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Netflix Show Dark Discussed and Explained
Netflix Show Dark is an utter mindjob experience from beginning to end. It's better than Stranger Things by a whole factorial. And its ability to mess with you is better than Lost. A lot better than Lost. IMDB
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I’ve been sitting here and staring at this blank post for a while now. And even before I started sitting here I was contemplating the best way to go about this discussion. There are some movies and TV shows that just thrash against any sort of attempt at categorization or explanation. But that’s what we do here, we explain, we unpack, we try our best to get to the root of… Personally I love talking about movies with my friends. And because I don’t have any real world friends I talk about movies with you! hahah.

So to be clear, this will be a spoiler filled deep dive into the goings on of the show Dark by Netflix. If you would prefer to not have the show spoiled, please go watch the show first. But what is it? Great question. Dark is a 10 episode show investigating the town of Winden and the strange goings on there. The show starts in 2019, and then several children going missing. And then a boy, that isn’t any of the missing children is discovered dead, with his eyes burnt and his ears exploded. Why are the children missing? Where (or when) have they gone? And who are these dead children that are appearing out of nowhere? Let me just throw the trailer at you, and if that doesn’t hook you, I do not know what will:

Alright, from here on out, spoilers abound. If you have not seen the show – please depart. But come back when you are done! Now, on to the spoilers… starting with my enormous Dark Family Tree. I have created a massive, interlinking, comprehensive, Dark Family tree. It’s really impossible to read unless you view it full size. Which you can purchase here below. Or, you can read my post, over here, detailing out each of the characters. Either way. And heck, if you don’t want to donate, just email me, and I’ll hook you up. But your donations are greatly appreciated as I’m guessing this thing took me 60 to 80 hours to create. I’ll be including the family tree at the bottom, when discussing the families and the theories. But purchase a full sized copy and keep up with the connections! (I would have made an AMAZING infomercial host. Can you tell my hosting bill is due!? hahah.)


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So how does one deconstruct a show as dense as Dark in one single post? (I have done posts per episode deconstructions, and believe you me, they are not for the faint of heart. So why don’t I do an episode by episode walk through of the high points, that way we can make sure we are all on the same page. Then we can start talking to the bigger canvass of the show and the directions it might be going in the future as well as the underlying details many of us may have missed upon first gander. Also, please know that I have created a detailed family tree of all the characters in the show that you can see here. I will be posting the image lower in this post, but don’t want it too close to those who haven’t seen the show yet as it is riddled with spoilers.

10 Episode Netflix Dark Overview

Dark Episode 1 – Netflix’s new show Dark begins in June of 2019. This is a key detail to keep track of as there will be 4 key time periods we visit throughout the show’s 10 episode run; 1953, 1986, 2019, 2052. Got that? Good.

The town is set in the German locale of Winden. And the show kicks of with a bang when the central character, Michael Kahnwald, commits suicide. Wait! How can a central character commit suicide in the first 3 minutes? That is Dark my friend. That is Dark. The really cool part? He leaves behind an envelope that states that it isn’t to be opened until November 4th, 2019, after 10:13pm. Cryptic. And creepy. Michael’s “mother” Ines snags the letter before anyone else can find it. Jump forward to November 4th, when Jonas returns to school from the psychiatric facility where he was admitted after a diagnoses of PTSD. Soon Jonas learns that Bartosz, his best friend, who covered for him while he was gone, is now dating Martha, Jonas’ girlfriend. dunh dunh DUNH!

Enter Ulrich Nielsen. We meet him when he is sleeping with Hannah Kahnwald, Jonas’ mother. Ulrich is a police officer, and he is the father of Mikkel, Magnus, Martha – of the Bartosz and Jonas fame. The Nielsen family, and their connection to the Kahnwald family will be an ongoing theme throughout the next 9 episodes, and probably seasons to come.

Then we learn that on October 21st, 2019, a couple weeks before Jonas’ return, Eric Obendorf, the main Winden High School drug supplier, went missing. Ulrich is assigned the case, but there is next to nothing to go on. But because Ulrich had also lost a brother, Mads, in his youth, his entire family is fairly overwhelmed by the recent missing child. A search is conducted, but not much else happens towards finding Erik.

The next day a group of kids meet near the cave, and when a loud sound exits the cage the group runs and Mikkel ends up going missing. So now the town of Winden has two missing children, Erik, and Mikkel. Mikkel being Ulrich’s youngest child. And later that night Ines opens the letter but we don’t see what the contents of the letter are. The next day, November 5th, a body is found of a boy, with burnt eyes and blown out eardrums, but the child is not Erik, or Mikkel. As the episode ends, we see Erik in a room, and loud music playing. He is trapped in a contraption with music playing.

Episode 1 Revelations: Everything is new in episode 1. Everything is a revelation. But some of the big mind jobs in Ep1 are definitely the letter from Michael that his mother Ines opens, and the realization that boys are being abducted for some sort of experimentation.

Verified Episode 1 Time Traveling: Erik from 2019 to 1986. Mikkel from 2019 to 1986. And probably Noah and Helge.

