Season 2, Episode 1: “Beginnings and Endings”
Directed by Baran bo Odar
Written by Jantje Friese & Daphne Ferraro
* For a recap & review of the Season 1 finale, “Alpha and Omega” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Dark Matter” – click here
The premiere starts with a famous Friedrich Nietzsche quote, warning that “if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” And while we finished Season 1 in the future, Season 2 begins on June 21st, 1921.
We see inside the familiar cave. There’s the door with a triquetra on it and words from the Emerald Tablet. Two men are working. One says they’re preparing for both “the beginning and the end.” They each repeat the words from the tablet: “Sic mundus creatus est” (English translation: So was the world created). One man has a tattoo on his chest of the tablet, just like the one Noah (Mark Waschke) has on his back. Both men talk about a prophecy. The older of the two paraphrases John Milton’s Paradise Lost, wondering if “paradise and hell are not one and the same.” He warns not to believe a man called Adam. We see the man without the tattoo is a younger Noah. He puts a pick axe in the tattooed man, murdering him.
In the present, Noah looks at his journal.
A date— June 27th, 2020— is circled as the beginning of the final cycle.
Jonas Kahnwald (Louis Hofmann) lives in the future, trying to hold onto the past by living in his rundown family home and remembering sweet moments with Martha Nielsen (Lisa Vicari). 2053 is a grim place. Winden’s decimated. A barren wasteland Jonas travels, gathering anything he can find that’s usable. He comes to a place where he finds a box of tapes. He plays one, hearing the voice of Claudia Tiedemann (Lisa Kreuzer). She talks about the “Apocalypse of June 27, 2020,” confirming what we’ve seen in Noah’s notes. She mentions “the God Particle” as a potential solution to reverse things.
June 21, 2020. Six days prior to the Apocalypse.
Everything’s chaos in Winden after the disappearances. Hannah (Maja Schöne) marks off the days since she last saw her son. Chief of Police Charlotte Doppler (Karoline Eichhorn) and the Task Force have their hands full with the missing six— no answers, and an angry town. The Nielsen family are torn apart. It’s only getting worse. Magnus (Moritz Jahn) laments not knowing where his father or his little brother are, though he has no idea his mother Katharina (Jördis Triebel) heads into the cave herself regularly.
In 2053, Jonas looks at the many graves of the people he knew. In 2020, Martha goes to meet with Bartosz Tiedemann (Paul Lux), whose own life is falling apart. His mother Regina (Deborah Kaufmann) is slowly dying. He and Martha are trying to deal with their complicated relationship, each with gaping wounds in their lives.
And he’s getting those texts, too. From Noah.
His father Aleksander (Peter Benedict) is currently announcing the nuclear power plant’s closure. They’ll be decommissioned in six days. Coincidence? Nah. Everything in Dark is connected. Aleksander has to put on a hazmat suit and head inside for a closer look at the plans for decommissioning. They have a pool where they’re burying barrels of toxic waste underneath concrete.
At home, Hannah gets a visit from the Stranger (Andreas Pietschmann) a.k.a older Jonas. He tries to explain his identity. He tells a story of a “yellow bike” and a scar he got from falling off it, showing the mark to her. He recounts another memory about a burn on the kitchen floor. Bit hard to believe, yet the memories, the scar, they’re undeniable. Back in 1921, there’s another strange meeting. Noah sits with his younger self, trying to guide him on the correct path. “I am your voice,” he tells himself.
“There is no coincidence.”
“Every path is predetermined.”
In the future, Jonas comes upon a group of people in a field watching a public execution. A couple men are being hung. One says: “You mustn‘t hide God.” Then, they die. There’s a “dead zone” people must not enter, on punishment of death. A leader, who cannot speak, signs to the crowd. Their motto is “Sic mundus creatus est” and they’re waiting for the passage to open, to lead them to paradise. Not unlike Noah in the opening scene, over a hundred years prior. This future leader is actually Elisabeth Doppler (Carlotta von Falkenhayn) from back in 2019, daughter of Peter (Stephan Kampwirth) and Charlotte.
Poor Katharina is going crazy, mapping out the caves whenever she can and papering little Mikkel’s room with all sorts of different things, trying to figure out anything that might give her a clue. She has all sorts of files, including one on the door in the caves, which her daughter finds. Across town, Magnus goes to see Bernadette (Anton Rubstov) in her trailer. He rushes out before actually talking with her. Later, we figure out the cop Wöller (Leopold Hornung) is actually Bernadette’s brother, too.
Meanwhile, Noah’s manipulating Bartosz to his ends. He also meets with a brutally scarred man, and they share plans for the Apocalypse. The scarred man is, in fact, Adam— the mysterious person puling strings for the past 100 years. (The painting Noah stands in front of is The Fall of the Damned by Peter Paul Rubens from 1620.)
Little Elisabeth looks through things belonging to her great-grandfather, H.G. Tannhaus. There’s a text called the Kybalion, an astrological chart by Andreas Cellarius contained in the Harmonia Macrocosmica, as well as a picture of a group dated January 8, 1921— among them are Adam and Noah. The girl recognises Noah, which shocks her father. Peter immediately texts his wife to meet him at the bunker.
In 2053, Jonas goes to the wall separating Winden from the dead zone. He crawls inside a hole to cross to the other side. He carries a Geiger counter to measure for radiation, heading further into a dilapidated building— the power plant. The counter ticks more as he goes, getting worse at the opening that leads inside to where, in 2020, they bury all the barrels. He sees a strange mass, like an oil slick, and within it bursts a blue light.
What an opener for Season 2! Wow. Father Gore loved the first season, so he’s been awaiting this for ages. The return is more than worth the wait. Lots of new things happening and more of the story / mythology is coming out. Grimly excited for more, particularly the plot with Adam.
“Dark Matter” is next.