In this three-part guide (I’m sorry this can’t be shorter), we’ve looked at the origins of the Tannhaus, Doppler, Tiedemann and Nielsen families (Part 1) to see how they all fit into the grand scheme of things, then we looked into what happened in Martha’s World (Part 2).
Heavy spoilers ahead!
Let’s jump in to see the War of the Worlds between Adam and Eva and how Claudia has finally fixed everything in Part 3.
Why There Are Two Worlds
Jonas/Adam’s sole goal of destroying the knot that binds the two worlds together involves him making sure everyone who is born is born, everyone who is meant to die, dies, and also in making sure that the apocalypse happens, in both worlds. He thinks that by killing the Origin, this will all go away.
Eva does all the above too but in an effort to save her son, the Origin. The two try to sabotage each other’s efforts which ironically produces the outcomes of what had happened.
Just like how Jonas cannot die before his time, Eva and the Origin too cannot die before their time. Nevertheless, Jonas/Adam is convinced that by using the power from the two apocalypses, he will be able to stop the beginning from happening, killing Martha and her son before he comes to be.
He succeeds, she dies, but everything still stayed the same, mainly because he didn’t know about the third world, and he didn’t know about the switch point.
In the third world, which Claudia calls the origin world, H. G. Tannhaus loses his son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter in a car accident. Devastated, Tannhaus creates time travel in order to bring back his loved ones. However, the process not only destroys his world but creates two other worlds, Jonas’s world and Martha’s world, both mirror worlds.
The knot that binds the two worlds together is not created by Martha, Jonas, Adam or Eva. It’s created by a grieving father who had lost his loved ones and he would do anything to get them back, including creating a way to travel through time.
Claudia’s plan to undo everything is to prevent the invention of time travel in the origin world. Prevent the cause and you will prevent the effect.
Figuring out the Origin World
But first, how does she figure out that there is an Origin world in the first place? Well Claudia was smart enough to kill her counterpart in Martha’s world so she could function as herself in Jonas’s World AND her alternate self in Martha’s world.
While Adam spent 66 years to get to where he is in his world, and Eva spent 66 years to get to where she is in her world, Claudia spends 33 years in each, looking through both worlds for a way to save Regina.
Regina is the only person who is not tied to the knot mainly because her father was not Tronte Nielsen like everyone believes. Her true parentage is hidden by her mother’s insistence to use her family name, Tiedemann instead of the actual father’s, Bernd Doppler. So it is Claudia’s belief that Regina is from a third world, the origin world. With the removal of these two worlds, she can live in a world where she does not die.
To save Regina, she has to prevent the two worlds from splitting up, and keeping the origin world intact, the world in which Regina does not die.
Now, in the two worlds, both Jonas’s and Eva’s, everyone’s fate is all tangled up in what they keep calling a knot. There is almost no room for freewill, no leeway for changes. If you die in one world, you die in the other. But why then are things different from Jonas, Martha and the Origin? Why does Jonas exist in his world and Martha and their son exist in the other? Their worlds should be mirror worlds.
Because there is a loophole, a switchpoint.
There is a fraction of a moment during the apocalypse when time stands still. There is no cause-and-effect, you can change your destiny during that brief moment. Eva who knew of the switchpoint, uses it to produce the two paths (the two outcomes). She uses the switchpoint to have her son, to kill Jonas, and to maintain the cycle.
Claudia used the switch point to come to Adam and explain all this because she may understand how to fix the problem but it isn’t her problem to fix. Adam, who previously had not known about the switchpoint, hasn’t used his.
She asks Adam to use the switchpoint to send Jonas and Martha to the origin world and prevent the accident in the origin world. Jonas and Martha will take the tunnel and cross the bridge when it materialises as a result of Tannhaus using his machine. They then will travel to the past using Martha’s pokeball (don’t hate me) time machine and prevent Marek from crossing the bridge where the car accident happens.
We know that this will work the moment Adam’s gun is unusable against Eva. She says that she always dies in Adam’s hands. But as this time is different, this is her Outcome #2. Jonas and Martha had done it.
Another hint that Jonas and Martha succeeds is that while in the tunnels, they see each other in visions from when they were children. If it had happened in the past, that means it will happen in the future. It just took a while to get there.
Saying Goodbye to DARK
The final 25 minutes is just a great sendoff to all the wonderful characters of this magnificent show. And after reading this guide, if you rewatch the episodes, many scenes carry significance that we have previously missed, like when Jonas asks alternate-Martha in the tunnel what the Jonas in her world is like. #noweverybodyiscrying
We learn to appreciate many scenes, dialogue, the significance of relationships between each of the characters, even glances, all anew.
In this scene, Charlotte finally realises that Elisabeth is not only her daughter, but also her mother. Adam sent them both to do this so she can understand this relationship.
But more importantly, this scene in the Origin world becomes less of an afterthought.
In the Origin world, Regina holds a dinner party attended by Benni and Torben, Hannah, Katharina and Peter.
Regina doesn’t die from cancer. Benni and Torben don’t die in the apocalypse. Peter doesn’t die a horrible death trying to protect Elisabeth in the apocalypse which took away Charlotte, Franziska and Helge. Katharina doesn’t die being pulverised to death by a mother who never wanted her. And Hannah finally has a life that is fair to her, a husband who loves her, a child she doesn’t lose (or who kills her when he is all grown up).
This attendance also probably means that Bernd, Claudia, Egon, Doris, Greta, Helge and Peter’s mom exists in this timeline. Regina is a Doppler and related to Peter via Bernd. Katharina who is an Albers and Hannah who is a Kruger are not part of the knot. They are friends here instead of sworn enemies because there is no Ulrich. There are no Nielsens or Kahnwalds. No time travel and complicated relationships. No apocalypses, murders, sabotage, and kidnapped boys.
All because one car accident was prevented.
Hat’s off to the wonderful people behind DARK. It is a masterpiece and one of the most compelling story about time travel there ever was, and probably will be.
If you are sad to see it go, just rewatch the show from the start. And if you ever feel lost, here are the guides again.
If you haven’t checked out my guide to understanding Season 3 Part 1, you should. In it, we looked at the origins of the Tannhaus, Doppler and Tiedemann families to see how they all fit into the grand scheme of things.
Heavy spoilers ahead!
This here Part 2 takes us to another world where Jonas doesn’t exist and Martha is subjected to the same level of pain and suffering as Jonas had been. In this post, we look at the how and the why. Then, we’ll look at the how and the why all of this can be stopped in Part 3.
Light and Shadow
At the end of the Season 2 finale, we learned that there are two Marthas. The reason why there are two Marthas is because there are two worlds. In one world, Jonas exists. In the second world, he doesn’t.
In Jonas’s world he has two eventual paths: one where he dies after getting Martha pregnant, and the second, where he turns into Adam. The Martha in this world always dies by being shot by Adam in Jonas’s house. She doesn’t have bangs, never got a scar, never meets Eva, never has a baby, never knew a world without Jonas.
Martha in Martha’s world has two paths: one where she dies in Adam’s hands, and the other where she has a son, and a scar on her face then turns slowly into Eva.
No matter which paths they find themselves on, it all comes back full circle. Everyone is trapped inside. Until Claudia enters the game. But before we learn how Claudia untangled everything, let’s look at Martha’s world, and the mess they’ve made.
In the Season 2 finale, Martha retrieves Jonas, saving him from the apocalypse in his world. In the beginning of Season 3, she drops him off in the Winden caves. She then disappears.
Jonas enters Martha’s world, a world where he doesn’t exist because Mikkel does not travel back to the past. (It’s real sad to see Jonas here, reeling from the loss of Martha only to be confronted with a reality where he doesn’t exist, not missed or longed for by anyone.)
A long-haired creepy old lady intercepts him. She is Eva.
She asks him to bring Martha into the future in her world, to see the apocalypse that she wants them both to prevent. Jonas takes Martha through the tunnels and they meet her older self, Adult Martha in a world 33 years later, after the apocalypse has happened. Adult Martha explains to them how they can stop the apocalypse at the power plant. But Jonas insists on saving his Martha in his world and demands to know how. Adult Martha tells him it is impossible and that his world is not worth saving because of what he eventually becomes: Adam. Adult Martha asks Jonas to save Mikkel in Martha’s world instead.
Jonas and Martha return to their time. Confused, depressed and in the heat of the moment, they make love. The next day, they go to the power plant to try to stop the apocalypse. Martha cuts herself on her right cheek. Jonas figures that Eva is lying to them. He returns to Eva to ask for answers and to demand to be returned to his world. Martha watches on as a freshly scarred face Martha shoots Jonas dead.
Martha, traumatised, returns to her home drenched in blood. She washes her hand and cuts her hair short to get the blood out. She is determined to stop the apocalypse. She seeks Bartosz’s help but is intercepted by Franziska and Magnus on the way to the power plant.
They tell her that they are from Jonas’s world and that Eva had lied to her. They told her that Eva wanted the apocalypse to happen and there is no stopping it. They tell her that Jonas can stop it from happening and that Martha has to choose their world and choose to trust Jonas. Martha is surprised that Jonas is still alive in their world. She wants to go to him (she had just lost him). Franziska tells her that Jonas knows where the Origin is but first, she must help save Jonas and bring Jonas into her world. She goes with them.
Bartosz is retrieved by his older self shortly after. The apocalypse happens in Martha’s world.
Martha receives instructions from Magnus and goes to Jonas’s world to retrieve Jonas. If she succeeds, then everything with Jonas repeats itself. From here, her life diverges into two outcomes.
Outcome #1: Martha Saves Jonas
After dropping off Jonas in her home world, Martha arrives in Jonas’s world in 1888. One interesting thing to note here is that Martha’s scar has switched places. This indicates that she isn’t in her home world.
