Dark: Alpha and Omega (Alpha und Omega)
December 3, 2017 7:16 PM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Peter gets a shock. Jonas learns the truth about his family, but there are more surprises still to come. Helge makes a sacrifice. (Season Finale)

2019 - The Day of Mikkel's Disappearance
*Peter sits in his car, watching the sex worker by the RV, then drives to the cabin, goes into the shelter, slaps himself and recites the serenity prayer. Then he sees a rift open in the wall, and a dead boy with burnt eyes drops through. He tries CPR to no avail, then sees the boy has Mads' school ID, and phones Tronte. Tronte arrives and weeps over the body of his dead son, then Old Claudia arrives and says she will explain everything, but they have to hurry and take Mads' body to the place it will be found.

November 12, 2019
*Jonas wakes from a dream of Mikkel, and throws away his medication.
*Martha tells Bartosz she's sorry for everything.
*Charlotte talks to the rest home nurse, Helge is still gone.
*Jonas questions Ines about Mikkel/Michael, if she knew the truth. She gives him Michael's suicide note, it's a more pristine version of the same letter he burned.

*1953: Ulrich is booked and photographed by the police, and locked in a cell.

*2019: Outside the school, Bartosz confronts Jonas about standing him up and about making out with Martha at the play rehearsal. They fight until Martha comes out and yells at them to stop, and Jonas leaves.
*2019: The hooded man returns to Tannhaus' shop to find he has completed his original device by comparing it to the old broken one he asked him to repair, and the hooded man adds Cesium to complete it.
Hoody: Why did you decide to help me afer all?
Tannhaus: Why? That’s a big word. Why do we decide for one thing and against another? But does it matter whether the decision is based upon the consequence of a series of causal links? Or whether it stems from an undefined feeling inside me? That perhaps everything in my life boils down to this one moment. That I’m part of a puzzle. One that I can neither understand nor influence. Will you tell me… what the future’s like?
Hoody: I’m hoping that by tomorrow it’ll already be different from today.

2019: Charlotte asks Peter when Helge disappeared as a boy. He tells her it was 1953, tries to tell her he needs to talk to her but she cuts him off.
1986: Helge arrives at the cabin to find Old Helge waiting for him. Old Helge tells him he must stop, that Noah is evil and is lying to him; he's not the chosen one and doesn't want to save the world from evil, he is evil, and tells young Helge not to make the same mistake he made in Old Helge's past/'86 Helge's future.
2019: Jonas tells Hannah that everything will be ok, hugs her and leaves saying he forgot something at school. Meanwhile, in the shelter, Tronte tells Peter that they just need to wait a few more hours and it will be over, and Mads will live, as Claudia told them.

1986: Helge and Noah talk. Helge has doubts, but Noah tells him a story about a stranger, and when Helge asks who's next, Noah says Jonas Khanwald is. At the hospital, the social worker comes to collect Mikkel, and Ines tells her she wants to adopt him, and foster him during the probationary period. In the woods, Jonas walks by Charlotte sketching dead birds.

2019: Charlotte looks at microfilm of the newspaper report of Helge's 1953 disappearance, and sees Ulrich's mugshot.
1953: The police beat Ulrich in his cell, to get him to tell them where little Helge is.

1986: Jonas goes to Mikkel's hospital room to find Noah has read him to sleep, then Helge chloroforms Jonas and he wakes up in the wallpaper room. The hooded man talks to him through the door and reveals that he is future Jonas, and must leave him to go through everything he has been through.
1986: Old Helge crashes his car into 1986 Helge's car to try to stop him, but only old Helge is killed.

2019: Charlotte gets a text from Peter to come to the cabin. In his car, Noah tells Bartosz that future Jonas thinks his device will destroy the cavern wormhole, but that in fact Claudia lied to Jonas and his using the device in the cavern is what creates the wormhole. Charlotte joins Peter in the shelter, and the lights flicker in all 3 timelines.
1953/1986/??: Jonas and Helge see a rift forming in the shelter and see each other through it. They touch fingers, and Helge is zapped forward into the wallpaper room. Jonas is zapped somewhere/somewhen - the wall is covered with Michael's photograph chart. Jonas walks through the woods, as ashes fall, to find a slew of burnt-out cars. A truck arrives with a bunch of armed people, a drone flies past overhead, and a woman with scars on her face says "Welcome to the future" and rifle-butts Jonas in the head.
posted by oh yeah! (47 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Nooo, paradox cliffhanger. Ah well, it was an interesting puzzle show. I don't know if they can or should do another season.