Dark Episode 2 – We kick off the festivities of Ep2 mainly by focusing exclusively on Ulrich and the complicated ins and outs of his memories around the disappearance of Mads from 1986. We also follow the sudden disappearance of Erik as well as Mikkel. Over the course of the episode Ulrich goes from thinking Erik had run away, to believing that all three (the third being the discovered body) had been abducted. When Ulrich finally searches the cave he finds a locked door.

The coroner tells Charlotte (a police officer) that the discovered dead boy had only been dead for 16 hours, but he was wrapped in styles from the 80’s. He was a very curious case, bedecked in walkman and clothes straight from the 1980’s. The boy also had red dirt not from the local surroundings. We also meet The Stranger, a mysterious hooded guy who checks into Regina Tiedemann’s hotel. But who is he? Ah, patience! Meanwhile, Ulrich attempts to get into the Nuclear Power Plant, but is not allowed. Ulrich then is really curious about Jürgen, Erik’s father, and Ulrich ends up finding drugs in Jürgen’s shed, which he admitted he sold with his son.

Later we get an ambiguous scene,  which is accompanied by flickering lights and flashing, with a silhouetted figure dragging a red head out into the woods. Which is accompanied by flickering lights and flashing. So now we know that Erik is dead. Cut to Mikkel, waking in a cave, who runs home and tries to go in. But a teenage Ulrich tells Mikkel to get lost, as he and Katharina, his wife to be, head to school together. And that’s when Mikkel finds out that the date is actually November 5th, 1986.

Episode 2 Revelations: We begin getting lots of evidence that time traveling is actually occurring. The dead boy. The coroner’s details. We also learn that Erik is dead, and someone is hauling bodies in and out of time. And at the end we see that Mikkel has in fact traveled back in time to 1986.

Verified Episode 2 Time Traveling: Erik from 1986 to 1953, carried by Helge. 

Dark Episode 3 – Ep3 follows Mikkel’s adventures in 1986 pretty closely. We see poor oblivious Mikkel trying to find his parents and ends up meeting his grandmother Jana Nielsen instead. And, obviously, she goes completely ape because her own son Mads had gone missing only a few weeks before. Since that didn’t work, he headed to the high school to find his mother, who is (will be?) the principal. When that didn’t work, he heads out to the police station for his father. But then Ines, the nurse, and Mikkel’s future adoptive mother, takes Mikkel out to the hospital.

Following the timeline in 1986, Claudia Tiedemann – who is Regina’s mother, and Egon’s daughter – becomes the first female nuclear power plant director. And more importantly, it begins to lead her into researching the details surrounding the plant. All this leads her to Bernd Doppler, the outgoing director, who directs her to a cave nearby which is stacked with nuclear waste drums. All the while many strange things are happening throughout the town; dead birds with strange white spots, dead sheep, etc.

The episode penultimately ends with Mikkel escaping the hospital and walking through the cave where his father is simultaneously searching for him. Mikkel cries out, and it appears his father hears him. They even walk through the exact same spot, only separated by 33 years, and a doorway further down the cave. Oh, and the final shot? Tannhaus in a lab coat, standing by his archaic device…

Episode 3 Revelations: Our shift from 2019 out to 1986 gives us our first clue that these issues in the town of Winden have been going on for years and years. There’s weirdness around the nuclear plant. Weirdness around the cave.

Verified Episode 3 Time Traveling: None that I could see directly 

Dark Episode 4 – Back to 2019. Jonas pulls out the map that I believe he originally got from Erik’s stash, right? Anyway, he begins studying it, including the inscription “Where is the crossing?” The episode then jumps to Charlotte and her studies of the details she has collected over a lifetime of research that go back to her research of dead birds 33 years prior. Eventually the coroner tells her that the spots come from radiation poisoning. Then, while studying traffic camera evidence she notices that her husband, Peter Doppler, had been lying to her about what he was doing the night Mikkel went missing. So Charlotte visits the local transvestite hooker who says Peter hasn’t been there for over a year. (Peter and Charlotte’s relationships aren’t going great if you are catching that.) But then Charlotte heads out to Helge’s old cabin (Peter’s father’s cabin) where she finds the same red dirt.

Now, about that cabin. Everything hinges on that cabin, and the bomb shelter like out building near by. Everything. But why?

Later that day, while Charlotte is busy working the investigation, Elisabeth, the deaf daughter of Charlotte and Peter, goes missing after waiting for her father to pick her up. Her parents, sure Elisabeth is the latest child to go missing after Eric and Mikkel, are completely distraught. But when she returns unscathed later that night she tells of meeting a man named “Noah” along the way home. Oh, and Noah gave her something too – what was it, oh yes – it was a watch that used to belong to her mother, Charlotte. But the next morning, Yasin, Elisabeth’s “boyfriend” goes missing after a walk through the forest. “You must be Yasin. Noah sent me” a hooded man tells Yasin, and that is the end of the episode.

Episode 4 Revelations: We begin to learn that Noah has played a larger part in this looping universe than we could have guessed.

