In season 2 episode 5 of Dark, Lost and Found, Young Jonas and Adam have a long fireside chat, while Bartosz spills the beans and the rest of the teenagers become time travelers. Old Ulrich and Young Mikkel are reunited, but Egon and Ines tear them apart again. Katharina and Clausen continue to look for answers.
It’s Stranger Jonas’ turn for a sex dream with Martha, but his doesn’t go so well. Martha develops black veins in her abdomen, which lead to the God Particle bursting forth from her belly to envelop him like it’s The Blob.
Stranger Jonas startles awake. He turns and sits up, still in his childhood bedroom in June, 2020.
Love hurts, y’all. 34 years later, at home again, with Mama Hannah sleeping in the next room, he’s still having nightmares. Specifically, time travel nightmares about time consuming the love of his life and then himself, as soon as he finds her again. He must hate the God Particle and what it’s done to his life and family.
I believe that everyone who has been born would have been born even if the God Particle had never been created. Time in Winden has become twisted and warped, warping the relationships of the people who live there. Dark may go darker than that, but I believe in the power of Martha and Jonas. They are Ariadne and Dionysus, saviors who each have their own story but are meant to end up together.
Dark is the story of Sic Mundus, a possibly sinister mystery cult created by a desperate man who wants to change the laws of physics. It’s the story of Winden, a small town with a nuclear power plant and a history of mysterious deaths and tangled, often sordid, interactions between the townspeople. It’s the story of the evolution of time travel and how it affects the people who use it. And it’s the story of a series of star crossed pairs and trios, separated through space, time, and the circumstances of their own births.
The last one might be the most important.
Opening credits, which I always let play, because I love that song.
Young Jonas wakes up. For the first time since we’ve been watching him, he doesn’t wake up with a nightmare. He’s not sure where he is, so after a moment, he becomes alert, then quickly sits up to look at the room. He’s still in the Sic Mundus HQ in 1921, deep underground. The room is dimly lit and Adam sits quietly in a shadowy corner, watching him.
Before Jonas has a chance to draw any of his own conclusions, Adam makes one for him: “Isn’t it peculiar that we feel the greatest aversion to the very people who are most similar to ourselves?”
Since the cycles aren’t repeating each loop exactly, even if Adam is Jonas, he didn’t necessarily live through this moment and he doesn’t necessarily know Jonas’ feelings. He’s making the assumption that Jonas is repulsed by his appearance and also trying to throw Jonas off balance again. Holding Jonas prisoner, making sure that he’s never alone so that he can’t explore on his own or ask anyone else questions, and watching him sleep are all much creepier than Adam’s appearance.
But this also tells us that Adam is repulsed by Jonas. Sometimes the person you love the most is also the person you hate the most.
Jonas replies that he just wants to find out how to get home. Adam sternly tells him to get dressed and leaves the room without another word. The outfit laid out for Jonas is from before everything started in Winden, and includes his season 1 yellow raincoat.
But the most important thing that just happened is that Jonas woke up. We were shown Stranger Jonas startling awake, followed by Young Jonas simply waking up, for a reason. Jonas’ own presence isn’t enough to to stop the nightmares, even decades later. His mother isn’t. Being at home isn’t. There is no reason why an Adam who is an older version of Jonas would make Young Jonas feel safe enough to stop the nightmares, if Stranger Jonas still doesn’t feel safe.
Whoever Adam is, he’s not Jonas. He knows enough about Jonas and is enough of an actor/trickster/liar to convince Jonas for a brief, staged performance, but it’s not him. Characters lie, to each other and themselves. Never forget.
Maybe Adam has amnesia and thinks he’s Jonas, but I doubt it.
Adam is moving his playing pieces where he wants them, and instructing them on which moves he wants them to make, through the use of of storytelling. As a storyteller, playing the role of Older Jonas was the one he deemed the most effective to motivate Young Jonas.
June 25, 2020- 2 Days Until the Apocalypse
Stranger Jonas is dressed and carrying the time machine. He watches Hannah sleep for a moment, then leaves.
Katharina stares at the 1987 class photo showing Mikkel. When Magnus and Martha come downstairs, she calls them over to take a look at what she’s found, but they refuse. She’s ignored them for months, and now that she’s interested in their thoughts, it’s too late. Martha tells her that she’s been acting like she’s the child and the only one who lost someone. They needed her before, but not now. Both kids walk out, taking their version of the time machine with them.
Aleksander tells someone on the phone, probably Torben, to investigate Clausen and figure out why he’s obsessed with the power plant. Regina enters the room to tell Aleksander that Bartosz has been out all night. Aleksander assumes he stayed at Martha’s, but Regina knows they broke up. She asks Aleksander to comfort her that everything will be okay.
At the asylum, Ulrich plans his escape. At the power plant, Claudia puts off the French delegation, again. According to Claudia’s newspaper clipping, Egon is due to die on June 26th.
Back in Adam’s study, Young Jonas looks at the painting of Michael the Archangel throwing the fallen into the abyss. He turns to Adam and asks, “Why am I here?”
Why are any of us here?
Adam never gives a straight answer, to even the simplest of questions. What would be the fun in that?
There’s another character, closely connected to Jonas, who liked to turn questions on their head, think strategically and even philosophically. Sometimes Mikkel spoke in riddles, even as a child, as Adam is about to now.
Adam: “A man lives three lives. The first one ends with the loss of naiveté, the second with the loss of innocence, the third with the the loss of life itself. It is inevitable that we go through all three stages. You will turn into your older self and your older self will turn into what you see here.”
I’ll talk more about this below, but, basically, Adam is full of it. None of the other characters have changed much over the course of their lives. Adam is using this quote or whatever it is as a smokescreen to disguise the fact that he’s not Jonas.
Jonas doesn’t care about Adam’s ramblings. He just wants to do whatever he can to prevent the apocalypse. Adam points out that Jonas isn’t thinking fourth dimensionally (he’s forgetting he has a time machine). With his time machine, he has as much time as he wants to solve his dilemma. Since he’ currently in 1921, he has 99 years before the 2020 apocalypse.
This presupposes that Jonas’ time machine will take him wherever he wants, which it won’t. Each version of a time machine which we’ve seen on Dark goes 33 years forwards or 33 years backwards, to the day. So, in order to stop it from happening, Jonas can currently travel to 2 days before the apocalypse, or 33 years plus 2 days before the apocalypse. Since he’d like to live out his life with the people he loves, instead of aging separately from them in a different time period, the way Mikkel and Ulrich are doing, he has 2 days.
Old Ulrich knocks out an orderly, steals his id card, and uses it to break out of the institution.
Adult Claudia visits Old Egon at his apartment, something she doesn’t normally do. Egon tells her that he’s proud of her and her accomplishments, and her mother would be, too. Claudia asks him to come live with her and Regina. Starting tomorrow. She gives him overnight to think about it.
Hannah is looking through old photos when Katharina knocks on the door. She wants to know how Jonas and Hannah visited Mikkel in the past. Hannah explains that they used a time machine, but Stranger Jonas has gone somewhere and taken the time machine with him.
Katharina sees the photos on the table and says, “He was always here, right in front of me. I just can’t believe you slept with my husband and my son. But you always did want what belonged to me. You’re like a parasite. Did Ulrich ever tell you that he loved you? In the end, he would always choose us.”
Hannah stays silent, as she generally does when under attack. She prefers to maintain her dignity and get her revenge later, if at all. Katharina is just using Hannah as a punching bag, anyway. Hannah didn’t steal her son from her and Ulrich was a grown man who made his own decisions. Hannah didn’t force him to sleep with her. If he didn’t sleep with Hannah, he would have found someone else.
Katharina is the one who is currently throwing away the family she has left. And she’s angry at herself for ignoring Michael all those years.
Clausen comes to the door, hoping to interview Hannah since he missed her the day before. He’s surprised to find Katharina there. He shows Katharina the drawing of Stranger Jonas, but she tells him she doesn’t recognize it, giving Hannah a long look in the process. Then she leaves.
Katharina and Hannah may be frenemies, but they’re still united against the cops, the real enemy.
Hannah tells Clausen that she doesn’t recognize the man in the drawing either. It’s more of an existential statement for her, as we’ve already established.
Meanwhile, Stranger Jonas is busy breaking and entering into Katharina’s house. The Kahnwald’s just don’t respect her stuff.
By the way, if we’re going to discuss people as if they’re property, Mikkel/Michael was Hannah and Jonas’ much longer than he was Katharina’s. (Even though a child also always belongs to their mother.) And neither stole him from her, as she implies.
