Episode 6 of Dark, season 2, An Endless Cycle, answers questions which have lingered since the beginning of the series. The episode follows Young Jonas back to June 20, 2019, the day before Michael Kahnwald hung himself, and gives us a baseline for normal Winden life in 2019. The theme of the episode is betrayal.
On the time travel side, as expected, Jonas’ visit with Michael doesn’t go the way he wants. But he makes the most of his time in 2019 before he meets with his father, and has some unexpected encounters.
The episode begins with a voiceover by Adam and a visual showing the highpoints of the series, in reverse chronological order, ending at the beginning, with Michael’s suicide. Adam is, as usual, focused on beginnings as endings and looking for the ultimate terminating point, the end of the beginning, the exact moment where it all began, so that he can pull the plant out and get its entire root. With nothing left of the root, the plant can’t grow back. The time loop is extinguished. Or so he hopes.
But the beginning of the narrative is the moment I’ve been waiting for. The iconic, unaltered, Jonas Kahnwald morning routine, viewed in its natural state. The one we should have been comparing all of his other mornings to, for the last 15 episodes. And that one morning of Martha’s, too.
Jonas opens his eyes. He slowly awakens and sits up. Nena’s “Irgendwie, Irgendwo, Irgendwann (Anyway, Anywhere, Anytime)” plays on the radio. He looks out the window and scratches his neck sleepily.
Once he’s dressed, Jonas runs downstairs and straight to the fridge. He pulls out a bottle of milk and sniffs it to make sure it hasn’t spoiled, then pours himself a bowl of Frosted Flakes cereal.
As he turns to take his breakfast to the table, Michael is behind him and says “Boo!” They both laugh and say, “Good morning,” then sit at the table together.
Let’s take a look at what just happened, and didn’t happen.
First- I thought sure he only sniffed the milk in the early episodes of season 1 because Hannah let things go after Michael died, but I guess that was always a thing. Points to Hannah for being a little more together after Michael died than I thought.
Second, that song is the one that played in the bunker room with the killer time chair. Jonas probably should have startled awake, but for once, he didn’t.
Third, HE DIDN’T STARTLE AWAKE. After doing an extensive analysis of Jonas’ sleeping habits, since the show sort of forces it on me, I can tell you that we’ve watched Jonas wake up in nearly every episode. We’ve watched both Stranger and Young Jonas wake up. We’ve watched Martha mirror Jonas. The one and only other time he didn’t startle awake was the time he slept in Adam’s Temple of Doom, with Adam watching over him. Michael’s presence is the only thing that’s different this time from the other times, besides that one. Jonas growing older didn’t matter, the presence of any and every other person didn’t matter, and where he was sleeping hasn’t mattered, even though he sleeps at home in his own bed oddly frequently, no matter what time period he’s in.
To me, this signals that Adam is Mikkel/Michael. Otherwise, I don’t understand why sleeping near the Adam version of himself would be soothing to Jonas within himself when being the zen like Stranger and knowing he’ll live to become Adam isn’t. He felt safe and secure before Michael died, then Michael’s death shattered his world.
But we also haven’t been shown any of Adam’s sleeping and eating routines, when it’s such an important part of how we check in with Jonas’ emotional state. Adam’s daily routine is kept as tightly sealed as his clothing. He didn’t so much as have a glass of water with Jonas. He sat and watched Jonas sleep. Maybe Adam still startles awake every morning.
Moving on, the lovely Hannah comes down the stairs next and gives her husband a kiss on the cheek good morning, which he receives affectionately. So far, it’s been a normal, pleasant morning, with everyone discussing their plans for the day. Jonas is planning to ride his bike to the lake with his friends.
Hannah reminds Jonas that Katharina and Ulrich are having their 25th anniversary party tonight, so he should make sure he doesn’t stay at the lake too late.
Michael breaks out in a cold sweat.
A storm is expected that evening. Every time someone says something that makes Michael more anxious, there’s a low rumble of internal thunder. There was a storm expected the night he time traveled as well.
Jonas realizes he’s late and jumps up to leave. He grabs his yellow raincoat.
Thunder, and Michael drops what he’s holding. It’s the raincoat Jonas was wearing the night Mikkel disappeared.
Jonas asks if he’s okay. He assures Jonas and Hannah that everything is fine. Jonas and Hannah look at each other. They know he’s not okay, but they can’t figure out how to help him.
Hannah asks Michael to come along to the party.
He deflects her question. Thunder.
She tries again. More thunder.
She gives it one more try, holding him and asking him to do it for her. Michael startles a little at Hannah’s touch, as if he’s dissociated from his body. When she suggests it might be good for him to leave the house sometimes, he tells her he needs to finish his painting.
Hannah gives up and accepts his rejection.
June 20, 2019- The Day Before Michael Commits Suicide
Magnus, Martha, Jonas and Bartosz ride their bikes to the lake. They are carefree.
Noah emerges from the church to enact some evil plan.
But wait, it’s not Noah. It’s the Jonas that Adam just sent through his captive God Particle.
Geez, that doesn’t bode well.
Over at the Nielsen house, Ulrich is feeling amorous and also experiencing rejection. Katharina is getting her period, hasn’t shaved, is about to host a party, and just generally isn’t in the mood. Ulrich doesn’t take the hint about her mood and tells her he doesn’t care that she hasn’t shaved.
That’s sweet of him, but he should be asking how he can be helping with the party preparations since she’s feeling overwhelmed. That’s much more likely to get him what he wants, sooner, but probably not immediately.
Mikkel comes in without knocking, which causes Ulrich to snap at him, since now he’s definitely not having sex. Mikkel is sick and covered with red spots. Katharina diagnoses rubella. She’s frustrated to have this added to her workload today, but she stays patient. She and Mikkel prepare to go to the doctor.
Ulrich pouts. This is the type of moment Daniel Kahnwald meant when he told Egon that wives are wired differently from men. Daniel said that since wives become married to the kids, husbands need to get their “needs” met elsewhere. He suggested finding a sweet young thing. I suppose Ulrich should get points for choosing a woman his own age instead of the babysitter, but he and Daniel get way more negative points for not sharing the workload more with their wives.
