Let’s go deeper into the rabbit hole that Dark is taking us down.
The Clockmakers’ voiceover:
“Black holes are considered to be the hellmouths of the universe. Those who fall inside, disappear forever. But, where to? What is it that exists behind a black hole? What other things vanish there, along with space and time? Or, are space and time tied together as part of an endless cycle? What if everything from the past was actually influenced by the future?”
Helge: “Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.”
The camera rapidly rotates through images. We’re shown the bunker door outside the Doppler family cabin in the woods; the electromagnetic torture chair that sits in the center of the room; the desk table with pine cone crafts on it; symbols and words on stone, paper, and a tattoo on human skin; one of the dead children; an article about Mikkel’s disappearance; the Stranger’s determined face; comic books; shelves of the nature crafts; hands making more cone and acorn figures; and Old Helge staring into space, repeating tick tock to himself.
Some of these images are new, while some are already familiar.
After the best eerie theme song around plays, the scene moves to the Doppler household, where Franziska is screaming about Elisabeth stealing her lipstick. Peter and Charlotte emerge from their separate bedrooms and coordinate carpooling for the day.
Elisabeth denies taking the lipstick, saying she doesn’t want it, because she’s 8 and doesn’t use makeup. Franziska says she doesn’t believe her. She doesn’t buy her innocent mask or her “deaf and helpless act”, unlike their parents. When Charlotte enters, Franziska storms out.
Charlotte tells Elisabeth that she’s driving her to school. Elizabeth asks if it’s because of Mikkel, who she doesn’t like. Charlotte says it is, but won’t discuss the case any further.
Jonas studies his map, then gets ready for school. Hannah tells him he doesn’t have to go, and offers to spend time together instead. Jonas still wants to go to school.
Peter visits Helge on his way to school. Helge is agitated and rambling, saying, “It has to stop. I have to tell him. Tick-tock.”
On the drive to school, Charlotte has the radio news on. The announcer reports on Erik, then on Mikkel’s disappearance. He moves on to recent repeated blackouts in the region, with promises from the utility company to solve the issue.
Charlotte pulls over near the spot where the dead boy’s body was found. She breaks into a wildlife conservation camera and takes the SD chip which records the camera’s data. Elisabeth accuses her of stealing. Charlotte tries to explain that when it’s a police officer looking for evidence it doesn’t count as stealing, but Elisabeth doesn’t see the difference.
Jonas goes to the cave. He enters, using part of the map. The Stranger watches from behind a tree. Jonas searches the tunnels, eventually finding a narrow tunnel that’s marked on the map.
When Charlotte drops Elisabeth off, she runs to sit with her new boyfriend, Yasin. Before she leaves, Charlotte tells Elisabeth she’ll pick her up later.
Magnus crashes Franziska’s Math class, then follows her when she goes to the bathroom.
Charlotte has the medical examiner do an autopsy on one of the dead songbirds. The bird has atypical white feathers. Charlotte explains that 33 years ago, she also found birds like this. The events are repeating themselves, between the dead birds and the missing children. She knows it’s all connected, but she can’t determine how.
When Charlotte arrives at the police station, one-eyed cop Torben Wöller stops her to complain that someone has tipped off the press about the dead boy’s body and they’ve been getting calls all morning. Charlotte doesn’t have any instructions on what to say about the body. She asks about Ulrich, who not in yet, and orders Torben to expand the database search for matches to the dead boy back at least 15 years. Torben also tells Charlotte that the red soil on the dead boy’s shoes doesn’t match the area where he was found, so it must match the crime scene.
Ulrich is still at home, asleep in Mikkel’s bed. He startles awake at a little past ten, to find Katharina watching him. She informs him that Charlotte called to say they haven’t been able to get the search warrant for the power plant yet. It’s been almost 36 hours since Mikkel disappeared. Ulrich, who slept in his clothes, rushes out of the house.