Do we know who the 2nd dead boy in 1953 was? The redhead was Erik, but, are we meant to know who the other one was?
posted by oh yeah! at 7:21 PM on December 3, 2017

I think it was Yasin, the other missing kid who we never really heard much about. The boyfriend of the deaf girl (Charlotte's younger daughter - forgot her name).

I just finished this and I liked it a lot. It definitely was giving me True Detective (S1) vibes. I have to think through it a bit more, but i have 2 immediate questions:

1. What does Hannah know?? I can't believe that she married the kid from the future and never knew a thing about it, especially as she seemed to be the kind of person who likes to know things about everyone - she sat on that info about Alexander/Boris for 33 years! No way she didn't know the story with Michael. I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't somehow know about the time travel thing and got together with Mikkel as a way of extracting revenge somehow on future Ulrich? Something's up with her.

2. How did Ulrich get it into his head that Helge was the one who killed everyone? Was it because he saw the notebook with the notation "why not forest road?" and thought that Helge was a suspect in his sons disappearance? And then (i think) thought that Helge had done something to cause the death of the two boys who were found in 1953? I'm a little confused on this point because it seems a little random that Ulrich just decided that Helge was baby Hitler who needed to be killed before he killed.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:20 PM on December 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh yeah, and didn't Helge's mom say that she thought that Helge had a different father than the original power plant guy (her husband)? Did we ever hear more about that?
posted by triggerfinger at 9:26 PM on December 3, 2017

Wow, so many questions left unanswered. What role did Bartosz play (or was meant to play, as instructed by Noah)? Given the ending, are Noah and Bartosz really the good guys? What mistake did Claudia make that she was trying to fix?

triggerfinger - Ulrich figured out early on that Mikkel's disappearance was related to the power plant where Helge works, and Helge also worked there in 1986. Old Helge was seen running through the woods on the night Mikkel disappeared, and when Mads disappeared in 1986, there was the suspicious forest road note and refusal to be interviewed.

I've been posting character charts in previous threads and here's the final update in case you're like "wait who's Regina and what is her relationship to everyone?" Missing boys are in yellow, 2019-teens-in-the-woods in green, and dashed lines are unmarried relationships. It doesn't do family trees well but at least one parent is linked to their kid.

Random: I guess the last scene was 2052 (2019 + 33). You'd think we'd have evolved beyond huge quadcopters by then.
posted by AFABulous at 8:09 PM on December 4, 2017 [4 favorites]

Oh and I still don't know what's behind the door that Ulrich was trying to get into in one of the early episodes. Charlotte found a different door later (the one that Claudia had Aleksander weld shut) but I don't know what's behind that either.
posted by AFABulous at 8:10 PM on December 4, 2017

Wait, wasn't that the same door?
posted by triggerfinger at 8:29 PM on December 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

So, if we're in 2052, then something has happened to the structure of the portal. Previously it was tripartate, as hoody-future-Jonas explained with a diagram. From the 2019 entrance, 1986 was right and 1953 was left. So how do you get to 2052?
posted by neroli at 8:57 PM on December 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ohhh maybe it's an alternate 2019 then. The quad makes more sense then.

triggerfinger - the door Ulrich found was gray and not welded. The one Charlotte found was red and welded.
posted by AFABulous at 9:24 PM on December 4, 2017

But couldn’t it be the same door from opposite sides? Claudia entered the caves from the fenced-in chasm within power plant property, while Ulrich entered from the forest side. Maybe the welding was only visible on the side it was done on,
posted by oh yeah! at 10:06 PM on December 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

I was under the impression that using the machine in the tunnels caused a bit of a reset; maybe the 3 periods it links to now include 2052? Maybe bumping 1953 off the other end of the list? Whatever happens, poor Jonas spends a good deal of time getting older in this period, I guess, before he can time travel any more.
posted by destructive cactus at 10:22 AM on December 5, 2017

Nooo, paradox cliffhanger.

I almost wrote in the episode 8 thread that if this ends with someone popping out of a door from 2052 I'd throw a shoe at the TV. Wish I had, because I haven't been this disappointed with a show finale in a long time.