Katharina (and Ulrich) actively spurned Mikkel in 1987. There was no cosmic bond that drew her to him the way some of the other pairings have been able to find each other across time and age differences. She knows that Jonas and Mikkel were close both as children together and as father and son. That must sting.
Stranger Jonas breaks a window to get into the house, then goes to Martha’s room, taking in the ghosts of his lost future. He sits on Martha’s bed and leaves the St Christopher’s medal for her. Martha has a poster for MacBeth on the wall behind Stranger Jonas. Is that how he becomes Adam, if he does? Is there someone who whispers tempting but tragically terrible advice in his ear?
Back in 1921, Young Jonas asks Adam how much he knows about the future. Adam says that he knows basic history (which would be available to every time traveler, but Jonas hasn’t thought this through yet), but he doesn’t know what the “other” will do. He knows Jonas’ future, but there’s someone else whose future he can’t see that is important in the grand scheme of things, so the future ultimately remains unpredictable to Adam.
Jonas: “There must be a way to change it all, so things happen differently.”
Adam: “A loophole. It took me 66 years to find out how, to find a way to escape this h–l.”
In 2020, Clausen tells Hannah that after being in Winden a week, he’s learned that everyone’s hiding something. He just hasn’t figured out whether everyone is hiding the same secret or if they all have their own individual secrets.
When Hannah doesn’t respond, Clausen asks her what Aleksander is paying her for. He continues to send her a monthly deposit, even though she doesn’t work for him anymore. Hannah explains that the people of the town take care of each other. Aleksander continues to pay her as his way of helping out since the death of her husband and disappearance of her son.
Clausen remarks that this must be the kind of town where people share money, secrets and beds. He’s hoping to get a rise out of Hannah, but she has a lot of experience with deflecting insults like his.
As Martha, Magnus, Franziska and Elisabeth march back into the cave, Elisabeth senses something and stops to scan the forest. Once she runs into the cave after the others, Father Noah peaks out from behind his favorite tree. Elisabeth sensed his presence.
Down in the bunker, Charlotte asks Stranger Jonas to tell her everything he knows about the mysteries of Winden. He agrees. First she asks about Noah. Jonas explains that Noah is a Traveler who is Adam’s puppet and who killed Mads, Erik and Yasin.
Charlotte is shocked, and worried that all of this has something to do with her. She asks if Jonas knows who her parents are. He looks down when he tells her no, a sign that it could be a lie. He says that he did know Tannhaus, her grandfather. She notes that Tannhaus wasn’t really her grandfather.
She asks if Tannhaus knew about everything. Jonas says that he did, but Tannhaus was a pawn like Jonas and most of the others. Claudia used him the way she used Peter. Jonas shows her the time machine her grandfather built. Charlotte realizes that Jonas knows the future.
The kids put the time machine down in front of Bartosz, who’s still tied up in the cave. He still refuses to talk. Franziska says that the human body can go for 3 days without food or water, so, after some discussion, they decide to leave him for another day. Bartosz insists that he’s not allowed to tell them and they wouldn’t believe him anyway.
But when he sees that even Martha is ready to leave him alone again, Bartosz yells out that it’s a time machine. She tells him to show them how it works. He opens it up and asks for a cell phone. It needs to search for a signal as part of the process. Martha gives him her phone, with Ariadne wallpaper lit up. The tiny black hole forms and they disappear.
In 1987, Claudia visits Bernd, the retired director of the power plant and Helge’s father, looking for some answers. His arm is in a sling, but the reason why is never explained, just like Torben’s eye injury. The last time we heard about Bernd was in 1954 when Doris told Father Noah that he was traveling frequently for business. Did he have a time travel accident? Did Torben?
Claudia has been investigating the accident at the power plant during the summer of 1986. When she took over as director, Bernd told her the accident was caused by a reaction in the volume control system, but when she reviewed the data, she could see that everything was fine.
Bernd is prepared for her questions. He pushes a binder toward her which contains the results of tests that he ran after the accident. The results don’t seem to make sense, but Bernd had the lab repeat the test to make sure they are accurate. The results correspond closely to the theories of Englert, Brout and Higgs in 1964 when they theorized about an (at the time) unknown particle that gave all things mass, also known as the God Particle.
Claudia feels it’s their duty to share these findings with the scientific community, but Bernd doesn’t want her to ruin his legacy of running a problem free power plant. He tells her she can do what she wants with the data, but she has to leave the power plant and himself out of it, at least until after he’s dead.
Ines steals sleeping pills from the hospital. Another nurse almost catches her, then shares the latest news that the inmate from the asylum who killed 3 boys back in 1953 escaped.
Ulrich finds Mikkel sitting outside at Ines house. Mikkel offers him something to drink and says he looks familiar. Ulrich says that he’s waited 33 years for this moment. Then he reminds Mikkel of the magic trick with the cups that Mikkel did at the breakfast table the day he disappeared. Ulrich turns his cup over and says, “The question isn’t how. It’s when. You said that. Remember?”
Mikkel recognizes his father in the old man and hugs him.
In 1921, Young Jonas asks Adam about the Prophecy in 2054 that says that Sic Mundus will lead humanity into Paradise. He wants to know if he’s looking at the early days of this religion.
Adam says that they’re the opposite of a religion. They’ve declared war on Time. “Declared war on God. We are creating a new world without time, without God.”
That sounds perfectly sane and not like religious fanaticism at all.
Jonas; “What does that mean?”
Adam: “It means that what people have worshipped for millennia, the God who holds everything together, that God is nothing more than time itself. Not a thinking acting entity. A physical principle with which you could no more negotiate than you could with your own fate. God is time. And time is not merciful. We are born and our life is already trickling away, like the sand in this hourglass. Death is inevitably in front of us. Our fate is nothing but the connection of cause and effect. In light and in shadow.”
Adam speaks in circular language again. He argues that Sic Mundus isn’t a religion because they reject everyone else’s gods and even the ultimate god over everything, time. They want to overthrow those gods, destroy time, and beat death, then create a new world with a new order.
But Adam believes in his own God, Time, even if he also rejects that god. And there is a distinct lack of specifics in Adam’s speech. How, exactly, will they overthrow the tyranny of time? These are the subjects religions, philosophers and mad scientists discuss. To say, “We are creating a new world without time,” and to mean it in a concrete, rather than a metaphorical way, is to take his beliefs into the realm of insanity. Either Sic Mundus is a dangerous, fanatical religious cult or they are a dangerous, fanatical terrorist group. Or both.
Charlotte goes back to the clock shop to sort through her grandfather’s things with new eyes. She looks at the diagram for the time machine. But she’s interrupted by Father Noah, who has reached his moment of truth.
He gently introduces himself. She tells him it’s not necessary, since she knows who he is and what he’s done. He explains that he knows he can’t stop her from hating him for the things he’s done, but he hopes that one day, she’ll see that he’s done it all for her and her mother. To stop them from being taken from him again.
And to put a stop to everything, once and for all. He opens the triquetra diary and takes out a photo of himself with an infant. He tells Charlotte that she was born prematurely and wasn’t expected to live, but she was strong and held his hand tightly. Noah promised her mother he’d bring Charlotte back, and he’s been searching for her whole life. She was right there, in plain sight, and he never knew. But Adam knew where she was all along.
“He’s preparing for what’s to come. I read the last pages. The nuclear power plant, Jonas. It’s all going to happen again. The apocalypse. In two days. But I know now what I must do. I have to end Adam. So that everyone else can live. Not just those in the bunker.”
Charlotte listens to his speech, whimpering, then watches him walk out of the clock shop. Before he’s gone, she asks who her mother is. He only tells her that her mother has always loved her and still does.
In season 1, Charlotte seemed a bit emotionally distant, but mostly okay. Over the course of season 2, she’s developed a need to know about her past. Now that she knows about parts of it, how will she take it? She and Noah actually have their calm, devoted, hard working temperaments in common. Noah seems broken by his losses and betrayals. But Charlotte has had a better life than Noah, overall. She’s been sheltered from the madness that Noah was introduced to as a child.
Now we begin 15 minutes of epically tragic near misses.
Bartosz, Martha, Magnus, Franziska and Elisabeth come out of the cave and into 1987. But since they come out into the woods, the only obvious difference is that the chair is missing. The other kids only sort of believe Bartosz. Bartosz has been completely broken by recent events. His night in the cave took the last of the fight out of him.
He explains that Noah convinced him that time travel is real by by making predictions which later came true- Martha and Jonas’ kiss in the rain, Regina’s cancer, Jonas’ disappearance. Magnus and Martha don’t know who Noah is yet, but Franziska recognizes him as the priest who gave Elisabeth the watch. She describes him as “tall, blue eyes.”
