Dark: Season 2 (complete)
July 2, 2019 10:43 PM - Season 2 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Netflix's most deeply German show returns for a second season, following directly on the events of last season.

This show is pretty complex and probably warrants single-episode posts as well, but I am too lazy to write them and I thought it might be good to have a full-season post for those who have watched the entirety of season 2.

I found this wiki to be handy in remembering which characters are which, but be warned that even the brief character info-boxes contain spoilers for quite late into season 2, so I recommend not looking at it until after having viewed the whole season if you are bothered by spoilers.

Reviews of the season have been quite positive so far.
posted by whir (55 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Great season. Better than season 1, in fact. Simultaneously trippier and easier to follow.
posted by kyrademon at 1:18 AM on July 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

Thanks for posting this -- I didn't realise S2 had dropped. (Not sure I even realised there would be a S2, tbh.) Looking forward to seeing it, but it likely won't happen for another few weeks.
posted by myotahapea at 4:42 AM on July 4, 2019

I really enjoyed this second season. I've read this was conceived as a trilogy of seasons and it does seem clear that they're not making it up as they go along. Everything revealed in this season is consistent with the first season and the hints were there.

Before I started the first episode I spent about two hours on several web sites reading recaps of S1 as well as studying lists and charts of characters and their relationships.

I binged the whole season, but frequently paused during episodes to think and ensure I understood what was going on.

I really enjoy time-travel stories and I've noticed over the years that many people have a lot of trouble following even the more simple examples -- I think this may be the most extravagant and convoluted one I've ever encountered. For me, this is a good thing but I imagine many people will be frustrated by it.

This early in the full season thread I don't want to be explicit about season two's big reveal -- but I'll just say that I didn't see it coming, I should have, and it's awesome.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:50 AM on July 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

We watched the first half of the season last night, and will probably finish it today. Really enjoying it so far! As Ivan Fyodorovich mentioned, it does seem like they do have a plan and an overarching story that is slowly unfolding - and the slow pace is part of the enjoyment. Nothing seemed rushed, and it's clear now that everything is related.

We're curious on the special inspector and how he fits into the whole puzzle. Looking forward to watching more today!
posted by jazon at 8:52 AM on July 4, 2019

Finished the series, bring on next season! Wow!!
posted by jazon at 4:06 PM on July 4, 2019

How much horror/suspense is there, and how dark or heavy is the mood of the series? Are the characters largely sympathetic or not? (Trying to figure out whether I'd regret watching it.)
posted by trig at 4:54 AM on July 7, 2019

Trig, you should probably go back to the Season 1 Episode 1 Fanfare thread to ask that again, this thread is eventually going to spoil major twists if it stays in your Recent Activity. Or maybe you have to wait and ask again in a year when Season 3 has dropped and the show is over? Because right now, there's a lot of dark and heavy -- there are murders, there are people getting stranded in the wrong time period, there are people who have done terrible things in the hope of altering the past and/or saving the future, and as an audience we don't know whether things are fixed and unchangeably tragic or whether someone is going to be able to hit that big magic reset button and make all the badness go away. So there's just no telling yet whether any of us are going to regret having watched the show -- I mean, I'm certainly not regretting it now that I've finished watching S2, and I can't imagine what colossal kind of 'How I Met Your Mother'-level terrible writing choices they'd have to pull in S3 to retroactively ruin the series, but, everyone's threshold is different.

Sorry for not doing individual threads this time, gang. I just finished watching the season this morning. Maybe before season 3 rolls around we can do S2 threads in Re-Watch mode, in anticipation of doing the S3 threads in binge-postathon mode.

I sadly managed to spoil myself about Adam after watching S2e1 because I peeked at a TV Guide link of a character tree while trying to jog my memory of who was who from S1, but luckily I didn't look closely enough to find out about the bigger paradox.

Anyway, I thought this was another terrific season.

Man, is Hannah the worst person? Like, we've got characters murdering innocent people, but, at least they're showing remorse and/or doing it because they think it will be reversible if the apocalypse is averted or the cycle is ended or something, but Hannah's visit to 1953 was just, yikes. Poor Ulrich.