[I always imagine Daniel hiring himself out to Sic Mundus for stud service and fathering all of the random children in Winden that Noah didn’t father. Unclaimed blondes are Noah’s, brunettes are Daniel’s. They are Adam and Steve. 😇]
Aleksander sees a headline in the morning paper which makes him nervous, “Murder in Marburg Unsolved 33 Years Later: Search for Two Fugitive Perps Still On”. Regina notices when she tries to confirm their lunch date at the hotel, but he doesn’t confide in her.
Regina looks absolutely fabulous. Aleksander looks like someone walked over his grave.
Peter comes home and finds Charlotte sitting on the couch. The girls aren’t there. When he speaks to her, Charlotte doesn’t respond to him. He becomes defensive and tells her that he was at the nursing home, visiting his father, Helge. She continues to sit silently, with a blank look on her face. Then he gets angry and asks how long she’s going to give him the silent treatment and assume he’s lying to her. She’s still silent. He tells her that everything is her fault because she’s dead inside.
Her facial expressions have only changed subtly during his speech. She finally tells him that she’s going to the Nielsen’s party alone. Peter walks out of the room without answering, having interrogated himself in front of the chief of police.
Magnus, Martha and Bartosz are swimming. Bartosz tells a story about a woman who drowned in the lake. Her body is still there and sometimes she comes to get swimmers. Magnus plays along and grabs Martha’s feet under water.
Martha scoffs at their childishness and gets out of the water to go sit with Jonas. She wonders if her parents are happy together or if parents just learn to accept what they have. She asks Jonas if Hannah and Michael are happy. He says that he doesn’t know.
Jonas runs his fingers through the sand and finds a small metal disk. Martha explains that it’s a St Christopher’s medal, the patron saint of travelers. She tells him not to ask how she knows, and they chuckle together over it for a moment, leaning up against each other.
Okay, there are way too many Jonases running around in this episode. Well, that actually could never be true, but we need to differentiate them. I’ll call them 2019 and 1921 Jonas, since I’m feeling creative.
1921 Jonas has walked out to the highway and looks like he’s hitchhiking, but he’s not. He’s just looking tragically beautiful for the camera. Katharina, Ulrich and Mikkel, who are on their way to the doctor, also think he’s hitchhiking. They stop to offer him a ride to the lake and a little good natured teasing about his love life. Apparently, everyone but Bartosz knew that he and Martha were about to become an item.
Mikkel offers Jonas an ultimate fist bump, but Katharina tells him not to touch the contagious child. Jonas refuses the ride, Ulrich calls him Romeo and they send him off to woo Martha, while they drive away.
Magnus relieves himself against a tree and notices a naked female body floating face down in a nearby part of the lake. He crashes into the water to save her, but before he gets very far, Franziska stands up, very much alive. For a minute they stand there, awkwardly facing each other, while Magnus tries to explain, then he leaves.
Their romance has had kind of an interesting progression. Big emphasis on hormones. 😉Not so much on talking.
Martha is reading the script for Ariadne’s Thread, which she’ll star in that fall at school. She and Jonas smile at each other and he asks what she’s thinking.
Martha: “I was just thinking. Wouldn’t you love to know whatever was coming next?”
Jonas: “You mean the future?”
Martha puts her book down and moves in close: “Yeah, or maybe just the next five minutes. I sometimes get this feeling like something’s happening, you know?”
They begin to move in for their first kiss, but MAGNUS RUNS BETWEEN THEM AND WRECKS IT. THIS IS NOT OKAY. He’s never been my favorite, but I happen to know their future and they need every uninterrupted minute they can get, OKAY? Brothers just suck sometimes.
Jonas notices the time. He realizes that he’s late for teaching Grandma Ines how to use her new iPad.
2019 Jonas jumps up and reaches for his things. Martha asks why he has his raincoat with him. He tells her it’s going to rain later.
1921 Jonas watches from the treeline. As soon as 2019 Jonas is gone, he cleverly arranges his raincoat to hide his noose abrasion and tries to do something with his hair. Then he goes out and sits next to Martha on the blanket. She wonders why he’s back so soon.
When he’s quiet, she asks if he’s okay. He tells her that he thought he had more time.
Jonas: “Why do people say that, anyway? ‘To have time.’ How can you have time when it clearly has you?”
Martha: “Did something happen? You seem different?”
Jonas: “I want to tell you something. I’ve wanted to for a long time. You and I are perfect for each other. Never believe anything else.”
They finally, slowly, meaningfully kiss, then Jonas tells her he has to go. He stands up and takes a long look at her, tears in his eyes. He turns to look at her again as he walks away. It’s like he’s a condemned man, going to the gallows.
As far as he knows, he is. If Jonas can stop Michael from hanging himself, then he might never be born and/or cease to exist. He’s going on a suicide mission, but he stopped to tell Martha that she’s his soulmate first. Martha is so in tune with him that she sensed the shift in the atmosphere and was right with him emotionally. She went from a lighthearted almost first kiss with 2019 Jonas one minute to moments later being in a Romeo and Juliet scenario, cramming their entire love affair into 1 minute.
OMG, this show kills me. Every couple is epic in its own way, but these two take the prize. 😭😭😭😭😭
Also, the words he said to her, “You and I are perfect for each other. Never believe anything else,” are the words they’ve both been dreaming all season. He was wanting to say them and she was remembering hearing them.
At the Kahnwald house, Michael observes from the bedroom window as Katharina, Ulrich and Mikkel stop by to pick up something for the party. When Hannah sees Mikkel in his pajamas, she has a moment of deja vu.
Mikkel goes inside to use the bathroom, which lures Michael downstairs. When Mikkel sees him, he runs away. Michael freezes and breathes hard.
So Michael is curious about his own past, and wants to face his fears. But he can’t tell Mikkel the truth, and that encounter brought up some powerful emotions in him. He’s stuck in his own loop.