Verified Episode 4 Time Traveling: 1986 Helge takes Yasin from 2019 back to 1986

Dark Episode 5 – Well, so far since the show started, Winden has managed to lose Erik, Mikkel, and now Yasin. And appropriately, the entire town is collectively losing their minds. And things begin to move quickly on a million different fronts in this episode. So I’m going to jump to a bullet list of things that happen:

  • Charlotte confronts Peter – and he tells her she is crazy.
  • Hannah, having been rejected by Ulrich, brings food to Katharina/Ulrich, making Katharina suspicious.
  • The Stranger tells Regina he’s going away for a few days, and asks her to deliver a package to Jonas.
  • The love triangle heats up between Martha, Jonas and Bartosz.
  • Jonas meets the Stranger at his father’s grave, who tells him that Michael saved the Stranger’s life years ago.
  • We learn about the 33 year theory how the universe only finds alignment in 33’s.
  • In ’86, Mikkel breaks his leg in the cave and Ines invites Noah to visit with Mikkel.
  • Hannah spies Ulrich and Katharina having sex and tells her father that Ulrich raped Katharina.
  • ’19 – Jonas tells Martha after her play that he wasn’t really in France after his father’s death.
  • Bartosz goes and meet’s Eric’s drug supplier and it is Noah.

As the episode heads to its end, we see that when Jonas arrives home he receives his package from the Stranger. It contained a weird round light, a Geiger Counter, and most importantly, the suicide note from his father. We learn that the suicide note from his father that on November 4th, 2019, Mikkel traveled back to 1986. And that that was where he was stranded, and ultimately grew up. He changed his name from Mikkel to Michael and was raised by Ines. He ultimately married Hannah and Jonas was born as his son.

Episode 5 Revelations: The most important revelation is that Mikkel is Michael, and that he was stranded back in 1986 and that the time traveling works in periods of 33 years.

Verified Episode 5 Time Traveling: None

Dark Episode 6 – This episode dives deep into the tangled web of Mad’s disappearance and the causes for it. Ulrich learns that his mother covered for his father the night that Mads had disappeared. She tells Ulrich that his father, Tronte, had been having an affair with Claudia Tiedemann. But Jana Nielsen – Ulrich’s mother – tells Ulrich that it was actually Regina Tiedemann who saw Mads last. But when Ulrich talks to Regina, he tells her that he always knew that she was the one that accused him of raping his girlfriend (and wife to be) of rape. Though Regina tells Ulrich it was actually Hannah that accused Ulrich. And when pressed, Regina tells Ulrich that Mads’ disappearance was actually his own fault. Mads had been walking Regina home through the woods because of her fear of it due to Ulrich and Katharina’s tying her to a tree, and left as a joke. Then, after re-looking at the body of the unidentified boy, he notices that the body has the same chin scar as Mads had from a fight they once had together.

Then we cut to Jonas, his new tools, and his determination to head down into the caves in order to find what lies beneath. After following the trail of the Geiger counter, Jonas finds a door, and escapes out the other side, in 1986. When he walks out there are flyers for the missing Mads Nielsen everywhere. He also meets Hannah, who is now 14, and her father, Sebastian Kruger.

Episode 6 Revelations: The investigation into Mads’ disappearance actually makes progress. We also learn a lot about the night of his vanishing and just how complicated this actually all is.  

Verified Episode 6 Time Traveling: Jonas travels from 2019 back to 1986.

Dark Episode 7 – This episode launches with a vision of a boy in the wallpapered room – which we can only assume is the underground shelter near Helge’s cabin. His face is bloodied, so we can assume that this is Helge himself… but only because of what we learn later. In 1986, Egon attempts to setup an interview with Helge and Helge mentions that he took the state road home, but Egon found that curious because the Forest Rd is much faster. But the note goes into Egon’s journal, “Why not forest road?” Which flashes forward to Ulrich and bugs him with a splinter in his mind. So much so that he decides to interview a frail Helge in the nursing home. His answer was that he could change the past and the future… and then Ulrich is physically removed from the facility.

In one of the most amazing scenes in the entire series, Jonas finds Mikkel at the hospital back in 1986. Mikkel is sitting and talking with Ines… and Jonas is just about to go and talk to Mikkel. But! The Stranger stops him. And why? Well, because any change that Jonas makes in the past will complete rearrange his future. Think about it… if Jonas flashes Mikkel forward to 2019, then he wouldn’t become Michael. And he wouldn’t have a baby named Jonas. And that would mean that there’d be no Jonas,… and that there would be no Stranger either. I’ll just leave that comment there for a bit.

Meanwhile, Katharina makes Ulrich admit to his affair with Hannah. Afterwards, he heads off and visits Jana his mother and asks again about Mads’ disappearance. She tells him that before Mads was abducted she saw a deformed man and a priest arguing. So Ulrich now knows that it was Helge, and the question wasn’t if the elderly man had abducted boys, but when. And later, when trying to get to Helge, who was not at the hospital, he takes the book “A Journey Through Time” by H.G. Tannhaus. Noticing Helge wandering off, Ulrich follows him.