Oh, Jonas. I feel like there's a Charlie Brown aspect to his character, like Jonas' belief that he can fix things this time (for many definitions of "this" and "time") is like Charlie Brown thinking he can kick that football, only to keep realizing too late that Claudia or older Jonas or whoever has lied to him and led him to do the exact thing he thought he was preventing.
posted by oh yeah! at 9:45 AM on July 7, 2019 [3 favorites]

Thanks, oh yeah! (My regret levels have to do less with quality than with my brain's tendency to hang on to unpleasant stuff.)
posted by trig at 4:45 PM on July 7, 2019

"Man, is Hannah the worst person? Like, we've got characters murdering innocent people, but, at least they're showing remorse and/or doing it because they think it will be reversible if the apocalypse is averted or the cycle is ended or something, but Hannah's visit to 1953 was just, yikes. Poor Ulrich."

Every once in a while I want to be sympathetic to Hannah. She's Jonas's mom and you can kinda maybe understand her fixation on Ulrich (especially since time-traveling middle-aged Ulrich charmed her even while she carried a torch for her contemporary Ulrich). And it's not clear to me that we've seen evidence that she's as selfish and toxic in the parts of her life that don't involve Ulrich in some way.

But she's just a horrible person with regard to any choice she makes that involves Ulrich! When she's that person, she's almost as villainous as Noah, like the prime-mover behind much of the awfulness that's happened. I guess I find her interesting in this respect because she's not quite a mustache-twirling villain and not quite a full-on psychopath. She's more tragic. Although Ulrich is truly the Shakespearian tragic figure in this tale. Jonah, too, in his own way but Ulrich has a very straightforward tragic character arc.

Time-travel creates a lot of opportunities for Greek/Shakespearian tragedy where people's tragic flaws are brought into sharp-relief as they hubristically think to challenge time itself.

Here are some questions I have at the end of season three:

• Did Doris Tiedamann and Agnes Nielson run away together, leaving Tronte Nielson in Winden? Where did they go?

• If so, was Tronte raised by Egon Tiedemann as a single parent, alongside Claudia Tiedemann?

Helge Doppler fathers Peter Doppler. Who is Peter's mother and what happened to her?

• When Jonas travels to 1921, we see young "Noah", his mother Erna, and his younger sister. We know that Agnes Nielson is Noah's sister; is the girl we see in 1921 Agnes?

• In 1953, "White Devil" Claudia shows Agnes the newspaper story from a few days hence about the discovery of Claudia's body (shot by Noah in the woods) and asks Agnes to show it very soon to young 1953 Claudia. Agnes later shows it to Noah (thus guiding Noah to Claudia that night) and then takes it back from him. Does she show it to young Claudia? 1986 Claudia doesn't seem to have learned of time-travel when she was young, so perhaps not. Why did old Claudia want young Claudia to see it?

• Noah hates Claudia above everyone else; he says that she took everything away from him. This strongly implies that it was Claudia who abducted young Charlotte from her parents, Noah and Elizabeth Doppler, and placed her with H.G. Tannhaus. Noah promised Elizabeth he would recover her -- was this in 2051? Teen Noah and young Elizabeth survived the apocalypse in the bunker (along with Regina Tiedemann, Claudia, and Peter Doppler) so it's likely that it's in the post-apocalypse that they have Charlotte.

• Who is Regina's father? Tronte Tiedemann or Aleksander Tiedemann (aka Aleksander Köhler)?

• What happened in 1986 to Clausen's brother, the genuine Aleksander Köhler, when the man who assumed his identity (Aleksander Tiedemann) and another unnamed man were involved in a robbery? What is "Aleksander's" real name and is he a time-traveler as well?

• "Aleksander" seems to have strong influence over one-eyed police officer Torben Wöller (and possibly Torben's sister, Bernadette). Why? Is this related to the robbery in 1986?

• Does Katharina Nielsen die in the tunnels in 2019 during the apocalypse?

• When do "The Stranger" Jonas, Bartosz Tiedemann, Magnus Nielson, and Franziska Doppler end up?

• Franziska and Magnus are seen with "Adam" in 1921, so presumably that's where the four go; but, if so, what happens to Bartosz who we don't see as an older person?

Who is the young, scarred woman in 2051 who translates for Elizabeth and is shown the dark matter by Jonas? (Could she be Charlotte's sister?) Does Elizabeth shoot her?

• What happens to Elizabeth (2051) and Charlotte (2019) when they touch in the dark matter bubble in the reactor room? Do they survive?