On the bike ride home, Bartosz apologizes to Martha because he won’t be able to make it to her parents’ party. His mom is doing dinner at the hotel and he has to go. He compliments her hair awkwardly.
He has a crush on her, but isn’t registering on her radar. Martha thanks him for what he said and rides off.
At the power plant, Aleksander asks Torben to look into the Marburg murder case.
Hannah and 2019 Jonas arrive at the party. Hannah is in siren red, while Jonas and Martha are in virginal wedding white.
Katharina runs over to greet Hannah and collect another bottle of champagne. She says it was supposed to be a garden party, but they moved it inside because of the storm, so now it’s cosy. Tronte and Jana are there and happy.
There’s more happiness going on at this party than we’ve seen in the entire series so far.
1921 Jonas arrives at his family home just as the storm begins. He goes to his bedroom and takes in his lost past. His father follows him into the room, asking if everything is okay, since he expected Jonas to be at the party. Jonas silently holds him tight, in tears.
Michael realizes something is wrong, and notices that Jonas is different. He’s the first person to notice the difference in Jonas’ hair. Despite his depression, anxiety and other issues, Michael lights up whenever Jonas is nearby. With his artist’s eye for detail, he notices everything about his son.
To be fair, Martha was busy seeing into Jonas’ soul and sticking her tongue down his throat. The length of his hair is irrelevant for those purposes.
Also, Michael melts into Jonas’ hug after cringing away from Hannah a few hours earlier.
Jonas takes a step back from Michael and tells him that he knows Michael’s secrets. When Michael doesn’t understand what he means, Jonas offers to do an ultimate fist bump, like Mikkel had earlier in the day. Michael looks panicky and asks why Jonas would say that. Jonas tells him that he knows Michael’s real name is Mikkel Nielsen. Michael becomes distraught, but Jonas tells him it’s okay and holds him again.
Since he also saw Mikkel earlier today, this would be the first time Jonas was confronted with the older and younger versions of his father within a short time of one another, while knowing who both of them really were to him.
Jonas is the only person who Michael was close to as both Mikkel and Michael. Michael alluded to this in his suicide note. Jonas was Mikkel’s protector, then Michael’s son. Even though Jonas hasn’t known the whole truth before this, Michael still probably felt that Jonas was the only one who really knew him.
Now they both know who they are to each other, and how unique their relationship is.
At the party, the guests are viewing a slideshow of photos from the Nielsen family history. There’s one of a very pregnant Katharina, then she’s shown with an infant. Ulrich thinks the baby is Martha, but Katharina corrects him, saying that the baby is Magnus.
Mark my words, half the babies in town have been switched at birth. 😉
The next slide shows Katharina and Hannah dressed up for a school dance in their 80s finest.
Mikkel, who was upstairs in bed, wanders downstairs and tells Katharina he can’t sleep. She discovers he has a high fever. She takes him back upstairs, and stays with him when he asks.
Even with everything going on at the party, 2019 Jonas is pays attention to Mikkel’s interactions.
1921 Jonas and Michael have moved downstairs to the kitchen table to talk. Jonas has already told Michael that he’s from the future. Now he asks Michael not to go through with his suicide. Michael claims that he doesn’t have any suicidal plans. Jonas relives his father’s death in his mind during their conversation, thinking of all of the signs of Michael’s intentions he missed that he could recognize in hindsight.
When Jonas tells Michael what he’ll do, Michael looks up toward his studio, where he’ll hang himself the next day. Is he realizing he’s been caught out or being surprised at the idea?
Jonas asks Michael if he’s written his suicide note yet. Michael doesn’t know what he means. Jonas shows it to him and reiterates that he’s there to stop Michael and the endless, intertwined loop that begins with Michael’s death.
Michael reads the letter. Jonas takes it back and begs his father not to take his life.
Martha brings 2019 Jonas up to her room. She shows him the St Christopher medal, saying he forgot it at the lake, so she brought it home and put it on a cord.
Or maybe it’s a thread. The medal will keep him safe and the thread will lead him back to her.
She hands him the medal. Then she tells him she’s been thinking about what he said at the lake. This is the other Jonas, who had already left the lake, so he’s confused and asks if she means what he said about helping his grandmother. Martha chuckles and tells him he was right, earlier. She’s about to kiss him, so Jonas is just happy to be right about whatever it was and doesn’t question her further. Martha kisses him for their second first kiss, and he responds.
The kiss at the lake was Martha’s first kiss with Jonas. This is Jonas’ first kiss with Martha. At the lake, she took the medal from him, and he said his vow to her. Now, she agrees with his vow and gives the medal back, with her token, the cord, added.
They are both in white. This is probably as close to a wedding ceremony as they’ll ever get. 1921 Jonas initiated the vows fully informed of their status, but Martha doesn’t know. So, it doesn’t end here, as befits a ceremony between time travelers. The ceremony portion is TBC, after Martha finds out what their true relationship is to each other. Will it be the completion of the wedding vows or turn into a divorce?
Brace yourselves for impact, kids.
1921 Jonas asks his father what happened the night Mikkel traveled back to 1986. From his perspective, like ours, Mikkel was there one moment, and gone the next. He asks if Mikkel went to the cave and found the passage on his own, as most of us have probably assumed.
Michael: “I didn’t find it. Someone showed it to me.”
Jonas: “What do you mean?”
Michael: “We were at the caves. There was this strange noise. We were all sure someone was there. We ran. Then I lost you. I turned around and you were gone. But suddenly you were back again. [The night of Mikkel’s disappearance is shown in flashbacks as he speaks. A Young Jonas appears in front of Mikkel who looks the same as he does now, including the neck scar, but dressed to duplicate Jonas’ appearance on that night.] You said there was something in the forest, something evil. And that we had to return to the cave. You brought me all the way back to the door, and through the tunnel. I was so afraid. But you held my hand. And then you said, ‘We have to stay here all night, but when morning comes, everything will be alright.’ And when I woke up, you were gone. All these years I’ve tried to understand why you did that. But then, at some point, it all just faded away. It became ever more unreal, like a dream.”