She goes to Tannhaus’s factory and meets adult Jonas. She tells him that she isn’t his Martha. Bartosz shows her Sic Mundus HQ. She tells Bartosz that Adam is Jonas. She brings rare nuclear fuel to Jonas, the primary purpose of this trip. She leaves to return to Adam in the future.
In the future, Martha sees Adam send off people she doesn’t know into the time machine: Silja, Agnes, Elisabeth, Charlotte, Magnus. Bartosz although a member of Sic Mundus, isn’t there.
Having done her part, she demands Adam explain to her what is going on. Adam takes her to his old home after the apocalypse (her scar is still on the left).
He explains to Martha that she was never meant to prevent the apocalypse. Eva sent her and Jonas back so they could get pregnant and have a child that would give rise to her world, Eva’s world. Adam says that her son, the Origin, is the beginning and the end of the knot (we explore this below).
Adam locks Martha in a cage. Adam triggers the apocalypse to kill Martha and the Origin inside of her. Because her son was born from beings from two mirror worlds, it requires the apocalypses of both worlds to destroy it. Well, that’s Adam’s theory.
(I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the fact that Jonas’s death was quick and relatively painless, while Martha had to suffer through lightning and dark matter just because she had to die for two people. ‘Tis a cruel world you’ve built, Adam.)
Adam was ready to disappear along with her because he believed that the Origin is the beginning and the end. Adam believes that if it goes, both worlds disappear with the demise of the Origin.
Martha returns to the house on the day of the apocalypse in Jonas’s world. Before she could save Jonas, she is intercepted by Bartosz. The apocalypse happens.
Jonas hides in the basement and survives the apocalypse. He never meets Martha from the other world until she shows up in 1888 after the events in Season 1 and 2.
Bartosz takes her to Eva who cuts her face, giving her the scar over her left eye. She tells her the scar reminds her of which side she is on. If she had chosen Adam, she had chosen death (which is true, he kills her). If she chose Eva’s side, she chooses life, and she will turn into old, spiteful Eva.
Eva tells Martha that she is already pregnant with the Origin. These three below.
The creepy young, adult, old guy with a cleft palate who goes around killing people enters the room. The youngest Origin hugs Martha. #creepyAF
Scarface Martha understands why she must do what Eva asks her to do, in order to save her son(s?). She shoots Jonas in front of her younger scar-free self. She writes the letter to Jonas. She is sent to the post-apocalyptic future. She works with Noah to ensure things happen. She waits until Jonas and fresh-face Martha comes to her in the desert.
She tells them what to do. Right after they leave, Noah talks about how Jonas and Martha had gone and that the Origin will come to be. Martha will become pregnant that same night.
Adult Martha returns to watch her Scarface self shoot Jonas again in front of her recently pregnant self. You know, this scene. Martha had to relive this many, many times over.
From the left, you see Adult Martha (who will witness this 3 times) and freshly scarred Martha (who will witness it 2 times), and on the right, recently pregnant Martha (1 time only) and what-the-hell-is-going-on-Jonas. Eva will witness this 4 times.
After the shooting, Adult Martha helps Scarface Martha write her letter to Jonas, the one young Noah is to deliver to Jonas before the apocalypse. She then travels through time to send the letter to the Tannhaus factory.
She returns and continues to guide her son, the Origin, as he goes through the timelines to coerce tougher things into happening (like making the officer sign the building permit for Bernd Doppler’s power plant). She also recruits the same few travellers to do her bidding.
I’m not entirely sure what everyone here does but the Noahs were to intercept Elisabeth in the bunker, Claudia to intercept the Claudia in Jonas’s world, Bartosz to intercept younger Bartosz in Martha’s world before the apocalypse, and Adult Martha to send Jonas’s letter to the factory. I’m not clear as to where Egon and Martha goes from here.
Martha grows old trying to protect her son from Adam, and eventually turns into Eva.
Like Martha, Jonas also has two outcomes. One is where he dies in Martha’s world being killed by freshly scarred, pregnant Martha. The other is when he grows old and transforms into Adam.
In Martha’s world there is no Jonas. The only Jonas she knows, comes from Jonas’s world. The reason we see two Jonases is because of the split in Martha’s two outcomes.
Jonas’s outcome is dependent on whether Martha saves him or he saves himself (by hiding in the basement). Regardless of what happens to him though, his Martha must die, as there can only be one Martha, the one in Martha’s world, just as how he himself must die in Martha’s world, so there can only be one Jonas (in Jonas’s world).
If Martha saves Jonas
The Martha that manages to retrieve Jonas and send him back to her world before skipping to 1888 delivers Jonas to Martha’s world. This is the Martha we see in outcome #1. The Jonas from Outcome #1 eventually dies in Martha’s world. He dies from the being shot by Martha in outcome #2.
Still with me? Good.
If Jonas Saved Himself
For Outcome #2, Jonas saves himself by hiding in the basement. He eventually meets up with Claudia and Noah and they go on the journey we have seen in Seasons 1 and 2.
Noah would guide his own self to dig the tunnels, build the chair, send boys through, affect and alter Helge and Ulrich’s future to ensure Ulrich brings the smartphone to H.G. Tannhaus to make the device work. He would also be the one to explain to Jonas that Jonas cannot die (so stop trying to take your life, Jonas) because Adam already exists.
Noah separates from Claudia and Jonas when he loses his daughter. Unlike Jonas, Claudia and Martha, Noah doesn’t get to grow old. He dies after he kills Claudia. His whole life was engineered by Adam.
Claudia and Jonas would help younger Claudia and younger Jonas through their difficult times: Jonas, through his father’s suicide; Claudia through her father, Egon’s death and daughter, Regina’s illness. They also open and close the tunnels, and help H.G Tannhaus build the time machine by delivering to him the blueprint from Eva and a broken down version of the machine so H.G. can build his first one based on the broken parts.
When Jonas was sent back in time to the 1800’s with young Bartosz, Franziska and Magnus, they were stuck there. Jonas would send years trying to build the machine as he had seen it when he last visited Sic Mundus, and was first introduced to Adam and young Noah. Eventually he will travel with it but for some reason, he would be the only one who became disfigured from it. (Claudia travels a lot, you don’t see her face turning into Swiss cheese #justsaying)
Meanwhile, Bartosz meets Silja and has Hanno Tauber and Agnes Tauber with Silja. Silja dies of childbirth. Adam redubs Hanno as Noah, the man he had survived the apocalypse with.
We do not see Bartosz travel like Adam and Noah does probably because Noah killed him after digging the tunnels, claiming that Bartosz has lost his faith. (The Bartosz that did travel was from Martha’s World.)
In fact, Bartosz has discovered that Silja was Hannah’s daughter and had figured out that she was sent by Adam to young Bartosz to keep him happy in 1888, and birth him Agnes and Noah. Bartosz and Silja were only essential for Noah to come to be.
We do not get to see how Jonas transforms into Adam but he and Eva had been at this for 66 years. Time and time again, they meet with their younger self or use their other chess pieces to play the game. If there is a cheating Ulrich in Jonas’s world, there is a cheating Ulrich in Martha’s world.
There are however two differences. The first: In Jonas’s world there can only be one Jonas (hence, why Jonas in Martha’s world must die). In Martha’s world, there can only be one Martha (hence, why the Martha in Jonas’s world must die).
The second difference is the Origin. They exist in Martha’s world. Like how Noah’s life was engineered by Adam, the Origin’s life was engineered by Eva.
They always travel together, either bearing witness as the young self and old self, or doing the deed as the adult self in the middle. They are what caused the accident in the power plant which triggered the apocalypse in the first place.
So the killing of Bernd Doppler for the master key, the killing of Jasmin the secretary, the coercing of the officer to approve the building permit for the power plant – it was all to ensure that the power plant was built and the accident will happen. The only time they separate was to cause the explosion in the power plant and trigger the apocalypse, in both Jonas and Martha’s worlds.
Otherwise, they are always together. I think this is to ensure that they do not do anything to sabotage their younger or older self. This is also why Eva ensures that the three Marthas are there at Jonas’s execution. Plus, because they know Adam is out to destroy their very being. Better to stick together to prevent an ambush. I’m just theorizing here, but all in all, a good strategy to not mess up the timeline.
It’s not all bad. They also meet with Doris in the past to tell her that her husband is cheating on her. They retrieve things for Eva. Oh and remember the book that Claudia, Noah and Adam at some point in their lives were referring to? That’s written by the Origin. That’s everybody’s cheat code.
The Origin also burned down Sic Mundus. There is no love lost between the Origin and Adam. I mean, Adam did manage to kill him in one of Martha’s outcomes.
The Origin: The Be All, End All
As for why the Origin must come to be, it’s because of him, Agnes and Noah that all the four families are connected together. Agnes and Noah comes from the Tiedemann’s family.
Agnes would give rise to the Nielsens and Noah would be the bridge to the Doppler and Tannhaus family. Noah and Tannhaus will create the time travel devices for Jonas, Claudia and Hannah to travel through time. Hannah and Egon would have Silja who then becomes Bartosz wife and mother to Agnes and Noah.
Tronte and Jana would have two sons Ulrich, and Mads who goes missing (I suspect that Mad’s disappearance is so he doesn’t affect Ulrich and Tronte’s bloodline). Ulrich would have two sons and one daughter, Martha.
Meanwhile, Mikkel would travel back in time, change his name to Michael Kahnwald, marry Hannah, and have Jonas Kahnwald.
Jonas and Martha would have the Origin, and the cycle would be finally complete. And there you go, one happy, messed up family. Adam wanted no part of it because in order for the Origin to come to be, he must lose his Martha. And technically, he isn’t even the father to the Origin, the other Jonas is.
Eva is hellbent on saving her son, so mom and dad are at odds at each other but just couldn’t bring themselves to sign the divorce papers, so everybody else had to suffer with them.