Am I really the only one here who's hugely pissed off at how lame the final 50 minutes of this generally cool and creepy show were? As the minutes ticked down I was telling myself, "ok they can still work this into something coherent" but as 25 minutes left became 12 became 5 I realized they really were going to ignore all the important questions to string us along for next season. Fuck that. No way am I continuing with something that failed so miserably to payoff what initially looked like a pretty smart narrative. The late insertion of the stupid Boris/Alexander thing, Hannah's ham-handed "destroy Ulrich" plot twist, Noah's sermon explaining his insultingly simplistic motivation, the absurd special effects as the machine started to do whatever it was doing, the complete lack of any resolution about the effectiveness of middle-aged Jonas's plan after Noah's diabolical take...I could go on, but the bottom line is I haven't felt my chain yanked so hard and so awfully by a show in a long time, and I can't imagine a future in which I'd bother giving my time to this show's creators ever again.
posted by mediareport at 9:10 PM on December 6, 2017 [6 favorites]

The ending was all just so fucking *clumsy*. That's what makes me so angry that I spent 10 hours on this thing: they just didn't seem to give a shit about providing an ending worth coming back to a new beginning for.

I mean, I know all about the tension between creating a coherent season and setting things up for the next one. I think Stranger Things balanced that tension perfectly in its first season, giving us a compete story while leaving things open to return to the world they'd shown us. None of the comparisons I've seen being made between the two shows have made it clear that Dark failed miserably in that regard.
posted by mediareport at 9:17 PM on December 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Maybe it's the sunk cost fallacy at work (since it took me all weekend starting Friday night to get through the 10 hours), but, I didn't mind the ending. I mean, are they even planning to try for a second season? If what Noah said to Bartosz in the car about Jonas is true -- that his turning the device on in the tunnel to stop the event is what actually started the event in the first place, then the show is a closed loop already - a 12 Monkeys 'there is only one timeline' time travel story, not a Back To The Future 'the past can be changed' time travel story. (I jokingly described Dark to a friend as "What if we did Back to the Future but made it creepy and German?")

My biggest lingering gripe with the show is the whole thing with Peter Doppler's tragic longing for dick. When he slapped himself and tried to serenity-pray the gay away? Ugh.
posted by oh yeah! at 10:00 PM on December 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Wow, I guess I was venting a lot last night. It's a worthwhile show, for almost all of its run; I'll give it that.

If what Noah said to Bartosz in the car about Jonas is true -- that his turning the device on in the tunnel to stop the event is what actually started the event in the first place, then the show is a closed loop already...

I get that. And Ulrich ending up destroyed (presumably by time-traveling Alexander/Boris), is another part of the town's festering evil wound, and another closed loop?

So why does it all feel so unsatisfying? Eh, like I said, it's a generally cool and creepy show.
posted by mediareport at 4:36 AM on December 7, 2017

I don't know about Ulrich's odds for getting out of 1953 jail and back to 2019 for Aleksander to destroy are. Though I guess Helge doesn't stay missing in 1953 after being zapped to the 1986 shelter - Noah must take him from the room and return him to 1953 to resume living out his natural lifespan so he can be his henchman in the other kidnappings, the police will still be able to charge Ulrich with attempted murder for bashing Helge with that rock. Unless Charlotte tracks down what happened to him via the newspaper/police records, and/or another time-traveler intervenes, I think he's stuck imprisoned in the past.
posted by oh yeah! at 9:41 AM on December 7, 2017

I was thinking that Ulrich ending up in 1953 jail getting beat up by cops *was* the destruction, actually.
posted by mediareport at 4:18 PM on December 7, 2017

Does anyone have any idea why Boris/Aleksander was running through the woods, bleeding, with a gun?

Does anyone else feel like chunks of this show were left on the cutting room floor after it was done?
posted by mediareport at 4:39 PM on December 7, 2017

I finished watching it tonight. They threw so much stuff in the last couple episodes that I'm not sure what's worth discussing, and by the time season 2 comes around I don't know how much of this stuff I'm going to remember anyway.

Towards the end I started to feel a pretty strong story aversion. Like, I didn't care about the steampunk clock; I didn't care about Noah because they didn't reveal anything about him, not really, and he was too magical. I disbelieved there was anything there and they didn't call my bluff. And.. a Lindeloffian good vs. evil thing? Oh dear. And why did they think they needed to add old Claudia at all, what the crap.

My other dumb stray thoughts:

- I wonder how the 2019 teenager stuff with Saoirse and Mutant Michael Cera will ever even matter the tiniest bit to anything else.

- It was nice of Matthew Lillard and Carey Mulligan to pop by to play the 1953 Tiedeman parents.

- The 80s hair in this show looked a lot more like 80s hair to me than Strange Things' weird cat hairball wigs.

- My SO and I had a big disagreement about whether Kids Today would be able to solve a Rubik's Cube. I guess Mikkel is even more likely to for being a magician. (Is the Houdini status going to matter?) I probably lose this one but I immediately recognized Nena so I have points there.