And the final scene we see is a younger Helge in 1986 emerging from a cellar as he stares at Yasin, dead on the ground. And there in the cellar is Noah, really scary tattooed man, scrubbing the concrete floor.

Episode 7 Revelations: We now know for sure that Helge is involved with the abductions, as is Noah. We also learn that Jonas and the Stranger agree that they can’t change time. 

Verified Episode 7 Time Traveling: Helge traveled back with Yasin to 1953 to bury both Erik and Yasin at the construction site of the Nuclear Facility.

Dark Episode 8 – At the opening of the episode, we start off in 1953, as two disfigured boys are found (Erik and Yasin). The police find their clothes strange for a number of reasons. Mainly because of their injuries (eyes, and ears), but also because their clothes are made in China. Helge sees this happening and heads home to get belittled by his mother for getting dirty. (The home that becomes a hotel in the future.)

Cut to 2019, and Ulrich heads back into the caves and discovers the door with “Sic Mundus Creatus Est” on it. He heads through and in 1953 he exits. Ulrich has a number of strange encounters quickly. First he meets Helge being bullied in the woods. Then he meets Agnes Nielsen, his grandmother, who is looking for Ulrich’s current address. So he realizes that he is standing next to his Grandmother as well as his father. He heads on in to town to find Tannhaus – and he asks him if he is the same man that wrote this book. And Tannhaus answers no. (Not yet anyway.) After running to the police department and freaking out about his missing son, Mikkel, but the boys don’t match his son’s description. But on the way back out, Ulrich sees Helge again, and realizes that he will become a future murderer, or at least an accomplice to murder anyway, and he chases him down and beats him till he thinks he’s dead.

Meanwhile, Agness and Tronte rent a room from Egon and his wife… and we see cigarette burns up and down the boy’s arms – which I believe comes from his father, Noah. And we learn that Agnes and Noah are divorced. Not too soon to have had an impact on Tronte. Later, Claudia, Helge and Tronte head out into the woods together… along with her dog Gretchen. Well, Helge chucks a stick in to the cave and Gretchen chases it and never comes back. Well, not never.

Jump to 1986, The Stranger meets with H.G. Tannhaus, and they discuss his 33 year cycle theory and his theory of time travel through wormholes. The Stranger lets Tannhaus know that he has in fact traveled in time. Not only that, but he also pulls out a broken machine and he asks if Tannhaus can fix it. And that is when we learn that The Stranger is determined not to travel through time with it, but to destroy a time machine with it. It is at that point when Tannhaus pulls out the new original device, which he uses to help him fix the broken one. Then Tannhaus finds the Stranger’s cell phone..

Episode 8 Revelations: Tannhaus is the original creator of the brass time machine, but who is the designer?!? Ulrich attempts to kill Helge to stop him… 

Verified Episode 8 Time Traveling: The Stranger and Ulrich head to 1953

Dark Episode 9 – Nine kicks off with a bang with Noah chatting with Greta. Apparently she never wanted her son. She was praying that the baby would fail and that she wasn’t even sure who the father was. Could that mean that she was raped? Or was she having an affair she later felt awful about? All we know is that Noah is counseling with Greta… and that usually never goes well. What is he up to? We actually see Noah courting several different people throughout season 1 and there isn’t any really clear end game with any of them. At least not in season 1.

Elsewhere in 1953, Egon arrest Ulrich, covered in blood, for murdering Helge… and on suspicion of murdering the two boys. Ulrich was saying that he had murdered Helge, and therefore the two dead boys shouldn’t be dead. Right? But there are a number of flaws to this logic. The first and most obvious one is that he actually isn’t dead. (And who knows, maybe if Ulrich hadn’t beaten Helge maybe he wouldn’t have flipped over to team Noah?) The second one is that it wasn’t Helge that was killing the boys, but rather Noah. Helge was just disposing of the bodies in various other time periods. Regardless, Ulrich’s plan to save the day failed miserably.

Jumping forward to 1986 Bernd tells Claudia that the barrels hidden in the cave were a result of a small meltdown at the plant. And while investigating more within the caves Gretchen comes out of the cave. And now Claudia has her childhood dog back. Either that, or it’s a trick straight out of the Prestige.

Elsewhere in the Dark universe Ulrich is released from prison for the “rape” charge, and Hannah suggests to Katharina that it was Regina that made the false allegation against Ulrich. So, Katharina attacks Regina in the woods, but mid-attack a guy with ski mask and gun intercedes and tells Ulrich and Katharina to bugger off. And Regina offers help to the kid, who’s name is Aleksander. Now, this guy is all kinds of strange, and it seems like he traveled forward in time from the past? Maybe he was sent by Noah? Or future Stranger Jonas? Regardless, we learn from Hannah that Aleksander is actually Boris Niewman, and that he has two different passports. Regina helps “Aleksander” get a job with her mom, Claudia – a secret job dealing with the secret radioactive materials in the cave and hiding the barrels. (But The Stranger finds them before anyone else?) But jumping years later, Hannah uses the bag that Aleksander had used as a threat to get Aleksander to ruin Ulrich. The incestuousness of these relationships are fairly out of control.