Bartosz continues his confession: “Noah said it’s about a war. About ruling over [or controlling] time. That my grandmother is involved in it and that Jonas will return and …”
Martha: “Jonas? Jonas will return?”
Bartosz: “Yes. He’s a part of this war.”
At the thought of Jonas being involved in a war, Magnus scoffs and says that he’s going home. Franziska and Elisabeth follow. Bartosz tries to get Martha to listen to him, but she follows the others.
First and second near misses- Kids, kids, kids, we really need to know EVERYTHING that Noah told Bartosz, so keep him talking. Also, stay at the mouth of the cave for a minute, ‘kay? You’ll get all the proof you’ll ever need.
Also- listening to Magnus is like listening to Ulrich. Don’t do it. He’s got a good heart, but his poor impulse control sends him in the wrong direction more times than not.
Ines rushes home to check on Michael. She finds an empty house and two dirty juice glasses. Ines is no fool. She knows this means Mikkel’s father has finally found him. Or she’s scared the escaped mental patient who has an obsession with preteen boys has taken him. Personally, I think it’s obvious it’s the former, but Ines is able to fool Egon and the town.
She immediately calls Egon, Ulrich’s nemesis and her daddy’s old work buddy, to help her kidnap back her new son. Or she calls the ex police officer she’s most comfortable with, in her time of need and fear. Choose your own Mikkel-napping adventure.
Egon hasn’t heard that Ulrich broke out. He guesses that Ulrich will head for the cave again. He promises to call for backup then pick up Ines. The police, guns a blazin’, all converge on an old man and a drugged up little boy who are running for the entrance to the cave.
Ulrich and Mikkel almost make it, in another near miss. With the passage closed, they couldn’t escape, anway, unless they found Martha and Magnus.
They stop just short of the cave entrance. Ulrich shouts that Mikkel is his son, but of course no one believes him. Mikkel is dragged back into Ines arms. He stays silent as Ulrich rants that he’ll come back for Mikkel. As he’s dragged away, Ulrich stops in front of Egon and tells him that this is his fault. Ulrich swears he’ll kill Egon the next time he sees him.
Ulrich looks like a raving lunatic who belongs in an asylum. He’s frightening enough to be Sic Mundus’ White Devil. He may well have left Mikkel frightened and more traumatized, in the end, even though Mikkel knew it was Ulrich. He must wonder how his father became this monster in only a few months.
Back in Adam’s study, he says that Mikkel/Michael/their father is just a small part of an infinitely large and convoluted knot from which there is no escape. Young Jonas guesses that Adam must have had this conversation before, if what he says is true. Adam agrees that he has, and he didn’t think the conversation could be repeated or that he’d ever be able to say the words that he, as Adam, says. As his younger self, he didn’t think he’d ever want what Adam wants. But now, after 66 years, he’s matured into Adam, and he understands. Some events change you forever and some pain never goes away.
We’ll have to wait to see whether Adam is straight up lying in the above paragraph, being loose with his metaphors (if he’s Mikkel, his younger selves would also be his “father”, for example), or if he really is the older version of Jonas.
This is where I begin to find Adam repulsive. It will be a huge failure of imagination on the part of the writers if they’ve really gone against everything else in the show and Jonas’ established character just to make him turn into his exact opposite out of desperation.
Adam: “But there is also a way that leads us out of all this cruel futility.”
Jonas: “But if that’s true, if there is a way, why does it all happen as it always has, why have you changed nothing?”
Adam smirks for a moment, then takes him to a wall with a series of framed diagrams showing the evolution of the time machines. He claims that the progression of time travel aids proceeds in order from the passage, the bunker, the chair, the device, to the “thing” in the future. He says that the God Particle in 2054 isn’t their last development.
He seems to be taking credit for the evolution of time travel machines, but, he’s got his science wrong. We know that it was Claudia who developed the device in the late 20th century when she was older and who also experimented with the God Particle in between 2020 and 2052, when she was younger. Plus, Bernd and Claudia told us in this episode that what they are calling the God Particle was created in 1986, which was also the focal point for the passage. Jonas/Adam had nothing to do with any of this.
All time travel so far has developed out of the power plant accident in Winden in 1986, with a boost from the apocalypse event of June 27, 2020. The God Particle in 2054 is the alpha and omega, beginning and end.
Sic Mundus only developed the two time travel devices that didn’t work very well, the chair and the bunker. Probably because they didn’t have a scientist of Claudia’s caliber working with them. But, once again, Jonas doesn’t have time to think this through and doesn’t have as many facts as we do, so he doesn’t recognize the time machine shell game Adam is playing.
In 1987, Claudia asks one of the scientists who works at the power plant to test the contents of the yellow barrels. She tells him that the results might change science’s understanding of the world. But he’s not to mention it to anyone.
The time traveling teens reach the bus stop where the Ulrich and Hannah hang out and car accidents happen. The police cars carrying Ulrich drive by, setting him off on another rant about his children. As the kids look at the passing cars and the posters at the bus stop, they realize that they really are in 1987. Martha and Magnus also think the guy in the car looked familiar, but they don’t do anything about it.
In 2020, Stranger Jonas returns to his family home, where Hannah is anxiously waiting for him. She’s happy and relieved to see him, having worried that he’d left her for good this time.
Like Michael. Like Ulrich. Presumably, like her father and mother. Jonas is the only family she has left.
He’s angry with her for having an affair with Ulrich. He’s noticed the way she’s taken 1 teenage photo of herself, Ulrich and Katharina and folded it so that Katharina doesn’t show. The huge pile of photos of Jonas, Michael and Hannah together, which she also has out, don’t matter to Stranger Jonas.
Only mistakes count in this conversation.
Her losses, her depression, and her loneliness, don’t matter. Her overall faithfulness through his disappearance and his father’s illness don’t matter.
I hate this scene, perhaps more than any other this season. It’s like Jonas becomes someone else. Like suddenly he thinks he is his father, and must protect their dead marriage. Like it’s impossible to love more than one person over the course of a lifetime, or maybe to even love two people at once.
Hannah has spent her life trying to twist herself into what men want her to be, searching for love and acceptance. Yet, no matter how hard she tries, they just keep leaving her, as she already said to Jonas in season 1.
And she allows them to place all of the blame on her. She’s given up trying to defend herself or to get them to stay. In the face of insults and accusations, all she has left is her dignity, and she’ll keep it.
In this scene, Jonas is unnecessarily cruel and judgemental. Hannah didn’t leave Michael. He left her. She didn’t leave Jonas. He left her. For 33½ years.
Jonas: “Did this ever mean anything to you? Did you love Dad at all? I know you had an affair with Ulrich. If you could choose between Dad and Ulrich now… [Hannah maintains her silence and stoic expression.] In all this mess, I really thought you were the only person I could trust.”
He begins to climb the stairs. Without looking at him, she says, “I ruined everything. I know.”
Jonas: “Maybe you always have. You need no one. Just yourself.”
First, what good is Jonas’ “trust” if he only shows up for a visit every 33 years? Who cares? What does her sex life have to do with her relationship with her son, anyway? She didn’t cheat on him. And what has she ruined? Michael hung himself for reasons that had nothing to do with her. Jonas knows this. Trust me on this one. She didn’t come into the equation when Michael made the decision. Ulrich is also big boy who’s thoroughly ruined his own life. Hannah is not responsible for Ulrich’s choices. In the end her threat to ruin him was pointless.
Jonas and Adam and Michael are all blurred together into one person in various ways throughout this episode. Think about that.
I’m not sure Hannah would or should choose either Michael or Ulrich if she could do it all again. Michael was a man out of time, and if she could make an omniscient choice, the kinder thing would have been to help him defy the odds and get back to his own time, instead of marrying him.
If she loved him enough, maybe she could go forward with him, but I get the sense that they were together because they both wished they were someplace else. They loved each other, but neither was the other’s first choice.
I think if Mads had lived, Hannah might have eventually been happy with him, based on Regina’s description. Hannah is just looking for someone to make her their first choice, but she’s damaged in a way that causes her to pick people who are emotionally unavailable. Even Jonas was clearly always closer to his father and is now holding out the possibility of closeness while simultaneously slapping it away because of something she did decades ago in his timeline. That’s pretty messed up on his part.
Ulrich’s personal history should speak for itself. He and Katharina are meant for each other and deserve each other. Like Torben said to Clausen, Hannah had the potential to do better. Mikkel had the potential to be better, too, but it was lost.
Ulrich is what he is. He’s created his life through his own choices, predeterminism be d–ned.
But within Hannah, the issue is that she bases her self-esteem on what the men around her think of her. She believes she needs a man to be whole and safe, whether it’s her father, her lover or her son. Something must have happened with her missing mother to make her feel that way. When Jonas said she ruins everything, he was being terrifically cruel. It was a both a rejection from the most important man in her life and completely unwarranted.