• This event (their touch) presumably causes the apocalypse in 2019. Does anyone in the reactor room survive?

• Does anyone outside the reactor room other than those in the bunker survive? We see many people alive in 2051, so does that mean people far away do so?

• What, besides H.G. Tannhaus's book and Charlotte's and Elizabeth's maternal DNA/mRNA are paradoxes with no origin? The pocket watch Elizabeth has in the bunker which is engraved "For Charlotte"?

• Given that alternate reality Martha Nielson rescues Jonas during the apocalypse, how did he survive in prior loops? Did he leave with Adam as Adam urged?

• Season three will involve this Martha's alternate timeline; will we get answers to the previous questions regarding this timeline? For that matter, what does this alternate timeline imply? Everything has seemed deterministic up to this point; how is an alternate timeline created? Or is this the multiverse theory?

• What if both time-travel and parallel universe hopping are both possible (which seems to be the case)? Just how weird can things get?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:42 AM on July 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

• When the woman played by the same actress as Martha says to Jonas, "I'm not who you think I am", does she mean she's not the Martha he knows or that she's not Martha at all?

• If there are alternate worlds (timelines) are they also locked into the same static loop, or has Martha-2 broken the static time loop by absconding with Jonas?

• How did they make me sad about Noah? That was just mean.
posted by thedward at 12:42 PM on July 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

She's Martha, but not the Martha he knows. Which I take to not only mean that she's from another timeline where Martha lived, but from another timeline where Martha's experiences are substantialy different from this timeline's Martha.

About determinism -- seems to me that parallel universe hopping necessarily implies a non-deterministic universe, at least from the perspective of someone moving between timelines. The only way this works in conjunction with individual timelines being time-deterministic is that universe-hoppers create new timelines at the point of their appearance. Strictly speaking, then, you still cannot change the past of a timeline. This raises the question of how one universe-hops and whether it's distinct from time-travel. It may be that individual timelines/universes can have their pasts altered and it's just chance that this hasn't already happened; or, it could be the case that all time-travel creates new timelines and it's just chance that what we've seen has appeared to be time-travel within a single timeline.

Noah's been badly treated and manipulated; but, even so, he got Helge to kidnap children and he experimented on them, killing them.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:13 PM on July 8, 2019

I liked this season in terms of sheer letting shit hit the fan and spending way less time doing the generic agonies of the missing kid of the first season. The first season promised weirdness that would have to be embraced, and the second season embraced it.

I did not pause it all the times I was confused to reorient myself so I'm not really sure what's going on with e.g. Agnes Nielsen, nor do I care so much. Christian imagery in general just bores the shit out of me so, well. Really though it's puzzle enough to remember who is who's mom, and now a couple weeks later I don't remember that so well either.

Hannah is bad but there's a "wouldn't you throw the world away for love of one person??" theme dancing around that tbh is common and annoying, and Ulrich DID use her, so I blame the writers.

This big peril is very individualized; everyone is wrapped up in their little cocoon of drama, and no attempt to combine forces lasts very long or survives the next revelation. This is normal in realistic drama, but kind of weird when the world(?) is ending(?). There is no community, and even families are dissolved.

I liked when Katharina went to the school records to check on the truth about Mikkel. I was so afraid they were going to drag it out.

I admire the show for sticking to its silly orb flashlights.

I liked the helpfulness/wariness of 1921 Winden, a lot.
posted by fleacircus at 7:57 PM on July 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

Anyone else think Adam is actually Bartosz and not Jonas?

In 2020, just before the apocalypse, Magnus, Franziska and Bartosz are all together and the three of them end up in the bunker--so in 1921 it would make sense that it's the three of them (instead of Magnus, Franziska, and Jonas). Also, the mannerisms and body of 1921 Adam are much more similar to Bartosz than Jonas--and this show is on-point with casting, so I don't think that's an accident.
posted by too bad you're not me at 11:01 AM on July 12, 2019 [5 favorites]

Who was the man with the tattoos, that 1921 Noah killed early in the season outside the cavern entrance? I remembered the tattoo from S1, but have been blanking on who he was.
posted by oh yeah! at 1:03 PM on July 12, 2019

Good question!
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:22 AM on July 13, 2019

Who was the man with the tattoos, that 1921 Noah killed early in the season outside the cavern entrance? I remembered the tattoo from S1, but have been blanking on who he was.