Charlotte decides to check her theory that it’s all connected. She checks what time Mikkel disappeared, then looks at the camera footage on the SD card from that time period. One car drove down the road. Charlotte prints out a screencap of the car.
While it’s printing, Torben comes in to ask if he should keep trying to identify the tire tracks from Erik’s disappearance. He’s been working on them in Ulrich’s absence. He noses around her print out and Charlotte impatiently tells him he should be working on the database, like she just ordered him to. After he’s gone, Charlotte looks at the image. Peter’s license plate number is clearly visible.
Peter goes to his car, which has red soil on the drivers side floor mat. He seems surprised, like either he didn’t track it there, or he hasn’t noticed it before. He pulls out the mat and shakes it off.
Charlotte calls, saying she just discovered that she missed a call from him on the night Mikkel disappeared. She wonders if it was important. Peter tells her he called to say he’d be home late, because he was stuck at the office writing reports. Charlotte not so subtly determines if this is what he’s going with as his alibi for that day and evening. He is. He was at the office the whole time on Monday, until 10 PM. Mikkel disappeared between 9:30-10:30 PM.
Charlotte makes up a lame excuse about supposedly calling looking for some mail, and they hang up. Peter almost faints from relief.
Franziska doesn’t go to the bathroom. She knows Magnus is following her and leads him out into the woods, to the old train tracks, where she digs up a metal box she keeps hidden there. She removes a wad of cash wrapped in paper, then reburies the box and goes back to school. Magnus stays hidden, but watches her the whole time.
Charlotte visits a prostitute’s trailer on the edge of town. The prostitute is listed as “Transvestite Benni” on IMDB. Charlie wants to know if Peter visited Benni last Monday. Peter was a regular of Benni’s in the past, but hasn’t been to visit in a year. Benni can’t resist twisting the knife in Charlotte a little by describing intimate details about Peter, as if asking the question wasn’t humiliating enough for Charlotte. Benni apparently has an axe to grind.
Jonas goes deeper into the caves, but eventually reaches a dead end. From the look on his face, it doesn’t seem like he expected the passage to end there. Old Helge chants, “The beginning is the end and the end is the beginning.”
Helge overhears people talking about the mutilated body that was found.
Franziska returns to schools and changes her clothes for dance class. Magnus watches Franziska in dance class.
Jonas leaves the caves and goes to get his bike. Someone has put on red cord, knotted into a noose, on his handlebar.
Ulrich jumps the power plant fence to investigate on his own.
Charlotte drives out to the old Doppler family cabin in the woods which has red soil that looks the same as the soil from Peter’s car. She gets a call from the medical examiner, who tells her that the bird has burst eardrums on both sides, just like the dead boy. But it probably died from becoming disoriented while flying and crashing into the ground. The ME says it happens to birds frequently when, “Electromagnetic fields interfere with their sensory systems.” It’s caused by voltages in the radio wave spectrum, like those used by electrical appliances.
Charlotte asks about the white spots. The ME says that they are a mutation that started appearing after Chernobyl. But this bird had normal radiation levels.
Elisabeth waits at school to get picked up by Charlotte, but Charlotte is busy investigating out at the cabin. She goes down into a bunker, but is interrupted by a phone call about Ulrich.
After dance class, Magnus confronts Franziska with the cash. He wants to know where she got so much money and what she intends to do with it. She tells him that she wants to use it to escape, because everyone in this town is a liar. He accuses her of being a liar too. She tells him that her parents marriage is over because her father realized that he likes men. They’ve slept in separate bedrooms for a year, but they won’t admit they’re done and get a divorce. She can’t breathe in her house. She shoves Magnus.
Magnus takes this as an invitation to kiss her, as if he thinks he’s spent the afternoon declaring his romantic feelings toward her. Nothing gets a gal going like stealing her stuff, stalking her, and humiliating her while not becoming emotionally engaged at all. This somehow makes him a real man instead of a jerk.
Since she’s a male fantasy, Franziska loves his advances and hops right up in his lap to have public sex. Before they’re done, she’ll probably beg him to hit her a few times, too, to punish her for being such a bad girl.