Lucky for everyone, Claudia has got a good head on her shoulders and has finally figured out what the hell is going on and how to fix this once and for all. Let’s go to Part 3.
It’s finally here! DARK Season 3 was spectacular. If you’re just starting out on Netflix’s DARK, and have already lost your way, don’t worry. It happens to all of us. If you are struggling with Netflix’s DARK Season 1 and Season 2, follow the links below to my guides which can help clear things up for you.
If you are here, I take it that you have already watched the entirety of the show and that you won’t lash out at me if you come across spoilers in these guides.
In other words, if you keep reading this post before you have finished the show, you lose the right to be mad at me for sharing spoilers.
And if that isn’t clear enough, heavy spoilers ahead.
DARK Season 3 is here!
I never thought I’d see the day when we’d see the whole family together. Well, sort of. Turns out everyone has got an evil twin in an alternate world. If it wasn’t for the training from the mindblowing plots in Season 1 and 2, I’d just about give up on DARK Season 3 (gasp, blasphemy!). #ikid
So, it turns out that the Martha that comes to save Jonas at the end of the Season 2 finale is from, not a parallel world, but a mirror world. The fates and destiny of everyone in both worlds are fixed and eventual. They may not happen at the same time, but there is no escaping what is predestined for them.
So how do we untie this knot? Well first we need to understand why the knot exists in the first place. And to do that, we need to do a recap of the families. Trust me, it’s important. And because there is a lot of work to be done, we best be getting started now.
The Tannhaus Family
We begin with the least complicated subfamily. The Tannhaus family consists of Heinrich, father of Gustav, who is father of Ijopold, who is father to device-maker H.G. Tannhaus.
The Tannhaus family is obsessed with bringing back the dead. They want to bring back a wife, or a child, or their grandchild. All of that contributed to this obsession with time travel which we see present in good ol’ H.G. Tannhaus.
We know of Charlotte’s storyline. She was adopted by H.G. Tannhaus but it was only in Season 3 that we find out that her adoption wasn’t the paperwork kind of adoption.
When H.G. loses his son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter in a car accident, he becomes the adopted father to a baby brought to him by two women who tells him that they know that he will lose everything that night. The two women are post-apocalyptic, adult Charlotte and post-apocalyptic, adult Elisabeth, sent back by Adam in 2053.
This event is important because this ensures Elisabeth’s birth. Without Charlotte, there is no Elisabeth and without Elisabeth, there is no Charlotte. We will see this self-preservation-through-time-travel happen a lot within the loops.
Charlotte would grow up and meet Peter Doppler. They would have two beautiful daughters, Franziska and Elisabeth. Of the two sisters, one of them is deaf in either worlds.
When the apocalypse hits, Franziska would travel to 1888 with Magnus and Bartosz, while Elisabeth would survive the apocalypse with Peter, then end up with Noah, delivering a baby that would be taken away from her.
The abduction is important to ensure that Noah will stop at nothing to find his daughter again, including kidnapping and experimenting with time travel on boys, resulting in their deaths, working together with, Helge, Claudia and Jonas, and killing Claudia. Once he has completed everything that has to be completed, and has uncovered Jonas/Adam’s betrayal, he is killed by Agnes, his own sister.
H.G. would also receive visits from Claudia, Jonas and Ulrich, which would help him build Jonas’s device. It isn’t mentioned if Tannhaus built Martha’s pokeball time machine but if you think about it, who else could have done it? #amirite
The device H.G. builds provides the vehicle for Claudia and Jonas to travel through time and ensure everything will happen as it has happened.
The Doppler Family
The Doppler family owns the site at the power plant which is ground zero for the Apocalypse. Bernd Doppler buils the power plant and manages it all the way until Claudia Tiedemann takes over. She could do so because Bernd had nobody else to leave the power plant to.
Bernd had but one son Helge and that son was brutally attacked by Ulrich at some point in his life (as a child and as an adult in the mirror world) rendering him incapable of running anything, let alone a power plant.
Ulrich’s obsession with Helge being the abductor of his brother, Mads and son, Mikkel is what took Ulrich back into the past to stop Helge. In the process, he accidentally delivers his smartphone to H.G. so H.G. could make his device work.
Helge is also essential for Elisabeth and Charlotte to exist, via Peter. Elisabeth may be Charlotte’s mother and daughter but Charlotte’s father is Noah and Elisabeth’s father is Peter. Peter is crucial to the family tree. He is brought to Winden when his mother died and his father was involved with an accident (either the car accident or Ulrich’s beating). Peter prevents Charlotte from leaving Winden when they met at the bus stop the day he arrives.
Together with Tronte, Helge is also Noah’s helper. His relationship with Noah is forced upon him by his overbearing mother, Greta, who had him with another man, and had been seeking salvation via Father Noah.
The Tiedemann Family
Until Season 3, the Tiedemanns have a relatively low profile, apart from Claudia Tiedemann. By Season 3, the family seems to be the movers and shakers behind the DARK realm.
While we see mostly Claudia doing all the work up until her death, it is her father, Egon and grandson, Bartosz that really pushed things over the edge.
With Doris, Egon has Claudia, who then has Regina. Regina would meet Aleksander and together they have a son, Bartosz. So far, so good, until you find out that Egon is also in a relationship with Hannah. And that opens up a whole new can of worms.
Silja and Bartosz
Hannah, who travelled back in time in search of Ulrich has settled down as a mistress for Egon Tiedemann. She got pregnant, which was bad news for Egon, a married chief of police. She tried to abort the child but… aborted the plan after speaking with Helene Albers, Katharina’s mother.
Doris, missing Agnes and heartbroken after learning about Egon’s affair from the Origin, leaves Egon. Hannah also leaves Egon and raises her daughter alone at an unspecified period and location.
In the late 1800’s, Bartosz had grown impatient with Jonas after two years of waiting. He meets a woman, Silja and has a son, Hanno Tauber, a daughter, Agnes. Silja dies during childbirth.
Years later, Claudia tracks Hannah down and sends her to see Jonas, who at the time had slowly turned into Adam, mentally and physically. Hannah turns up with her daughter in tow. She calls the little girl, Silja.
Bartosz recognises Hannah’s daughter as his wife. Adam hardened by his fate, disposes of Hannah then sends Silja to the future to follow and help Elisabeth search for Paradise. Eventually, Adam would send her back in time to be wife to Bartosz. This serves two purposes, one, to keep Bartosz happy and off his back, and two, to have Noah and Agnes, Adam’s most loyal pawns.
To recap, Silja is Egon’s daughter and Claudia’s stepsister. Via Hannah, Silja is also Jonas/Adam’s stepsister, and Elisabeth is her daughter-in-law. More importantly, Silja is Bartosz’s step grandaunt since Egon is Bartosz’s great grandfather. That’s one tightly bound knot.
Noah aka Hanno Tauber
As a young man, Noah would follow the guidance of his older self, who in turn listens to Adam. Noah would end up to be protector and husband to Elisabeth, and father to Charlotte.
Adam tells him that he and Jonas will be friends. Noah saved young Jonas when he tried to kill himself, explaining to Jonas that he cannot kill himself as Adam already exists; any attempt to off himself will fail.
Young Noah would stay by young Jonas’s side until they enter their 40s.
Adam had also told Noah that Jonas will betray him. In truth, it was Adam who betrayed him (so technically Adam did not lie to Noah, Adam IS Jonas), first when he ordered the abduction of Charlotte, and a second time, during Noah’s final moments. Noah would work on the time machine and with Helge’s help abduct the boys to experiment on in an effort to time travel to try to find his daughter.
In Season 1, he makes contact with a young Bartosz (his father). He passes the book and Jonas’ time travel device to Bartosz, knowing that he, Franziska, Magnus and Jonas can travel back to 1888 to escape the Apocalypse. This and Silja’s arrival ensures that Noah and Agnes would be born. Hannah would use Jonas’s device to travel.
Meanwhile, Agnes will have Tronte together with the Origin (son of Jonas and Martha). As a kid, Tronte was in a home briefly, where he got all those cigarette burns. Agnes would take Tronte to Winden and spend time with the Tiedemanns.
Agnes being the daughter of Silja, makes her the granddaughter of Hannah. Hannah had used Ulrich’s family name, Nielsen in order to get to see Ulrich in jail, telling Egon that she is his wife. Agnes thus has to use the same name so it can be passed down to Ulrich via Tronte. Agnes’s grandmother was mentioned briefly when Egon asked her who her grandmother was.
Agnes sets up Tronte with the Tiedemanns, romances Doris (who is Agnes’s great-great grandmother), and under Claudia’s order, gives Noah the information on where to kill Claudia. Noah successfully kills Claudia and finds the notes on where Charlotte really is, realising that Adam had ordered for Charlotte to be taken from him.
Agnes would eventually kill Noah when he confronts Adam in order to secure her position in Sic Mundus after the death of Claudia. When she disappeared together with Noah, Doris tries to track them down, unaware that her husband is in an affair with Hannah until pointed out to her by the Origin. She leaves Egon, which triggers Egon’s drinking.
Tronte, who had always suspected that Regina is his daughter, has always been at Claudia’s beck and call despite being married to Jana. Tronte, with the help of Peter Doppler, helped Claudia collect the bodies of dead boys sent through time by Helge in the past.
In the future, Tronte suffocates Regina under older Claudia’s command. Regina’s death was necessary to release younger Claudia to help Jonas built the time machine. Whether Tronte is Regina’s father or not has little to no consequences to his own timeline and bloodline but it does free Regina from his bloodline. And that is very, very important.
After Tronte marries Jana, he has three kids, one of which turns into a Kahnwald and has Jonas. And as we all know, Jonas is to blame for everything. Or is he?
I’ve been hankering for some murder mysteries for a while. I mean Rick and Morty and Bojack Horseman scratched the drama itch for me, at least for a while but my first love has always been crime shows and murder mysteries.