I was actually pretty sure that was Bartosz, in an older incarnation than we'd previously seen him in. The tattoo is of the Emerald Tablet, a painting of which also appears in Adam's lair; Noah has the same tattoo, but on his back rather than his chest. I'm fairly sure the show never gives us a positive ID of the man who was killed, though. I also had the impression that that scene occurs later in the 1921 era than when we see Jonas there, because the tunnel has been built farther out than how Jonas saw it.

Anyone else think Adam is actually Bartosz and not Jonas?

Bartosz hadn't occurred to me (partly because I thought he was the guy killed at the beginning of the season, well before he could have been burned), but I definitely thought for a while that Adam could easily be someone other than Jonas. It does seem like a lot of the other characters believe that he is, though, and he seemed pretty convincing when speaking to Jonas.
posted by whir at 4:53 PM on July 27, 2019

Is there a comprehensive timeline of all the events of season 1 and 2?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:53 PM on July 31, 2019

I thought I spotted Bartosz in the left side of the old photo of sic mundus that Noah was in.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:35 AM on August 18, 2019

I'm only halfway through but holy shit this show. So many things made me gasp and shriek! Like the moment where young Claudia tells her dad EXACTLY the same words old Claudia just used. Or the reveal that Elizabeth was the hardened post-apocalyptic leader. Or the horrible fate of Ulrich.

At this point (just finished the episode where Oldest Jonas sent Youngest Jonas into the time bubble thing - feels like a total trick btw) - I have absolutely NO idea which of the events we're seeing happens "every time" and which of them might be new.

I'm also not sure why, theoretically, stopping Michael from hanging himself is the #1 thing they need to change in order to prevent all this. That doesn't feel like the beginning of these events to me. Why not just stop Mikkel from going to the cave a few days later?

I have to say, the last episode or two gave me this ooky feeling because all the characters' actions seemed so futile and pointless. Which, come to think of it, is probably exactly how Oldest Jonas (if he IS actually Jonas) feels at this point.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:12 PM on September 26, 2019

Oh and one more thing: could Charlotte's mother be Franziska? Something about Noah's "she loved you... she still does" put that in my head. Fucked Up If True.

I suspect that a lot more people than we currently know of as of midseason) are their own ancestors, which could lead to all of them making the same choice Jonas did when he didn't bring Mikkel back from the 80s. Everyone invested in this dizzying loop because without it, none of them exist at all.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:16 PM on September 26, 2019

A post for each episode would have been really really good for this show. I also think this would be a show that benefits from weekly airing instead of binging so that there's more time to go crazy with theories and explanations. I think I would understand alot better if I had a week to think about each episode before moving onto the next one.

One thing that is very intriguing is that we never know what is supposed to happen and what is different. It seems like so far everything that has happened is part of the cycle and each action the characters take to change the future actually enables it to happen.

Man this show is so good!
posted by LizBoBiz at 4:42 AM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

One thing that is very intriguing is that we never know what is supposed to happen and what is different. It seems like so far everything that has happened is part of the cycle and each action the characters take to change the future actually enables it to happen.

Yeah, I couldn't stop ruminating on that, because - is this show a rollicking time adventure where our heroes save the world, or is it a nihilist nightmare hell where no one is capable of changing anything? The last few episodes I was constantly butting up against that question.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:53 AM on October 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

I agree on this show needing/deserving episode threads, the timing just didn’t work out for me for this season. But I’m thinking we can organize for a re-watch over the summer when all the network seasons are done and/or when we can time it to finish before whenever season 3 starts.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:26 AM on October 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

☝️ yes please
posted by Cogito at 8:56 PM on October 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

I am currently watching this show, am about half way through season 2 (naturally I scrolled pretty quickly down here, although in general I am in the camp that good fiction is immune to being ruined by spoilers), and I'd really love to talk about S2 episode-by-episode but not necessarily in a rewatch capacity. Would it be worthwhile to make per-episode posts?
posted by invitapriore at 6:08 PM on February 5, 2020

Also, because my prose didn't indicate it and because I'm so in love with this show that I feel the need to make that explicit, let me make it clear that I am so impressed and captivated by the fact that it's managed to so deftly juggle a cast list out of a Dostoevsky novel along with a pretty aggressive hard sci-fi conceit and have it cohere emotionally in such a completely convincing way. Everything about it is so thoughtfully crafted and I don't fully understand how its excellence isn't being shouted from the rooftops even though I understand that it carries some barriers to entry.
posted by invitapriore at 6:12 PM on February 5, 2020 [6 favorites]

and I'd really love to talk about S2 episode-by-episode but not necessarily in a rewatch capacity. Would it be worthwhile to make per-episode posts?