- So much dark gray with yellow-orange stuff it's like an old video. So many red cords.

- It's weird to me how disconnected the creepy boy's-bedroom is spatially. I think it's supposed to be the bunker in the 80s, but it doesn't *feel* like it, and they don't really do anything with that room. Honestly everything with the bunker in all timelines has a sketchy and halfassed feel to it.

- The cave maybe needing a map, maybe not... Our Hero Jonas maybe needing special tools, maybe not? The very awkward adding a note to the map that is crucial but vague. I was mad at the cave layout from very early on when it seemed like it just ended in a door, that's it, and it's about the door for a bit, but then no the door doesn't fucking matter at all, nothing interesting would have happened if Ulrich would have been able to open it way back when... That's all some sloppy shit, but I did like the spooky tunnels and the Hermetically sealed doors nyuk.

I could go on, but the bottom line is I haven't felt my chain yanked so hard and so awfully by a show in a long time, and I can't imagine a future in which I'd bother giving my time to this show's creators ever again.

This is how I feel after every scandinoir.
posted by fleacircus at 1:37 AM on December 8, 2017

This was so good and then it very, very suddenly felt like a bad children's sci-fi TV series.

- Why was Franziska even a character? Or Magnus? Why were they together? What was with the box and the money and the necklace and why should I care? So much screen time on these two because...why?

- Why did Boris become Aleksander? Why did Hannah keep what was, at the time, some random drifter's stolen passport in its original discarded plastic bag for 33 years? Why did nobody raise an eyebrow about this new person suddenly moving around their small community and eventually running a nuclear power plant, having risen through the ranks from a long-haired drifter who is exactly the sort of person you'd charge with keeping a very important secret?

- Why were kids being sent back and forth with the time machine? Some sort of matter-balancing act to counter people using the cave?

- Who made the doors in the cave? What's with the other door in the cave that was welded shut?

- What took Claudia from somebody who calmly reacts to news that the plant is hiding a terrible secret to wandering post-apocalyptic sniper rifle-wielding Mad Max extra?

The threads started to draw together with the 'Mikkel is Michael' thing and then it's like they just started throwing shit at the walls.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:41 PM on December 12, 2017

they didn't reveal anything about him, not really

I thought him being Bartosz was a biggish reveal even if obvious?
posted by queenofbithynia at 10:30 PM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

I thought him being Bartosz was a biggish reveal even if obvious?

You think Bartosz becomes Noah? I didn't notice that being explicitly revealed. Did I miss it in the conversation in the car, or did you think it was implicit?
posted by oh yeah! at 5:32 AM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

If I went back in time, would I bother watching this again? Or would I have no choice but to watch it again?
posted by snofoam at 10:44 AM on December 17, 2017 [5 favorites]

The ending was sort of dumb. Actually, the whole series was sort of dumb, but it disguised it well at first. I followed more or less everything that was happening on screen, but at a certain point (when they reveal Boris/Alexander) I was like 'come the fuck on, another character!?' I'll watch the next season, but it went from a creepy little small town mystery story centered on characters to, I dunno, good vs. evil and quadcopters. I'd rather the first.

You think Bartosz becomes Noah? I didn't notice that being explicitly revealed. Did I miss it in the conversation in the car, or did you think it was implicit?

Handing the book over was the implication, I think. Much the same way that Jonas1 and Jonas2 pass the map, the gear, and the letter back and forth over time.

If Bartosz IS Jonas, then the whole time traveling thing being a chest bumping argument about a relationship... well, that's dumb as hell, but also seems to be about where the show is going.

It's weird to me how disconnected the creepy boy's-bedroom is spatially. I think it's supposed to be the bunker in the 80s, but it doesn't *feel* like it, and they don't really do anything with that room. Honestly everything with the bunker in all timelines has a sketchy and halfassed feel to it.

I agree, but I think that was the purpose of the scene where the woman cop (sorry, there are just so many damn names) finds the wallpaper in the cellar. It's easy to lose in the shuffle, however.

Why were kids being sent back and forth with the time machine? Some sort of matter-balancing act to counter people using the cave?

I don't think the show has given us a clear answer yet, but... I have two hunches. The first is sort of yours, which is that there's something about body types and matter displacement that requires young men of a certain build, or something.