And at the end of the episode Claudia introduces herself to Bartosz, who is his grandmother, and who he thought was dead. And just like that, Bartosz is pincered between Noah and Claudia the patriarchs of the shade and the light. “Meanwhile”, in 1953, Claudia arrives at Tannhaus’ shop and gives him plans for the time machine and asks him to build it.

Episode 9 Revelations: We learn that Claudia is the originator of the suitcase time machine. We meet the mysterious Aleksander. And we see that Ulrich as imprisoned for the “death” of Helge.

Verified Episode 9 Time Traveling: Claudia travels forward to 2019 to meet Bartosz and backwards to meet Tannhaus in 1953. The Stranger jumps back to 1986 and finds the barrels. Aleksander probably traveled forward from 1953? 

Dark Episode 10 – Alright, hold on to your butts. This is going to get interesting. The night Mikkel was abducted, Peter was considering going to the transgender prostitute but instead he heads over to the cellar at the cabin. And out of the blue, a boy’s body falls through a rift. Peter attempts to revive him but he’s dead. He discovers it’s Mads Nielsen and calls Tronte, Mads’ father. Then Claudia walks in and tells them they must move the boy to where he’s supposed to be discovered. (WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT? THE UNCHANGEABILITY OF TIME?) A little while later in the episode, Charlotte learns that Helge was abducted as a child in 1953. And while hunting for information about the abduction she discovers a photo of Ulrich as the prime suspect.

Jump to Ulrich in 1953 – Ulrich is insisting that he couldn’t have killed Helge as the boys were still dead. Which, firmly cements Egon’s opinion of him as insane.

A week after Ines opened the letter from Michael, Jonas confronts her about what she knew. And blowing Jonas’ mind, she hands him the suicide note… which, he had already burnt. Which, again, speaks to the unchangeability of the timeline. Or, more to the point, the assumed unchangeability of the timeline.

Elder Helge, heads back to 1986 in order to tell himself to stop working with Noah. That Noah wasn’t of the light, like he purports to be, but rather with the Devil. And younger Helge doesn’t listen to a word of it and decides to help Noah with the next victim, which is Jonas. Helge then t-bones himself (which would be an interesting crash report to write up) but the younger Helge survives, and the elder dies. It was a valiant attempt anyway. But it did keep Helge from meeting with Egon for his follow-up interview so there is that.

In order to determine the next victim, Noah looks through a book, where Jonas’ name is written. And so Noah goes to 1986, to be with Mikkel, in order to find Jonas. And Jonas, determine to get Mikkel back to 2019, regardless of the harm it would cause himself because he knows it is the right thing to do. Jonas is taken to the cellar and wakes up to see the chair. And there he has the most important conversation of the season with the Stranger. Through the door, Jonas has a conversation about letting him out of the cellar… which The Stranger cannot do. But why?!? Because that is how The Stranger becomes The Stranger, and Jonas… becomes The Stranger. That is how we learn that Jonas is The Stranger. Come to find out, Jonas has fixed the brass time machine and added caesium to it in order to make it work. Which, he got from the trucks, that the nuclear facility had been hiding in the truck. But we learn from Noah, in a conversation with Bartosz, that Jonas is actually the one that will be creating the wormhole, not destroying it.

Then, after Jonas ignited the machine in the caves, we see young Helge waking in the cellar after getting pummeled by Ulrich. And while he is there, a wormhole opens through which he sees Jonas in 1986. Right? When they touch, Helge is launched forward to 1986 I believe, and Jonas is launched from 2019 to 2052. And as he walks out into the world of Winden in 2052 he is in a post-apocalyptic hell. And a truck pulls up and aims their guns at him. And they tell him, “welcome to the future”, and then a woman knocks him out with the but of her gun.

Episode 10 Revelations: We learn tons here. Jonas is The Stranger. We learn that Helge attempted to kill a younger him. We learn that Jonas is the one that inadvertently began it all by trying to end it. We learn that the 33 year closed loop cycle extends out beyond 2019. And most importantly, we learn that time is unchangeable… or do we? 

Verified Episode 10 Time Traveling: Mads (or his body) travels forward from 1986 to 2019. Helge travels back from 2019 to 1986. Noah and probably Helge, travel back to 1986 to catch Jonas.  The Stranger (or elder Jonas) travels back to 1986 to get the time machine fixed. Claudia travels back to 1953 to give Tannhaus the plans. Helge travels through the wormhole from 1953 to 1986, or was it to 2019? Anyway, Jonas travels through the wormhole from 1986 to 2052.

Yes, But What is Dark? Explain it!

With that, I think we have covered the detail that is the first season of Netflix’s Dark. But what is it? What did I just watch? Well, personally, I believe that Dark is a closed loop container of a show. And within that time container the time parameters allowed are something like, 1956 through to a little after 2052. Maybe its 1956 to 2056? A solid hundred year span? And within this universe, there are two known methods for time traveling: The Caves (behind a door with the inscription, “Sic Mundus Creatus Est” – which means, Thus the world was created), the chair, and also via the copper suitcase device.