I'm afraid I wouldn't have much of anything to say about the individual S2 episodes without an organized re-watch, sorry. They're all kind of a blur now all these months later (probably even more so than S1 since I wasn't able to watch them in note-taking mode like I did for S1's binge-postathon), and if I said anything at all I'd probably end up making references to later episodes by mistake.

Everything about it is so thoughtfully crafted and I don't fully understand how its excellence isn't being shouted from the rooftops even though I understand that it carries some barriers to entry.

Yep, it really is unique. I'm looking forward to seeing how the story concludes in the 3rd & final season.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:46 PM on February 5, 2020

Heads up - Dark Season 3 is dropping on Netflix June 27th. S1/S2 rewatch time is nigh.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:07 PM on May 31, 2020 [2 favorites]

I re-watched season 1 this weekend - I had to laugh at us all trying to puzzle things out in the season 1 threads, it seems like such a straightforward story now in retrospect before all the S2 plot gets added (and so helpful to be able to look up the various characters in the Dark Wiki while I can, to try to get all the names, faces, and relationships burned into my brain before S3 starts and everything turns into a spoiler minefield again).

How do people feel about S2 re-watch threads? I was hoping that the S3 release date would get announced months in advance, so there'd be time to do a leisurely re-watch. But now there's only 11 days to go, I'm not sure it's worth the effort to do re-watch recap threads after all.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:47 PM on June 15, 2020

Just finished my first watch, and some random thoughts now that my head has stopped exploding:

1) Claudia in the "far future" library of 2020, dealing with the 21st century and figuring out how to use a touchscreen was actually kind of hot. Don't @me. She's got some combination of advanced physics degrees and an MBA, and I'd love to see more of her story before she took over the power plant.
2) Hannah is the worst. I know that's not news, but I just realized that she chose 1953 at least partly because she can go see Ulrich whenever she wants, and if she doesn't, well, it's kind of nice to know where he is at all times, isn't it? I assume she leaves (or gets hunted down by one of the factions to retrieve that time machine) at some point, but I wonder how long she stayed?
3) I'd love to see the timeline from Claudia's point of view. I can see the ultimate end (where she gets shot in 1953) but old Claudia always looks the same so it's hard to sort out in which order she's doing all those interventions before that.
4) what was on the last pages of the journal? Who wrote the journal?
5) season 3 looks like it will be *bonkers*, but in the best possible way!
posted by Mogur at 7:29 AM on June 18, 2020

6) I think I may have yelled when Jonas told his father that he knew about the letter, and the father clearly had no idea what Jonas was talking about - and I realized that Adam had set Jonas up.
7) I may have also yelled when Egon asked Hannah if she was travelling, and Hannah looked him up and down and said "I'm looking for a fresh start".

God, I love this show. I am *so* glad I tried it again (I tried it last year, but bounced hard off episode 1, but decided to give it another shot this month).
posted by Mogur at 7:34 AM on June 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Having recently rewatched S2, I'm very excited for this final season.

What are people's thoughts about season 3 threads? For a show this complex, I think a lot of the joy for me is in the gradual discovery and theory-making with a mid-season perspective. I almost wish Netflix didn't release the whole season at once because it tends towards having whole season threads that miss out on all that fun, mid-season prognostication. However, knowing that few people are going to watch just 1 episode at a time, maybe we could compromise. Season 3 will be 8 episodes, so maybe we could break it into multi-episode chunks according to how rapidly people tend to consume it. My partner and I usually watch 1 episode an evening about 3 times a week, so my preference would be 3 chunks: episodes 1–3, episodes 4–6, episodes 7–8.

What do y'all prefer?
posted by Cogito at 12:52 PM on June 18, 2020

I'm planning on doing individual threads in binge-postathon mode for S3 in the same format as I did for S1, one thread per episode. I'm hoping I can knock the whole thing out over the weekend it drops, though it may take an extra day or so depending on how often I have to pause while watching and how long it takes to get the post cleaned up and posted.