The second is that this is all contingent. If Mads never goes missing then Ulrich never has the motivation to pursue the case, then Mikkel never ends up in the woods, and Jonas is never born, blah blah blah, so on and so forth. This complicated string of abductions gives them test subjects for the chair, but also must happen for anything else to happen.
posted by codacorolla at 1:18 PM on December 17, 2017

posted by grumpybear69 at 6:18 AM on December 19, 2017

Codacorolla, I thought they explained the "contingent on children going missing near the nuclear power plant every 33 years" sequence was key for the time-traveling wormhole's existence.

My understanding is that Noah and Helge kidnapped children for test subjects because without those mysteries to draw in the townsfolk, nobody would accidentally discover the Hohle's time-travel portal -- and as a result, Tannhaus would never repair or build the machine that powers it.

I believe they even mentioned this a few eps back when Tannhaus said that repairing the broken machine helped him design the original using the broken version as a template. It's a perfect example of the closed-loop system that the Hohle operates within, which Tannhaus described as the "classic chicken and the egg problem." There is no "which came first?" because both exist in a closed-loop environment, meaning without both, neither one nor the other could exist (and certainly not in the context of "this one came first").

I think Noah sees his and Helge's roles as some kind of divine mandate. It's a terrible burden to carry, kidnapping children and causing the sequence of events that leads to the wormhole's creation. It makes sense that these two background players are secretly driving everything forward in service of a higher purpose.

Honestly, if I were smarter or better-read on the subject, I could make a compelling argument that all religions have rituals and stories that sound just as fictitious and cruel as anything Noah and Helge are doing to Winden's children. And what's the payoff, anyway? Proof that time travel is possible?

But that's where the story breaks down for me, because I cannot imagine realizing I had the power to break this cycle and not acting on it. To me, the ends don't justify the means. Why bother torturing children in the chair? And did they ever really explain why the dead birds, kids, etc. all had burst eardrums and signs of radiation exposure? It can't just be exposure to the wormhole causing these issues, since plenty of living things (the missing poodle, Jonas, Mikkel) passed through completely unharmed.

So far I don't see any positive results from Winden's exposure to time-travel technology, but perhaps we'll see that covered in Season 2.

That said, Dark really captured the whole 80s nihilism attitude I remember feeling as a teenager. I mean, yeah, I still worry about dying in a nuclear war. But the first time I became aware of that fear, I was maybe 11 or 12? Maybe I've just grown accustomed to that feeling as an adult, living like an insect trapped in anxiety's amber. But it doesn't resonate with me in the same way as it did when Reagan was president.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:57 AM on December 26, 2017 [4 favorites]

I like challenging shows, but this was too much effort for too little payoff. As others have said above, I was extremely disappointed that the season wasn't a complete story in itself, but more an extended setup for season 2. (I've heard people say that about Westworld, but I thought that season was a good story in itself.)

I wish I'd had AFABulous's character charts the whole time but with photos—it was extremely difficult to keep track of the huge cast of characters across the three time periods, many with little significance to the plot. (I kept forgetting Franziska and Martha weren't the same person; same with Bartosz and Magnus.) I appreciate that the casting directors found young actors that looked very much like their older counterparts, with one significant exception—the Hooded Man looked nothing like Young Jonas. That felt like a deliberate cheat to hide the twist of his identity.

I doubt I'll be interested in watching season 2, unless the reviews say it makes season 1 retroactively better with good resolutions of the plot threads. (I don't need every questions answered, but I feel like a story should at least have an ending.)
posted by ejs at 1:31 PM on January 1, 2018

Someone just commented in an earlier thread about which character is who, and I didn't want to spoil them, so I'm posting this here: an explainer of all the characters and their connections.
posted by AFABulous at 7:30 PM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

The show helps you out by providing you with matches of each character from each year with themselves, a couple of times. I did have to pause to take it all in but I'm just not that great with faces, especially of similar skin color. But by the end I could almost perfectly remember who each person was in that montage when the wormhole was destroyed/triggered.

I just finished the series and I have a few gripes that the others did. The unresolved stories of Magnus and Franziska, Hannah blackmailing Aleksander, and Regina's cancer. Those seemed to be just teases for season 2, and I found them distracting; they should've started them in season 2.

Everything else I thought was great. The acting and the dialog, or at least the English subtitles, were just perfect. All the stuff everyone is complaining about are basically just the same timeloop keeping itself closed. Once you wrap your head around that, when Tannhaus mused upon seeing the future version of his machine to finish the first version of it, it's a much more enjoyable show.