Someone once asked me: why the love for one person murdering another person stories – and I think The Invisible Guest (Contratiempo) summarises the answers quite perfectly.
With murder mysteries, there is always a victim and there is always a search for the culprit as well as the truth of what happened. Sometimes there is no victim: you can’t find the body, or you are not sure if the person was actually dead. Sometimes the culprit is the person you least expected. And sometimes the truth is convoluted while other times the true answer can only be the simplest one.
There is however a fourth factor if a case goes to court, and that is how the murder is presented to the jury (us). The Invisible Guest explores how a murder is interpreted or how a murder story unfolds through multiple angles, giving us a lot to chew on before the final solution is revealed. Heavy spoilers ahead. You don’t have to watch the movie if you continue reading, that’s how heavy things are going to get. (I get that this isn’t what a review really is but hey, it’s my blog)
The story begins with a meeting between the accused Adrian Doria and his prosecutor, Virginia Goodman. She is there to dig the truth out of him. Having retired, she took up this one last case on the request of Adrian’s solicitor Felix and wants to ensure her record goes unsullied. But to do that, she needs Adrian to tell her everything from the very beginning.
Adrian tells him about Laura, the woman he had been having an affair with. She had been killed inside a locked room with nobody else around apart from Adrian. Police found him in the room after another guest reported a disturbance. Logically, Adrian was the only person who could have done it.
Why he insists on being framed for the murder seems like a feeble attempt to weasel his way out of a prison sentence. He is after all a rich, well established businessman with a perfect family life. That’s kinda what his character type does.
Virginia asks if he has any enemies, to which he replied no. She questions the motive behind someone blackmailing him, murdering Laura and leaving the money behind (what was the point then) if Adrian didn’t have someone really really pissed off at him.
After much pushing, he admits to having caused the death of a passing motorist. It was, in his defence, an accident. A deer had crossed his path and in an effort to avoid it, he rammed into another car, killing the other motorist.
In an effort to salvage the situation – they were both married and they cannot allow their spouses to find out about the affair – Adrian and Laura tried to leave the area but their car, damaged from the accident would not start. Another motorist passing through the area saw them together as well as the damaged cars.
The cunning Laura tries to pretend to be the driver of the other car and that she and Adrian were in the midst of exchanging insurance information. The motorist leaves them. Laura convinces Adrian to get rid of the body and the car while Laura waits in their own car for help to arrive. Adrian drives for an hour and dumps the car in the middle of a swampy lake then calls Laura to come pick him up so they can get back home.
Laura arrives, in tears, and tells him a freaky coincidence. She had gotten the car fixed by a third passing motorist who knows his way around cars. He offered to tow her car back to his garage to be fixed. While waiting at their lovingly warm home, Laura had discovered to her horror, that the passing motorist and his lovely wife were the parents to the passenger. #iknowright
Laura tells Adrian to report the car stolen, and she gets rid of the car at the scrapyard. They went their separate ways and promised to never see each other again. The end.
At least that’s what Adrian tells Virginia. Laura is no longer around to refute or corroborate anything he says. Virginia however, being the powerful attorney that she is starts punching holes in his story.
So they came up with another one, where the passing motorist who saw them exchanging insurance information was the one blackmailing Laura and Adrian. Having lured them to the hotel, he had the dead motorist’s father kill Laura for having lied to and frame their son, who works in a bank, for fraud (and instead of being murdered, he ran away with the money instead).
Hold up? Are you suggesting that the dead motorist’s father is capable of committing murder, Adrian asks. Why not? Replies Virginia. If anyone has a burning desire for revenge, it would be the father who unknowingly had picked up and helped the very person who had caused the death of his son and then covered it up. He couldn’t even bury his only child.
And how would he have escaped the room? Adrian and everyone else (me!) asked. Virginia: Well, the wife works in the hotel. She could have orchestrated a feasible escape route for her husband. It all pans out. This is the strongest story you have. But in order for the jury to buy this, you need to explain to the jury why this guy has it out for you. And that means copping to causing the accidental death of his son.
Virginia gets a phone call. They have discovered who the prosecutor’s witness is. And it’s the second motorist. The one who saw them together. Virginia says here I’ve got a better story.
Let’s pin EVERYTHING on Laura. She was there at the cabin herself. She alone hit the passing motorist. She got rid of the car. She called you to help her clear up her mistake. You were innocent, Adrian. You had nothing to do with this but the dead motorist’s father was convinced you did.
The only way to prove that Laura is the only person who was guilty of all of this – and that’s why the father killed her – is to locate the car and put something that belongs to her in it to connect her to the crime. Then, put an anonymous call in for the police to find the car. The perfect plan!
(But Adrian, how then would the father be able to have picked up Laura and her damaged car, tow it back to the house and fix it for her? Did you think of that? Because that’s the only way the father could have linked Laura to the crime and in the end killed her. Something is way off for Story #3, you need to talk it out more.)
Adrian asks, what about the passing motorist? (Yeah, Virginia, what about the passing motorist?) He could place Adrian at the scene of the crime. He will tell the prosecutor everything. Virginia says she lied about that. They haven’t located the motorist. It was all a ruse to extract the truth from Adrian.
Virginia: I had to do it. You were lying through your teeth. Adrian: Well, I need to see if you could get me out of that room. And you did.
Adrian had found out that the dead motorist’s mother worked at the hotel. The venue wasn’t picked at random. He just couldn’t figure out how the father can get himself out of the room. And Virginia did the hard work for him. Looks like he isn’t as innocent as he looks.
Virginia had earned his respect, which is when he lands her with a fourth story.
The dead motorist was taken to the swampy lake in the trunk. Right before Adrian pushed the car into the lake, he discovered that dead motorist isn’t exactly dead. Adrian had gone too far to turn back now. So he drowned the poor guy.
This confirms that Adrian was there and he was the one who not only caused the accident but had actually killed the passing motorist. But who killed Laura? Virginia puts out Story #5. This thing is about to go sideways.
It was Adrian all along. The parents of the dead boy had nothing to do with it. Laura, instead of being the instigator and the plan maker, had been racked with guilt since the incident.
She had contacted the parents and informed them that she is going to make this right. She sent the blackmail material to Adrian and made him bring the blackmail money so she can pay the poor parents for the loss of their son.
Adrian, having figured out he had been played, murdered Laura and staged the scene so he could frame the parents for it. He needed to figure out how someone can get out of the locked room and that’s what Virginia is here for. The only problem is getting enough evidence to put them there at the hotel. Virginia says she needs more time to work with Adrian, but after they take a break. It’s going to be a long night.
Adrian gets a call from Felix, his solicitor who has found passing motorist no.2 and bought him off. Looks like they can stick to Story #3 as an alternative to Story #2. Their phone call was interrupted by a static disturbance and Adrian discovers that the pen Virginia had brought with her is a voice recording device.
It slowly dawns on him that he has told the absolute truth to Virginia and that she may not really be on his side. To his horror he sees her in the building across the street, standing next to the dead motorist’s father, where she reveals herself, by tearing off cosmetics, contact lenses and a wig, to be the mother.
The real Virginia Goodman turns up at Adrian’s doorstep minutes later, as the dead guy’s father turns off the sound recorder in his room and makes a call to authorities.
*flips table* What the what? That came out of f*cking nowhere. But bar this unrealistic ending this is why I like watching murder mysteries. This is also a good show to watch a second time around so you can catch all the details you missed from the first viewing. I’d like to apologise to Laura for hating her character at the beginning. She was so unfairly treated. Like the innocent passing motorist whose name is Daniel, Laura didn’t deserve to die. To honor them, #pressplay.
As a fan of police procedural shows and Line of Duty, I was not surprised that this came recommended to me based on my watchlist. Story-wise, plots are not what Criminal is about. Criminal is more about how interesting the interrogation suspects are, and when you have bigwigs like David Tennant playing the possible suspects, you’re in for a treat.
There are 12 episodes, 3 episodes to each location: UK, Germany, France and Spain. The layout of the interrogation quarters is the same but the officers, team dynamics, personalities, language and therefore techniques used are different. Also in the spotlight are the motives behind each crime, rather than just the crime itself. What the episodes are here to unearth is why people do the bad things they do.
The team dynamics is strong here. They talk about structure and by-the-textbook procedures. Kinda makes them look boring but wait til you see how it’s done in Criminal: Spain.
David Tennant, always a delight to watch, plays the role of stepfather, Dr Fallon, who is accused of raping and killing his stepdaughter. Apparently in this world, you can only hold the suspect for 24 hours and Tennant’s character has stayed absolutely silent for 23 hours. In the final hour, he sings like a canary.
Hayley Atwell, Mrs Captain America, stuns as Stacey in not one, but two confessions. She is believed to be involved in her sister’s husband’s murder, which she confesses to at about the halfway mark of the show. That seemed a little too easy, don’t it? Absolutely. She’s done when she says she’s done, pink hair and acrylic blue nails and all. Wonderful episode.
Youssef Kerkour, if you haven’t seen him on Home, you should, because he is so under-utilised as Jay, a truck driver, in this episode. He’s brought in to be the gentle but not as dumb as he looks giant, who abandons a truck (possibly) full of illegal immigrants now at the risk of freezing to death overnight. Time is of the essence. Then midway through, the plot-line doesn’t twist, it entirely pivots.
In the background, Eva Meckbach plays a heavily pregnant officer joining the cases while simultaneously reviewing Sylvester Groth’s (Dark) interrogation methods. Germany’s cases are a lot more bizarre than the UK’s. Also, Groth is incredibly hostile for a police officer and seemed ready to fly off the rails at any moment. #bringthepopcorn
Peter Kurth is Jochen, a successful businessman who was the last person to see a handyman he had hired to work on one of his apartments decades ago. This episode was carried by an interesting plot, for a change. Best to go in blind on this one. If I had to complain about anything it’s that Schulz’s dubbed voice is so not suitable for him.
