My guide on understanding Netflix’s DARK (Season 1) was published three weeks ago. That’s how long I spent watching DARK (Season 2). If you thought DARK Season 1 was confusing and well beyond comprehension, Season 2 is going to make your head explode. And I don’t want that, so where do we start with Season 2? With a spoiler alert, of course.
Heavy spoilers ahead! I’m pulling no punches. It would help a lot if you know what’s happening before you attempt this guide. I promise it is fun.
Season 1 was about Jonas but the circle has since expanded in Season 2. More of the family is involved. We see Claudia, a Tiedemann, take centre stage, while Helge, Ulrich, Mikkel, Tannhaus get less screen time. We don’t even see much of Tronte and Jana anymore, except at the party.
Noah has been downgraded as a mysterious villain rather than the main antagonist but his story is no less powerful. Charlotte suddenly has a more pivotal role in the storytelling. But it’s still mostly about Jonas, and a new character, Adam.
A lot of the questions from Season 1 has been answered but there are a lot of new questions from Season 2 as well. Let’s see what we can glean from Season 2 of one of the most insanely awesome shows on Netflix right now.
Right. Let’s keep things as simple as possible. There are two groups fighting to wrest control of time. There’s Adam’s group and there’s Claudia’s group. At times they seem to help each other out because they both understand that they cannot change the past without it affecting who they are in the present.
However the only constant here is change. And everyone changes their motivations and their allegiance based on one crucial factor: information they get.
Before we get to that, let’s recap what both teams have been doing.
Claudia’s group is okay with sacrificing the people they love in order to save everybody else: she sacrifices Egon, Jonas sacrifices Martha, Michael sacrifices himself, you get the idea.
It’s quite noble of them and all but what they do are in the realms of cruelty. Also, Claudia refers to her fight with Adam as a “game” particularly when she was mocking Noah. I don’t think sacrifice and game are two words you use together in a sentence.
Claudia’s time travel adventures started off when she was visited by her future self, Senior Claudia. Senior Claudia uses Gretchen to convince Claudia that they are both the same person, just from different timelines. Senior Claudia went to 1987 to talk to her younger self and show her how the time machine works.
She then gave her younger self a map to show where to dig up the time machine she buries at the site of her future home, back when it was just a construction site in the 1950s.
In 1987, Claudia digs up the time machine from her backyard then goes to learn how to use it from Tannhaus. She speaks to Helge and Helge tells her not to trust Noah. She uses the time machine to go to the future where she sees her daughter, Regina dying from cancer, and her power plant taken over by Aleksander. She finds news clipping of her disappearance and of her father’s death. She returns to the 1980s to prevent all this but inadvertently caused her father’s death. #plottwist
She disappeared from the 1980s just like the newspaper clippings reported when Jonas took her to 2019, the day of the apocalypse so she could retrieve Regina and end up in the bunker together with Peter and Elisabeth. They meet with young Noah there. Jonas says that those who were in the bunker would survive the apocalypse. You would think they would pack some food in with them, you know?
Noah & Elisabeth
In Season 3, we would probably see young Noah end up with young Elisabeth. They marry and have Charlotte. Yes, Charlotte is both Elisabeth’s mother and daughter. Yes, they went there.
Claudia then takes Elisabeth and Charlotte away (Noah was fuming when he reminded her of this right before he shot her). Her motive is not clear but it is possible that she was trying to save Charlotte’s life. Remember, Noah said that Charlotte was born premature. If they were living in a period without the proper technological facilities (but with polaroid technology) – be it in the 20s, 50s or the post-apocalyptic world – Claudia must take Charlotte to a time that have the facilities which could save her life. Otherwise, there won’t be an Elisabeth. Or is that too humane for the White Devil who likes to talk about sacrifice, like, a whole lot?
Season 3 SPOILER ALERT!
In Season 3, we learned that it was both Charlotte and Elisabeth who were sent by Adam to retrieve baby Charlotte from newlyweds, Noah and Elisabeth and to deliver the baby to Tannhaus. Noah had only long suspected Claudia of doing the deed. He eventually found out that Adam was the one behind it, right before Adam kills him.
At least Charlotte was left under the care of Tannhaus, who became Charlotte’s adopted grandfather. She had to be kept in Winden because WE NEED ELISABETH to complete the mother-daughter loop.
Tannhaus seems like a good choice because he is not from the 4 families or maybe because he is building the time machine for Claudia anyways. Two birds with one stone. Who knows? Maybe Adam told Claudia to do all this because they need Noah to really, really want to perfect The Chair so he can find his daughter again?
Last we saw her, Elisabeth is in the post-apocalyptic world. She is a rebel leader propagating Adam’s lies of a promised land. She recognises Jonas which is why she knows to spare his life. When the portal opens during the apocalypse, she sees her mother/daughter, Charlotte, but calls her mama.
It’s possible she doesn’t know Charlotte is her daughter like how it’s possible Charlotte doesn’t know Elisabeth is her mother. The only people who knew would be Claudia, Adam and Noah, and two of those people are already dead.
Speak of the devil.
