Season 1, Episode 5: “Truths”
Directed by Baran bo Odar
Written by Martin Behnke & Jantje Friese
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Double Lives” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Sic Mundus Creatus Est” – click here
Separated by time and space, from 1986 to 2019, the missing children of this little German town are all too similar, with police in each time searching for answers – Egon Tiedemann (Christian Pätzold) in ’86, Charlotte Doppler (Karoline Eichhorn) in 2019. Everyone else is caught up in the midst of it all, too. From Jonas Kahnwald (Louis Hofmann) and his mother Hannah (Maja Schöne), his grandmother Ines (Angela Winkler), Ulrich Nielsen (Oliver Masucci), and more.
The missing children, of course, are causing an uproar. Particularly now since the little deaf boy from Elisabeth’s (Carlotta von Falkenhayn) school, Yasin, went missing in the woods, too. After we saw him, when the stranger (Andreas Pietschmann) showed up. And then there’s the mysterious Noah, alluded to as some kind of mastermind behind the scenes.
At home Charlotte’s trying to get information out of her daughter, after she went missing a little while, when she met Noah. She’s also navigating the lies of her husband Peter (Stephan Kampwirth), she wonders if he had anything to do with the disappearing kids.
In ’86, Mikkel (Daan Lennard Liebrenz) is still lost, and nurse Ines (Anne Ratte-Polle) tries consoling him. It’s not much good, the boy is more lost than any missing child has ever been. Except for maybe the others who’ve gone missing.
We cut back to the stranger, in that room full of drawings, pictures, newspaper clippings; where he keeps the machine, the one H.G. Tannhaus (Christian Steyer) had been working on. It’ll be interesting to discover more of his role. One of the drawings is of Ariadne and the labyrinth— labyrinthine imagery comes up often throughout the series.
Bartosz Tiedemann (Paul Lux) then gets a call from none other than Noah. Oh, shit. I wonder if he’ll be lured in via the drugs. The young guy’s likely going to get in over his head. That’s not the sketchiest stuff going on in town today. Hannah goes over to see Katharina (Jördis Triebel), the wife of the man with whom she’s been having an affair; that’s always a good sign! Like the town isn’t small enough already. Ulrich’s more than surprised to see her there, they don’t exactly do a good job hiding it in front of his wife. Katharina’s figured it out, particularly after getting a smell of Hannah up close as the hug, confirming it with the smell from the hair she found on Ulrich’s shirt recently.
The stranger is leaving for a little while. He drops a package at the front desk where Regina Tiedemann (Deborah Kaufmann) is working; it’s addressed to none other than Jonas. Strange, no? Well, nothing should be at this point. Speaking of Jonas, he’s being told secrets by Bartosz, who claims he’s been in contact with Erik’s dealer. Uh oh. They’ve even set a meet. Double uh oh.
In ’86, Mikkel gets a visit from a priest, his name is Noah (Mark Waschke). He asks if the kid believes in God, et cetera, and Mikkel responds with a bunch of pretty good talk, finishing with: “The rest is evolution.” Great to see a kid spouting scientific and semi-Marxist rhetoric. A boy against a priest. And one of the eeriest scenes of Dark so far. WHOA!
2019. Ulrich and Hannah talk together alone. He wants her to leave him alone. Will this cause a dangerous rift? He’s awfully forceful, perhaps too much. She makes clear she won’t just give him up. Pretty clear this will get ugly. We see the parallel of ’86 with 2019, a young Hannah (Ella Lee) fawning over Ulrich (Ludger Bökelmann), who she had to watch fall in love with Katharina (Nele Trebs). It’s all so, so fucked up. Everybody’s getting hurt; mostly the two women, really.
In between it all is little Mikkel, caught in ’86. Trapped in time and space, between two eras. It’s like an existentially mortifying situation, out of the darkest nightmare of a parent. Not to mention Mikkel, for now, is going to be placed in a foster home. Forever and ever. Unless he can get out of the late ’80s. Ines expresses that he’s a “peculiar boy” and laments him being
Wild theory: could it be possible she takes Mikkel in as her own son, and that then Mikkel becomes Michael, which creates a sort of strange, twisted family tree through a change in the future and the past at once? Could that have been the reason Michael killed himself? Just a thought.
Charlotte mentions the “33–year cycle,” how our calendars aren’t totally correct, but that every 33 years the stars, the planets, it all reverts to the same position. She says that her grandfather was interested, obsessed with such things. And it’s absolutely what’s causing all the madness in their little town, the same thing Egon Tiedemann was starting to see back in ’86.
“Life is a labyrinth“
On a bench near his father’s grave, Jonas meets the stranger, the latter rambling about death, life, all sorts of creepy stuff you wouldn’t expect a random person to say to you. Then the stranger leaves, quick as he arrived. Spooky bastard.
Back to ’86, where Hannah wishes she were older, more grown up, so that Ulrich would notice her over Katharina. This is when she notices Mikkel nearby, opening a present: a book called I Am Not Afraid. She goes to talk to him, they end up talking about magic, Houdini in particular. Mikkel shows her a magic trick with a bottle cap. He introduces himself as “boy from the future.”
While Bartosz is off preparing to meet Noah, the man he believes is a dealer, Jonas blows him off to go see Martha (Lisa Vicari) in a play. They still share feelings for one another, something the previous summer happened. And now they embrace. Meanwhile, Bartosz waits on a dark road until headlights appear. He’s greeted by the priest who invites him in. Ah, the Bible and drugs, always a good fit; or is it something else?
Katharina outright asks Ulrich if he’s been unfaithful. He lies. Simultaneously, Hannah is not doing well. She remembers being young, that day with Mikkel, seeing Katharina and Ulrich getting intimate. Later, she lied, telling people that Ulrich raped Katharina. That’s absolutely brutal. So then the young man was carted away by the cops, lives torn to bits.
Jonas has the package from the stranger. He opens it finding several items. One is a strange orb, a light with a handle on it; maybe for searching in the dark someplace special. There’s also what could be a Geiger counter. And then a letter left for Jonas, from his father. “The truth is a strange thing,” the letter says, going on to explain his personal truth. He reveals he travelled through time to 1986: he was Mikkel, he became Michael. FATHER GORE KNEW IT!
So how does Jonas go on from here?
Skip to Tannhaus, tinkering away at his toys. He receives a visit from the stranger, who wishes to have a chat about time. Damn.
I saw it coming, and the reveal had no less impact. That’s what solid writing does, what it’s all about! Lord, I love this show. Cannot get enough. Because even when the expected comes, it’s somehow unexpected, somehow managing to land with a heavy blow. Give me more.
“Sic Mundus Creatus Est” is next. The episode title involves the Emerald Tablet. Interesting stuff.