In the second episode, we see Deniz Arora’s Yilmaz being questioned on why he pushed his wife down the stairs, landing her in hospital. It is a case of domestic abuse. The weird thing is a lawyer has been hired to defend the suspect, by the victim’s father.
Nina Hoss, exuding the Aileen Wuornos vibe in Claudia, is a sight to behold. Her role is that of Claudia, a serial killer’s accomplice. She helped her boyfriend, now dead from slitting his wrists in prison, to abduct, rape and murder six girls before the duo were caught. She has been behind bars for some time when Groth’s character pulled her out of there to find out where she had buried the first victim. Said victim’s mother needs to bury her daughter before cancer buries her. By the end of this tense episode, you’re not really sure that Hoss is the only monster in the room. Easily the best episode for Germany.
France’s cases are more shall we say, contemporary. They are based on more recent events and social taboos. The lawyers take a back seat for all of the cases, although in one you can see the eyes in the lawyer changed the moment they realised their client is guilty.
The first episode involves the November 2015 Bataclan terrorist attack, an incident in which more than a hundred people died and hundreds more were injured. Sara Giraudeau plays a victim, Emilie, who had lost her boyfriend who was gunned down at the theatre, was compensated monetarily by the government, and had build an online following from blogging about the incident. So why is she in the interrogation room?
A high-powered female executive is being investigated over a death at the construction site. One of her workers had died from a fall. Already stressed out from running very late on a deadline, Nathalie Baye plays the capable, powerful and highly strung executive, Caroline, who is now being investigated on how involved she is with the worker’s murder.
Jeremie Renier plays a top salesman, Jerome, at the brink of being charged for a homophobia-fueled attack on a man beaten with extreme brutality. He was arrested trying to flee from the police but claims that he has nothing to do with the incident. Can the team catch him on his lie and unearth a secret that he is clearly trying desperately to hide?
Things are very different in Spain. The lawyers are treated with impunity, officers can bend the rules as they please so long as they get the results everyone wanted, and at times you can’t really be sure who is on the right side of justice. You know what is also criminal? The translation. It’s a travesty.
Carmen Machi plays a dog owner, Isabel, who has some blood in the basement of her home and a brother who is now missing. They are looking for him with connection to a missing person’s case. How the investigators finally got her to tell them what they need to know is cruel and unusual punishment.
Imma Cuesta plays Carmen, tired young woman who let her autistic little sister drown while her parents are not home. She is treated like a slave (their words) in the household and suffers abuse when the chores are not done properly. During the interrogation, she alternates between periods of lucidity and uncontrollable rage which gives us an inside look into why she did it. Sidenote: the episode could be 10 minutes shorter.
How low can you go when dealing with a weasel like Carmelo, played by Eduard Fernandez? Apparently, extremely, especially when he caused the death of a relative to one of the lead interrogators. It’s amazing how Carmelo’s lawyer just went with the flow when clearly what the interrogators are doing are just downright… criminal.
To Watch or Not To Watch?
Criminal is no Line of Duty. There isn’t enough time for us to be invested in the interrogation team despite all that drama happening on the other side of the mirror. You don’t have time to feel outraged by how the victims suffered or the crimes committed. That’s why it’s the perfect touch and go show for those who just want to burn off a few hours during the weekend.
If you have only 3 hours to burn, I recommend the following episodes: Claudia (Germany), Jochen (Germany), Jerome (France), Stacey (UK).
So in Part 1 of this guide we talked about what Team Claudia and Team Adam brought to the show. If you haven’t read that guide yet, no worries, here’s the link to Netflix’s DARK Explained (Part 1).
For Part 2 we’re going to talk about how the Sic Mundus team and how Adam likes to keep it in the family. Plus, we explore the missing branches of the Nielsen family tree and why there are two Tannhaus time machines out there (short answer: there isn’t).
Who is in Sic Mundus?
Of course Noah and young Noah is in there. Young Noah has been digging the tunnels and murdering co-workers since his teenage years. He is loyal to a fault towards Adam. In his adult years, he murders children and old white devils too.
Bearing in mind that young Noah is willing to kill for Adam, for whatever reason it is that he is in the bunker with Claudia, Regina, Peter and Elisabeth, it would be under Adam’s instructions.
What about the rest of the group?
Here’s a picture of Sic Mundus Elisabeth found in Charlotte’s belongings. You can’t really see their faces clearly but you can count 13 people (6 women, 7 men) including Adam sitting in the middle.
To the left of Adam, we have identified Noah, whilst to the right of Adam is Magnus and probably Bartosz. Agnes stands next to Noah, while the lady behind Adam is probably Franziska.
It would be much easier to identify who the rest are, particularly the women if the photo was not in one colour. Otherwise you could figure out who the women are (no matter what their age is) by the colour of their hair: the redhead is Franziska, Elisabeth is the blonde, Martha has black hair and Claudia has brown hair.
In any case, if that guy is Magnus, this lady is probably Franziska.
Since they’re standing up front with Adam in the picture, they are probably the early founders of Sic Mundus: Bartosz, Franziska and Magnus, which coincidentally are in the group of people Adult Jonas saves during the apocalypse. #therearenocoincidences
Later on in Season 3, Adult Jonas would also save Noah and Agnes, as per young Noah’s instructions based on Martha’s letter.
Alright, that’s 6 down, what about the other 7 people? Whoever they are, they are probably family too.
Sic Mundus is a Family Business
In Season 1 we were running on four families, but if you really think about it, it’s pretty much just about two families: the Nielsens and the Tiedemanns.
When Jonas got sent back to 1921, he bunked at the house of Erna Nielsen, the same house where Agnes and Noah Nielsen grew up.
On Agnes’s side, she has Tronte, who then has Ulrich, who then has Magnus, Martha and Mikkel, who is the father of Jonas Kahnwald. The Kahnwald’s name is a smokescreen.
Jonas is a Nielsen. Agnes is his great-great-grandmother, which makes Noah his great-great-granduncle.
On Noah’s side, he has Charlotte with Elisabeth. Charlotte then has FranziskaandElisabeth with Peter Doppler. Doppler, another smokescreen, is her husband’s family name, but she and her daughters are part of the Nielsen blood line.
Charlotte, Elisabeth and Franziska are also Nielsens.
Take a gander at what the relationship is in this picture.
To recap, here are the Nielsens (by Season 2) with Erna being the first generation and those related by marriage in [ ]:
1st generation: Erna
2nd generation: Agnes, Noah, Elisabeth
3rd generation: Tronte [& Jana], Charlotte [& Peter Doppler]
4th generation: Ulrich [& Katharina], Franziska, Elisabeth
5th generation: Magnus, Martha, Mikkel [& Hannah]
6th generation: Jonas
And here are where the Tiedemanns and Dopplers stand in the equations using marriages as points of reference.
1st generation: Erna – Bernd D [& Greta]
2nd generation: Agnes, Noah, Elisabeth – Egon T [& Doris] – Helge D
3rd generation: Tronte [& Jana], Charlotte [& Peter Doppler] – Claudia T
4th generation: Ulrich [& Katharina], Franziska, Elisabeth – Regina T
5th generation: Magnus, Martha, Mikkel [& Hannah] – Bartosz T
6th generation: Jonas
Alright, I’ll address the elephant in the room. Bartosz is in Sic Mundus, but he is a Tiedemann and we still don’t know how the Tiedemann ties in to the Nielsens by way of blood but there may be a loophole to that by way of the missing partners.
In Season 1, the big shocker was that Mikkel and Michael were the same person. This held major repercussions to Martha and Jonas’s relationship, turning them from just friends to aunt and nephew.
Jonas was not “supposed” to be born but as we learned in Season 2, a world without him is a terrible one. He can’t bring Mikkel back to the original timeline because his future “already exists.” Things are, because they are meant to be.
In Season 2, we have a few major shockers. We learned that Agnes is more involved than expected and that she is Noah’s sister, which means Noah is a Nielsen. That also means that Charlotte, who is Noah’s daughter is also a Nielsen. The Doppler family name was a smokescreen to keep us in the dark. #seewhatIdidthere
So, what if there are more secrets hidden behind unmentioned partners? For example:
Who was Helge’s wife and Father?
Helge’s wife was never mentioned. Peter had arrived in Winden after Helge’s accident in 1986. Why has Bernd never acknowledged Peter? Or was the age gap too big for him to do so? Or is it because he eventually found out what Greta confessed to Noah back in 1953, that Helge was not Bernd’s son. If not, then who is Helge’s father and is he connected to any of this?
Who did Claudia have Regina with?
I understand why Claudia is a Tiedemann but why does Regina carry the Tiedemann name instead of her father’s name? Why has her father never been in the picture? There’s literally no pictures or any mention of the guy in the house, ever. No deaths mourned, no wrath over a one night stand or a runaway dad. Absolutely nothing. Tronte and Claudia go way back though and they have been known to have had an affair.
Who was Agnes’s husband?
Does he have anything to do with Tronte’s cigar burns? Tronte also carries his mother’s family name, Nielsen. Is this like a thing with Winden wives? Also, she mentions that her grandmother is from Winden but so far we have only seen Erna, her mother. We don’t know who her grandmother is yet since Agnes got cut off before she could answer Egon. It’s possible that her husband and her grandmother is someone we already know.
So What’s Bartosz Real Parentage?
What if by the end of Season 3, we find out that the Tiedemanns also have Nielsen blood in them? What do you mean what if? Bartosz is in Sic Mundus, he probably is a Nielsen too. Noah actively recruited Bartosz since Season 1, giving him the book he holds, which means Bartosz has seen its contents. Noah also gave him the HGT machine in Season 2.
