Season 1, Episode 2: “Lies”
Directed by Baran bo Odar
Written by Jantje Friese & Ronny Schalk
* For a recap & review of the Season 1 premiere, “Secrets” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Past and Present” – click here
A mysterious stranger (Andreas Pietschmann), the man in the hooded jacket, lurks around the woods. He sees people searching in the fields, continuing to look for Erik Obendorf (Paul Radom). At home, Jonas (Louis Hofmann) is having visions of father Michael (Sebastian Rudolph), covered in that dark, blood-like, oily substance; the same stuff coming out of his own ear. At least it’s only a dream.
But there’s something odd going on in this tiny German town, surrounded by trees, the nuclear power plant. I’m loving how Dark takes it in gradual steps, there’s a truly palpable sense of mystery in this first two episodes that’s stunning.
Dt. Charlotte Doppler (Karoline Eichhorn) and the medical examiner are checking out the body of the boy recently found in the woods. His eyes were burned, almost melted. Also, the “ear canals are destroyed.” Either pressure, or intense sound. There’s been some serious torture involved in this boy’s death. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s husband Peter (Stephan Kampwirth) is sitting in his car, crying, listening to the reports about the missing boys. What’s his connection? What’s he keeping buried inside?
Out in the woods, in that cave, Dt. Ulrich Nielsen (Oliver Masucci) is searching for his boy Mikkel (Daan Lennard Liebrenz). He comes across a door marked with a radioactive symbol, heading into the nuclear power plant someplace. We’ll assume his next step is to get a warrant, to search the grounds of the plant.
Then there’s Jana (Tatja Seibt), worried that events from three decades prior are coming back to bear on the present. Her son Mads, gone all those years ago. She’s suspicious of her husband Tronte (Walter Kreye), whom we see putting a sweater in the wash; one that has blood on it. I wonder about the details of their boy’s disappearance back in the 1980s.
Jonas looks through the room where his father killed himself. At home, Jana looks through a box belonging to Mads, his old toys, so on. And then there’s the stranger, reading A Journey Through Time by H.G. Tannhaus. Keeping all sorts of drawings on the walls of his room. He’s got a magnificent little contraption, too. An old yet intricate looking machine.
Everyone is coping with things in their own way. Poor Magnus (Moritz Jahn) blames himself for his brother’s disappearance. Martha (Lisa Vicari) is torn between the new life she’s chosen with Bartosz (Paul Lux) versus the old, lingering feelings she has for Jonas.
Speaking of Jonas, he’s still in that room. He keeps poking around, eventually coming across a loose panel in the ceiling. He discovers some papers. When he unfolds them it’s a bunch of connected pieces, the Winden Caves mapped out.
Jump back to that eerie little kids room where Erik is being kept, strapped into that strange chair. We see a video of H.G Tannhaus himself from the ’80s on that television set, explaining his theories. How’s it all connected? Lord knows it’s terrifying. It’s just as interesting trying to fit all the pieces together here at the start. Can’t wait for them to weave together.
We see that Bartosz’s father is Aleksander Tiedemann (Peter Benedict), he runs the plant. He’s certainly protective, maybe even secretive. He refuses to let Ulrich and the cops come in to investigate. Therefore, they’ll have to try and get a warrant for sure now if they indeed want to get inside. No telling what that company’s hiding. Ulrich is still caught up with Hannah (Maja Schöne), though he’s too worried about his boy to be worrying about sneaking around behind his wife Katharina’s (Jördis Triebel) back.
There’s also further links to the disappearance of Mads, years before, back in 1986. One of the pieces of evidence found is a tiny penny, fashioned like a medal and hung around the child’s neck. Just like the one the unseen killer places around Erik’s neck, before he put him into the chair. Curiouser and curiouser!
Ulrich is also letting his curiosity get the better of him. He’s discovered a possible link to Jürgen Obendorf (Tom Jahn). So he goes out in the dark, searching the man’s property. He gets caught, certainly. All he stumbles onto is a stash of drugs. Turns out that father and son were running drugs together. A sort of family business.
Unfortunately, that’s over. Erik is dead, being dragged by the killer into the woods someplace, eyes and face burned up brutally just like the other corpse. That’s not the only thing going down in the forest, either. Aleksander is out doing shady deals under the cover of darkness, supplies being loaded onto a transport truck in the middle of the night. He’s absolutely got skeletons in his closet.
“Maybe we never know that. What a person is really like.”
The whole town is experiencing strange electrical events. The power flickers, it goes out. Not to mention there are also wildlife issues, dead birds all over the place. Charlotte finds dozens upon dozens outside the police station. All the while, that stranger is tracking everything, keeping newspaper clippings on his wall. He writes over one headline that says WHERE IS MIKKEL? to say WHEN IS MIKKEL? And is he a different hooded stranger than the one we’ve seen around the woods? Is he a red herring to the overall mystery?
Mikkel; where IS he, anyway? He stumbles from the cave in the woods, running out into the trees. He gets back to his house. Except, things look somewhat… different. Older. The cars, the bike outside. They’re from a different era. When Mikkel tries to go inside, his key doesn’t work. He finds a young Ulrich (Ludger Bökelmann) coming out, clearly not knowing who he is, and his future mother Katharina (Nele Trebs) waiting for him.
Because he’s gone back to 1986 somehow.
The first episode was stellar; this was even better. Love the sci-fi elements, mixed with the sort of mundane everyday lives of people, taking that normal drama to wild places. Can’t wait for more.
“Past and Present” is the next episode.