Netflix Dark Season 2 Episode 2 Recap: Dark Matter

Daan Lennard Liebrenz as MIKKEL

Dark is one of the best Netflix original series to date. To see a description of the show and all of my episode recaps, go here.

The last episode was the season 2 opener, and we mainly touched base with all the main characters. Episode 2 future explores the world of the future in 2053, with Jonas hoping to use the God particle to travel back to his time. In episode 2, the action picks up noticeably. It's a year after the show began in 2019. We are now in 2020. Mikkel is older, as well as the rest of the original cast of characters (Jonas, Martha, Bartosz, Franziska, and Magnus). It's time to see if they can come any closer to solving the puzzle and reunite as a teen team.  

Episode 2 Dark Matter

As we start the episode, it's 2053; Jonas desperately wants to enter the blue/black pulsing blob known as the God particle because it appears to be a time portal. He learns this from listening to the audio recordings left by Claudia Tiedemann. In order to enter, the particle must be stable and electrically balanced. The generator lacks enough sufficient AC current, and Jonas feels quite frustrated. He is out of fuel and ideas. This begs the question as to when Claudia made these recordings. 

She says, "We have managed to stabilize the God particle (who is we?). It seems to create a kind of portal which possibly allows for time travel (based on what?). Sending objects through the stabilized matter has already proved possible (what objects?) We aren't sure what the energy source is." Jonas doesn't stop to consider any of these issues. He just hears there's a possibility of time travel. 

Cut to: The opening credits and theme music. 

Cut to: June 22, 1987, 5 days until the Apocalypse. At the Kahnwald house, Mikkel wakes up in his room, the same bedroom that Jonas uses now. The wall has a Goonies poster. He goes downstairs to find Ines buttering bread. She's wearing blue. He tells her sadly that today is his Mom's birthday. She reminds him that "the past is the past." His shirt has tennis racquets on it -- no Harry Houdini fandom in this household 

Cut to: The Tiedemann house, where Claudia lives with Regina. Back at this time, the Tiedemann house looks more like a modest condo. Yet, as we learn later, it's on the same piece of property that will become the site of the luxurious Tiedemann house we see in 2019. Claudia needs to arrive at the power plant early so Egon arrives to drive teenage Regina to school. Egon wants to tell Claudia some news, but she's too busy to listen at the moment. He's also very surprised to see the dog, Gretchen, run up to Claudia. Remember in season 1 that Gretchen traveled through time by entering the cave in 1953 and came out in 1986. Regina, by the way, has had a makeover and has ditched the glasses and added makeup. Her frizz hair is now smooth. Her relationship with young Aleksander is the likely cause. 

Cut to: The Winden police station in 2020. Charlotte glances at the Sic Mundus group photo and studies the picture of Noah. Clausen enters her office and reminds her that they are supposed to go question suspects today, starting with Regina Tiedemann. He seems especially suspicious of Aleksander and Ulrich. He thinks it's odd that Aleksander took Regina's last name. 

Louis Hofmann as JONAS

Cut to: The Doppler house. Elisabeth and Franziska sit on the couch, watching TV. Magnus barges in angrily and tells Franziska he knows where she goes now to get her money. He then accuses her of cheating with Benni. Franziska gets angry back and tells Magnus that it's none of his business but that she delivers hormone therapy pills to Benni for pay. Magnus deflates a little but instead of apologizing, just walks out. 

Cut to: The Kahnwald house. Stranger Jonas comes downstairs and shows Hannah the time machine. She has been looking at old photos of the family. He believes that keeping secrets is the problem and that Hannah needs to see to believe. She needs to see "Dad's secret." 

Cut to: 1987, Mikkel approaches the schoolyard cautiously. He seems hesitant to enter the crowd. Teenage Katharina runs into him and makes a rude comment. Hannah is with her. As she walks past Mikkel, Hannah seems to recognize him. When Katharina calls for Hannah, she moves away from him and heads toward the school. Remember, today is Katharina's birthday, and Mikkel wants nothing more than to be safe at home in his mother's arms. Mikkel chooses to leave school. 

Across town, at the Winden power plant, Claudia arrives to find that she has a guest in the lobby, claiming that Gretchen is hers. It's the older Claudia, the Claudia from the future, who greets Claudia in her own office. The old Claudia says she remembers being in the young Claudia's shoes and that she needs to convince her about the important role she needs to play. 

Cut to: Egon receives a call at his home. The person informs him that his cancer has spread. We see that he has the police diary out and he's perusing the old news articles about Mads Nielsen being missing. It's the case he never solved. He looks at the diary that reads "why not Forest Road?" It was a question he planned to ask Helge that never got answered.