Jonas: “But that’s impossible. I never did that.”
Michael: “I saw myself today. Mikkel. It’s all returning. This jacket, you. As if it’s all falling into place. Maybe you’re not here to stop me at all. But rather to show me what I have to do. Maybe you only showed me the letter so I know what’s in it, so I can go and you live on.”
To Mikkel/Michael, the sudden appearance of a strange Jonas wearing his yellow jacket means one phase of his life is ending and another is about to begin. He ended the first phase of his life alone, as if he were buried in an underground tomb, ushered into death by a Jonas who’d been hung, the Jonas who is Dionysus. Dionysus is a psychopomp, one of the few beings who is able to enter the realm of the dead and return to the land of the living. Now that version of Jonas/Dionysus has returned to usher Mikkel into the next phase of his existence. Claudia, the White Devil, will be along momentarily.
Jonas: “No, that can’t be. That can’t be. Adam said I could prevent it. He told me I could stop the origin. If you don’t kill yourself, none of this will happen.”
Michael: “But if none of this happens, you won’t be born. And maybe your role in all this is much greater than you think. And perhaps I’m just a small part of huge cancer that is much greater than any of us can imagine.”
Jonas: “Someone said that to me already.”
Jonas: “I did.”
Actually, Adam did. Jonas is already used to interacting with multiple versions of himself and others, older and younger, so he took what Adam said at face value, but a neck scar from hanging is not definitive proof. Chronologically, Michael is now the first person to say those words, and if he fakes his death, he’ll have a twin scar to Jonas’. Claudia’s imminent presence drastically increases the chances that he faked his death, since it’s much easier with an accomplice.
We’ve already seen Claudia set Agnes up as a false betrayer in her own death, to goad Noah into killing her at the right time. Now she’s arrived at Jonas’ house to make sure Michael’s “death” goes as planned, while blaming it on Adam for Young Jonas’ sake, setting Adam up as the villain the way she set up Agnes and Noah as the villains in her own death.
Michael presses their faces together and whispers, “God doesn’t err. He has a plan. For each of us.”
Those are Noah’s words. We’ve seen Noah and Mikkel discuss God’s plan twice. Right now, it appears that the plan is a tug of war between Claudia and Adam as Goddess and God.
Old Claudia enters without knocking. She says, “I have waited for a very long time for the moment we’d meet again.”
It’s not clear whether she means Michael or Jonas. Or both.
Jonas asks, “Who are you? Are you with Adam?”
Claudia: “There are 2 sides out there. He is the darkness. I don’t follow him. I follow the light. He lied to you. He brought you here to trigger everything so it happens as it always has.”
Jonas: “No, that can’t be. Adam wants this, too.”
Claudia: “No, he does not. He doesn’t want to fix things. He wants to destroy them forever. Your role in all of this is much greater than you believe. Only you can put an end to all this.”
Jonas: “What does that mean?”
Claudia: “We’re at war, and you have to wage it against yourself. Against Adam.”
Jonas: “But if I don’t exist, if I’m never born, then Adam won’t exist either.”
Claudia: “I’ve seen the world without you. Believe me, it’s not what you’re expecting. There are moments in life when you must see that the decisions that you make affect more than your own destiny. This isn’t just about you and Mikkel. This is about everyone. Your mother. Your friends. Martha. You alone can save them.”
Joans: “What are you saying?”
Claudia: “We all have to make sacrifices. Your father has to make sacrifices, too.”
Michael: “It’s okay.”
Heliocentrism: Jonas is the sun that Michael orbits. Adam has an old artist’s conception of heliocentrism framed in his study. It’s Elisabeth’s favorite pages from Tannhaus’ book.
Back at the anniversary party (remember that?), Hannah has slipped outside for a cigarette. When Ulrich joins her on the swing set, the sounds of the approaching storm remind them of the time in high school when they joked that an oncoming thunderstorm was actually the apocalypse approaching, and they reenact those lines.
In both instances, the conversation is flirtatious, but Ulrich left Hannah and went home in 1986. In 2020, Ulrich asks Hannah what she’d wish for, if the world ended and she could start over. She answers with Ulrich’s original line from 1986, “A world without Winden. And you?” It starts to pour before he can answer. He takes her hand and they run under a roof for shelter.
As the montage begins, they give in to the sexual tension that’s been between them for decades. Katharina has fallen asleep upstairs in Mikkel’s bed. After they finish, Hannah and Ulrich feel guilty and sordid. As we already know, they continue their affair for months, until Mikkel’s disappearance.
Peter guiltily visits Benni’s trailer. From between the trucks in the parking lot, Franziska watches him arrive. She’s not okay with her dad’s cheating. Benni holds Peter tenderly when they’ve finished.
Charlotte comes home to an empty house.
Magnus looks at photos of Franziska dancing in gym class on his phone.
Regina, Aleksander and Bartosz share a formal family dinner.
2019 Jonas and Martha undress each other and make love.
1921 Jonas and Michael say goodbye, then a heartbroken Jonas leaves with Claudia.
Michael goes to his studio and writes his suicide letter.
Jonas stops outside of the cave for a last look at the Winden he knew as a child before following Claudia inside.
Michael reads his letter aloud. The meaning of the words has changed since the last time we heard it. Now, it reads like secret code.
By the time you read this, everything will have already happened, irrevocably. It can no longer be changed. I would have liked to explain things to you sooner, but I hope once you understand how everything is connected, you will understand my decision. The truth is a strange thing. You can try to suppress it, but it will always find its way to the surface. We make a lie into our truth in order to survive. We try to forget, until we can’t anymore. We don’t know half the mysteries of this world. We are wanderers in the darkness.
As Michael has been reading, the visual has changed from Jonas and Michael to Adam, who is holding the St Christopher medal.
When the voiceover ends, a middle aged man and woman enter the room. The man says, “You could have told him. Adam, you could have told him what his purpose really is in all of this, what path you sent him down.”
Adam simply says, “Not much longer until the last cycle begins.” Then he leaves the room.
The woman says, “Magnus, we all have to make sacrifices.”