A few things to clear up:
- Yes, that is the same door. It's not all grey. There's some red on it, the lighting in the cave is bad but when Ulrich was banging on it you can see red on it in some scenes.
- Aleksander/Boris running and getting shot was a tease for season 2, so don't worry about it too much for now.
- The bunker in 1986 with the chair is a time machine. I assume when they're strapping the kids to that, not only is Noah trying to maintain the loop, but he's also progressing on experimenting with time travel. The dead children get zapped to either 1953 or 2019.
- It seems every time someone goes through the time tunnel, the lights flicker on the origin year. However, I theorize that when the time machine chair is used, it causes lights to flicker also either at the destination, or through all three, similar to the "bomb". That is why their flashlights flickered outside the cave in episode 1, causing them to run, it must have been when Mads was sent to the bunker from 1986 to 2019. Although when Mikkel went through later, we didn't see that in 2019, nor did that happen in 1953 when Gretchen the dog wet through. However, I believe that both of them did not use the doors (I don't see how Gretchen could), and that there is some other part that they can fall through and it always go to 1986, where both of them ended up.
- The burned eyes and the popped eardrums are surely the result of using a time machine not as complete as the wormhole. But using that also causes animals in the vicinity to pop their eardrums and die. There doesn't seem to be any dead animals when Jonas and others use the wormhole doors. But the animals seem to die on both the origin and the destination years. That would explain all the dead animals in both 1986 and 2019 when Mads was sent through, and the ones young Helge collected in 1953 must have been when either Erik or Yasin was sent there.

The ending makes sense if you follow what Noah said to Bartosz. He seems to know the complete loop. What future-Jonas set off destroyed the wormhole temporarily. The result of that was the destruction of the nuclear plant above. Because he did it in 1986, what current-Jonas got pulled into was the bunker in an alternate 2019, 33 years after a nuclear fallout. That was also old-Claudia's place. That's her wall of connections, not Michael's (he never made one). It seems this old-Claudia is from an alternate 2019. Regina's mother from prime 2019 probably is really dead.

I wouldn't call Noah being Bartosz dumb. Uninspired, maybe, but it's par for the course with time traveling shows. Noah is obsessed with keeping the loop going, and he knows at some point he has to pass it onto his past self, while he moves to a different part of the loop, or rather, IMO, he thinks it's time for him to take control of time travel. Claudia seems to be on the same path. Further down the show we'll probably see that they themselves created the wormhole in the first place, completing the loop, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Many, and I mean many, time travel shows do not keep their causalities and cohesion as well as this one. I don't know if I would recommend it to others because most of the characters are hard to cheer for, they're mostly awful to everyone outside of their family, and because it is a slog to get through. I don't mind that so much because I've built a high tolerance for slow shows, but I can imagine most TV viewers giving this a pass. Add in having to read subtitles for the best translations and I don't hold out hope that this will get a season 2. But I would be excited if there is one.

I enjoyed the philosophizing of cause and effect, of connections and fate. Future Jonas had a great quote: "We're not free in what we do because we're not free in what we want." I'm gonna lose some sleep about that tonight.
posted by numaner at 9:56 PM on January 8, 2018 [8 favorites]

Bartosz and Noah cannot be the same person. Bartosz has very dark brown eyes and Noah has blue eyes (you could see that they were blue in that final scene of them together, and they were explicitly mentioned in the suspect sketch made of him in 2019).
posted by MsVader at 7:56 AM on January 10, 2018

Ah I forgot that little detail. But hey, colored contact lenses!

Also, it probably doesn't matter if he is or not. At that point in the loop he's supposed to pass it onto Bartosz, that's the implication.
posted by numaner at 3:29 PM on January 10, 2018

Not a terribly satisfying ending on first watch, but I'm guessing it may be more so with additional analysis.

There were lots of complaints about the blankness of Jonas prior to this episode, but after seeing him chuck his meds and start to really emote, I think explains it. And it was particularly satisfying to see him really lay it all out with "grandma" Ines:
Now I have another grandma and she's the principal of my school! Her husband, who's fucking my mom, is looking for his son, who's my father! A few days ago I kissed my aunt.
I mean…that's a hellova line.
posted by Cogito at 10:47 PM on January 17, 2018 [6 favorites]

So - it it a glitch in the matrix or whatever (I have an awful time understanding time travel in stuff like this) that allowed 2019 Mikkel and 2019 Michael to exist at the same time (prior to the suicide)?
posted by clseace at 2:26 PM on January 19, 2018

Thanks for that link, Cogito! It's very helpful.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:32 PM on January 19, 2018

So - it it a glitch in the matrix or whatever (I have an awful time understanding time travel in stuff like this) that allowed 2019 Mikkel and 2019 Michael to exist at the same time (prior to the suicide)?