[L-R] Bela Gabor Lenz as ALEKSANDER and Lydia Makrides as REGINA

Back in 2053, Jonas enters a building and uses an electrical current to get a CD player working. The CD player blasts Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds." The music alerts some of the militants to arrive in a truck, looking at the source of the noise. As they investigate, Jonas siphons gas from the truck and stores it in a container to fill the generator later. 

Cut to: 1987, Aleksander and Regina cuddle in the woods. Regina is wearing a pair of adorable yellow pumps. She asks Aleksander if he believes in ghosts. That the adults in her life seem to be haunted by ghosts and demons. She feels sad that her mother is never around and never says I love you. Aleksander tells Regina that he loves her. Seeing Regina and Aleksander together always makes me happy. In season 1, Regina was this bespectacled girl that got bullied at school. Then Aleksander shows up and she has someone to care for her. And young Aleksander is quite fetching. 

Back in 2020, Regina is being questioned by Charlotte and Clausen, but mostly Clausen. He asks her what her relationship is to the Nielsens. She denies that they have any kind of relationship, but Clausen has been doing his research. He knows that Ulrich came to the hotel to confront her. He asks her about that and about why Aleksander took her last name. Regina tells him that Ulrich came to talk to her about the night her brother went missing and that she was the last person to see Mads. She also confesses to Clausen that a Stranger (Stranger Jonas) came to stay at the hotel a year ago and left all of these creepy pictures. He also asked her to mail a package to Jonas. Charlotte picks up one of the items and tells Clausen she needs to go and that he can take a cab home. She seems quite upset. 

Meanwhile, we see that Stranger Jonas has brought Hannah to the cave. He turns on the time machine and takes Hannah through. The cave is vibrating. 

As this is happening, in 1987, Mikkel is walking in the woods and senses the vibrations. He runs towards the cave. Perhaps he hopes that he can walk through again. He walks to the mouth of the cave but finds nothing ... at first. Then Mikkel looks up and sees Noah. Noah asks him why he isn't in school. Mikkel gives a vague answer and then remembers Noah from the hospital. Noah seems to understand that Mikkel feels sad. He reassures Mikkel that God has a plan. Mikkel wants to know what if God messes up. Noah replies simply that Mikkel needs faith. 

[L-R] Lisa Kreuzer as CLAUDIA, Julika Jenkins as CLAUDIA

Still in 1987, Egon goes to visit Helge at the assisted living facility. Egon pretends it's a friendly visit, but he's trying to interrogate Helge about why he didn't take the Forest Road back before. Helge gets freaked out and says that "He said he can change everything. The future and the past. And that not even the white devil could stop it." Well that gets Egon's attention for sure. Helge mentions the man with the rock, which confuses Egon because that happened back in 1954. Also Helge mentioned the White Devil in the past, as a child. 

Meanwhile, the Claudias are also in the cave and the older Claudia continues to explain that Adam must be stopped. Older Claudia shows younger Claudia the time machine, just like Jonas shows Hannah. Younger Claudia is obviously confused but takes the pages that older Claudia gives her (pages from the diary?). Claudia tells her that in 5 days the apocalypse will happen. And that if they do everything correctly, Regina will live. 

Back in 2053, Jonas enters the forbidden dead zone with his can of gas and is immediately caught by Elisabeth and her guards. 

Back in 2020, Charlotte calls Peter upset after seeing the pictures in the Stranger's box. The drawings the Stranger had on his wall were the same drawings in her grandfather's Journey Through Time book. She wonders what connection her grandfather had to the disappearing boys. 

Back in 2053, Jonas has been strung up for hanging. Elisabeth makes a point of saying that he knows the rules. Jonas begins to argue, screaming that there is no paradise and no prophecy. Elisabeth gets mad and shoots him in the leg. Then she allows him to hang for a few seconds, before shooting him down. The girl from the future seems to be very moved by Jonas' plight. Elisabeth does not allow him to die. 

Back in 1987, Egon is still on the phone asking about the man they arrested in 1954, meaning Ulrich. He discovers that Ulrich is still alive and being held at a psychiatric hospital nearby. He goes to visit Ulrich. The attending nurse tells Egon that they call him the Inspector. Egon wants to know if Ulrich gets day passes. Egon approaches a much older Ulrich. He has long gray hair. He asks Ulrich if he remembers him. Ulrich begins laughing and says, "How could I forget you?" He quotes the lyrics from Kreator's "Pleasure to Kill" that the two have saying to each other on a loop. Egon said them to Ulrich when he was a teenager in 1986. Ulrich said them to Egon in 1953 as a joke. And here again. When Egon hears the lyrics he thinks it means Ulrich is a mass murderer: "My only aim is to take many lives/ The more the better I feel." Amazing to think that across town, young Ulrich Nielsen lives in the Nielsen house at the same time as  his older self. Ulrich won't tell Egon anything and tells him that he knows when he dies. Egon, of course, has no idea the "crazy man" is the same teenager he has persecuted unfairly for at least a year. 