When he said she doesn’t need anyone, just herself, he was being cruel, but it was ultimately kind. Because it sets her free, in a sense. I don’t think she’s ever believed that before. Plus, Jonas knows the future, so his word carries extra weight.
Beyond all of the personal issues in this conversation, it seems like Jonas overreacts here, since most of Hannah’s pining for Ulrich was been done while she wasn’t even with Michael. Jonas doesn’t really ask for her side of the story, just gives her sort of an ultimatum. This is one of those times where the characters act out of character, like they suddenly snap into a different version of the time loop, or remember they have specific instructions on what to say during this conversation, in order to nudge their scene partner into specific behavior. We saw Bartosz do it during his break up with Martha, as well, where he suddenly became jealous of Jonas, like he’d remembered he had instructions from Noah to throw that into the conversation when she broke up with him.
We know Jonas had a busy day of meeting with Charlotte and breaking into Martha’s bedroom. Who else did he see? Noah was in town. Did he remind Jonas of a previous obligation to have a certain conversation and send Hannah in a certain direction? Is Jonas still working with Noah and Adam, 33 years later? Were these final instructions from Claudia?
ETA: On further the examination, I believe this conversation mirrors the conversation Stranger has with Young Jonas in season 1, episode 5, when he quickly gave Jonas life advice, then made his exit. I examined that conversation in detail in that recap. But Jonas’ conversation with Hannah also serves another, important purpose, as I suspected, which is revealed in episodes 7&8, so I’ll talk about it in episode 7. This show, man.
[Bangs head against wall. Wishes for Matrix style ability to insert knowledge into head and retain it. Considers starting Dark style murder walls all over house. Realizes house is too small to contain “Everything is connected” connections.]
For today’s montage, we’re going to listen to Alev Lenz’s May the Angels and think about what we’ve done. No one has been a good angel in this episode.
The time traveling teens return to 2020. Bartosz is left alone at the cave opening, after one last dirty look from Martha.
Egon drives Ines and Michael home. Ines carries Michael into the house. He, like his future wife, has retreated into silence. Jonas must have grown up in a very quiet home. Egon begins to realize he might have made a mistake.
Ulrich is strapped to a gurney and taken back to the psychiatric ward, where he’ll probably face increased treatments and greater restraints for the foreseeable future.
Charlotte sits in a corner of the clock shop and contemplates the photo Noah gave her. What does it mean to be the police chief and discover that the serial killer you’ve been hunting across time is your father? And that you have to leave him alone? All while there’s a pesky Inspector Clausen breathing down your neck?
Ines makes some hot chocolate for Michael to drink before bed, laced with a heavy dose of the sedative she stole from the hospital. It was in a locked cabinet, which means it’s prescription only, and probably a controlled substance, possibly addictive. Great, great stuff to steal and give to your traumatized kid without his or his doctor’s knowledge. Parenting at its finest, right there.
Martha finds the St Christopher’s medal on her pillow. She looks a little crazed when she realizes that Jonas was there. She misses him as intensely as he misses her.
Adam leads Young Jonas into the room that houses their latest time travel device. It’s a captive God Particle. He says that it’s not the same one as the one in the future. It’s kind of like its twin. It’s a piece of the infinite which permeates everything. People have called it the ether, dark matter, the Higgs field. The one in the future is created by the June 27, 2020 apocalypse that Jonas is trying to stop. This one was created by Sic Mundus. It is the culmination of technical evolution and the answer to the knot time is twisted into.
The Sic Mundus God Particle breaks the 33 year cycle. It sends the traveler to the exact day they want to travel to.
Jonas: “That’s why I’m here. That’s what you want from me. There is a way to stop this all from happening if I stop the beginning.”
Adam: “That is right. The question is, when is the beginning? And what sacrifice must we make?”
Jonas: “June 20, 2019. The day before it all happened. Before my Dad took his own life. Before it all fell apart.”
Adam: “If you can prevent him from taking his life, then everything that follows will not occur. Mikkel will not travel back. You, I will never be born. But everyone else will live. Martha will live.”
Adam dials in the coordinates and Jonas puts on a hazmat suit. He tells Jonas that if he’s successful, they’ll reorder the whole world.
The writhing blue-black cloud becomes a smooth ball. Jonas steps into it and it snaps back to its usual state. Adam watches him go, slightly teary eyed. He knows that Jonas is about to lose some of his naiveté.
It’s difficult to figure out which recap to put information in, and then to remember where I put it (or if I’ve said it yet or not), since clues and solutions are being revealed several episodes before the question they answer is brought up. I feel like I should tell you all to watch the season all the way through once, then come read the recaps as you watch the second time, so we don’t have to worry about spoilers!
It’s like writing the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, and constantly saying, ok, remember what we talked about 2 episodes ago and 6 episodes ago and 3 episodes from now… because the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are constantly looping back around each other and turning into a mobius strip. Which is to say, sorry if I repeat myself endlessly or leave things out or give away too much too soon. Hopefully eventually I’ll be able to edit these all into submission, but probably not until all 8 are done and I can look at them as a whole.
The End of the Ending
Let’s start with the end. Adam knows that Young Jonas can’t change time, because Stranger Jonas knows it. If Stranger Jonas knows it, chances are everyone in Sic Mundus knows it, because it’s clear he’s been way too trusting with them over the years. But also, season 1 proved it multiple times.
Everything Adam said to Young Jonas in the final sequence that wasn’t verifiable science was a lie. I copied the entire conversation so that it can be read carefully. Adam once again used magician/con artist’s techniques. He showed Jonas some plaques on the wall and spouted some nonsense about them which shows that his people probably stole a lot from Claudia that they didn’t understand. But Jonas doesn’t know enough yet to realize Adam was lying, so he believed Adam.
Then Adam talks about the two pieces of the God Particle, 1921 and 2054, with a mixture of lies and truth. Jonas should eventually realize some of this is lies, because he listened to Claudia’s tapes in the future. But right now, Adam doesn’t give him time to react to the lies. Instead, he gives Jonas that most dangerous of gifts, hope. He pushes straight on to dangling the bait: He can send Jonas to anytime that Jonas wants, to accomplish any mission that Jonas can think of. It’s wide open.
Then Adam stops talking, pretending that the mission is obvious, and he’s letting Jonas figure it out for himself. In reality, Adam has plans, and he needs to get Jonas out of the way so that he can work in peace. As long as Jonas doesn’t choose the dates of Adam’s own mission, Adam doesn’t care where Jonas goes, or what he does. Because he knows that Jonas will fail and nothing will change.
He probably also knows what Jonas will choose, either because he is Jonas and has already chosen it, or because at some point Jonas was on his side and told him everything. And because this is a repeating cycle, it’s probably outlined in the triquetra diary.
Jonas is so excited by the prospect of being able to go to any time he wants, he forgets everything else. Remember, way back in season 1, he was sure that he and Mikkel were the center of everything and they just needed to right that wrong. It didn’t work. He understood, then, that he and Mikkel/Michael were only a small part of a larger system. Now he can try again, but going as far back in his own timeline as possible, to the event that he thinks caused Mikkel to disappear in the first place, which in turn causes him, the time anomaly, to be born.
But, again, we’ve already proven that stopping Mikkel from time traveling isn’t possible. Jonas and Mikkel and the passage are in their own little bootstrap paradox loop that can’t be broken yet. And earlier this episode, Adam told Jonas that Michael is only a small part of the overall issues going wrong with time. He straight out told Jonas that stopping Michael wouldn’t fix things, because the knot in time is so much bigger than that.
Yet he pretends that this mission will save the time cycle, after he lets Jonas bring it up. He shows that he knows what will happen by using the word sacrifice, and tosses in that “Martha will live,” for good measure. He also used the word loophole earlier in the episode, but wasn’t specific about what he meant by it.
This entire meeting between Jonas and Adam was meant to lay the groundwork between them to keep Jonas busy chasing personal happiness for as long as possible and to sow seeds of doubt in Claudia, so as to eventually bring him back to Adam.
Adam claims that he’s the one who invented everything, not Claudia. We know that Jonas will go on to apprentice with Claudia, then turn away from her. It’s obvious, when observing closely, that she and Tannhaus were the scientists who developed all of the major progressions in time travel. The chair and bunker didn’t really work and didn’t matter. I think Claudia took her knowledge of the God Particle and went straight to the box device, while Sic Mundus tried and failed to replicate her invention. At some point Noah and Tannhaus understood enough about the box device and the God Particle, based on Claudia’s notes, to create the captive God Particle in the Sic Mundus basement.