Senior Claudia had buried the time machine in the 1950s for her future self because she knows when and where she will die. Before that, she meets with her father to apologise, stopping short of telling him she caused his death in the 1980s. She calls him a good man because he wanted to call the authorities to check the caves since Ulrich keeps going back there.
She knows that her mother, Doris loves Agnes Nielsen very much. She also gave Agnes the news clipping of her death, allowing Noah to find her and kill her, and for Agnes to ask to rejoin Adam’s group.
On her body was this item, which has not been explained or explored yet. It could be nothing though. We shall see in Season 3.
At unspecified points in the timeline, Senior Claudia also did a number of things:
- She elicited the help of Tannhaus to build the time machine (in the 1950s)
as well as to take care of young Charlotte. She also gave her his book, A Journey Through Time before he wrote it.
- She also got the help of Peter and Tronte to bring Mads’ body to where it would be found by the police in 2019 (Season 1). (I’m still not sure why Peter is helping Claudia or Tronte).
- She got to Michael in 1986, and was there when Jonas breaks down after realising the reason his father killed himself was because he was sacrificing himself to ensure Jonas exists.
- She then guided Jonas for a period of 12 months(?), before he returned to help her 1980s self, who was in a mess, right after directly causing her father’s death.
- She went to 2020 to see her grandson Bartosz and to give him a photo of Regina and herself from the 80s. This was so Regina would reconcile with her younger self when she went to retrieve her on the day of the apocalypse.
Claudia works alone but she had collaborated with Tannhaus, Jonas, Agnes, Noah and her younger self at different points in her crusade. Adam on the other hand has a whole team behind him.
Adam’s group is determined to wipe out everyone and start a new world, hence his choice of a biblical name to replace his original name, Jonas. #what? #ikr His plan is not as noble, but judging by the way Time works, his plan may be the only way to beat Time in her game.
He leads a group who call themselves Sic Mundus, aka The Travellers. When young Jonas was speaking to Adam, he asked him if Sic Mundus would lead them to the new world which was a prophecy that Adult Elisabeth has been hanging on to, and enforcing, in the post-apocalyptic world.
Instead of a religion, which was how Jonas and the rest of the world interpreted this prophecy as, it’s actually a declaration of war against time. Adam intends to create a new world where time does not exist simply by destroying time entirely mainly because time is not merciful. He calls time a physical law which we cannot negotiate with, much like our fate. In other words, if we can never have free will in choosing our next path because our future already exists, then why not get off this bus entirely? Unlike Claudia who still wants to save this world, Adam want to flip off time and start the world anew.
Jonas asks Adam why they are not on the same page. Adam merely pointed out that Jonas has not yet suffered the pain that he suffered. They merely have different motivations at different stages of their lives. Adult Jonas still tries to defy this right up to when he points a gun at young Noah.
Perhaps, and this is a big perhaps, Adam is referring to when he shoots Martha in front of Jonas thereby “closing a loop” (you keep saying that, Adam, what do you mean?) and Martha 2.0 comes to save Jonas. Maybe all this work that Adam has been doing is entirely to make sure that the world Martha 2.0 comes from will exist. The only flaw in this theory is that Adult Jonas would have gone through Martha’s death and therefore should have turned to Adam from the pain but as you can see above, his bearded, older self still defies this. So the trigger-point still lies ahead. Or is Martha 2.0 proof that Adam has already succeeded in his goal of creating a new world? Naaaah, things are never that straightforward in the DARK universe. (Edit: I was sooooo wrong, and sooooo right. – Me, from post-Season 3)
Anyway, in the process of creating his new world, Adam has been learning from and trying to build an ever improving time machine: The Chair Noah perfected, Tannhaus’s time machine, the Black Orb that sends them anywhere in time outside the 33 year cycle. This is information Sic Mundus now has. They put them up on a wall in Adam’s chambers.
Granted there’s more information on the wall, but as always they are just never clear enough to make out at this time.
Of all the travellers, Jonas probably travelled the most and through various means of time transportation: the HGT machine, the Black Orb, Martha’s mini ball. Is it too far fetched to think that he also travelled with Noah’s deadly Chair?
The Effect of Time Travel on Jonas
Adam says that his appearance is due to travelling through time a lot. But Claudia seems comparatively okay even on the coroner’s table. At least she doesn’t look like this.
It’s possible that Jonas has been through more shit, by and large way more shit than anyone else has in the whole Dark saga, and have done this for much longer than Claudia has.
But I’d like to propose the idea that Jonas had used The Chair that Noah had spent so much time, sweat and blood (not necessarily his own) to perfect…
… in a bid to somehow retrieve or create that dark matter in the Sic Mundus stronghold because no way that thing just came to be on its own accord.
In the process, like the missing kids, Adam got burned or suffered from the effects of radioactivity like what was detected on Claudia’s body by the coroner back in 1954.
Now building all these contraptions would need a lot of resources, time and money. In other words, Adam could not have done all this on his own. So he has to have a team he can trust, mostly made up of Nielsens. This would include Magnus, Bartosz and Franziska.
If these names sound familiar, it’s because they are the people Jonas saved from the apocalypse in the finale of Season 2.
And now that this post has run too long, you’re going to have to go to Part 2 to find out how everybody in Sic Mundus so far is a Nielsen.