Adult (Old?) Magnus looks up at the God Particle in the corner silently.
ETA 9/2/19: If you go back and watch season 1, episode 2, Jonas appears briefly in the mouth of the cave in the morning, wearing his muddy brown raincoat. He’s shown from a distance and his face is hidden. The scene is just after Jana replaces the toy on Mads’ gravestone.
Magnus and Franziska (?) show up out of nowhere. This is the first time we’ve seen the future versions of them, though they appear in the past. They are loyal followers of Adam’s, though high enough up in the organization that they can argue with him. They are standing next to Adam in the front row of the Sic Mundus photo from the clock shop (scroll down). Did Sic Mundus provide a career path for everyone in Winden when the power plant closed? Well, anyone who survived the coming apocalypse, anyway.
Before anyone assumes that Adam’s possession of the medal means he’s Jonas, remember the odyssey the time machine and the triquetra diary have been on. I also have a feeling there’s some cultish connection between the coins the dead boys were wearing in season 1 and the medal. Some elements of Sic Mundus may have worshipped Jonas as part of the Prophecy at some point, and the medal may have been associated with him.
I think Jonas has a three part soul. He shares it with Martha and Michael. The sudden loss of Michael, by his own hand, with no explanation at the time, tore out a piece of his soul. 34 years later, Stranger Jonas is still a stranger because he’s missing both of those pieces, Michael and Martha. (Plus, he’s still a stranger according to IMDB, that’s why I haven’t dropped the name.)
Martha said she can sense what’s coming, at least in the near future. What’s that about? Many of the characters are having deja vu as the end of the cycle draws near, but she sounded like it’s more of an empathic, extra sensory talent, where she can feel a certain energy rising. She felt the energy rising between her and 2019 Jonas, but she also was feeling 1921 Jonas nearby and the intensity of his feelings. In other words, Ariadne, who spins a web and rescues others, just told us that she has Spider sense. Or maybe it’s a Martha Tingle (X). 😘
Watching 1921 Jonas pretend to be 2019 Jonas at both the lake and on the night Mikkel disappeared convinces me that we haven’t been seeing one, linear version of Stranger Jonas in either season, and that even after he transitioned into his Stranger phase his motivations were shifting, or at least complex.
Stranger Jonas decided to sit this episode out, and who can blame him? I hope he’s at a day spa somewhere, getting pampered and trying not to think about June 20, 2019, probably the best and worst day of his life.
Taking bets on which woman from 1921 or 1953 becomes the body in the lake the kids still tell stories about. Greta is my choice. Unfortunately, Franziska became a woman from the past in this episode, with some heavy foreshadowing that her body could end up in the lake. She has a tendency to discover people’s secrets that could get her in trouble some day. Third choice would be Agnes, the femme fatale who has a tendency to make enemies and be involved in sketchy situations.
Jonas and Michael, the Light and the Dark
Like Adam, Claudia doesn’t answer Jonas’ questions directly, and her answers can be interpreted multiple ways. At this moment (and I admit my interpretation could change by episode 7, plus there are at least 10 other layers of interpretation for every scene anyway), I believe she’s saying she follows Jonas as the light, as opposed to Michael/Adam’s darkness.
Michael and Jonas are twinned entities, the yin to each other’s yang, binary stars who balance each other’s orbits, and when one is removed, the other falls into darkness, in their real lives as well as their mythological lives. When Michael died, Jonas fell into such deep despair that he needed to be hospitalized for months. When Mikkel disappeared, he gave up his normal life and became a time traveler. He decided he was willing to die to rescue Mikkel. Mikkel struggled in the 1980s and in adulthood he eventually narrowed his life to his home. It’s clear from this episode that it was Jonas who brought him his only real happiness in life. He decides without hesitation to sacrifice himself for his son, rather than consider life without Jonas again.
But Michael must also have mixed feelings about Jonas, since his protector/son was also the one who betrayed him by bringing him to the past. He wasn’t able to understand what really happened until the very end of the 2nd cycle. The darkness inside him thus extends to Jonas, who appears to be the one who brings on his end in both phases, even though Jonas is more of a messenger or guide than a catalyst.
Adam, in particular, knew that sending Jonas back to June 20, 2019 would set up that association. He has a history of creating these types of dark scenarios. But I suspect it’s Claudia who sends Jonas to take Mikkel into the passage.
Michael and Jonas are the opposing elements that give balance to the universe. Light and dark, fire and ice personified, the Oak King and the Holly King. This is why Mikkel has to travel to 1986 in every cycle, and Jonas has to be born. In mythology and life, light and the dark each sometimes believe they want to vanquish the other and rule alone, or that they hate each other, but in reality, neither can exist without the other in some form.
Mikkel/Michael and Jonas are always aware of each other and are at their most mentally healthy when the other is nearby. They touch as frequently as possible. They sometimes move in unison. This is why I believe that either Michael is Adam, after having faked his own death, or, if Adam is the third phase of Jonas, then Jonas has absorbed his father’s darkness into himself.
There is a Harry Houdini poster prominently displayed in Mikkel’s bedroom in this episode. Houdini was a magician and escape artist who lived from 1874-1926. Mikkel talked about him frequently in season 1. His signature stunts involved escaping certain death. It’s not farfetched to imagine Mikkel emulating his idol and developing a trick which would allow him to make a clean getaway from the life he couldn’t bear any more, once he knew Jonas wouldn’t be part of it much longer either. Then he could also become a time traveler again. I have a feeling that Claudia is cagey about Adam’s identity when speaking with Jonas and Michael because she doesn’t yet want Michael to know who he’ll become.
There’s no light left in Adam. If Jonas absorbed Michael’s darkness, the way one twin sometimes absorbs the other in the womb, he lost his own light in the process and with it the balancing effect that holding darkness and light within himself should bring.
Instead, he’s become a walking Death Star. Whoever Adam is, he’s still drawn to the light. He stayed with Young Jonas for as long as he could, even while the younger man slept, absorbing Jonas’ energy, even though he wouldn’t let himself touch Jonas. He kept Jonas all to himself, so he didn’t have to share attention. He allowed himself to bask in a moment of heliocentrism before he forced himself to send Jonas away again and got on with his plan to destroy the light forever.
