Season 1, Episode 7: “Crossroads”
Directed by Baran bo Odar
Written by Jantje Friese & Marc O. Seng
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Sic Mundus Creatus Est” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “As You Sow, so You Shall Reap” – click here
A young boy dressed like he’s out of the 1950s wakes up, bloody, dazed. He’s in the weird, ’80s decorated room. Then we see old Helge (Hermann Beyer) wake up. He says: “I remember.” Was that boy him? Are there even further twists and turns in time and space within the little town of Winden, Germany?
In ’86, Ulrich (Ludger Bökelmann) sits in jail as Egon (Christian Pätzold) keeps watch. At the hospital, lost little Mikkel (Daan Lennard Liebrenz) stares at a picture depicting the Emerald Tablet. And waking up on the outskirts of a field, Jonas (Louis Hofmann) embarks into 1986, to see what it holds for him.
2019. Ulrich (Oliver Masucci) talks with the medical examiner, about the body of the boy he knows is his brother Mads. He wonders could it have been preserved, 33 years. Surely not. We know the answer, so I’m interested to see how he comes around to figuring it out.
In the meantime, Jonas goes over to the high school, a culture shock going from 2019 to 1986. Not to mention the eerily similar disappearance of Mads. He runs into young Regina (Lydia Maria Makrides), asking around to see if he can find his father. Egon is busy looking into the disappearance, believing Ulrich may have had something to do with his brother going missing. He also goes and talks to Helge (Peter Schneider), wanting to know if he’d seen anyone near the plant on that night.
In 2019, Ulrich is leafing through Egon’s notes from the police files, trying to connect things. Soon he notices Helge’s name. Over at the plant, Charlotte (Karoline Eichhorn) finally has a search warrant, which she presents for Aleksander Tiedemann (Peter Benedict), ushering a bunch of police inside. She winds up heading into a patch of woods where she finds tread marks – maybe from Aleksander’s nighttime loading recently?
1986. Jonas walks in the rain on the road and Egon stops to give him a ride. There’s a bit more culture shock, as the old man notices the young man’s Apple headphones poking from his pocket. He drops Jonas at the hospital before things get too tense.
Charlotte heads down into one of the caves, that same place where we once saw Claudia Teiedemann go to have a look after she was given the reins of the plant. Our detective goes in, but she doesn’t find the massive load of barrels like it was in ’86. However, she does find flecks of yellow paint, just like was one on those very barrels. Nearby is also a door.
At the hospital, Jonas is looking for his grandmother before she was his grandmother, Ines (Anne Ratte-Polle). When he goes outside, he sees Mikkel, and the stranger (Andreas Pietschmann), too. Jesus. Surprised his brain doesn’t explode. So, what I want to knowis, if Jonas somehow changes the past, taking Mikkel back, will he erase himself? That’s what the stranger believes. Every action has a consequence, a ripple through space and time.
In 2019 at the hospital, Ulrich goes to talk with Helge. He can’t get much out of the old man. Except when Helge tells him: “I can change the past. And the future.” A cruel twist of fate that some of the answers lie in the brain of a man suffering from dementia, his mind wearing away. “Tick–tock.” Later when Ulrich gets home, now suspended from work, he and Katharina (Jördis Triebel) confronts him about Hannah (Maja Schöne); not that he doesn’t deserve it, and more.
From afar in ’86, Jonas watches Mikkel, his own mother Hannah (Ella Lee) as a girl. What will he do? Will he chose to erase his existence in order to reunite a family with their boy? For now, he chooses to leave the hospital.
Ulrich talks with his mother Jana (Tatja Seibt), who tells him about a week before Mads went missing she saw a priest arguing with a man. And then today, she’s seen the same man, sort of scarred, disfigured at the ear. Then we cut to the man in the hood: and it’s Helge, as in 1986 Helge. Sweet fuck. How deep does his involvement go? He obviously knows Noah (Mark Waschke), so I need to know the story there.
Now Charlotte is curious about Helge, as well, after Ulrich’s incident. She wonders about the “forest road” that Egon was questioning him about. Turns out there’s a cabin out on that road, it belongs to Helge. And also, the old man had an accident in late ’86. Hmm.
Sidebar: what’s Peter (Stephan Kampwirth) up to? It’s more than going to see a transgender sex worker. He’s hiding something else altogether.
While Charlotte is headed down into that bunker in the woods, the one we saw Peter and Tronte in recently, Jonas is coming back through the Emerald Tablet door into the present. The lights in 2019 and 1986 flicker as he goes. Charlotte keeps on poking around, finding a scrap of that children’s wallpaper we’ve seen adorning the weird ’80s torture room. When exactly does that room exist?
Back home, Jonas asks his mother if she believes “in fate.” Heavy talk for the middle of the night, she’s not entirely prepared. Although he seems perhaps willing to let the past be in order to keep what he has in the present. Afterwards, he burns the letter from his father. Effectively, to a point, cauterising the past. Except those caves, that door, it all exists. Can’t wipe that away.
Ulrich’s hunting the truth about Helge, just as the old man once more leaves the hospital going straight for the caves. He follows behind trailing him inside. Helge lights a lantern, then goes deeper in through the rock.
And again we see the hooded, ’86 Helge. He’s dragging a body of a child, dead, eyes burned, into the trees at night from the bunker. Also, the one with Emerald Tablet tattoo? It isn’t the stranger, it’s Noah, the priest.