How does the Nielsen blood get into Bartosz then? Aleksander Tiedemann / Aleksander Kohler / Boris Niewald’s origin perhaps? Claudia having an affair with Tronte resulting in Regina perhaps? A time-travelling Hannah (aka Katharina Nielsen, here to see my husband) messing up the past as it was intended, perhaps? #lotsandlotsofperhaps
There is Only One Time Machine
Although there’s two HGT machine on the move by the end of Season 2, both time machines are probably the same machine. We’re just seeing it at different points in its use.
Let’s try to track its movements.
Tannhaus built it
So we saw Tannhaus build the time machine after receiving blueprints from Claudia back in 1953. He spends 33 years trying to make it work. Adult Jonas visits him in 1986 with a busted time machine, asking Tannhaus to help him fix it. In the process Jonas teaches Tannhaus how to use the device and asks him about how time works. Some time later, Tannhaus would teach Claudia how to use the time machine in 1987.
Tannhaus also uses the busted time machine to finally complete his unfinished time machine. He also uses Ulrich’s smartphone, a technology that is not available in his time, to make the machine work.
Jonas Tries To Close the Tunnels
Jonas takes the brand new machine and tries up to close the tunnels. He lugs it around but uses the tunnels to travel through time, showing his younger self how to travel through the tunnels and who Mikkel really is.
After all the chaos, Adult Jonas realises he didn’t change a darn thing and goes home to Hannah, unknowingly stopping her suicide just in time. He helps her and Charlotte figure a lot of things out. He eventually loses his time machine in 2020 to Hannah.
Hannah Travels to 1954
Hannah takes the time machine to go to 1954 to see Ulrich. She asks him to choose between her and Katharina. His answers were not convincing. She leaves him in jail to rot. He will stay in the asylum until 1987. Meanwhile Hannah chooses to get a fresh start but we have to wait until Season 3 to find out where and when she intends to do this. The Time Machine stays with her.
Things happen in Season 3.
Claudia Travels to 2019
While Hannah is soul searching, Senior Claudia buried her time machine in 1954 for her future self to dig up in 1987. Senior Claudia knows that she will die in 1954. There is no longer any need for her to travel.
Claudia digs it up in 1987 and uses it to travel to 2019, see Regina dying from cancer, read news articles about herself and Egon, and then go back to her original timeline to try to figure out the dark matter and to prevent Egon from dying.
Jonas ReOpens the Tunnels
When she fails to stop her father’s death, young Jonas turns up after a 12-month stint. I checked the timeline, it seems to match. This 12 months with Claudia began from his father’s suicide on June 21, 1986, right up to the day of the apocalypse, June 27, 1987. It’s possible that this is the Jonas that led Mikkel back to the caves and into 1986.
Anyways, he takes the heartbroken Claudia to the future, June 27, 2019, the day of the apocalypse with her time machine. Inside the tunnel he activates the machine to open the time passage his older self had closed in 1986. I’m not sure if this is a new feature (you don’t need a smartphone to work it anymore?) or if it only happens when you use it to open a time passageway.
Time manifests itself inside the bunker, freaking Martha out. She leaves the bunker when Peter and Elisabeth open the locked bunker door to enter.
Claudia Goes into the Bunker
Claudia leaves the cave with Jonas then splits up. She takes the time machine and goes to the bunker with Regina. They meet Peter and Elisabeth and later on, Young Noah there. The apocalypse happens. I’m thinking they use the time machine to get out of there rather than actually wait out the apocalypse inside the bunker. Because… there’s no food.
Things happen in Season 3.
Noah Gives Bartosz the Time Machine
Bartosz receives the time machine by Noah and brings it to pre-apocalypse 2020 where Magnus, Franziska, Martha and Elisabeth get a taste of how it works.
Katharina takes it off the hands of Magnus and tries to get it to work so she can go retrieve Mikkel. She leaves it with Jonas after he tells her it doesn’t “work that way” and she can’t bring Mikkel back.
Young Noah goes to see Jonas and gives him a letter by Martha.
He tells Jonas to save Bartosz, Magnus, Franziska, and then later on Agnes and himself. He says this loop must close for the next cycle to begin. Jonas uses the time machine Katharina left behind to transport Bartosz, Magnus and Franziska out of the apocalypse.
Things happen in Season 3.
Small Questions for DARK: Season 3
As it’s customary, everyone does a list of major questions for Season 3, but I’m going to flip the switch and do a “small question” list instead. I prefer to write on things we know or on clear hints but asking questions is also part of human nature so, here it goes:
What happens to Katharina in the tunnel while the rest of the world goes apocalyptic?
What happens to Elisabeth and Charlotte once they touched hands at the portal?
Who sent Clausen that letter to alert him about Kohler?
What’s up with Woller’s eye?
Who is Woller and Bernadette’s mother?
How did Ulrich survive his time in the asylum all those years? How can Egon have forgotten about him until the 1980s?
How has Noah never met Tannhaus if he was such a crucial person in developing the HGT machine?
Is Peter also a Nielsen? Who was his mother?
Does Ines and Greta work for Noah?
What’s this and why is it on Claudia’s body?
Who wrote the book that both Claudia (it has the schedule the missing children arrive at the bunker) and Noah (it has notes on Charlotte) had at different points in the story? Noah gives it to Bartosz at the end of season 1.
Who is this guy? Is he someone we have already met but don’t recognise yet? He seems to know a lot about Noah and why Adam took him in and named him Noah. His tattoo is on the front of his body. Noah would eventually get the same tattoo on the back of his body.
I’m going to wrap this up before my head hurts some more. Here’s looking forward to season 3.
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.
DARK is a sci-fi family drama with plenty of plot twists and revelations. It is a show that requires your full attention so if you are the kind to check your phone a lot while watching a show, skip this. It will leave you scratching your heads often and force you to go back to an earlier part of the episode or even an earlier episode to check and recheck your suspicions.
It’s also the kind of show that will make you want to draft your own guide – which I did. I have about 6, 7, 8 9 other drafts in open tabs that I had been working on for weeks. My own guide has helped me enjoy the subtleties of this show in unexpected ways.
The hours I’ve put into the OA and Black Spot is nothing compared to how I’ve pored over Netflix’s DARK. So no, I’m not going to hold back on the spoilers. That’s on you. If you haven’t watched Season 1, you shouldn’t continue reading beyond this full stop.
While Season 1 is supposedly about the dynamics of the four families: Kahnwald, Nielsen, Tiedemann and Doppler; in truth, it is about how Jonas Kahnwald created the black hole through which time travel was made possible in the Winden cave tunnels.
For this to happen, the Winden cave tunnels must become the time travel pathways they are. And to do that, we need (1) Jonas Kahnwald and (2) the device he lugs around.
(1) Jonas Kahnwald
Jonas’s life is a closed loop, and as explained in the show by H.G. Tannhaus, in a closed loop, everything is mutually dependent, the future is dependent on the past and the past is dependent on the future.
Jonas himself is a product of time travel. His father is Mikkel Nielsen from 2019, a boy he actually knew growing up because he goes to school with Magnus, Mikkel’s older brother. And they do hang out together. Or is it did hung out together. (Getting the tenses right is very difficult for this post.)
Although his grandmother, Ines Kahnwald could clearly recognise Mikkel as the young Michael (I mean, it’s a small town, she was bound to have bumped into him since all the kids in Winden go to the same few schools), she did nothing to stop him from disappearing. If she had acted, things would have been very different. But no, she’s in the “things happen for a reason category”.
For this closed loop to happen, his mother Hannah, must end up being with Mikkel/Michael instead of being with Ulrich, the man she has been obsessed with since she was a kid. Otherwise, Jonas wouldn’t come to be.
On top of that, Ulrich must end up with Katharina in order to have Mikkel Nielsen who eventually has Jonas Kahnwald with Hannah. Yup, Ulrich is Jonas’s grandfather and is sleeping with Jonas’s mom, whilst his daughter Martha Nielsen is Jonas’s crush cum aunt. #yikes #ImOverIt
You don’t want to be Jonas.
Even Jonas doesn’t want to be Jonas which was why he went back in time to 1986 to retrieve Mikkel, essentially sacrificing his life to bring his father (or non-father) home.
But Noah can’t have that. He needs the black hole created by the device. So he kidnaps Jonas and puts him in the bunker where he and Helge witness a portal open.
Helge gets thrown into 1986 while Jonas gets thrown into the future, around 33 years after 2019, which makes it 2052. It’s probably there where Jonas turns into the tired-and-sad-looking Adult Jonas (i.e. Season 2) before returning as Adult Jonas to repeat the cycle with young Jonas.
To complete the cycle, Adult Jonas’s plan was to have young Jonas go through what he had gone through so that he would be committed enough to go all the way and attempt to destroy the Winden cave tunnels and break the time loop.
To do that he had to go back to Winden, wait for young Jonas to lose Mikkel, put the right markings on Michael Kahnwald’s map of the Winden Caves, give young Jonas the Geiger counter and light source via Regina, follow him to 1986 and try to convince him to not bring Mikkel back, which would erase both their existence (or is it his existence?), find young Jonas in the bunker and explain to young Jonas who he really is (ie I’m you just older and not particularly wiser). Still with me? Ok, good.
Jonas Kahnwald’s life is a closed loop.
(2) The device
The device which I originally thought was a time machine isn’t really a time machine but one that triggers the formation of a wormhole through which people could time travel. So it’s essentially a wormhole maker.
It was built by H.G. Tannhaus with help from a few characters. Claudia brought him the blueprints back in 1953.
We see that Tannhaus builds it but isn’t really sure what it does. By the end of Season 1 it is also not clear yet who drew this blueprint.
Ulrich’s phone which he found in 1953, helped him figure out the electromagnetic parts of the device. It took technology from 2019 to help him figure out the device, by the time Jonas arrives in 1986 to visit.