Wha happened to create this tragic figure? In this episode, Claudia tells Michael and Jonas that they must make sacrifices to save everyone, including the ones they love. Adam takes this idea and perverts it into destroying everyone and everything in order to fulfill his own selfish desire. It’s the opposite of Claudia’s request for individual sacrifice for the ultimate greater good.
Michael’s Illness, Evil Plans and a World Without Jonas
The conversation between Claudia and Jonas makes a lot more sense if Jonas and Adam are ultimately two separate people. When Claudia tells Jonas he needs to wage war against himself and Adam:
“We’re at war, and you have to wage it against yourself. Against Adam.”
I think she means he has to wage war against his own desires and against Adam’s darkness. That could either mean war within one person or two separate people.
The “world without Jonas” would be the cycles/timelines/dimensions where Mikkel didn’t time travel or where he was successfully rescued before Jonas was born.
In those scenarios, Michael could still fall into despair and turn into Adam. Without Jonas to help balance him, he might be more likely to succumb to his depression and become wrapped up in delusion. Mental illness runs in the Nielsen family line, from Jana, to Ulrich, to Mikkel to Jonas. Avoiding the events of this timeline doesn’t mean he’d avoid all trauma or avoid his illness.
He’d still attempt to carry out his evil plans, but there would be no Jonas to bring balance and light, as there is in the current timeline. It could be, if this turns out to be a multiverse, or if the cycles vary enough, that sometimes Jonas is Adam and sometimes Michael is Adam. Maybe a version of Young Jonas is specifically needed to counteract the darkness, but the dark energy that turns one character into Adam can potentially land in any of several characters. Maybe sometimes the light and dark twins are Jonas and Bartosz or Jonas and Martha.
Maybe it will be Bartosz this time, and we’ll throw out half of what I’ve written about season 2 when season 3 is released. Well, we’ll definitely throw out half of what I’ve written. But which half? 😉
If Adam is Jonas and he’s always Jonas, what kind of void would Jonas and Adam leave that makes a world without them too terrible to contemplate? What or who arises in their place? Adam wants to destroy time, after he sets off an apocalypse as an appetizer in a few days. How could he be holding back something worse than himself?
Obviously, we need to see this world without Jonas.
This doesn’t seem like the first time that Michael’s met Claudia. It’s also not the first time he’s thought of suicide. He didn’t express any horror or particular sadness at the thought. I think Jonas and Claudia gave him permission and a road map for something he’s been considering for a while.
We’ve been shown that Mikkel met with Noah more than once, remembered what they talked about, and thought about it. He thought about it as a child, and was still thinking about it as an adult. He was interested in the Emerald Tablet, one of the influences for Sic Mundus, and brought the plaque back to his hospital room with him to study further. Mikkel was already interested in magic and the occult before he time traveled, so it makes sense for him to continue his interest in these ideas. It also makes sense for him to continue to have conversations with Noah.
Does Michael already know Claudia? He didn’t seem surprised to see her or by what she said. He also didn’t need any convincing to sacrifice himself. In fact, he jumped on the chance when Jonas brought it up, like he’d been waiting for the opportunity. He would have known, as Mikkel, what happened to Jonas’ father. Has he been waiting for signs that it’s the right time?
Mikkel, Family and Escape from the Past
Take a look at this screencap:
Let’s think about the time Mikkel/Michael tried to wish Katharina happy birthday in 1987 and how devastating that must have been. Then recall that Ines told him to stop talking about his past, forget about it, and drugged him to make sure he would. The 80s were a time when self help books were exploding with popularity and kids were encouraged to talk about their trauma.
Ines wanted to silence Mikkel for her own reasons, not because she was following the medical advice of the day. It’s hard for me not to be very negative about her sometimes. The last thing Mikkel needed was the “Which was the dream, the man or the butterfly?” parable that she told him in season 1. She used he story as a mindf–k to actually make him question whether he could trust what his own mind and memory told him was the truth.
The same goes for her concern about Mikkel escaping her clutches when he and Ulrich almost made it to the cave. She called Egon rather than the police directly because she knew her fear was farfetched, but she had inside information from somewhere that Ulrich and Mikkel would try to use the passage to get back to their own time. She knew that Egon was personally involved with both cases and a friend of her father’s, so she could pull his strings. And she knew that Egon would know right where to go to stop Ulrich, whereas the police had no idea where to look.
The passage is closed at this point in the story, so Ulrich and Mikkel couldn’t use it, but it can’t be a coincidence that they escaped at the exact moment when Bartosz and the other teens were there in 1987. Ulrich even saw them. What was supposed to happen couldn’t be wiped out completely from the timeline.
I think that at some point in the repeating cycles, maybe during the original cycle, Ulrich and Mikkel either took the passage or the time machine home with the teens after finding each other in the cave or nearby. In a later cycle, someone else intervened and changed the timeline so that they can’t escape. This is another paradox/knot that’s been created and then made even more tangled by the time war.
How Time and Paradoxes Work- My Current Time Theory #2
I want to point out here that we still don’t know the original circumstances of Michael’s suicide or of his suicide in Cycle 1. The characters and their motivations have changed slightly between cycles and the bootstrap paradoxes are likely formed by the time war between Adama and Claudia. They aren’t a natural part of the time flow. They are the knots that have twisted time into a giant knot that can’t be unraveled.
My guess is that the various time traveling players have made changes in each cycle (and there are more cycles than we have seen) which have counteracted and overlapped each other. Cycle 3 will show another side to the characters and their motivations will change again.
We don’t know if Michael’s suicide was originally his own idea or not. He was an awfully willing sacrifice. He might have originally hoped it would fix the time loop after having discovered the passage a different way from what we’ve seen.