Charlotte calls Peter at the office and asks him to pick up Elisabeth from school while she rescues Ulrich from the power plant. Peter has a patient, but she makes him go. Before they hang up, Charlotte says, “You made me a promise a year ago. If there’s anything at all you want to tell me…” Peter looks very conflicted for several seconds, but then says he’d better leave to get Elisabeth.
Elisabeth has already been waiting for a while and everyone else is gone. She decides she’s had enough, puts on some of Franziska’s lipstick and begins to walk home. She doesn’t get far before it’s pouring rain and she’s jumping through puddles. She finds an ominous Raider candy wrapper on the road.
When Peter gets to the school, he’s told that the teacher was sick, so the kids were sent home early. The parents were supposed to be informed. He races back to the car.
Helge also takes advantage of the rain to wander the countryside. It’s really no wonder that Peter is always a nervous wreck.
Alexander brings Charlotte to Ulrich, explaining that he climbed over the fence. On the drive back to town, Ulrich obsesses over why it was his son who disappeared, instead of Alexander’s son, or one of Charlotte’s kids. He’s sure that more would be done to find them if the child of a more powerful family was missing. He has her drop him on the side of the road outside of town.
Peter calls to let Charlotte know that he can’t find Elisabeth. She gives him instructions for continuing the search, then drives along Elisabeth’s route herself. She finds the girl’s hat on the ground. When she gets home, Peter’s called everyone in Elisabeth’s class, but no one’s seen her. The police search the area where Charlotte found the hat long into the night.
Franziska comes home and finds her parents huddled on the couch together. They tell her about Elizabeth.
Ulrich goes home and straight upstairs without talking to Katharina.
Jonas puzzles over his map.
Torben leads the search for Elisabeth. Helge wanders to the search zone and tells Torben, “I have to tell him. He has to stop it.”
A few minutes later, Elisabeth comes home all by herself. She says she got tired of waiting so she walked home. On the way, she met someone named Noah, who gave her a pocket watch for Charlotte. He said the watch used to belong to Charlotte. When Charlotte examines the watch, she discover the message, “For Charlotte” engraved on the inside cover.
Franziska hugs Elisabeth and says she was worried about her. Then she notices that her sister is wearing her lipstick and slaps her. She says to say away from her stuff. Charlotte and Peter ignore the interaction.
Torben calls Peter to let him let him know Helge’s in the woods.
The Stranger watches Jonas sleep. He takes the map out of Jonas’ desk drawer and writes something on it.
“We are searching for the thread of Ariadne so that it can guide us on the right path and act as a beacon in the darkness. We would love to know what our fate will be, just where we are headed. But the truth is, that there is just one path through all times, predetermined by the beginning and by the end. Which is also the beginning.”
Helge lies in bed. He grabs the arm of the nurse standing next to him, saying, “He has to stop it. I have to stop him.” The nurse asks who he has to stop: “Noah.”
The next morning, Elisabeth’s friend Yasin walks to school by himself. He comes upon a figurine made from acorns, sitting on the road. A man in black stands in front of Yasin and says, “You must be Yasin. Noah sent me.”
For a small town which has lost two children within a few weeks, there’s a disturbing lack of supervision of the kids in Winden. Even the police chief’s daughter wanders off from school without the teachers noticing, then, the day after the police spend hours searching for her, her best friend wanders off, too.
Plus, the teacher blamed Peter when she allowed Elisabeth to wander away alone. What the heck?? How about she supervises the kid she’s in charge of, and calls the parent when no one comes to get her?
We don’t see the face of the man in black. We also don’t see Noah. And, we’ve never gotten a good look at the man who puts the boys into that chair. We don’t know for sure that Noah is the man Helge wants to stop, but disappearing Elisabeth for several hours, then sending her home with a missing possession, is pretty darn shady.