Dark is a show that is a microcosmic perspective on the fight for good and for evil. It is a struggle for power, and a struggle for control of transportation through time. And above this backdrop we see the lives of the inhabitants of Winden fighting for sanity beneath the machinations of those in power. That being Noah, and Helge his henchman. That and the order of the light, led by Claudia, and accidentally Jonas/The Stranger.

The People Battling For Control

I took all kinds of inspiration from Claudia’s wall of photos and created my own Dark family tree. I listed all of the key players of each of the families, and I also linked the players together. I’ve included a smaller image of it here, but if you’d like the full (readable) sized version for your desktop or for closer inspection, please consider a donation above. <Infomercial/>

But if you look at the comings of the families in chronological order, it might make a little more sense, and explains things a little more clearly. For example, Helge. Ulrich travels in time, accidentally meets Helge in 1956. And Ulrich beats him to within an inch of his life. Why? Helge had done nothing wrong. His parents had been cold to him up until this point. Then a random, funnily dressed man appears and beats him senseless. Helge awakens in the cellar totally bloodied. And suddenly a portal opens, and there is some teen, staring back at him. They touch hands, and the next thing Helge knows? He’s in 1986. But then a nice priest comes, and talks to Helge, and let’s him know that he matters to him. Not only that? He helps Helge finally get back to his time, and to his family. And so, of course, every time Noah asks for help, he’s going to help. Even if it does mean young boys dying horrifically as they try to test out the time machine chair. Because, ultimately, Helge believes that he has a higher purpose to work for. I mean, look at what the Priest did for Helge after all! He must be good! Right?

And what about Noah? How is it that he never ages? Well, Noah moves quickly through time and has from the beginning. And so he remains the same age throughout the season. But I do believe that he began as the husband to Agnes. And then he encountered the power of time travel, and determined he would craft his own, and control the world of Winden for himself. And he will do so by subtly subverting every single player in Winden he can. Which he does by telling the future, and using the mantel of the priest to his own advantage as we see happening through his interactions with Bartosz and Greta as well.

And what of Claudia? There are more questions with regard to Claudia than answers. Claudia was the first female to take over at the Winden Nuclear Power Plant and in so doing she learns that there was an accident there. While there she was also given the book, “Journey Through Time”, by Tannhaus, from Helge. Could it be Noah instructed Helge to give it to her? Or was it the good in Helge reaching out for help against the evil that controlled him?

Regardless, we know that Claudia has the plans for the creation of the copper time machine that requires Caesium to work. She is the one pulling together the league of the light in order to fight back against Noah and the order of the shade. And the biggest part of her plan is the support and encouragement of Jonas. We also know that Claudia has taken up the bunker as her home in 2052, where she has placed the photos and the connections between the various players.

The Mythos and Philosophies of Netflix’s Show Dark

Hermeticism. The entire show, and the interlinking of the family’s fates are bound by the idea that is held by Noah called Hermeticism. HERMETICISM: relating to or characterized by subjects that are mysterious and difficult to understand relating to or characterized by occultism or abstruseness : airtight – hermetic seal impervious to external influence I even dusted off one of my old philosophy texts in order to remind me exactly how this thought construct works. But basically, it is the idea that all things at a micro and macro level are linked towards a single purpose. That they are interconnected. But more importantly, it is an occult and dark perspective on life. Alchemists held to the ideas of Hermeticism. They put stock in the idea that this one little action over here? It was all part of the bigger whole, everything is interconnected.

As the show was unspooling, I grabbed a couple of key quotes from Tannhaus that illustrates this larger point:

“Time loops have a significant impact on the principle of causality, on the relationship of cause and effect, as long as a wormhole exists, there is a closed time loop. Inside it, everything is mutually dependent. The past doesn’t just influence the future, the future also influences the past,” Tannhaus continues. “It’s like the question of the chicken and the egg. We can no longer say which of the two came first. Everything is interconnected.”

And so the beginning wasn’t the beginning. It was the end. And the end wasn’t the end, it was just the beginning. The creation of the wormhole began towards the end, but it wasn’t the end. And the beginning was only the middle as the prime mover had started long before.

Similarly, no in-depth discussion of Dark would be complete without a mention of the play that Martha was in. And more importantly, a discussion about Ariadne and the Labyrinth. If you were paying attention  during Inception you’ll remember this particular lesson. In Greek myth, King Minos of Crete owned and ruled over a massive labyrinth with a Minotaur at its center. Pretty much anyone that wandered into it got lost and died. And Minos had placed Ariadne as the keeper of the Labyrinth and its protector.