Based on what we’ve learned in the past few episodes, Claudia was manipulating much more than we realized before, and her original motives are also unclear. When we join the cycles already in progress, she’s trying to save Regina’s life. But the evidence points to her initial motivation as being purely scientific, which then got out of hand. Since then, she’s tried to fix what was broken, but she wants to put the pieces back together into a Frankenstein of time that’s better than the original.
The issue for Michael, Adam and Claudia works out to the same thing: They are all trying to cheat death for reasons that will benefit them personally, so their efforts continue to fail, and even make things worse.
In Cycle 1, Jonas wanted time restored to a normal pattern, so he had a chance at being the savior. But ever since he saw Martha’s early grave in the future, he’s been dedicated to stopping her death and the apocalypse. It’s unclear whether stopping the apocalypse would count as cheating death or not. It’s not a naturally occurring event, since Adam has to force it to happen. The original occupants of the time period don’t create it or want it.
To me, that would seem to be the loophole Jonas is looking for. It would make sense to be able to untangle the events that were created by people outside their own time periods for their own purposes, but not to be able to change events which naturally occur in a time period, that are created by the people from that period.
That would also explain Adam’s need to get back to the very beginning of events, to determine whether they occurred naturally, or were created by someone outside of time. The way to untangle the knots would be to somehow determine what happened in the original cycle, and repeat that exactly, to return to the original eternal recurrence. The way to destroy time might be to tangle everything up with so many bootstrap paradoxes that time ceases to be able to function anymore. If Adam knows origins, maybe he can determine the most fragile areas to exploit, and he can make sure every origin point is knotted.
My guess would be that Claudia was gradually working toward the original eternal recurrence, while Adam is trying to add paradoxes. Sending Jonas to talk Michael out of the suicide we know happened is adding a paradox, if it by chance works. Claudia is peeling away layers of paradoxes, and isn’t ready to peel away Michael and Jonas yet. Perhaps she’s determined that the paradoxes need to be removed in the reverse order of how they’re formed, just as you untangle a knot by unthreading the string in the reverse order from how it’s tied.
Michael and Hannah and Jonas and Claudia and Michael’s Mental Health
Michael hasn’t come to terms with his childhood self or the life he left behind. He can’t bear the thought of facing Katharina and Ulrich, his birth parents, and two of his wife’s closest friends, though it’s been thirty years. He’s two separate people, Mikkel and Michael, and any reminder of Mikkel sets off his anxiety.
To cope, he’s become a recluse who spends most of his time painting in his upstairs studio. Hannah hasn’t given up on him or their marriage, but he’s not giving her much to work with. They barely spoke to each other. Michael gets lost in the past and his anxieties.
It’s clear that he’s the lynchpin of the family. Both Hannah and Jonas are focused on him, and not only because of his illness.
Every other set of time travel duplicates we’ve seen has come to terms with each other quickly, and everyone has come to terms with the concept of time travel easily. Helge was traumatized by being Noah’s accomplice in child murder. Charlotte was traumatized by discovering her father is a child killer.
Michael is essentially a kidnap victim who was never found, who became part of the group who kidnapped him. Kidnappers sometimes tell their victims that their loved ones don’t want them back, in order to influence the victims to join the new group more easily. They want the victims to develop Stockholm Syndrome and learn to relate more to their captors than the people they left behind.
In Michael’s case, he really was rejected by the loved ones who were available, his parents and grandparents, and then Old Ulrich proved incapable of rescuing him. But Michael didn’t develop an adequate case of Stockholm Syndrome either. He didn’t surrender to his situation and accept the craziness as reality.
Then there’s Ines’ sketchiness as a parent. Who knows how much she added to his issues by pushing him to pretend he had no past instead of dealing with what had happened to him? His situation was so unique that there was no therapy for it and Ines wouldn’t let him talk to her about his ongoing struggles with his family and past to help work things out in his own mind.
From previous conversations we’ve seen between Hannah and Jonas, it sounds like Michael did alright for a long time, but then grew worse, probably as Mikkel was born and he watched himself grow up, knowing what was coming. All of his buried trauma came back to the surface and the cognitive dissonance from knowing there were two of him, but not knowing how to handle it, snowballed inside him.
He was dealing with things that were beyond his control. There were no experts he could turn to for the treatment of Time Travel Dissociative Disorder and its accompanying side issues. I think the scene in the kitchen shows that Hannah and Michael were both doing the best they could in a bad situation, and had been for a long time. It looks to me like they still love each other, underneath the issues they’re having.
Michael looks like one of his issues is the guilt he feels for ignoring his family when he can’t cope. He’s clearly in immense pain, but trying to make the best of his situation. Most days, he wouldn’t be confronted with Katharina, Ulrich and his younger self. He’d be able to stay at home, work on his art and interact more normally with his family.
This episode was all about betrayals, which tainted even the happy moments.
1921 Jonas told Martha his feelings without disclosing that they are close relatives, which led to her acting on her feelings with 2019 Jonas, who also doesn’t know they’re related. 1921 Jonas said to her, “You and I are perfect for each other. Never believe anything else.” She focused on the first half, and neither of them questioned why he’d say the 2nd part.
Could he have stopped 2019 Jonas and Martha from committing incest by avoiding revealing his feelings? His younger self didn’t know that it was those words which emboldened her to act on her own feelings, but the 1921 version could have guessed. Could Jonas have survived emotionally without knowing he still had Martha while he was losing his father?
This episode also shows us that Martha and Bartosz betrayed Jonas when they got together while he was in the hospital. Once again, Martha wasn’t fully informed of the situation. Bartosz told her that Jonas was an exchange student in France and was sleeping around. She thought he’d betrayed her after they’d shared something so intense, when in reality, Bartosz betrayed them both. The magnitude of his betrayal is revealed here.
The montage highlights other betrayals.
Magnus and Franziska have had trust issues. She’s secretive and he becomes stalkery. He doesn’t trust her judgement. Franziska doesn’t trust him to value her independence the way she does.
Peter sleeps with Benni. He betrays Charlotte and his children. Later he repairs his marriage with Charlotte, but Franziska still feels betrayed. Does Benni feel betrayed? Peter was helping her get her hormone prescriptions. Later, Franziska took on that responsibility. There have also been hints that Peter and Benni were in love.