Claudia digs up the time machine

Meanwhile, Ines greets Mikkel at the door. She has been worried about him and knows he didn't go to school. Mikkel just looks at her sadly. Ines decides to cheer him up by making Toast Hawaii as a snack. Before that, Mikkel wants to know if Ines believes in God. She says yes and that God brought them together. Fun fact: Toast Hawaii is a real recipe that was popularized on a 1950s German cooking show by a celebrity cook named Clemens Wilmenrod. It's basically toast with ham, cheese, pineapple, and a cherry on top.

Cut to: In 2053, Jonas sits in prison, in pain from his gunshot wound. Elisabeth's assistant enters and points her rifle at Jonas, demanding answers. She wants to know why Elisabeth didn't kill him. Who are you? Finally, she relents but wants Jonas to show her the God particle. 

Musical interlude: "Thunder" by RY X

During this interlude, Jonas leads the girl from the future to the God particle. Ulrich and Egon both contemplate things at their respective rooms. Peter finds Charlotte at home and hugs her. And the big one: Stranger Jonas shows Hannah young Mikkel, and she finally puts the heartbreaking truth together: Mikkel, the boy she greeted at the hospital, is actually her husband, Michael Kahnwald. She feels devastated by this revelation, as she must now better understand his loneliness and inability to connect with her emotionally. 

Cut to: Outside the Tiedemann house, Claudia follows the map and begins to dig at the marked spot. It's a clever shot, as while we watch Claudia dig and find the time machine, we see older Claudia burying the time machine in the 1950s, before the power plant was created. There is a nice parallelism to the fact that Claudia buries the machine as Claudia digs it up in the future. 

In the final scene, Jonas gets the generator working. As the girl from the future watches, the God particle stabilizes, and he walks through. 

And that's a wrap. This episode had a lot of good reveals in it. The character of Claudia becomes more interesting and less of a mystery. Jonas has gotten one step closer to finding a way forward, maybe? And Hannah has a moment of remorse. Probably my favorite moment has to be Egon getting to see Ulrich. You hope maybe Egon is having a moment of clarity and that Ulrich will be released. 

Burning questions: 
  • Why did Elisabeth decide not to kill Jonas, even after he disobeyed the rules?
  • What's the guard's connection to Jonas? She seems to know him better than we initially thought. 
  • What will Claudia do now that she has the time machine? 

Sic Mundus Creatus Est


Unknown said…
I love your comments and they really help me. But isn't it really 2020 all of the times you reference it as being 2021?
Unknown said…
I get a question,who's with Charlotte's grandpa in the picture frame? Isn't that similar to the girl who was with young Jonas in 2053? please tell me I'm wrong, it's a bit confusing because the relationship of characters is complicated with other characters, every possibility is obvious
Lindsey said…
The young lady who is in the framed picture of the white-haired HG Tannhaus is Charlotte herself as a teenager. The girl who helps Jonas escape in 2053 has brown hair. At this point, all you know her as is the girl from the future. This is not the same girl in the picture. It is a lot to keep track of. Let me know if you have more questions.
Anonymous said…
Thanks you for the helpful recaps! I’m a bit confused as to how it’s “5 days until the apocalypse” in 1987, since the apocalypse was in 2020?
Lindsey said…
The apocalypse happens chronologically in 2020. I am guessing that this "5 days until the Apocalypse" marker means that across the timeline/loop it's 5 days until the Apocalypse. For instance, middle-aged Claudia is from 1987. Yet she travels with Jonas to 2020 and encounters the apocalypse. Also event the actual explosion happens in 2020, it is triggered in 1987 (we don't see this in the show until season 3). But when things happen they happen across all timelines. When we see the apocalypse occur at the end of season 2, things happen in each time period so they are using this to give us a sense of how close we are to that event. IT's an omnipresent view to time travel, as if we are God.
Georges said…
Thanks a lot for your recap posts, really helps me put the pieces together. I have a question - since Hannah met Mikkel/Michael since they were kids in school, how come she never pieced the puzzle that Ulrich's son looks a lot like her husband when they were younger?

I'm probably mixing something up. Thanks!
Lindsey said…
That's a great question. I think maybe it speaks to the concept of deja vu itself. Haven't you ever seen someone and though boy! they look familiar. But can't quite piece together where you have seen someone. Hannah maybe did see Mikkel in town, but she didn't notice him because she was too busy obsessing over Ulirch and thinking of ways to get his attention. Her focus was elsewhere. She probably wasn't looking closely at him. In one of the episodes, she does get struck by a similarity but it quickly goes away.

Also Mikkel is out of context. Since her mind isn't welcome to the thought of time travel, it would never dawn on her that he looked like her husband as a child.