The Clockmaker states definitively that there is only a single timeline in Dark, and events can’t be changed. Whatever happens is what’s always happened. The part with the “beginning and the end and the beginning” tells us that though there’s only one timeline and time can’t be changed, time can loop and you can travel the entire timeline in any order.
New characters will be added at the bottom, as they’re introduced.
Cast from the Episode 1/Secrets murder board:
Charlotte Doppler in 1986 and 2019. Married to Peter, mother to Franziska and Elisabeth, daughter-in-law to Helge. Police Chief.
Hannah Kahnwald, in 2019 and 1986. Mother to Jonas, widow of Michael, daughter-in-law of Ines, having an affair with Ulrich. Massage therapist.
Helge Doppler, in 2019, 1986, and 1953. Son of Bernd and Greta, father of Peter, father-in-law to Charlotte. Nuclear power plant guard.
Ines Kahnwald, in 2019, 1986 and 1953. Daughter to Daniel, adoptive mother to Michael, mother-in-law to Hannah, grandmother to Jonas. Hospital nurse.
Jana Nielsen, in 1953, 1986 and 2019. Tronte’s wife, mother of Ulrich and Mads.
Jonas Kahnwald in 2019. Son of Hannah and Michael, grandson of Ines. High school student.
Katharina Nielsen in 1986 and 2019. Wife to Ulrich, mother of Magnus, Martha and Mikkel. High school principal.
Mads Nielson, 1986, age 12. Missing since then. Ulrich Nielsen, 1986 and 2019. Son of Tronte and Jana, husband of Katharina, father of Martha, Magnus and Mikkel, lover to Hannah. Police officer.
Michael Kahnwald, 2019, husband to Hannah, father to Jonas, adoptive son to Ines. Deceased artist.
Regina Tiedemann, 1986 and 2019. Wife to Alexander, mother to Bartosz, daughter of Claudia, granddaughter of Egon. Hotelier.
Magnus and Martha Nielson, 2019, children of Ulrich and Katharina, siblings of Mikkel. High school students. Franziska Doppler, 2019, daughter of Peter and Charlotte. High school student. Aleksander Tiedemann, 1986 and 2019, husband of Regina, father of Bartosz, son-in-law of Claudia. Director of Nuclear Power Plant in 2019. Bartosz Tiedemann, 2019. Son of Regina and Aleksander. High school student, aspiring drug dealer.
Tronte Nielson in 1953, 1986 and 2019. Son to Agnes, husband to Jana, father to Ulrich and Mads.
Jürgen Obendorf, maintenance worker at the nuclear power plant, and Erik Obendorf’s father. And Erik Obendorf, high schooler and drug dealer, missing for 2 weeks. Both pictured in 2019.
Peter Doppler in 2019, therapist, married to Charlotte Doppler (police chief), son of Helge Doppler, father of Franziska and Elizabeth Doppler. Bernd Doppler in 1986, founder and first director of the Winden Nuclear Power Plant, husband of Greta, father of Helge, grandfather of Peter.
The Stranger, a man who appeared in 2019 from the cave and is living in the Tiedemann’s hotel. He appears to be investigating Mikkel’s disappearance. HG Tannhaus in 1986, a Clockmaker and the author of A Journey Through Time.
Egon Tiedemann in 1986, a police officer, husband to Doris, Claudia’s father and Regina’s grandfather, Aleksander’s grandfather-in-law, Ulrich’s nemesis. Claudia Tiedemann in 1986, incoming director of Winden Nuclear Power Plant, daughter of Egon, mother of Regina, grandmother of Bartosz, has an affair with Tronte Nielson.
Elisabeth Doppler, 2019, daughter of Peter and Charlotte, granddaughter of Helge, sister of Franziska. Yasin Friese, 2019, best friend and classmate of Elisabeth. Both communicate using sign language.
Torben Wöller, 2109, detective who works under Charlotte. Benni, 2019, prostitute who works out of a trailer parked on the edge of Winden and who Peter has frequented in the past.
Images courtesy of Netflix.