But then comes Theseus. Theseus came to slay the Minotaur. But he realized he was pretty much crap out of luck without an in. So Theseus swayed Ariadne and she fell in love with him. She gave him a ball of thread in order to assist him in his navigation back out of the Labyrinth after slaying the Minotaur. So Theseus heroes it up, and then abandons Ariadne. Totally drops her cold. Which brings us to Martha’s Ariadne monologue, wherein she talks about Theseus has abandoned her. She speaks of having attempted to build a new world from scratch and realizes that she’s failed miserably. “The spinning wheel turns, round and round in a circle. One fate tied to the next. The thread, red like blood, that cleaves together all our deeds. One cannot unravel the knots. But they can be severed. He severed ours, with the sharpest blade. Yet something remains behind that cannot be severed. An invisible bond.”

Which sharply focuses the crux of Dark. It is a labyrinthine maze, but it is not free of morality, and questions of truth. It is an insular reality, but if anything it exacerbates who we are as opposed to lessons it. It magnifies the flaws, the infidelities. It magnifies the wrongs and errors of our ways. So we see this massive struggle for good and for evil being waged within this closed loop of the maze. We see this struggle for our better selves, verses the struggles for our baser selves. And Ariadne is standing there, a pawn, wondering how it all slipped her grasp. How she lost track of this thing she thought she understood.

Dark Season 1 Conclusions

Well, after almost 6,000 words and 60 hours of work on that Family Tree, I think my work here is done. But not before I say that I think this show is inspired. I am currently working on a timeline that shows the various jumps between the various 33 year separated times and the connections in time between the prime movers of the show. We’ll see if I have the stamina to finish it. hahah. But I do believe that this is a time encapsulated cylinder. That Winden is locked in a repeating cycle of actions that they are struggling to break free from. And that we will see this struggle more clearly come season 2.

But what are your thoughts on the show? I’ve talked to much…

Edited by, CY

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29 Responses

  1. Morteza Haghani

    Hi there,
    Correct me if I’m wrong
    In Episode 4 you said Jonas got the map from Erik’s stash but wasn’t it from his father Michael’s belongings?
    In Episode 7 you said Tannhaus finds the stranger’s cellphone but I thought the phone was for Ulrich not the stranger…
    I haven’t finished reading the whole article yet and I only watched the series 1 time every scene so I’m not sure about those assumptions

    Reply
    • Morteza Haghani

      Should I tell some mistakes in the article? In episode 9 you wrote “It wasn’t Noah that was killing the boys, but rather Noah” which I assume you meant Helge instead of the first Noah

      Reply
    • Morteza Haghani

      So thanks for the article, i must confess that at some parts of the show I thought they were trying to prevent Hitler and WW2 but that was not the case, I think you did a great job with this article. for series like this it’s hard to reach a conclusion by only 1 season.

      Reply
  2. muchamili

    Something I quite don’t understand is why Yasin and Erik are abducted. If was middle age Helge who did it, and took them to the 1986 bunker, then we can asume that the portal was already open and time travel was already posible. Then why kidnap them, take them to other time, in order to test some machine that didn’t work?

    Reply
    • rabor

      @muchamili because the wormhole only has fixed times with the 33 years span and the time machine might it make possible to travel to any time i guess.

      Reply
    • Anne

      I think that they’re all stuck in a loop of time… same events over & over and Noah wants out of the time loop. Noah is trying the crazy chair machine – as he thinks it will get him out of this loop. I also think they are phasing into near parallel timelines too ( as lots of photos are so very slightly different )

      Reply
    • Anne

      I think that they’re all stuck in a loop of time… same events over & over and Noah wants out of the time loop. Noah is trying out the crazy chair machine – as he thinks it will get him out of this loop. I also think they are phasing into near parallel timelines too ( as lots of photos are so very slightly different ) the guy with Jonas in the cave before the explosion was his father Mikkel.

      Reply
  3. Andrea

    Well done!! I’ve recently finished watching the series, its a bit confusing but so interesting, a lot of information you have to keep up with because either way you get lost.
    Now there’s something I don’t understand, when Peter was in the bunker and suddenly Mads body drops un the ground and the Claudia says that the body must be moved where it’ll be found. Did all of that happened before they found him in the forest or after?

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Before and After. haha. Well, actually, after and before is more correct. I’m going insane apparently.

      It happened AFTER in chronology, but before he was found. That is one of the weird things about the show… they are all clearly of the mind that they HAVE to keep the disruptions to a minimum. It’s like in Lost when they just kept hitting the button over and over again, ignorantly of why they were hitting it.

      Reply
      • Andrea

        Yeah I guess you´re right but the more I think about it I go crazy jaja but anyways! I love this show!

      • Andrea

        I watched Dark with my mom, we decided to rewatch it. In episode 1 when Peter calls Charlotte he want to tell her something but he fails, it ocurried to my mom that maybe he wanted to tell her that he found Mads body in the bunker, so if that´s true, when Mads body drops, that happens before they find him in the forest. Also when Mikkel disappers he doesn´t go into the cave it seems like he entered a wormhole, so maybe at the time Mads body drops Mikkel disappers.