Jonas has his own version of this device. It’s broken, so he takes it to H.G. Tannhaus to fix. At the time that this happens, Tannhaus has not even finished building his own version of the device, you know, the one built based on the blueprints given to him by Claudia Tiedemann in 1953.
But Jonas is sure that Tannhaus was the one who built it because the device has his initials on the side.
In bringing his worn-out version of the device to Tannhaus, Jonas helped Tannhaus figure out parts that were missing from the blueprint. This allowed Tannhaus to complete the construction of his brand new machine, which he then gives to Jonas. To destroy.
Despite knowing that Jonas intends to destroy the machine, Tannhaus helps him. Had he decided not to help Jonas, none of this would have happened. Like Ines, Tannhaus could have shut this whole thing down in a heartbeat. But he doesn’t.
To power the device, Jonas retrieves Caesium radioactive isotopes from 1986. He gets this from the barrels of radioactive wastes that were kept by Tiedemann in a truck at the side of the road in an attempt to evade detection.
The waste barrels were placed there because Ulrich suspects that his son is somewhere in Alexander Tiedemann’s power plant. Charlotte makes a search warrant happen.
The search warrant compels Aleksander, chairman at the power plant to remove the barrels from its usual hiding place, and to store them in an unassuming truck in an open parking lot, providing easy access of the radioactive samples inside to Jonas.
Adult Jonas puts the device altogether then activates it right in the middle of the tunnels there, thereby destroying the wormhole.
Except… he doesn’t.
What Jonas Actually Did
For the entire first season, we watch Adult Jonas and Noah do everything to lead Jonas to this point in time. For Jonas, he believes that by destroying the device H.G. Tannhaus built all the time travel that has been the bane of his existence will end.
However, as Noah has explained to Bartosz, Adult Jonas was lied to by Claudia Tiedemann. His actions would not destroy the cave tunnels but instead turn the tunnels into the time travelling pathways that they are.
Instead of ending it, he triggered its beginning.
Young Jonas and Helge were in the bunker (which was right above where Adult Jonas detonates the device inside the cave) albeit in different time periods, 1953 and 1986. A portal opens and and the two see each other across the divide. They touch hands and were sent to different timelines.
Where or when exactly is answered in Season 2.
Time Travel Via The Winden Cave Tunnels
We need to talk about the Winden Cave Tunnels, home to the most rudimentary and painfully slow way to travel through time. You basically open a steel door and crawl through to the other end.
And if that’s not bad enough, its list of destinations is scant – you can only travel between 3 timelines, 2019, 1986 and 1953, and all the timelines are moving along linearly. If you enter on November 11 in 1986 and end up in 2019, the date will still be November 11.
Like Adult Jonas puts it, this isn’t like the DeLorean where you can input a specific time you want to get to. If you get there early, you’re just going to have to wait, like what Adult Jonas and Helge did.
Jonas tries to navigate through the caves using a map he finds in his father’s shed but it wasn’t until Adult Jonas added markings on the map and gave him a light source plus a Geiger Counter that Jonas finally successfully makes his way through to 1986.
In the cave, he comes across an ouroboros handle with a red string tied to it. Its significance is still not clear yet.
A number of characters have gone through the tunnels to get between 1953, 1986 and 2019: Helge, Ulrich and Jonas. While Jonas had help from his older self, Ulrich basically just followed Helge Senior and figured things out on his own. He too stumbled upon the ouroboros ring handle.
To enter the tunnel, they must open a heavy metal door which has a trinity knot sculpted on it.
The tunnel itself is extremely windy despite being underground which is why every time a tunnel door is opened, the cave “roars”. When the door closes behind the person crawling through, there is a loud metal clang that rings through the caves.
The tunnels meet in the centre at a fork where you can go left or right, each leading to one of the three periods. Regardless of which tunnel you take, you leave via the mouth of the Winden Cave.
I’m not sure how Claudia’s dog, Gretchen, Mikkel, Claudia and Noah travelled seeing as how Gretchen can’t open the doors to the tunnel, Mikkel was unconscious and it would be difficult to drag his limp body through the tunnels, whereas Claudia and Noah don’t seem like the crawling type. Ergo it is possible that there is an alternative way to travel.
The chair is what Adult Jonas calls an early prototype to time travel. It’s housed in a locked room with a teal cartoon-filled wallpaper.
Charlotte would find a remnant of this wallpaper in Helge’s underground bunker, a clue left for us, the audience, to put 2 and 2 together: the two location is one and the same, just from different time periods.
The Chair was built and perfected by Noah, with help from a reluctant Helge who was tasked to abduct the boys to experiment on. It isn’t clear why they chose those boys.
Although we never see Yasin and Mads in the room, we do see Erik being strapped in the chair. As they all ended up with scorched eyes, like Erik did, it’s safe to assume that they all went the same way.
Helge is also seen in the locked room but by the end of Season 1 he had only arrived there via the portal. We don’t know how many lives The Chair has taken (I count 3 so far), but Helge’s isn’t one of them. In watching what happened to him, I’m not sure if Noah and adult Helge are the most evil characters in the show.
All the boys have a red string with a pfennig coin around their necks. Its significance is unclear.
In 2019, Ulrich would find Helge’s pfennig coin snuggled in his copy of A Journey Through Time. How he got it, and why he is still alive is something for Season 2 (or 3?) to unveil.
The boys’ bodies will travel through a time portal, and end up in the bunker, where someone on the other end will retrieve them. All the bodies would have scorched eyes and burst ear drums.
Helge, Tronte and Peter have retrieved bodies from the bunker. They do this based on a schedule provided for them. Helge is told by Noah who to abduct, and which body to move from when to when, whereas Tronte and Peter were given their schedule of when the bodies will appear by Claudia Tiedemann. Little else is known of the origin of the schedule at this point.
I wrote briefly on Black Spot‘s first season (2017) two weeks ago which was when I first stumbled upon it on Netflix. The only reason I went into it was because Season 2 was slated for a return on June 14th (it has cometh and goneth), and anything that gets a Season 2, usually features a pretty solid Season 1.
And I was right. Black Spot aka Zone Blanche is one of the more stranger, non-English speaking shows on Netflix right now, stranger than Osmosis and Perfume. You got a bit of the supernatural, a bit of police procedural drama, plenty of secrets and murder and whodunits. What’s not to love?
At the end of Season 1, we finally find out who is behind the disappearance and murder of Marion Steiner: police-officer-in-training, Camille.
Camille was under the Gerald Steiners’s payroll (isn’t everyone?) and had accidentally caused the death of Marion, who had been collecting evidence to bring down her own grandfather’s schemes. Bertrand Steiner, Marion’s father who had been holding out for her return was understandably heartbroken, and an absolute total wreck for most of Season 2.
Guided by Roman, a member of the environmental protest group, Children of Arduina, Cora Weiss, daughter to Captain Laurene Weiss, had unknowingly asked for Camille’s help to retrieve a USB drive from where they had found Marion’s body. The drive contains important documents that will help Prosecutor Frank Siriani nail the Steiners. In the process, Cora was almost murdered by Camille herself.
Cora’s mother, Laurene was not so lucky. Camille shot her pointblank then left her for dead in the forest. Her death was particularly brutal. She was shot at close range, then dragged like an animal and thrown off into the woods to bleed out.
I’m not sure why Camille was particularly cold-blooded against Laurene. Laurene had never been mean to Camille nor do they have bad history of any sort. Perhaps Camille just wants to make sure she gets the job done, right?
Except she doesn’t! While Camille herself could not escape the deadly antlers of a dead deer…
… Laurene, owing to her special relationship with the forest, got to return from the realm of the dead…
… with help from the Celtic horned-god, Cernunnos himself.
When I wrote the review for Season 1, I did mention that the show never really fully committed to the supernatural genre. I like that angle very much. Instead of waving away logic and reason with stories about horned beings with supernatural powers prowling the forest floor, Black Spot at most only teases the possibility, but refuses to fall in.
Hence, it does a very good job explaining what actually happened to Laurene and why she had been so eager to find the sanctuary where she had been chained for 3 days. It turns out that she was not alone in those three days. No, I’m not referring to her kidnapper being nearby. I meant that she had a fellow captor who like her was chained to the rocks for three days, possibly more (he had mentioned he had been there for three days before he decided to make contact with her).
Possibly due to the trauma she had suffered, and maybe due to the blood loss from cutting two of her fingers off, Laurene’s memory had blocked out the existence of the other boy: 18-year-old Sylvain Tessier.
In Season 2, she would only regain her memory of him during a hallucination she suffered from, having fallen off the cliff into the very place she had been held against her will two decades earlier, the place she dubbed The Sanctuary.
How terrifying is that thought? To have totally forgotten a fellow kidnapped victim once you yourself have gotten away. Any sane person would do all they can to conduct a rescue, which explains why Laurene had been searching the forests on her nightly walks for the sanctuary. She may not remember why she was doing it, but she knows it is important that she does.
And that’s not the only surprise this show has for us.
In the season finale of the second season, the people of Villefranche had organised a hunt for the culprit, who had been freaking everyone out, leaving bloody spines from deer(?) in the houses of the townsfolk…
… and at least one in a cradle. If you want to know the story behind that, you just have to watch the show.
The thing you need to know at this point is that the townspeople are turning the tables on the so-called horned god and they are bringing pretty big guns to get the job done. And where there are guns and men, there will be accidents, and people getting hurt. It was a total mess.
The good news is that Cernunnos himself also bleeds! He’s not a god, after all! And who got him? Good old Hermann of course.
Laurene catches up to the wounded stag-god and figures out that there is a man behind the ghostly horned creature who had been her stalker cum saviour – and that man is none other than Sylvain himself. #whaaaaaaat?
