Welcome back to the long overdue follow up on Sorting Out the Timeline for the Netflix Original DARK – Season 1. Know why it took me so long to do a follow up?
Because this show is WORK! But it’s the best kind of work. It’s the kind that makes you think and stop and rewind and say, Oh WAIT A MINUTE and did that just mean what I think it means? And if you’re here, you already know all this because you’ve watched the first season. And you have probably watched the second season. But now you’re trying to untangle the knots in your head before you venture into the third season.
Thanks to one of my lovely readers (I’m looking at YOU, Alan), I have some new and better information for the Netflix original, Dark Season 2.
Just as a quick aside, if you have no idea what I’m talking about or you’re just resisting this show because “it’s foreign” – just get over yourself already. Either turn on the subtitles and read the show or put up with mediocre voice dubbing (which I have to do so I can fully focus on the story) and WATCH THIS SHOW!
When two children go missing in a small German town, its sinful past is exposed along with the double lives and fractured relationships that exist among four families as they search for the kids. The mystery-drama series introduces an intricate puzzle filled with twists that includes a web of curious characters, all of whom have a connection to the town’s troubled history — whether they know it or not. The story includes supernatural elements that tie back to the same town in 1986. “Dark” represents the first German original series produced for Netflix
It’s like a crime drama, supernatural thriller, and time travel sci-fi all wrapped into one. But you’re gonna need some guidance and that’s what I’m here for.
So what changed from season 1 to season 2? We discovered that there aren’t just three key time periods (1953, 1986, 2019). We found that there are repeating 33 year cycles that go back to 1921, at least. And 2052, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
Let’s dive deep into the characters and see if we can make some sense of Dark season 2.
Nielsen Family Tree from DARK
We’re formally introduced to Noah, the brother of Agnes, who is the grandmother of Ulrich and great-grandmother of Mikkel. In 1920, we see Noah creating the beginning of the tunnel in what becomes “The Cave.” But by the end of Season 2, Noah dies, at the hands of his own sister Agnes.
I also think that Ulrich continues to be one of the more fascinating characters.
Blink and you’ll miss her but Erna is the innkeeper in Winden when Jonas makes his way back to 1921. She’s also the mother of Noah and Agnes.
We actually meet 1953 Agnes in season 1 but 1921 Agnes appears in season 2, looking remarkably the same age. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of her. Also, she’s clearly the matriarch of the Nielsen lineage but we still don’t know where the Nielsen name came from.
I can’t confirm Noah’s last name but I can confirm that he gets around. We first meet him in 2019 but he’s also back in 1986 interacting with Helge. And then we meet a not so nice version back in 1921. But then we see this older version of Noah also in 1921. We also find out (BOMBSHELL) is that he is the father of Charlotte, with his amour Elizabeth. We have to assume that happens somewhere along the timeline but who know where. I forgot how confusing this show is.
The father of Ulrich and Mads, who fancied a little Claudia on the side.
The mother of Ulrich and Mads.
Katharina – poor thing – targeted by Hannah over the years, loses both her son and her husband. But by the end, she’s ready to embrace this time travel thing.
Ulrich took a crazy turn in season 2. He’s stuck back in 1953 and is clearly held captive for 33 years and now resides at some sort of institution. So Ulrich is both young and old in 1986. And he looks freakily like how Ulrich would actually age!
At the end of season 2, Magnus uses the time machine, along with Bartosz, Francizka, and older Jonas. We don’t know where they necessarily turn up but this is clearly an older Magnus hanging out with Adam in 1921.
Mikkel is Michael is Mikkel. Don’t think about this too much otherwise your head will hurt.
We only saw one aged version of Martha in season 2 but it’s not the SAME Martha. When Jonas asks her what time she’s from, she says that it’s not what time but what world. Definitely set up for season 3.
Tiedemann Family Tree from DARK
If we thought the Nielsens we twisted, the Tiedemanns are full of their own secrets. Claudia proves to be a pretty significant character in how this story plays out but we still don’t know exactly what her role is.
We see much more of Egon in this season and see his end, unfortunately at the hands of Claudia. But we also know that the 1953 Egon garners some interest from the new time traveler, Hannah. We can’t wait to see where that goes in season 3.
We see that Claudia is a significant part of this show. She ends up traveling from 1986 to 2019 but we definitely see her at different ages in different years.
Poor Regina battles breast cancer in this season and it’s not going well. And she finally reunites with her mother Claudia, although we never really knew what came between them.
We didn’t get many answers about Aleksander (who we know is living under a borrowed identity) this season but we do find that he changes his last name to Regina’s.
I guessed at one point that Bartosz might be Adam. I don’t think that’s the case but this guy is clearly getting a bum deal. He’s bullied into finally sharing the time machine with Jonas, Franziska, and Magnus, just in time for the apocalypse. We know he goes somewhere and I don’t think they ever confirm it but it’s WIDELY speculated that this guy from 1921 is Bartosz (we see young Noah kill him).
Doppler Family Tree from DARK
We didn’t know where Charlotte came from. We only knew she was raised by her “grandfather.” Well, we found out now. Her origins are just as twisted as Jonas, and her kids play a meatier role in this season.
Bernd seemed like a nice enough guy when he started working on the nuclear power plant. And we know he was certainly kinder to his son Helge.
Is your brain still hurting from this? Charlotte is the mother of Elisabeth who is the mother of Charlotte. They’re in some sort of endless loop. Which must mean that Charlotte was born in the future and brought back in time. By Noah?
We see an older Franziska back in 1921, along with Magnus, at the very end along with Adam.
Elisabeth follows a different path than her sister. While Franziska ends up in 1921, Elisabeth doesn’t appear to time travel, but simply ages into 2052.
Kahnwald Family Tree from DARK
The smallest but perhaps most twisted family of the series. Jonas is at the heart of it all and can’t quite figure out where or IF he belongs. We suspect, though, that season 3 will take him not just into a new timeline but a new world.
That mole keeps us straight. But we still haven’t figured out why Hannah didn’t like her, have we?
Mikkel is Michael is Mikkel. See above. This poor kid/guy. After all he’s been through, he ends up married to Hannah.
If you don’t hiss every time Hannah is on screen, are you even really a fan of Dark? I thought maybe she was misunderstood. Then she went back to 1953. She’s pure evil. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Jonas definitely gets around. And you could say that Jonas is Adam is Jonas. But I’m still not buying it. I don’t think Jonas is Adam. But I do want to figure out what happened to his face. Clearly, fire was involved.
Final Thoughts on Dark Season 2
This post is long overdue because it gets VERY complicated when you try to turn a cyclical show into a linear map. But I’m hoping this will help refresh you as you venture into the third and final season of Dark.
The one thing that we can be sure of… we WILL get answers.
Dark was mapped out as a 3 season show. That means, in theory, that someone has a really complicated string diagram somewhere as they wrote this show. Confession: I’ve already started season 3 (only watched the first two episodes) and I’m already getting confused about what happened in season 2 and what they’ve already answered in season 3.
Stay tuned because I suspect I’ll have a follow up post to this that will cover every single confusing point that’s made in this show. And if you love to dive deep into details, be sure to check out our podcast coverage of each episode over on Stinger Universe!