  4. Jason ♿️

    i also don’t get why the child-killing chair was needed at all when the tri-tunnel worked just fine without having to pay a dead kid admission fee to use it…is time travel via black rips in bunker air sooo much better than crawling back n forth?…there isn’t one scene outside of the tri-tunnel time periods until the last episode, but Jonas didn’t use the chair to get there so it can’t logically be theorized (yet, anyway) that the chair allows for time travel 2.0 to any year of your choosing, which would then make it a far better alternative to using the cave…if you can stomach the tiny corpse fee, of course…

    (p.s. if young jonas is originally from 2019 then stranger jonas, based on their age difference, is originally from 2053…that globey flashlight he gives young jonas doesn’t seem to be 2019 tech…so perhaps all along stranger jonas isn’t just hoping to save some dead kids but is trying to prevent the impending apocalypse and change the dystopian future that he grew up in…it’s no wonder fate wouldn’t allow him to change the planet’s future but if he had just wanted to change the town’s future then maybe fate would’ve been cool with that…but no, beardy had to get cocky and thereby paid dearly for his hubris…)

    (p.p.s. oh yeah, who was the blood-covered-face guy sitting next to stranger jonas in the cave when it was about to asplode?…he smirks at blood face man so he must know him …)

    Reply
    • Will

      Great question, we nee an answer to the guy covered in what seems to be nuclear sludge

      Reply
  5. BigBlockOfNick

    Oh my freaking goodness I loved this show, and I’ve enjoyed reading the theories and the family tree here.

    Here is a theory of mine that I haven’t heard mentioned directly:

    A lot was made about Mikkel’s love for Houdini, and magic, throughout Season 1, but it did not directly pay off (yet). However, I felt pretty certain in one of the final Mikkel scenes of Season 1, when he talks about how Houdini was brilliant at escapes, that this portends that Mikkel is plotting his own escape from the jump back in time he suffered, to enable him to be reunited with his family as his 1986 child self. We haven’t been provided with a clear explanation for why Mikkel/Michael hangs himself in 2019, but my guess is that he has spent 33 years since his jump to 1986 planning a Houdini escape plan that will be triggered by his suicide in order to disrupt the timeline in such a way as to cause events to change in a way that will result in his return to his 1986 childhood, but which will not then end up with his disappearance, allowing him to live happily as a child with his family. At least, that is what he hopes will happen; what else will change, is open to question (including the possibility that in this scenario Ines Kahnwald doesn’t find Mikkel, meaning Jonas would then never be born).

    Reply
  6. Jon Soroka

    Great observation on Mikkel and his fascination with Houdini. With the shows use of the non-linear progression, it would fit that the opening scene would turn out to be the act that causes the end to the cycle.

    Reply
  7. Jon

    Great observation on Mikkel and his fascination with Houdini. With the shows use of the non-linear progression, it would fit that the opening scene would turn out to be the act that causes the end to the cycle.

    Reply
  8. Ankur

    Very nice breakdown of this TV Series.

    Not only I loved this show, this also encouraged me to look for other non-English stuff such as The invisible guest ( this was awesome too) etc.

    Dark is one of my favorite show as it has Mystery, Thriller, Little horror, time travel, and confusing things happening.

    PS: Thanks for the chart explaining the interconnection.

    Reply
  9. Dustin Getta

    I heard “BigBlockofNick””s theory as to why Mikkel committed suicide; what is everyone else’s theory as to why he resorted to suicide? Btw, really enjoyed your episode break-downs, thanks for the hard work!

    Reply
  10. Shelby

    this comment does nothing to further the discussion but I FINALLY FINISHED DARK! It definitely reminds me of Lost, which is my favorite show of all time. But this is more serious and more intricate. Love it. Can’t wait to see what comes next.

    Reply
  11. Phillipe

    My comment did not post? I try the again. I also did enjoy Dark MUCH. You are right very much it is like Lost. My also favorite show. Both are like each other. I might like Dark better? Have to see seasons come out more before decide. But is very good. I already watched three times season one.

    Any heard when season 2 is?

    Reply
  12. ZeeGerman

    Nice write-up! I’m currently re-watching Dark, great show. I’m on Episode 7, where Helge drags away Yasin’s body and Noah is scrubbing the floor / writing the date (9-11-1953) on the wall. You say in your recap that Helge is dragging Yasin away in 1986, but I think the chair worked (somewhat), and sent Yasin from 1986 to 1953, but he died in the process (and dropped on the floor, hence the scrubbing). This makes more sense to me than Helge bringing the dead boy(s) back through the tunnel to 1953. (If they died in 1986, why not just leave them there?) I would assume that the same happened to Erik, hence the earlier date on the wall (4-11-1953). This is the same thing that happens to Mads in Episode 10 (only forward in time, rather than back).

    Reply
  13. Woody

    I was thinking Helge brought them back to 1953 to try and stop the nuclear plant from being built. I like the theory that the suicide was an attempt to stop the time loop. The time loop reminded me of Stephen King’s time loop in The Dark Tower series.

    Thank you for writing this up. I found the show by Netflix suggestion. I am so glad I did.

    Reply
  14. Roberto

    Another inspiration I saw in Dark was David Lynch…especially Twin Peaks…everytime they flew over the Forest with that ultra creepy music Twin Peaks came to mind

    Reply

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