But that way there will be no spoilers from episode to episode - people watching at a slower pace will have a chance to speculate & theorize, and people who are further ahead will be able to see from the recap bullet points where they are in the story and not reveal anything they shouldn't. It would be nice to watch it at a slower pace, but, the internet will be a minefield of spoilers as soon as the show has dropped, so, a binge-postathon is the only way I can be sure of watching it unfold organically.
posted by oh yeah! at 2:25 PM on June 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

That sounds great. I look forward to it.
posted by Cogito at 10:40 PM on June 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Same here!

I'm rewatching Season 2 and one thing that leapt out at me is that June 27th, 2020 is both the date of the apocalypse in the show and, in a nice bit of stunt-scheduling, the date of final season's premiere. (Assuming that a German time-loop hasn't ended civilization, that is.)
posted by whir at 3:23 PM on June 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

Who among us would not welcome it, at this point?
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:52 PM on June 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

Just finished binging Season 2 in preparation for the third and final season, and I've been pondering something that I haven't seen anyone else raise: when Jonas returns to prevent his father's death and, by doing so, causes it (a scene I found utterly heartbreaking), Mikkel wakes up with rubella (German measles). I thought that this was a suggestion that the disease would cause Mikkel to be infertile, and thus not Jonas' father.

I agree with the suspicions that elder Jonas is actually Bartosz. Killing Martha, the love of his young life, perhaps of his entire life, given the jumps he has experienced, just to drive his younger self on a particular path seems cruel for Jonas, no matter what experiences he might have faced from the time he was "The Stranger". But it fits very well with Bartosz's selfish, spoiled, and vindictive nature.

Can't wait for Season 3!
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 10:45 PM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

> "I agree with the suspicions that elder Jonas is actually Bartosz."

I harbor the same suspicions, but my spouse has pointed out that the guy Young Noah kills with a pickaxe looks awfully Bartoszian.
posted by kyrademon at 5:13 AM on June 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

So I carefully followed everything in season one, rewatched scenes, and then before season two also spent at least two hours on recaps. Similarly, I carefully watched season two and pretty much understood everything.

And now, shortly before season three, I can barely remember anything. I hate being old.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:23 AM on June 24, 2020

It's not just you, Ivan. I'm hoping for a really good recap at the start of S3.

On the upside, when you go watch another series that is billed as "complex", it's going to look really straightforward and easy to follow compared to Dark.

I'm looking at you, Sense8.
posted by Mogur at 5:59 AM on June 24, 2020 [4 favorites]

The first time around I made an elaborate chart that I annotated every episode. It was three pieces of printer paper wide. And on rewatch I'm still remembering stuff I'd forgotten with every episode.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:36 AM on June 24, 2020

I've still got 3 episodes to go in my S2 re-watch -- I've been reading the Dark Wiki character pages as I go, trying to nail down all the names, faces, and relationships in my brain since I won't be able to look anyone up while I'm recapping.

IMDB has a 12-minute S1 & 2 Cheat Sheet video up -- it's kind of trying-too-hard jokey, but it covers the highlights if you're looking for a quick refresher.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:02 PM on June 24, 2020

It's mostly a puff piece (and chock full of spoilers for season 2, though none for season 3) but the Guardian has an interview up with the actors playing Jonas, the Stranger, and Adam; among other things they say that they made a conscious decision not to get together too much to try to coordinate their acting.

Who among us would not welcome it, at this point?

Y'know, at first I agreed with this, but then on reflection I thought to myself that if anything would be worse than 2019-2020, it would be 2019-2020, but playing on an infinite loop forever.
posted by whir at 8:37 AM on June 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

We just finished our rewatch - perfect timing! - and, shit, I had forgotten A LOT of things from that last episode. This show is wild.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:22 PM on June 26, 2020

(on preview, the first comment under that tweet seems to contain a S3 spoiler)
posted by myotahapea at 12:45 AM on June 28, 2020

So the letter that brought Clausen to town is definitely a time travel artifact of some kind. But the question is who sent it? Is it another self-creating letter like the suicide note? Or maybe it was now-older Hannah, finally making good on her threats against Aleksander.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:56 PM on July 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

My letter question is, where did the letter from Martha that young Noah gives to middle Jonas come from? He seemed astonished by it, as if it was already breaking what he knew became of Martha.