Not a glitch, it's a function of what kind of time travel story we're in. In some time travel stories, the past can be changed - the 'Back to the Future' or 'Timecop' style. In others, there is only one timeline, so whatever the future time traveler does in the past isn't a change because there is no alternate timeline where they didn't do the thing - the 'Twelve Monkeys' (movie, that is, I didn't watch the whole tv series). Dark falls into more of the latter category, so, there's no reason Michael couldn't interact with his younger self Mikkel once he'd made it back from 1986 the long way, just not in any way that would have averted his being zapped from 2019 to 1986.
posted by oh yeah! at 9:01 PM on January 19, 2018

Pretty good analysis of the show from Niko Maragos in Electric Literature: ‘Dark’ is a German ‘Stranger Things’ About Capitalism’s False Promise to Women in Power.

"At no point in the show does it seem like this is a story about these women. But perhaps that’s the advantage of Dark’s baroque symbolism, and of the theories it’s inspired. It manages to mime the way that women’s disproportionate suffering under capitalism is muffled, crowded out, and taken for granted, as a side effect of a system which ultimately only works for those in power."
posted by Kitty Stardust at 9:06 AM on February 1, 2018 [4 favorites]

Watching this well after most people have binged and discussed was great. Having these fantastic summaries and discussion made it much easier to connect the dots between the time periods.
posted by gladly at 5:24 PM on October 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

I don't mind the unresolved threads because it seems clear to me that they were all placed within S1 to allow for S2 story. It's also why some of the characters' families and ancestry are unknown. It doesn't seem haphazard at all to me.

I think there's definitely something up with: Bernd, Agnes, and Franziska. Some others are also suspicious, such as Peter. (Who in the heck is his mother?)

Sometime after 1953, Agnes runs off with Doris somewhere/when, leaving Egun with Claudia and Tronte. Claudia disappears sometime after 1986, leaving Tronte with the house, which Ulrich inherits (thus it's his address in 2019). I think maybe Franziska becomes future girl then (or alternatively) becomes Agnes.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:28 AM on November 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Den of Geek - Dark Season 2 Release Date, Story, Details and More (it's gonna be 8 episodes this time, streaming on 6/21/19 - alas I'll be traveling that weekend, so, if someone else wants to do a binge-postathon or full-season thread then, they should feel free.)
posted by oh yeah! at 5:28 AM on April 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hey, so, I tried to start composing a post for S2 E1 last evening as I watched it, and I felt like an amnesiac, couldn't remember half of the character's names or how they were related. I just re-read all the S1 threads, but I may need to do a complete S1 rewatch before I can properly tackle an S2 binge-postathon.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:18 PM on June 26, 2019

Yeah, I watched S2 last week and have considered a post.

I had to do two hours of reading before I was able to begin season two, then frequently paused while I watched to be clear on who is who and their relationships, and even so I just now had to consult the web to refresh my memory (to evaluate my prediction in my previous comment).

But, yeah, anyone at the end of season one: they definitely know what they are doing and what's revealed in season two fits perfectly with what is there from season one. This was carefully conceived beforehand and as a trilogy, with season three coming later.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:44 AM on June 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

I binged the whole season yesterday.

I liked some things about it. I thought they did a pretty good job on mysteries and reveals. I hated that the only queer rep was a closeted and ashamed gay man and a trans[1] prostitute (and some steamy chemistry between two women in 1953, maybe).

The model of time-travel they're using is fine, as far as it goes, but I have a very hard time reconciling it with human nature. There are too many people who know about the tunnels, and I can't buy that none of them would have done some small, non-destructive test (breaking a small family heirloom, cutting down a tree they know should survive, etc.)

Of course, the counter argument is that the loop is only there because these particular people wouldn't do that (or would be stopped in the case of Jonas trying to save Mikkel). If I were in Winden, I either would never find out about the caves, or would get killed early after discovering them, because there is no way I could just leave it alone. [2]

Still, it was engaging enough that I"ll watch the second season.

[1] Credits list her as "Transvestite Benni" so could just be a cross dresser.
[2] Unless I was the only one who knew about the tunnels, in which case I'd fill them with concrete immediately.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 4:45 PM on August 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Just finished watching the first season. Kind of bummed all 3 aren't out because I'm sure I'll forget this web of characters in the time gap between 2 and 3.

I don't have a lot of German cultural familiarity, but compared to the U.S. shows I watch, some of this was SO SLOW. In particular, scenes with Jonas or Mikkel where they just stare off don't say anything for minutes.

