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 (24 comments total) 3 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 [1 favorite]

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 [2 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 [1 favorite]

• 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

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 [3 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]

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