But it’s all derivative of Claudia’s work. However from Jonas’ perspective, Adam showed him a plausible history first, so that’s the truth to him. And he has a solid motivation to trust Adam, since he believes that Adam is his future self. I think Jonas has been taken in by Adam’s shell games for decades.
Dark Appreciation, Character Analysis and Random Thoughts
There is always so much to talk about in each episode and connecting the episodes of Dark that I don’t mention the actors or the technical aspects often enough. They are all, always, stellar. The Sic Mundus Steampunk Temple of Doom is Freakin’ Amazing and I kind of want to move in. My light sensitivity is warring with my claustrophobia over the whole “living in an abandoned mine” thing. We definitely need more time in the distant past and the Road Warrior future. I will follow Young Jonas anywhere, but it’s also really time for Martha to go further than a bus stop in 1987. Ariadne needs to spread her wings.
I think this was a standout episode for the actors, with the lost and found theme and the emphasis on loss. Some who hardly ever get to show emotion, like Karoline Eichorn/Charlotte, reached the point of breaking down, and others, like Maja Schöne/Hannah, who have had many emotional scenes, used restrained, small changes in posture and facial expressions to show that their world was crumbling.
Mark Waschke/ Father Noah made an amazing screen partner for Charlotte, as we got to see the father daughter pair fall apart in nearly identical ways, despite not having been together since she was a baby. He truly is one of the tragic figures in this story. How can you hate someone who’s been searching for his child for more than 50 years, while the people closest to him knew she was right in front of him the whole time?
Noah is probably Adam’s biggest pawn and victim. Making him kill the boys seems pointless now, since it seems like they discarded the chair as soon as they finished it. It’s possible that Adam made him kill children simply to turn him into a pariah, so that he wouldn’t be more popular than Adam and able to stage a coup. And why keep him separate from his wife and child for 50+ years? Where does Claudia fit into Noah’s story? She clearly used him, too, and they also had a fantastic scene together.
This episode we got confirmation that Bernd considers the power plant his legacy, rather than Helge, even though he loves his son, and saw what a crafty old player he really is. On the other hand, we saw how excited Claudia was by a purely scientific discovery that most people wouldn’t understand or be affected by. The power plant is just a job to her, even though it’s such a huge achievement. It’s science that’s her true love, and Julika Jenkins’ acting showed us that. She’s never been so breathless with excitement as she was over the folder Bernd showed her.
Bartosz has transformed from a cocky princeling into a cowed, scared boy who hardly seems like the same person, thanks to Paul Lux. And Lisa Vicari continues to give Martha a welcome blend of fierceness, vulnerability, intelligence, compassion, love and confidence, with a sense of normalcy that’s rarely seen in a female teenage character. She’s an amazing leading lady to match Jonas’ leading man, if there is such a thing in a show with such a large ensemble.
I’ve haven’t made any secret of my love for Jonas, Young and Stranger. Together, Louis Hofman and Andreas Pietschmann are the heart of the show, and I have no trouble believing they are the same person. But they need to be nicer to their mother!!
Metamaiden, who is still watching season 1, is all about The Stranger and Martha.
The emphasis was clearly on lost and found parents and children in this episode, but also on lost lovers and partners, friends, and work/interests, such as the power plant for Bernd and scientific progress for both Claudia and Adam. Whatever we are passionate about in life can be lost, missing or found. As Stranger Jonas said at the end of season 1, it’s desire and attachment that motivate people to do the things they do.
Hannah has currently lost her passion for life and her purpose for living. Recall that she was holding a gun to her head moments before Stranger Jonas returned home for the first time. She’s searching for someone or something to be the purpose that’s missing, now that she knows Young Jonas isn’t coming back.
Katharina and Ulrich both have ugly, ugly sides to them, despite their devotion to each other and ability to build a stable, loving family. The way that the family crumbled so quickly under pressure shows that it was always fragile. Their targets, Hannah and Regina (and briefly Mikkel) built families that withstood more pressure. Hannah and Mikkel were coping with his mental illness for years before his death. Regina’s illness and the power plant closure have only brought Regina and Aleksander closer together.
I’ve been suspicious of Ines since she called in Noah to talk to Mikkel in the hospital and made that weird speech to Jonas in season 1 about how he should be fine with being in love with his aunt. I’ve been expecting that she pulled some shenanigans to keep Mikkel in 1987. The fact that she knew Ulrich would go straight for Mikkel proves that she knew exactly who Mikkel was all along and actively stopped him from returning home.
This helps explain why she eventually became estranged from Michael’s family. As his mental illness became worse, maybe he blamed her, the denial and the sleeping pills for the beginning of it. It seems like in 1987 she’s keeping him nearly as doped up as Ulrich has been, if he’s sleeping during the day, too.
The whole running joke of Claudia putting off the French delegation is hilarious, if you recall that earlier in the season, but 66 years later in show time, Elisabeth is still putting them off. The scientists she hung who complained about her keeping them from the plant and the God Particle were French.
Hannah and Katharina denying the drawing of Stranger Jonas is reminiscent of Saint Peter denying Jesus 3 times after he was arrested.
Jonas takes on a more overt teaching role in this episode. He’s been teaching the gospel of time travel and the God Particle since the season began, but Charlotte is his most formal disciple. Silja was his first disciple, that we know of.
Before she time travels, Elisabeth is wearing pink and blue, in almost the exact tones of the Kahnwald home. She puts on a red jacket for the trip home. Stranger Jonas and Charlotte look like brother and sister in the bunker scene. Noah is Agnes’ brother, so he’s also a Nielsen. If Charlotte is his daughter, that makes Jonas and Charlotte distant cousins. It also makes all of Ulrich’s kids and Charlotte’s kids distant cousins, though I don’t think they’re closely enough related for it to count as incest.
Tannhaus only made one time machine. When we see multiples, we’re seeing the same machine, at different points in its existence. At some point in the last 33 years, it traveled forward to 2020 Winden with Bartosz and fell into Magnus and and Martha’s hands. Eventually it left them and fell into Stranger Jonas’ hands. Or the other way around. It’s living one linear life in multiple time periods, just like the people are. According to Dark’s rules, it doesn’t matter if duplicates of the same object or person come into contact, because everything, everyone and everytime already all exist at once anyway. Time travel does away with the illusion that our brains give us that time is linear.
Adam’s Three Lives Metaphor vs Hopes and Dreams (Sometimes Mine)
According to Adam’s metaphor, each human being goes through 3 separate “lives” per person, one for each 33 year cycle, adding up to a 99 year lifespan. A different actor plays each character in each “life”, to emphasize that they are potentially a different person. But when you look below the surface, the characters are still the same people. They just reveal themselves more clearly as they age.
Adam framed each life stage around loss and endings: the Loss of Naivité, the Loss of Innocence, and the Loss of Life. This is the opposite of the way we usually think of life stages. Normally, we think of stages of growth and development, starting with birth. Adam frames life as decline, from the very moment of birth, throughout his time with Jonas.
Childhood and growth don’t seem to factor into his system. Happiness isn’t possible, even briefly. It’s as if he’s turned human life into a bootstrap paradox, with no beginning. Now, he wants to destroy time, so it will have no end.
The other odd thing about Adam’s system is the order. Innocence is a state of being caused by a lack of experience. Never having experienced harm, the innocent don’t understand its existence. Naivité is also a state of being caused by a lack of experience of the negative, but the harm done to cause the use of the word naivité is more active and complex. The naive might be aware that there is danger in the world, they just don’t think it will happen to them. Normally, we would think of a child as innocent, and a young adult going out into the world and risking being taken advantage of as naive.
In Adam’s system, the child in the first stage is naive for thinking it’s even worth it to take those first steps or learn those first words. Someone inevitably harms them, and they lose their naivité (Loss of Naivité), passing into the second stage. All is not lost, so the child retains some innocence, some hope in the world not being so terrible. But eventually, the hope is lost and the adult realizes that people/the world really are terrible, without exception. This is the Loss of Innocence, when the adult passes into the third stage, and waits for its ending, death. The third stage would be spent in whatever negative, nihilistic pastime the by now mentally ill survivor desired- raging against the machine, plotting attempts at suicide, leading death cults, writing angry comments on other people’s blogs, etc, until the third ending, Loss of Life, is eventually achieved and the cycle is complete.
The “growth” in Adam’s system is to grow more cynical and depressed, then die. His stages are stages of decay, not stages of development. I’m all for exploring nihilistic philosophies, but let’s be clear about what they are and the state of mind that produces them. This is the work of depression and mental illness, as is all of the Sic Mundus philosophy. Great work can and has come from those states, no doubt, but we don’t need to follow the creator over the cliff into the abyss. That’s what Adam is asking for.