So far the show seems to be depicting a 100% deterministic Twelve Monkeys style time loop, it will be interesting to see whether the next two seasons subvert that at all. A deterministic time loop is interesting because it's paradox-free, but there's also not much to root for considering everyone's path is basically set. You're not watching people accomplish goals so much as learning a bunch of stuff that already happened.

My wild guess is that subsequent seasons depict people making what seem like meaningful changes to the timeline but it all ends up being part of some outer loop that's equally deterministic as the first. Nihilism!!
posted by tjgrathwell at 10:30 AM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

So am I the only one who screen-capped the yarn board shown in the first few seconds of the first episode and then filled in the names as the show progressed? Was that cheating? I didn't think so, since it uses no external or future information, except perhaps an occasional cheat to confirm a last name in the credits to a given episode. Anyway, for those binging now that season 3 has come out (like me), it's a very useful way to proceed -- I feel like I understood pretty much everything the first time through with my yarn-board to keep track, and it was pleasantly enjoyable to fill in the puzzle pieces along the way. You can do it with just pencil and paper (as I did before I remembered the yarn-board shot), but it's much nicer with the pictures and connections in place, and in addition, there's almost no spoilers since a character's connections are almost always revealed shortly after the character is -- in fact, the show is almost hilariously assiduous in introducing people by name and relationship in the first few seconds of a character appearing -- and before a person is introduced the mass of yarn is sufficiently incomprehensible that it doesn't spoil much. Anyway, fun show, and hopefully if it's complete now all the loose ends from season 1 will be tied up in the subsequent seasons. Here's hoping!
posted by chortly at 11:34 PM on July 18, 2020

Greetings from 2021. REALITY GETS SO MUCH WORSE!

Anyway, I had never heard of this show until a week ago so I’m glad I can go back and read these posts but I wish I’d thought to see if it was posted here before binge watching. At the moment I’m not sure if I’ll watch Season 2. I thought S1 was building into Jonas saving Mikkel and bringing him back to 2019. The family was so distraught and we kept being reminded it’s been four! days! since he’d gone missing. Jonas also had that scene with his mother where he seemed to be saying goodbye as in, soon you’ll forget I ever existed. I guess it was too much to ask that a teenager erase his own existence for the sake of his girlfriend’s family and his father. Arriving in dystopian 2052, with weapons and camo and shouting, just so very not interested.

By the third episode I was so confused re identities and relationships, scribbling family trees with notes because I rarely caught people’s names. Then I found the Season 1 synopsis and tree on Wikipedia which has spoilers. I already decided that Jason was the hooded stranger (I thought they had a resemblance) but the Mikkel/Michael was spoiled as well as another one which hasn’t come out in S1.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:48 AM on January 17, 2021

Oh, hai, fellow time traveler! I am here in 2022.

Random assortment of thoughts:
- the Dan Deacon song in episode 9 is one of my favorites, and was kinda jarring as a result. The main lyric was a bit on the nose, which I think it's why they used it:
"When I was done dying, my conscience regained
So I began my struggle, a nothingness strained
Out a flash made of time, my new form blasted out
And it startled me so and I burst out a shout
At which my legs ran frantic like birds from a nest
And I ran until drained, leaving no choice but rest
So I fell asleep softly at the edge of a cave
But I should have gone in deeper but I'm not so brave."

- It still seems like an unsolved mystery exactly how Mikkel wound up in 1986. I count 2.5 time machines: the torture bunker, the wormhole tunnels, and the clockwork device, none of which seem compatible with Mikkel's disappearance. Or why Mikkel's blood drenched ghost was in the forest in episode one. I guess this is all season N+1 secrets, though.

- in an alternate timeline, Jonas could have resolved his problems with Martha /almost honestly/ by claiming to be Ulrich's bastard son.

- Noah and his schtick feels really amateurish... Like JJ Abrams snuck into the writers room or something.

- Someday someone will make the even-more-confusing time travel story where the time loop is closed but has multiple branches which 'flip' on each run based on some important but arbitrary decision... Like Jonas saves Mikkel from the past, leading to Jonas not existing... Then we rewind the show to the alternate world where Michael (and Jonas) don't exist, so that Mikkel is stuck in the past on the next run through the loop, so that Jonas exists to save him, and so on.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:50 PM on January 3, 2022

I think about 10% of this show is shots of Jonas waking up out of a bad dream, or a bad dream within a dream. S2 (spoiler!) really amps up it, too.
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:00 PM on August 5, 2022

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