On the one hand, I'm always a bit sad when a good time-travel story devolves into alternate-worlds; it's a fine genre, but modern SF has almost given up on pure time-travel in favor of alternate-worlds interpretations, which is more coherent of course, but also less mind-bending and generally about a different set of metaphysical worries. Rick and Morty is a good example of the sort of disdain modern SF has for time travel, which by contrast takes the existential worries of alternate worlds quite seriously. But on the other hand, there's no reason you can't have closed timelines across multiple worlds, and if Adam is really Jonas, there's no reason his fixed future couldn't contain a bunch of world-hopping too. The only reason that seems impossible is not because alternate-Martha turns up for the young Jonas -- for all we know from middle-Jonas's stoic demeanor, that could just be how he spent the middle third of his life, bopping around with alternate-world Martha. The reason a fixed future for him seems problematic is that middle-Jonas seems astonished by the letter, as if he really had experienced Martha's death.

Though unless he turned to follow Adam in that version -- unlikely -- how else could he have escaped the explosion a few minutes later? So perhaps middle Jonas is not so much surprised to discover Martha post-dates her death via that letter -- the rescue by alternate Martha may well be his own past timeline -- as by what's inside the letter. He does seem more surprised by the contents that the existence of the letter.

My other thought about watching this show is what's going on in those gaps. It's mainly been a bit of optimism: however shitty their lives are during these transition years, there are still 30 years in-between, where for all we know, Noah and Elisabeth and Magnus and Franziska and Jonas and alternate-Martha and all the folks who paired off in the 80s and who knows who else lead perfectly happy lives. Sure, it all goes to hell during the transition and maybe the last third of their lives is all crap, but I increasingly found myself imagining their (so far) unnarrated in-between times and thinking about how that really is (so far) the bulk of their actual lives.

Mainly, but not entirely, optimistic: for the other weird blindspot (so far) about the in-between times of this show is what really is in between. It's so, so weird to have a German TV show about the traumas of the past that just happens to have chosen a wavelength that basically leaves Germany looking like Denmark over the last century. The almost complete erasure (so far) of WWI and nazism from a German show spanning the entirety of the 20th century seems like the weirdest alternate-history/past-erasure of all. I certainly hope that, like the in-between lives, the horrors of Germany in between also comes to light in Season 3.
posted by chortly at 11:17 PM on August 1, 2020 [3 favorites]

I was half expecting Clausen to declare that he was secretly from the German Anti-Time Travel Bureau, taking in a side case from their usual drudgery preventing baby Hitler assassinations.

My head cannon is that Winden in the 2050s is an exclusion zone ruled with an iron fist by Warlord Elisabeth, and that the rest of the world is blissfully unaware and actually doing just fine.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:52 PM on January 10, 2022

A favorite pastime during this season was yelling "Lose 1d10 sanity points!" at various characters as the figured out horrifying details. It's obvious that old Jonah / Adam eventually lost all his sanity points and was claimed as an evil npc by the gamemaster.
posted by kaibutsu at 6:36 PM on January 11, 2022



Now that I've got that out of the way, I just finished binging S2 (after binging S1). I'm here to chew bubblegum and talk about this show, and I'm etc. etc.

A few random observations:

Eye-Patch Cop got an upgrade! Lookin' good, Eye-Patch Cop!
Also, I'm still disappointed in Eye-Patch Cop for colluding with Aleksander to cover-up illegal toxic waste dumpage, but he gets some points back for his loving support for his trans sibling. Way to be, Eye-Patch Cop!

I thought S1 had a lot of scenes of Jonas waking up, but they really amped it up in S2! I think it was somewhere mid-season, one episode had at least 4 or 5 waking up scenes for at least 2, maybe 3 different characters. But then, oddly, none at all in the last 2 episodes!

Funniest moment of the season: Franziska (sp?) yelling at her parents that they are (per the subtitle) "incompetent assholes." That's pretty much the perfect description for all the parents on this show, but Peter and Charlotte do have a special air of incompetence about them, imho. The other parents ignore their children, but at least they do so in search of their other children. Peter and Charlotte are just off bumbling around in other people's business.

2nd funniest moment: the fake-out when Inspector Clausen asks Eye-Patch Cop about the Eye-Patch, and we almost get the story, but then they have swerve to avoid 1986 Claudia. It felt to me like a bit of self-deprecating humor on the part of the writers: yeah, we know it is frustrating the way we string you along and stretch every mystery as far as we can before just complicating things further with some new weirdness.