This explains why he would use murder as his initiation ceremony: It puts death at the beginning of the cycle. Since he orders the initiate to murder their victim, it gives him power over the killer, and allows him to be the one who takes away either their naivité or their innocence. The murder is probably unnecessary, so it constitutes an act of trickery toward someone who trusted him, yet it binds them to him.
We’ve seen this sort of cycle over and over between Adam and his followers. They realize at some point that he’s lied to and betrayed them terribly, bringing on their Loss of Innocence or Naivité. In a sick way, it makes him a father figure to them, because he’s the one ushering them through this
life death cycle. He’s the one bringing them to full awareness of reality.
It’s not clear that his followers know what he’s doing, though the time travelers all also take part in lies, trickery and worse. Noah killed Claudia because she was the one who took Charlotte and her mother away from him. Noah’s sins are uncountable. Helge and Jonas have had to lie and cheat to maintain their cover stories, and Helge did terrible things for Noah and Adam. Even Bartosz allowed his friends to live in emotional pain for months rather than tell them some portion of the truth. Who knows what else they’ve made him do.
Adam forces this exaggerated process in his followers by instigating tragedies in their lives. Much of the loss in Winden circles back to him eventually. He ordered the deaths of the three boys. He knew where Noah’s family was, but kept them apart. He involved Helge, which drew Ulrich to 1953. He’s waging the war on time and Claudia that’s drawn in so many. He’s preparing to initiate an apocalypse.
But if we look at the other characters, they don’t really fit his paradigm. Though they may be played by three different people, they remain a single person throughout their lives, who retain their hopes and dreams. Stranger Jonas told his younger self at the end of season 1 that he’s still the same person. Only Adam has lost hope.
Claudia is relatively emotionless, but still caring, in all three iterations. She’s good at math, science, strategy and planning. She’s able to play life as a game of chess and accept that she might not always be liked for her decisions. Even after everything she’s been through in her long life of time travel and loss, she’s still recognizably herself. She still tries to send Agnes off to a life of happiness with Doris, even as she herself is facing death.
Tronte wants Claudia in all 3 iterations and does whatever she says. That includes letting her have her freedom. He cares about his family, but is a bit of an enigma. He is taciturn and mild mannered, keeping his secrets to himself. He, too lives a long time and suffers, but doesn’t become a different person.
Ines is a little harder to judge, but if you look closely, she’s observant and likes to be in good favor with authority figures. She quietly breaks the rules and does what’s best for her, while using society’s rules to make it seem like she’s the one in the right. She was taught this by her father, who uses the same method. She can be ruthless if necessary, and actually cares about very few people. When we meet her in 1953, she’s name dropping her father, the chief of police. The last time we saw Old Ines, she told Young Jonas that he should just deal with what he’d discovered about Mikkel/Michael. Tough luck, kid. I got to have a son and used my powerful connections to keep him. After Michael dies, she says virtually the same thing to Jonas that she said to Michael more than 30 years before. She hasn’t changed. I also think she’s quietly the villain of this story, but that’s for a different essay.
Ulrich hasn’t changed either. He didn’t trust people from the start, was impulsive and had a tendency for big emotions and violence. We’re being shown, in this episode, that Ulrich is still very much the same person, despite what he’s been through. He moves the same, thinks the same, speaks the same. We can predict his actions based on what we’ve seen the other 2 Ulrichs do. He still has a big heart and takes big actions, even though the asylum did everything possible to take that away from him for more than 30 years. He still has hope for the future, both that he can find Mikkel again and that he can do away with his arch nemesis, Egon.
They’ve also made sure that the other 2 Jonas’ have the same mannerisms, facial expressions and reactions, which Adam doesn’t share. They even still have the same nightmares and goals in life, while Adam’s personality, mannerisms, and goals are all different. He’s not the same person.
If the writers continue with the storyline that he’s Jonas, right up until the end of season 3, then he’s either Jonas from another dimension, or they’re going to have to work hard to explain how Jonas became this person. Adam could be Bartosz. Or he could be Michael/Mikkel.
Right now, the signs seem to point toward Mikkel, who has so many reasons to be messed up and angry. Mikkel has taken a different name once already, so taking a third name for his third stage would make sense. The painting and the arrow of candles that pointed from Adam to the painting seem pretty obvious. And Mikkel had contact with Noah from a young age, then showed an interest in the Emerald Tablet and the Hermetics. Noah has been protective of Mikkel and gentle with him, much more so than he has with Jonas.
The three stages could easily correspond to the stages Mikkel/Michael went through. He lost his naivité when he went to 1986 and the people who should have helped him, like Egon and his entire family, turned him away. Some, like his parents, even went further and actively harmed him. But he retained his innocence and hope in the wider world, because Ines adopted him and he made friends with Hannah. That was also gradually worn away, as Hannah took Katharina’s side, Ines denied his reality and drugged him, etc.
He is the one character who did pass into cynicism and became a separate person. The other characters freely interact with their other selves, but not Michael/Mikkel. He never found peace, or even acceptance. He dissociated from his younger self.
What if he staged his death and dissociated from his younger self again? We’ve seen Jonas hang but not die. We’ve seen multiple characters be declared dead but not be dead. If Mikkel/Michael isn’t dead, he would be the character with 3 very distinct life stages and identities.
The Holly and the Oak King
As long as we’re talking about death as a stage of life and we’ve been presented with twin gods, let’s circle back to Michael’s suicide for a moment, before I forget.
Fun fact: June 21st, the summer solstice, is also a time of battle between the ancient gods the Oak King and the Holly King. They are twin gods who can’t exist without each other, each associated with one half of the year. On the summer solstice, they fight and the Holly King wins. The Oak King dies. In the fall the Oak King is reborn. He fights the Holly King again at the winter solstice and wins this time. The Holly King dies, then is reborn again in the spring, and the never ending cycle of the seasons continues.
I think it’s no accident that Michael and Jonas have both been hung. They are caught in their own cycle, as they both have realized, like the Holly and the Oak Kings. But the seasons don’t create the cycle of time, they’re a result of it, and Michael and Jonas didn’t create the time loop, either, they’re a result of it.
We don’t know or understand the reality of the twin God Particles yet, but they are tied up in the knot with Adam and Jonas, as Adam said. Adam said Sic Mundus created their God Particle, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s actually a time travelled version of the one in the future- an identical twin who was forced into creation. You can bet that theft was involved somehow.
Another fun fact: In the Norse version of this story, the brother gods are Baldr and Loki, the trickster god.
One more for the road: In this metaphor, Ulrich has to be the Horned God, weakened and confined by the modern world. But also the ultimate father of both Jonas and Michael, who become brothers, in a sense, when you consider that he slept with both of their mothers.
^This one also goes into the way Christianity adapted the seasonal myth into the story of Jesus and John the Baptist, which might eventually have some bearing on Dark. They are using mythological archetypes and then sometimes assigning the archetypes to a particular culture’s mythology, with Christianity/Gnosticism and Greek mythology being the favorites, as they were for the Hermetics, but Celtic and Norse mythology are mixed in as well.
More Thoughts on Stranger Jonas
If Adam is Jonas, then we need to be shown what caused Stranger Jonas to have what amounts to a psychotic break so late in life. He does say to Hannah that she was the one person left that he thought he could trust, but he’s also being unfair to her in that conversation. He doesn’t give her a chance to prove whether HE can trust her in the here and now. The Jonas on the stairs in that scene is suddenly very different from the Jonas who left that morning. Did he run into Katharina? Is he from a different time period?
It’s interesting that Noah wants to end Adam, rather than one of the Jonases, though he also specifically mentioned Jonas as someone separate from Adam. Ending Adam would stop whatever last minute action he takes to start the apocalypse, but leave the rest of his life intact. Theoretically, ending Jonas would also end Adam, if they are the same person.
In episode 4, when Young Noah and Young Jonas met for the first time at Erna’s house, Noah told Jonas that he’d pictured him differently. This has stuck with me as both puzzling and important. We know that Adam has kept secrets from Noah for virtually his entire life, right up to the present day, and that the Noah who hasn’t time traveled yet is particularly out of the loop. But who would Noah be picturing, based on the versions of Adam and Jonas he’s already met? This seems like another clue that Adam isn’t actually Jonas.
Adam and Jonas have been alone during every conversation, with no witnesses to give away lies by their reactions to either Adam or Jonas. I’m assuming that Adam’s inner circle know the truth of his identity, if he’s not Jonas. And how he really went from Stranger Jonas to Adam if he is.