Aleksander has been living a lie for his entire adult life, which seems to be catching up with him. Regina doesn’t appear to know about his criminal past. He’s allowed her and Bartosz to feel secure living lives that were built on a lie.
Aside from Jonas and Michael, who can’t exist as they are without betrayals, the most complex set of betrayals in this episode is shown in the side by side image of Katharina/Mikkel and Hannah/Ulrich. The image shows 2 married couples, strange as that is. All 4 of these people have betrayed each other over the years. Ulrich follows his impulses without much thought to who he’ll hurt, then blames others for the results. His immediate family and friends get hurt the worst.
Katharina has not always treated Hannah well. Her betrayals fall into the “death by a thousand cuts” category, while Hannah quietly takes abuse, then chooses the nuclear option when she’s had enough. (I’m not excusing anyone’s behavior. I’m explaining relationship and anger management styles.) Katharina betrayed Mikkel accidentally when he came to 1986, because she unthinkingly used her sharp tongue on him.
Michael/Mikkel has never gotten over the loss of his family of origin. He ignores and rejects Hannah because he’s stuck in the past. Mikkel also never revealed his true self to his parents, even as an adult. In the very first cycle, he may have killed himself rather than explain the truth to them. Jonas decides to undo that mistake in this cycle by revealing himself to both of his parents, then revealing himself and Mikkel to Katharina, once again shining a light into Michael’s darkness. Katharina’s first response is to pull out her temper and insult everyone involved, including Jonas, who she’s just met.
Katharina is a devoted mother who loves Mikkel with all her heart, there can be no doubting that. That made her teenage self’s rejection of him so much worse. The same is true of Ulrich, but he’s more volatile and less likely to listen. I think their treatment of Mikkel added to his overall damage when he arrived in the past, and gave him a phobia about approaching them again that was at least part of the beginning of his anxiety issues. The rejection was unwitting, but it was huge betrayal that’s gone unrecognized on the show.
If Mikkel had become friends with his parents the way he became friends with Hannah, his life might have been very different. If there’s a small thing that could be changed in a given cycle, that could change eventually change everything, that’s what I would redo. Have someone travel back in time and tell Katharina to be nicer to Mikkel. Ulrich and Hannah will follow her lead and eventually, he’ll feel safe telling them the truth.
The issue that hurts Winden isn’t that Mikkel time traveled. It’s that he lost his family and identity. That’s what makes him different from every other time traveler. That’s the true beginning of everything else.
He’s rejected when he goes to his people in 1986 and is adopted by Ines instead, who makes him repress the truth. If he stayed himself, he could prepare his young self during the next cycle, the way we’ve seen Noah, Claudia and Jonas prepare their younger selves. Instead, he goes in blind and afraid every time.
The next question is, of course, why doesn’t Jonas prepare him? Why does that betrayal occur? If I understand what I’m seeing, Jonas will be with Claudia when he takes Mikkel to the cave, and using the time machine instead of Adam’s God particle device. That means they have to wait about 6 months, until the day Mikkel disappears, to travel to the correct time. Jonas is caught up in the time war between Claudia and Adam at that point. He still doesn’t understand much about what’s going on, so he does what he’s told.
Being too trusting is a flaw of Jonas’, leading to betrayal. It must be almost impossible to determine the truth in his situation.
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, Elisabeth; Tronte, 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. Ines’s father. Michael’s adoptive grandfather. Egon’s boss in the early 50s. Tells Egon that married women aren’t interested in sex because they’re married to their kids and advises Egon to cheat on his wife. Leads the police officers who beat Ulrich with clubs. Seems to have a loose relationship with the truth and the law.
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. Becomes estranged from Hannah and Jonas after Michael’s death, for unknown reasons. Tells both Mikkel and Jonas to leave the past in the past and the future in the future. In 1987, she regularly drugs Mikkel with prescription sleep medication she steals from the hospital she works at. Is responsible for stopping Old Ulrich and Mikkel from escaping back to the future in 1987. Calls in Egon to help her.
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. Hides his knowledge of time travel and Sic Mundus from everyone for months until his friends catch him in the cave with the time machine.
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, 1986-87, 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, 1953-54, 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 from 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, 2019-20. 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, 1921, 2019-20. Time traveler. Son of Katharina and Ulrich. Brother to Martha and Mikkel. Oldest child. Franziska Doppler’s boyfriend. Suspicious of Franziska, causing arguments between them. Found out about time travel from Bartosz. As an older adult, becomes a member of Sic Mundus and travels to 1921 to work with Adam.
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, 2019-20. 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. Mentally ill due to his untreated childhood trauma. Takes after his Grandma Jana and becomes a recluse.
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, 1986, 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. Time traveler. 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. Values her independence, but also fights to keep her family together. Found out about time travel from Bartosz. As an older adult, presumed to become a member of Sic Mundus and travel to 1921 to work with Adam.
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, 2019-20. 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. He also has some form of undiagnosed developmental disability. 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. He actually does seem lucid, right up to the end, but no one understands that he means time travel and Noah, so he repeats himself frequently and tries to solve the problem himself.
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), 1953-54, 1986-87. The Clockmaker. 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, but 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. Given Charlotte’s age, he’s old enough for there to be a third version of him, as there is with Claudia and Tronte, but the adult version also serves as the old version, as far as the audience is shown. 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. She helped him escape from the future using the God Particle after Elisabeth almost executed him.
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, 2019-20. 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, only hat something happened the summer before the series began. 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?), 2019-20. 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. Benni is an oddly underdeveloped character, who seems hungry for affection. We’ve seen her as a business woman with Magnus, a jilted lover who ultimately does the right thing with Charlotte, and as Torben’s helpful sibling who’s possibly not speaking to her mother. Oddly, though her main relationships is with Peter, we haven’t seen them speak together, only in montage. She’s involved in a fair amount of the action, for a character who’s kept at a distance, literally, in her parking lot at the edge of town, and figuratively.
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.