Or maybe, it is all REALLY about Eye-Patch Cop...

I too am a bit suspicious about Adam's true identity. The interview whir posts above seems to confirm that Jonas/Stranger/Adam are the same person at different points in their life -- the 3 actors seem to be working under that assumption -- but it could still be a misdirect:
When 2019-20 Jonas meets Adam in the German Empire/Weimar Republic-era bunker in 1921(?), Adam mentions that he knows which stocks to buy. I can believe that young Jonas would eventually become more Machiavellian and opportunistic in his attempts to control time/avert disaster, but then again, that also sounds a bit too petty -- just simple greed. Bartosz is certainly petty and materialistic, so I think he could be Adam.

But what if, and go with me here a minute, Adam is really... Hannah. We know she goes back to 1954, and is in possession of a time machine, but where is older Hannah in 1986, or even 2019? We haven't seen any evidence of her presence there in S1 or S2. We know she is manipulative and a liar. We also know that she has a chip on her shoulder about some people getting everything, and others getting nothing. This show is all about people's narcissistic desires, and time travel would seem irresistible for someone like Hannah, who so desperately wants to have things her way. If repeated use of the machine caused Adam's disfiguring (which, if so, why isn't older Claudia more disfigured? Or even Stranger-Jonas? Or Noah?), that could also have caused her voice to change -- or it could all be surgery.

Remember the three posters in Martha's room: Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, and Ariadne. Martha and Jonas are star-crossed (and genetically-crossed!) lovers; 1987 Claudia tried to wash her father's blood from her hands, but Old Claudia still feels the guilt ("who'd have thought the old man to have so much blood in him?"), and only Ariadne knows the path through the Minotaur's labyrinth.

On the other hand, maybe we haven't seen evidence of Hannah's presence in the other timelines yet because she's the "new" thing this iteration (to whatever extent there are "iterations" of the cycles) that causes the alternate reality where Martha-2 lives.

Out of all the characters, Egon Tiedemann has become my favorite, at least from a moral/ethical standpoint. He really does just seem like a good guy who is trying to help. He's made a lot of mistakes, but unlike the other characters, I haven't seen him make a mistake out of selfishness, just lack of information/understanding.
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:43 PM on August 6, 2022 [2 favorites]

Thinking about the show's influences and parallels with other series:

Stranger Things: missing kids, 1980s setting, teenagers on bikes, the supernatural, government cover-ups of illegal experiments, small town setting

True Detective S1 & S3: missing kids, parallel stories in different timelines, cover-ups, hidden torture rooms, small town setting, Nietzsche, cycles and patterns

Prisoners (film by Denis Villeneuve): missing kids, cycles and patterns, desperate parents resorting to violence, small town setting

Donnie Darko: 1980s setting, teenagers, mysterious book on time-travel, prophetic old lady, cover-ups, doomed teen romance, messiah-like teen boy who has to sacrifice himself for others

Loki & Umbrella Academy: Time-travel, mysterious/sinister organization devoted to monitoring/controlling the time line, characters meeting alternate versions of themselves

Shows I haven't seen but probably have some parallels:
Riverdale (missing kids, small town setting), Euphoria (lots of teen sexy times and gratuitous young person nudity)

And the granddaddy of them all, Twin Peaks.
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:54 PM on August 6, 2022 [1 favorite]

About to jump back in to these threads, but before I go into S3, just wanted to say that I don't actually think Adam is really Hannah, although it could feasibly work. For the show to give us a big reveal (Adam is old Jonas!) and then reveal that was in fact a lie would be really stupid writing.
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:03 PM on August 15, 2022

way behind as per usual with my TV watching. But it's worth noting, I am now about three-quarters of the way through Season 2 and I think I finally know who everybody is. So I've effectively been flying confused in that regard up to this point. Which speaks volumes to just how good this show is at keeping us engaged even as we don't know what's going on. That's some high end dramaturgy.
posted by philip-random at 4:55 PM on June 12, 2023 [2 favorites]

I will fully admit that it was these fanfare threads that helped me to identify who everyone was (I am absolutely terrible at remembering character names, I mostly remember the actor, and I dont know german actors so I definitely needed these threads to keep the people straight in my head)
posted by LizBoBiz at 5:07 PM on June 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

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