Whoever he is, his appearance and psychology tell us that he’s been through some terrible things in the last few decades. Stranger Jonas and Michael have already been through terrible things. Even 2020 Bartosz has now faced his mother’s cancer, time travel, the loss of Martha, Mikkel and Jonas, Aleksander’s career loss, and whatever terrible things Sic Mundus has put him through. What could have happened that broke one of them so thoroughly that they needed to become an entirely different, psychopathic person to survive it?
Why Doesn’t Mikkel Say Anything When Ulrich Is Recaptured?
Why does Mikkel stay silent when the police pull him away from Ulrich as they’re escaping to the cave and time travel passage? At first glance, this is puzzling. We all sit at home and yell at him to tell the police that Ulrich is his father. But the situation is very different for Mikkel. For one thing, Mikkel is an extremely traumatized 12 year old child who’s just found and now lost his father, again. It’s way too much to expect him to also save his father.
Mikkel already lives in a bizarre dream world where he goes to school with the teenage versions of his parents, but they hate him. Now an old man who seems to be his father has shown up to save him and bring him back to what he previously knew as reality. But for the past 8 months, he’s been told to forget that reality, that it couldn’t possibly be real.
When he’s pulled away from Ulrich, Mikkel is probably busy having a mental breakdown. Maybe there are scrappy 12 year olds who would jump right in and fight for Ulrich, but it’s not fair to expect every 12 year old child to save the adult in a traumatic situation, especially one where he’d have to argue with the police.
To make matters worse, remember the scenes of Ulrich when he was so drugged that it took him minutes to compose his thoughts and manage to say his name? Mikkel isn’t that drugged, but his thoughts and actions are slowed. The drugs make his perceptions more dreamlike. Everything is happening very fast and it’s a lot to ask of anyone to react quickly enough to stop what’s happening to Ulrich. It’s way for too much to expect of a 12 year old child who’s drugged.
If Ines and Daniel Kahnwald are involved in Sic Mundus, as I believe they are, she may have been drugging him in preparation for this event.
Even if Mikkel weren’t drugged and traumatized, this is a scary situation, with police firing guns at him and his dad, who’s now old and fragile. He’s terrified of what will happen and can’t guess what the right thing to say or do is that won’t escalate the matter. He doesn’t want to get Ulrich in more trouble. He knows his father and has undoubtedly seen him make things worse for himself.
So Mikkel ends up freezing, rather than fighting, and being taken back to Ines’ house, where he lives for the rest of his life. That unchanging house becomes his safe place, where he can ignore the confusing world outside.
Season 1 Character Board
Season 2 Characters and Connections
Adam’s Family Tree Board: All individual photos are young versions of the characters. Left Panel: Hannah, Jonas; Doris; Egon, Claudia; Regina, Aleksander/Boris; Bartosz. Center Panel: Hannah, Jonas, Michael/Mikkel, Ines; Peter, Charlotte, Franziska, Elisabeth; Aleksander,Bartosz, Regina; Ulrich, Magnus, Martha, Katharina, Mikkel; Solja, Noah, Agnes. Right Panel: Upper left??, Charlotte; Peter; Franziska, Elizabeth; Tronta, Jana, Mads; Katharina, Ulrich; Magnus, Martha; Mikkel.
Jonas Kahnwald, Time Traveler. Also known as the Stranger. Originates in 2019-20, but appears in every time period, except possibly 1953? Son of Michael Kahnwald/Mikkel Nielsen and Hannah (Krüger) Kahnwald. Star-crossed lover of Martha Nielsen. Former best friend of Bartosz Tiedemann.
Hannah (Krüger) Kahnwald, 1986-87, 2019-2020. Time Traveler. Massage therapist. Married to Mikkel/Michael. Jonas’ mother. Has an extramarital affair with Ulrich Nielsen. Blackmails Aleksander Tiedemann.
Daniel Kahnwald, 1953-54. Chief of Winden police. Ingrid’s father. Michael’s adoptive grandfather.
Ines Kahnwald, 1953, 1986-87, 2019. Mikkel/Michael’s adoptive mother. Daniel’s daughter. Jonas’ grandmother. Hospital nurse in the 80s. Adopts Mikkel after she gets to know him during his hospital stay when he arrives in 1986. Eventually figures out that he really is from the future. Encourages him to forget about the life he had before she adopted him. Is estranged from Hannah and Jonas by November 2019, for unknown reasons. Tells both Mikkel and Jonas to leave the past in the past and the future in the future.
Bartosz Tiedemann, 2019-20. Time Traveler and follower of Noah. Son of Regina and Aleksander Tiedemann. Grandson of Claudia Tiedemann. Former boyfriend of Martha and former best friend of Jonas.
Regina Tiedemann, 1986-87, 2019-20. Wife of Aleksander and mother of Bartosz. Daughter of Claudia. Formerly owned a hotel which was forced to close after the disappearances started. Dying of cancer. Currently on hormone therapy, but may have to switch back to chemo.
Aleksander Tiedemann, 2019-20, director of the nuclear power plant. Regina’s husband and Bartosz’ father. Arrived in Winden in 1986 with a gun and two passports under different names, while being hunted by dogs and police. Told Regina his name was Aleksander Köhler. The other passport said Boris Niewald. Has helped keep the yellow barrels of radioactive waste hidden since 1986. Dies on the day of the apocalypse, 6/27/20.
Claudia Tiedemann, 1953-54, 1986-87, 2019-20. Time Traveler. Regina’s mother. Egon and Doris’ daughter. Bartosz’ grandmother. Director of the power plant in 1986. Her older version is known as the White Devil by the followers of Adam. Developed the process that stabilized the God Particle into a time travel portal. Fighting a time war against Adam. Has heterochromia (one blue eye, one brown eye).
Egon Tiedemann, 1953, 1986-87. Police officer. Husband of Doris. Father of Claudia. Grandfather of Regina. Arrested Ulrich for murder and kidnapping in 1953 and rape in 1986. Was an alcoholic in 1986. Was in an unhappy marriage in 1953. Tries to do the right thing, often fails. In 1987, retired and dying of cancer.
Doris Tiedemann, 1953-54. Wife of Egon, mother of Claudia, Agnes’ lover and landlady. Starts affair with Agnes while still married to Egon.
Gretchen the Dog Tiedemann, 1953, 1986-87. Time Traveler. Claudia’s childhood dog. Older, White Devil Claudia brings Gretchen to the future to help prove to Adult Claudia that time travel is real. Recognizes every version of Claudia as if she hasn’t aged, proving that the time travelers aren’t fundamentally changed by the experience, or at least Claudia hasn’t been.
Katharina Nielsen, 1986-87, 2019-20. School principal. Ulrich’s wife. Mother of Magnus, Martha and Mikkel. No information on her family background, except that her mother was violently abusive, frequently leaving Katharina with bruises. Obsessed with using Ulrich’s files to continue investigating the disappearances.
Ulrich Nielsen, 1953, 1986-87, 2019. Time Traveler. Police officer. Katharina’s husband. Father of Magnus, Martha and Mikkel. Son of Tronte and Jana. Grandson of Agnes. Has extramarital affair with Hannah Kahnwald in 2019. Becomes obsessed with finding Mikkel and convinced that the 1986 version of Helge Doppler is responsible for the disappearances. Arrested in 1953 for allegedly kidnapping Helge and murdering 2 boys, after he tried to kill child Helge and locked him in the bunker. Committed to a mental institution in 1953. Still there in 1987. It’s not clear if he ever had an ongoing mental illness other than the trauma of losing Mikkel, and then everything, or if the “illness” was a combination of the side effects of the medications of the mid 20th century and his strong reactions to anything related to his real life.
Magnus Nielsen, 2019-20. Son of Katharina and Ulrich. Brother to Martha and Mikkel. Oldest child. Franziska Doppler’s boyfriend. Suspicious of Franziska, causing arguments between them.
Martha Nielsen, 2019-20. Ariadne. In love with Jonas. Bartosz’ former girlfriend. Daughter of Katharina and Ulrich. Sister of Magnus and Mikkel. Middle child. Dies on the day of the apocalypse, 6/27/20.
Mikkel Nielsen/ Michael Kahnwald, 1986-87, 2019. Time Traveler. Artist. Magician. Interest in Hermeticism. Youngest son of Katharina and Ulrich Nielsen. Brother of Martha and Magnus. Adopted in 1986 by Ines Kahnwald and raised as Michael Kahnwald. Married to Hannah (Krüger) Kahnwald. Jonas’ father. Hanged himself on 6/21/19.