But frankly though, who else could it be? Of course it had to be Sylvain, her fellow captor who was almost her age, and had not been seen for twenty odd years, which makes him her age. Weird things happen to people who have been isolated from society for long periods of time. I’d like to see them explain that low, deep purring sound the horned god always makes when he is nearby though. #creepyAF
But wait, there’s more!
Horned god’s blood sample not only proves that he and the wood man Laurene had been looking for for twenty years are but the same person, Sylvain. It also reveals that Sylvain actually shares a 50% match with Laurene, which means he is family, and a close family member at that, perhaps a pure sibling.
This would explain a few things, namely why he saved her at the end of Season 1 and had been protective of her whenever she is in the vicinity of the forest. Don’t forget, he had also attacked the man who had been chasing Roman and Cora, so he is at least aware of who Cora is.
This also explains why Laurene has been seeing clues that the animals have been leaving her all throughout Season 1. They may have been sent by Sylvain or there is still a special connection Laurene has with the forest that the writers have not explored enough in just two short seasons.
Oh, by the way, Sabine is totally connected to this. Definitely. She had spoken highly of the forest and its protective nature throughout Season 1, and in Season 2, Episode 4 Moonstruck, we actually got to see her face-to-face with Cernunnos over a camp fire.
Now, it is possible that Sylvain and Sabine are related, possibly even mother and son, because it was mentioned to Cora that Sabine had to sacrifice or had lost her son years ago. Not much was said beyond this but safe to say, Sabine knows more the stag god than she had been telling anyone.
You know what this means, right? This means that Sabine may also be related to Laurene, since both women have connections with Sylvain.
And this also means one more thing. That Sabine may know who Laurene and Sylvain’s kidnapper was. Clearly Sylvain had not been the one who had taken Laurene when he was a mere teenager. He himself had been chained with Laurene for days. They had only each other for company. Who had taken them? Sabine may know. Or Sabine may have been the kidnapper.
I don’t know. I’m just speculating because this is what the show makes you do. It makes you see connections in places where there might not have been a connection at all. I guess we will have to wait for Season 3 to find out.
Oh yeah, Siriani’s got a girlfriend, Hermann misses Camille and had difficulty letting go of her to the point of being able to see her, Teddy Bear almost got killed from falling off a cliff and having a branch break his fall by protruding through his gut (I don’t know what Villefranche feeds their police crew but they are very hard to kill – well, some of them), Bernard is expecting another baby but his wife decided that she is tired of being the third wheel and has checked out of the relationship, people are still killing other people in Villefranche in very interesting and weird ways – all in all, Season 2 is still a fun watch. Here’s to hoping for more weird, dark and creepy fun in Season 3 for Black Spot (Zone Blanche).
I first watched Dear Ex two weeks ago. I had to watch it in bits and pieces in between my household chores and my mothering duties. It made me feel many things. Since then, I have watched it twice more, once with my husband, once on my own in its entirety just because I loved the film so much despite its eyebrow-raising plot.
A man dies. Instead of naming his wife or his teenage son as the beneficiary of his insurance money, he names his male lover as the receiver of the substantial payout. Chaos inevitably ensued.
The story starts with Liu San-Lian banging at the door of Jay, her husband’s lover. Teenage son, Song Cheng-Xi watches from the sidelines then serves as one of the most unwilling film narrators on the face of the film industry, to the whole fiasco.
You would expect the third-party, home-wrecking Jay to want to get out of this mess as fast as possible. But he stays, and he tolerates the mother-son duo, even when the son shows up at his door one day, refusing to go home to his overbearing and pushy mother (to be fair, she had thrown out his keepsakes from his estranged father). Multiple times through the show, Jay reminds the boy to be respectful to his mother. On the surface, it’s a Chinese thing, but you will eventually realise why Jay does this.
Young Song Cheng Xi depicts his mother as a woman who seems to think the whole world owes her something. We see her depicted as a difficult woman who is always screaming at her son for being late for school, over bad grades in school, over missing his dead(beat) father, etc.
From the get-go, my husband of 10+ years asked me if she reminds me of anyone. I promise him I’d break his legs if he doesn’t shut up and watch the rest of the movie. But my better half is right, I do see myself and every other Asian woman in Cheng Xi’s difficult mother – albeit a much toned down version of it.
The guilt I throw at my children at the dinner table is but a small percentage of what she throws at her son, but I recognise the familiar script.
I also recognise the heartbreak and anger of a mother when she fears her children is not trying enough, and the tears that come afterwards – something the son depicts as Hollywood-level acting skills (I’m surprised he didn’t refer to the drama queens of Taiwan TV series who can shed a tear in the blink of an eye #lostopportunity).
But Liu San Lien is a mother through and through, even when she is picking a fight with the “mistress”, she makes sure that her son has something to drink before she enters the house of a total stranger to battle him to the death. Did you notice that? It’s one of the many nuances I enjoy from this show.
Despite the betrayal she feels from her cheating husband’s choice of her alternative version, she would still clean the house of her husband’s gay lover just so her son won’t have an allergic reaction to the dust mites and overall unhygienic living conditions her son is subjecting himself to.
And for all that she does for her son, after all the sacrifices she had made for her dead husband’s son, the naive boy tells her, “I didn’t ask you to (sacrifice for me).”
And you wonder why there are Tiger Moms all over Asia.
Some of the best scenes in the show are always when these three are on-screen at the same time. Take for instance the back alley conversation when the mother implores her son to go home with her while at the same time leaving instructions to the custodian to watch out for her son (wake him up for school at 6AM) despite said custodian’s pleas (for the love of God, take him home already, lady!).
I don’t know how they could all keep a straight face through the hilarious exchange.
The only scene more hilarious than that one is when Cheng Xi attempts to jump off Jay’s balcony. The son refuses to come down unless his mother vacates the premises. Stepmom demands the son come down and go home with his mother. The mother bickers-pleas-bickers-pleas with stepmom, because.
When he finally gets the boy down and starts roughing him up for being an ass, the mother steps in to stop him. Jay loses it and then lets it loose at Mrs Song before she pulls out the “curse on my family” card (it’s a Chinese thing).
He shouts at her to take the boy to a temple to pray (again, a Chinese thing) but she leaves without the boy because he’s a child but still too big to drag home. She passes a temple on the way, and stops to consider.
(1) The whole scene is both emotional for a mother and hilarious for everyone else.
(2) If you ever wonder why aunties look like aunties (unkempt, out-of-place, tired, dehydrated), then it’s because they put up with a lot of shit from home. Your shit.
Ok, enough about the mother-themed analysis. Let’s look at this from other angles.
You’re Breaking My Heart
This movie deals with a lot of heavy plot lines and it isn’t until the story reaches the husband’s story before we fully understand what is happening.
I have to say that if you want to watch the magic unfold on its own, it’s best to stop reading and watch the show.
Spoilers ahead. No holds barred.
Cheating husband Song Cheng-Yuan died from the big C, liver. While he was dying, he decided to embrace his true love, Jay, whom he had loved long before he had been together with Liu San Lien.
A particularly poignant conversation Jay had with his dead lover’s soul dances around why he could not tell his mother about them. It is a talk that speaks of love and understanding and oddly enough, responsibility to our parents and how it is ok to lie to them so long as we do not make them sad (it’s a Chinese thing). Things are put succinctly, made simple, made pure, all coming from a place of love. It’s a conversation you should watch played out as it is.
So technically, Jay wasn’t a home-wrecker. Liu San Lien and a judgemental society held Cheng-Yuan hostage for years, until cancer forced him to choose once and for all. With the little time he has left, he chooses to deal with the consequences of treatment and therapy with Jay instead of with his wife and son. I don’t know about you but I call that kindness.
Jay does a lot more than just take care of Cheng-Yuan during his time of need. He devotes his time, love and part of his liver to the ailing man, and even takes him to school to watch Cheng Xi walk home from school. And to get part of his liver into Cheng-Yuan, that’s going to need some money, right? Jay took care of that too, borrowing money from loan sharks and getting a leg broken in the process.
And there you have it. The insurance money is to repay Jay’s debt to the loan shark since he borrowed it for Cheng-Yuan’s surgery anyways. Looks like Jay isn’t such a bad guy after all, and Cheng-Yuan made all the wrong decisions because society would not allow him to make all the right ones.
So who is the bad guy?
I have always rolled with the idea that in real life, there are no good guys and there are no bad guys. We’re all both good and bad. It just depends on what situations we are boxed in, and perspective: who is telling the story. So from this perspective, is Liu San Lien the bad guy in Dear Ex?
After all, she incessantly harps after Jay over the insurance money, demanding that he returns it to her son. So often does she does this that it terribly irks her son.
Right after this scene, she cries at the altar saying how unfair life is, then becomes determined to tell Jay’s mother that her son is gay. And she does it, because what does she have to lose? She’s out to draw blood and draw blood, she will.
But again, let me remind you, Liu San Lien is a mother through and through. She never asked for the money for herself. She asked it for her ungrateful ingrate of a son. And you think being told your son is gay is hurtful? How about when your own husband tells you that he likes men and your whole marriage is a lie?
Her impromptu therapy session would unpack all the sense of betrayal and hurt she has been carrying around throughout the whole movie, culminating in the ultimate one-liner that would break a million hearts.
A lesser woman would have completely lost it, but not a mother, and definitely not Liu San Lien. If there is no love lost, that’s okay. She has a son, a gift from her gay husband. And even if he can’t love her and her son, the least he could do is fund his son’s studies post-death.
But you don’t take debts to your grave, and you don’t let the living pay your debts for you. And at the end of the day, Liu San Lien, with that big forgiving heart of hers, did her wifely duty and carried out her dead husband’s final wish.
At this point if you still plan to watch Dear Ex – and why wouldn’t you? – know that you can still enjoy the show even if you know how it is going to play out. There are plenty more hilarious and heartwarming surprises to look forward to. So grab a box of tissues unless your heart is made of stone, and just Press Play.