Dark: Past and Present (Gestern und Huete)
December 2, 2017 5:37 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

It’s 1986, and Ulrich’s brother, Mads, has been missing for a month. Confusion reigns as past and present intertwine.

*Mikkel enters his house to find '86 Jana asleep on the couch; she freaks him out by clutching at him and asking where Mads is and he runs back out.
*Claudia Tiedemann, daughter of the police chief, drives her daughter, Regina (hotelier in 2019) to school, while practicing a speech for her new job in charge of the nuclear plant.
*Mikkel walks into the school, which is plastered with missing posters for Mads, runs into 1986 Hannah and Khaterina while looking for his mother the principal, but they tell him the principal is a guy (in 80's teen movie fashion by dropping a casual homophobic slur).
*Policeman Tiedemann has responded to a call - a field full of 33 dead sheep. Back at the station writing his report, Mikkel arrives looking for his father, Ulrich. Tiedemann assumes that juvenile delinquent Ulrich has bullied Mikkel into this prank and storms off.
*At the power plant, Trente Neilsen waits to 'interview' Claudia - actually they were having an affair which he wants to resume.
*At the police station alone, Mikkel tries to make a phone call which doesn't go through, pockets a lighter from the desk, and sees the police report and articles about Mads' disappearance, including a photo of teen Ulrich & Mads. Nurse Ines Khanwald arrives to take Mikkel to the hospital.
*Tiedemann goes to the Nielsen home and confronts Ulrich about his prank, and accuses him of killing the sheep after he sees a hoof on a shelf, but Ulrich thinks Tiedemann is a useless drunk and mocks him for not having any news for Jana about Mads.
*Claudia confronts her predecessor, Bernd, about discrepancies in the plant reports, as he packs up his desk. Later, he gives her a key to a fence around a chasm in the woods. She slides down a rope into the cave, where there are countless barrels marked as radioactive.
*1986 Charlotte (2019 policewoman) sketches the dead bird she picked up off the ground at the start of the episode.
*At the sheep autopsy, the coroner says they seem to have died from cardiac arrest possibly from something panicking the herd, not poison, but also finds that the sheep's eardrums have both been burst.
*In the hospital, Ines bandages Mikkel's hand and tries to get him to tell her where he lives, and he tells her he's from the future.
*1986 Regina comes home to an empty house and an answering machine message from Claudia telling her she won't be home for dinner. Regina is revealed to have scars on her wrist (self-harm or suicide attempt?)
*Policeman Tiedemann examines the sheep field again at night, when a dead bird falls on his head. His lantern begins to flicker and a flocks-worth of dead birds fall from the sky, forcing him to take shelter in his car. '86 Charlotte puts her dead bird in a freezer. With the lights flickering in the hospital, Mikkel sneaks out the window and runs through the woods back to the cavern entrance.
*'86 Ulrich smokes at a busstop, and is joined by Hannah.
*In a montage sequence, we see a bunch of the 1986 and 2019 characters in split screen - Ines Khanwald appears to be 2019 Michael's mother.
*In 2019, Ulrich takes a crowbar to the tunnel to try to get into the nuclear plant door, and can't get it open, while in 1986 Mikkel falls down the tunnels and injures his leg. But he seems to hear Ulrich's clanging, while Ulrich hears his calls for help.
*Somewhere/somewhen, a man in glasses (the same man who was on the television when Erik was last seen in the chair?) starts the steampunk device that was in the hooded man's suitcase.
posted by oh yeah! (12 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
When the time travel element was introduced, I wondered if maybe Mikkel would turn out to be the hooded man. But if nurse Ines has no family, per the other nurse's comment at the top of the episode, yet becomes Jonas' grandmother, it seems that Mikkel is going to become Michael. Is he doomed to suicide? Or does his magic trick and Houdini nickname foreshadow something? Is this a multiple timeline 'Back to the Future' time travel story, or a 12 Monkeys 'one timeline only' story, I wonder.

Poor Hannah, crushing on Ulrich since high school.

Oh, and, I was maybe more creeped out by Charlotte putting the dead birds in the freezer with the food than I was by the sheep autopsy. Disease vectors, people! Gah.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:49 PM on December 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Okay, I just started this tonight and must say I am very grateful for your synopsis, which is helping me piece this together. Because I just finished episode 5 and boy am I confused.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:31 PM on December 2, 2017 [6 favorites]

Seconding triggerfinger, really appreciating because it's a little hard to follow (for me)
posted by one4themoment at 5:38 AM on December 3, 2017

Thanks, I'm hoping I can get through the rest of the episodes today and still have time for something mindless later - I've been peeking at the imdb cast list to remind me of character's last names while trying to avoid getting spoiled by the # of episodes they're in, and I can see this is about to get even more confusing.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:12 AM on December 3, 2017

Okay, I've been making a mindmap I found to keep all these people straight. oh yeah's synopses have helped a lot. It's a free program so it's a little rough but here it is. The green colored boxes are the kids who were in the woods in the first episode. Dashed lines are romantic relationships between people who are not married to each other.

(One error: Aleksander is not related to Jurgen so they should not be connected by an arrow. I guess if I make changes to the map and re-publish, it creates an entirely new URL.)
posted by AFABulous at 6:39 PM on December 3, 2017

Yes, I did one of those as well and found it IMMENSELY helpful as I was watching, because the web of characters only grows, so I needed it to keep track of everything.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:59 PM on December 3, 2017

I really like this show so far; it's not quite brilliant (yet) but so far is very well-done atmospheric horror/scifi.This episode is where I realized just how dense it was going to be and I needed to slow down my watching to enjoy finishing it. But spending a whole ep in 1986 was a great turn.

Thanks again to oh yeah! for these fantastic write-ups. It's a slow burn of a show with a potentially confusing cast of characters, and the posts really help, often to confirm what I was half-suspecting but hadn't put together fully. Appreciate it very much.
posted by mediareport at 5:28 AM on December 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

1. Putting dead birds in freezers is not uncommon, if my single sample set of an artist friend is any evidence.

2. Five stars for Ulrich playing Commando on his C64 and listening to metal. That is way more authentic 80's than anything Stranger Things did.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:46 AM on December 11, 2017 [5 favorites]

So is touching dead birds just like okay in Germany? Because my mother had VERY STRONG FEELINGS on that subject and it seems like this is set in a town where fondling dead birds is like a pastime or something.
posted by Shepherd at 4:19 PM on December 11, 2017 [8 favorites]

My first thought with the dead birds scene was "that's how you get lice."
posted by codacorolla at 5:29 PM on December 15, 2017

My first reaction was, that's a beautiful leather bag and you want to put a dead bird in it? I let out an audible "Nooooo".
posted by mmascolino at 3:05 PM on January 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I’ve known multiple people in my life who put dead birds in their freezers. Wildlife rehabilitators, taxidermists, artists. It’s not that weird, srsly.
posted by Miko at 8:22 PM on December 28, 2022

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