Tronte Nielsen, 1953-54, 1986-87, 2019-20. Journalist. Husband of Jana, father of Ulrich and Mads, son of Agnes and lover of Claudia. He and Peter Doppler placed of Mads body in the woods in 2019 on the night of Mikkel’s disappearance, based on Claudia’s instructions. They continued to be involved in the events of Cycle 1 during November 2019 in other ways, guided by the triqueta log, which Claudia gave them.
Agnes Nielsen, 1953-54. Tronte’s mother, Doris’ lover, Noah’s sister, Ulrich’s grandmother. Renting rooms at the Tiedemann home. Was working with Claudia, until Claudia ordered Agnes to betray her. According to Tronte, before they moved to Winden she was sad and he was living in an orphanage.
Peter Doppler, 2019-20. Therapist. Charlotte’s husband, father to Franziska and Elisabeth. Son of Helge Doppler. Mother unknown. Moved to Winden in 1987. Frequently visited Benni in the past, but promised Charlotte he’d stop and has kept his promise. Along with Tronte, helped Claudia in Cycle 1, guided by the triqueta log.
Charlotte Doppler, 2019-20. Winden police chief. Daughter of Father Noah. Wife of Peter. Mother of Franziska and Elisabeth. Raised by her grandfather/guardian, HG Tannhaus, after she was taken from her parents as a premature infant. The identity of her mother hasn’t been revealed to her or us, but Noah claims her mother loves her and is still living. What that means to a man who time travels through a century on a regular basis is anyone’s guess. Charlotte and Peter are running an in depth investigation of the Winden disappearances out of the bunker, unbeknownst to the rest of the police force or Clausen. Jonas solved the murders for her when he told her about Noah, but she still has many more questions to answer.
Franziska Doppler, 2019-20. Daughter of Charlotte and Peter. Sister of Elisabeth. Granddaughter of Noah. Magnus’ girlfriend. Sells hormone therapy prescriptions to Benni when Benni can’t get them from Peter anymore.
Elisabeth Doppler, 2019-20, 2053. Leader of the apocalypse survivors in 2053. Daughter of Charlotte and Peter. Sister of Franziska. Granddaughter of Noah. Briefly taken by Noah in 2019 and returned with a pocket watch of Charlotte’s. Deaf, communicates using sign language. Silja is her interpreter in 2053. Yasin, one of the missing/dead boys, was her friend and crush in 2019. Strict enforcer of the law in 2053, but relents and doesn’t kill Jonas after he trespasses into the dead zone. Does kill the French delegation.
Helge Doppler, 1953, 1986-87, 2019. Time Traveler. Noah’s assistant in the development of the evil chair time travel device. Father was Bernd, the builder and first director of the Winden Nuclear Power Plant. Mother was Greta, strict disciplinarian who had a thing for Father Noah and thought Bernd might not be Helge’s biological father. Father of Peter. No information on when he fathered Peter or with who. He didn’t raise Peter. Was in an institution in 1987. Was in a nursing home with dementia in 2019. Kidnapped Mads, Eric, Yasin and maybe more for Noah to experiment on and kill, then he disposed of the bodies. The 2019 version died in a car accident in 1987 while trying to stop his younger self from helping Noah.
It’s possible that his “dementia” is just a misunderstanding of his ramblings about time and time travel. He gave Claudia her copy of A Journey Through Time with the hope that it would help her understand him.
Greta Doppler, 1953-54. Helge’s mother. Bernd’s wife. Strict disciplinarian. Follower of Noah.
Bernd Doppler, 1953, 1986-87. Founder and original director of the Winden nuclear power plant. Father of Helge. Husband of Greta. In charge of the power plant during the accident in 1986 that creates the God Particle and responsible for the cover up. Considers the plant his legacy and doesn’t want the accident made public.
HG Tannhaus (with Teen Charlotte), 1953, 1986. The Claockmaker. Time machine inventor, author of the guide to time travel “A Journey Through Time”, owner of the clock shop. Charlotte’s guardian/adoptive grandfather. Had some connection to Sic Mundus which hasn’t been revealed. Studied Hermeticism. Exchanged information with Claudia and Jonas.
Noah, 1921, 1953-4, 1986-87, 2019-20. Time Traveler. Father of Charlotte. Grandfather of Franziska and Elisabeth. Brother to Agnes Nielsen. Taken in when young and named by Adam. Pastor of the Sic Mundus cover church, who doesn’t believe in God, follower of the Prophecy who also seems to have doubts about that. Does Adam’s dirty work, from murder to recruitment. In Cycle 1, Helge did his dirty work. Mentored by Adam. Mentors the younger version of himself. The older version barely seems to age. Hasn’t been given a last name, though his sister Agnes uses Nielsen. Charlotte was taken from him and her mother, who hasn’t been identified, when she was a premature infant and not expected to survive. He searched for her for more than 50 years and only found her when he read the missing final pages of the triqueta diary, after murdering Claudia out of revenge. He has a tattoo of the Emerald Tablet which covers his entire back.
Silja, 2052-53. The girl from the future. Elisabeth’s interpreter. The first person Jonas met when he arrived in 2052 after touching fingers with young Helge through the rift in time. She and Jonas have a connection.
Clausen, 2020. Head of the “task force” meant to start a new investigation into the missing persons cases in Winden. Sent by the national government. Believes in the power of careful observation and catching people off guard. Seems to assume that everyone is guilty. Despite the title of “task force”, he’s the only person sent to Winden. He insists on working closely with Charlotte, staring her directly in the face. When Charlotte is unavailable, he makes Torben his driver.
Torben Wöller, 2020. Police officer. Benni’s brother. Tells her to call their mom, so she’s still living, though unnamed. Lost an eye before the series began, but we haven’t been told how. Dedicated and conscientious police officer. Also works for Aleksander on the side. Responsible for the truck with the radioactive yellow barrels while they couldn’t be stored at the power plant. Dies on the day of the apocalypse, 6/27/20.
Benni/Bernadette (Wöller?), 2020. Trans sex worker. Torben’s sibling. Object of Peter Doppler’s desire. Watches the truck with the yellow barrels for Torben. Buys hormone therapy prescriptions from Franziska. I have a hunch that she and Torben are more important than they appear, especially since they’ve had custody of the truck for months. That’s a lot of exposure to whatever’s in the barrels. And they could be twins, which becomes an important concept as the season goes on.
Justyna Jankowksi, 2020. Police officer. Dies on the day of the apocalypse, 6/27/20.
Jürgen Obendorf, 2020. Maintenance worker at the nuclear power plant. Erik Obendorf’s father and drug dealing partner.
Adam, 1921. Time Traveler. Says he’s Old Jonas. Does not give convincing evidence. Leader of Sic Mundus. Fanatical megalomaniac. The Devil, the Demiurge, the Bond villain. Philosopher-King. Or maybe he’s the biblical Adam, God’s first and most perfect human creation, who’s been led astray by an evil woman (Claudia? Martha? Hannah?), and is now trying to restore mankind to his proper place in the universe. Only time will tell. Tells Young Jonas that he’s declared war on time and seeks to create a new world order with no time and no death. Has a replica of the God Particle from the future which he can control precisely. Plans to bring on the apocalypse in a couple of days. Maybe just a touch insane. Lives deep underground in an abandoned mine in the Winden cave system that’s been turned into a steampunk Temple of Doom. Has an artist’s sense of style and presentation.
Why does Adam have such extensive scarring when none of the other frequent time travelers do? Noah is ageless and Claudia aged beautifully. After his first trip in the chair, Helge seems to have traveled without damage and aged normally. Has anyone checked to see if Adam’s scarring is even real? Will we get an end of the series reveal when he pulls off the whole thing and he’s beautiful underneath, the beast returned to his true appearance? The minotaur remembered by his sister Ariadne and rescued from his imprisonment?
The Nameless Tattooed Man, 1921. Helped create the passage. Lost faith in the Prophecy, but was able to keep his sense of humor and emotional distance about the situation. Was attacked and potentially killed by Young Noah, on Adam’s and Adult Noah’s orders, likely as an initiation rite for Young Noah. Accepted his fate. Had some prior connection to Noah that made him an interesting choice for the job. Has the same tattoo as Noah, but on his chest and abdomen, instead of his back. This also suggests a connection to Noah, and to the several episode titles referring to beginnings and ends. The end credits call him “Man in Cave“. We’re probably supposed to think he’s Bartosz. I don’t believe it. I think he’s a different founder of Sic Mundus, but probably a close relation of Bartosz. He could be Noah’s brother. This season is already big on sibling relationships, and Genesis has important murderous siblings. As in the story of Joseph, they don’t always die. But some do, such as amongst Adam and Eve’s sons.
Honestly, can you imagine Bartosz digging in the tunnels, alone with just one other man, without complaining about the hard labor he was doing?
Images courtesy of Netflix.