’s activation of the twin God particle in 1921, and the opening of a yellow barrel at the power plant in 2020. The barrel’s contents form a third God particle, then a stable wormhole between 2020 and 2053, allowing Elisabeth and Charlotte to touch each other.
Season 2 didn’t provide us much about the apocalyptic event itself — a massive shockwave erupts, engulfing the Kahnwald house. (Both the bunker and the chamber containing the God particle managed to withstand the blast, however.) We see this shockwave again and again in season 3. In the post-apocalyptic future of 2053, to no one’s surprise, not many survived.
In season 3, we do get a peek at how June 27, 2020’s events in Winden affected the rest of the world, however. We overhear on a radio that scientists around the world have been trying to figure out just what happened on that date, but that they have learned it originated in Winden. French scientists discovered the world stood still for a nanosecond, causing a diverge of tidal forces. The world experienced tidal waves, plane crashes, and electrical outages at nuclear power plants.
The key part of this date — and the apocalypse — is the fact that the world stood still for a nanosecond. When time stands still, it breaks the chain of cause and effect. Eva has been using this still moment to send her younger self in different directions, maintaining the cycle in these worlds. In season 3, Claudia uses it to visit Adam in a moment they’ve never met in before so she can instruct him to send Jonas on a different path and break the cycle once and for all. No pressure.