Netflix Dark Season 1 Episode 10 Recap: Alpha and Omega

Helge vs. Helge. Photo: Netflix

"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.

This episode open on the day of Mikkel's disappearance. Peter sits in the parking lot of the truck stop. It's raining, and we can see him staring at Benni's trailer. He looks like he would like nothing better than to visit Benni. Instead, he drives off without getting out of the vehicle. 

Cut to: Peter arrives at Helge's cabin. He goes down the stairs and sit on the bench, mumbling the Serenity Prayer to himself. Suddenly, a black blob that becomes a hole appears in the bunker, and a body falls through it. It's Mads Nielsen. Peter moves to the body and begins to administer CPR. He then calls Tronte, asking him to come right away. Tronte arrives and has an emotional breakdown as he falls to his knees beside the body of his lost son. A few moments later, old Claudia comes downstairs. She says there's a lot of explain but first, they need to move the body of Mads to the place it must be found. In addition, they don't have much time to do that. 

Cut to: Theme Song and title credits

Cut to: It's November 12, 2019 (8 days after Mikkel's disappearance). Jonas lies in bed. An arm comes around him. When Jonas turns over to see who is there, it's a vision of Mikkel, staring into Jonas' eyes. He wakes up, sweaty. He starts to take his medication, then decides not to take his daily dose for some reason. He looks at the nightstand and see the globe light and the radiation detector. 

Cut to: Martha is in a room with Bartosz. She's pacing the floor and crying. Bartosz is watching her. She tells him about what Jonas has done. He gives her a hug and tells her everything is okay, but the look on Bartosz face tells us that nothing is okay. He is very angry that Martha is complaining to him about Jonas, especially after Jonas already stood him up. Martha also mentions she barely recognizes herself anymore. 

Cut to: Charlotte arrives at the nursing home to check on her father and learns he has run off. From the conversation, we learn that Helge has done this before. But Ulrich hasn't been back since their last encounter (as far as the nursing home staff knows). 

Cut to: Like Jonas before, Helge wakes up in the deer stand, wearing a cap and warm clothes. Remember this is 1986, and Helge is here to try and stop the younger version of himself from moving forward in his partnership with Noah. 

Cut to: In 2019, Jonah talks with Ines. He wants to know if Ines knew that Mikkel was from another time. He calls Mikkel "the boy from the future." She says that she has always known Mikkel was a disturbed little boy but also thought maybe his beliefs about his past were rooted in mental illness that could be cured with the right home. She doesn't say this directly, but it's implied, she tried to "save him" by giving him a good home. She does admit that he told her he was from the future. Jonas then loses his temper. If you knew then, asks Jonas, why didn't you stop it? She didn't think he would take his own life. But you could have saved Mikkel! But what Jonas really means is, you didn't save me [Jonas]. This is backed up because Jonas tells her how confusing it is that he has another grandmother (Katharina) and that his grandfather (Ulrich) is sleeping with his mother and that he kissed his aunt. 

He ends this tirade with a statement that the weird thing is that they are all fine. He is the one who doesn't fit and is off. The truth is, Jonas couldn't be more wrong. None of the people in this scenario are fine. Katharina has lost a child and knows her husband has been cheating on her, Ulrich is lost in 1953 and being beaten up in prison, Mikkel is lost in another time period, and Hannah leads a bitter life seeking revenge against Ulrich because he didn't choose her. This shows the tendency of humans to want to center themselves in their story as the most important. This is a big theme in "Dark." Many of the characters is unhappy with the way things are going. Instead of accepting the course of events, they want to "right the wrongs of the past." They try to set things right, only with each move, they only move closer to filling the role they were always meant to play. Jonas believes his story is worse than anyone else and fails to see the big picture. 

Mikkel shows Ines a magic trick. Photo: Netflix.

She then gets up to show Jonas the wooden box with his dad's letter inside. Remember that in an earlier episode, Jonas was given the same letter, but it was in much worse condition. Jonas burned the letter after deciding to leave Mikkel in the past. Now he's surprised to see it intact. 

Ines ends the conversation by saying everything happens for a reason, and who are we to play God. We should live in the here and now. Jonas just wants things to go back to "normal." 

Cut to: Mikkel and Ines in 1986. He shows Ines the trick where you hide an object under one of two cups. It's the same trick he showed Ulrich in the first episode. He shares how Houdini wanted nothing more than to be a magician. She asks if he shares the same dream. He replies sadly that he does but the magic he wants to do is to finally wake up. Ines tries to cheer him up by telling him the story of Master Zhuang's paradox. A person dreams he is a butterfly and then wakes up. Now he's not sure if he's a person who dreamt he was a butterfly or a butterfly who is dreaming he is a person. Which are you? Mikkel says he is both. 

Cut to: 1953, Ulrich is having his mug shot taken as ordered by Egon. It's at this point that Egon tells Ulrich that he is Egon Tiedemann. Ulrich stares into the camera and begin to laugh hysterically. He then look straight into Egon's eyes and quotes those familiar words, "My only aim is to take many lives. The more, the better I feel." Lyrics taken from, of course, Kreator's "Pleasure to Kill." Egon then asks if he's a Satanist. No, laughs Ulrich, I'm a cop! Egon begins asking him about the missing boys and Helge. Ulrich repeats that he has stopped the murders, and if they will only let me him out, he can prove it. Of course, they will do no such thing. As they are locking him up inside a cell, Ulrich begins to verbally assault Egon about his future as a drunkard whose wife will leave him. Egon seems shaken by this outburst, but retain his dignity and leave Ulrich to rant. 

Cut to: 2019, Jonas arrives at Winden High. Bartosz is waiting for him in the rain. He's super pissed that Jonas stood him up. He reminds Jonas of how good a friend he was for covering up his dad's death by suicide and how he lied about him being in France. He then lets Jonas know that Martha told him everything and being to push him around for kissing her. He then insults Jonas' father, and that gets Jonas to fight him. The two of them are rolling around in the rain until Martha comes outside to break things up. At the sight of her, Jonas backs up and begins to high tail it out of there. Martha just looks after him forlornly. 

Cut to: 1986. the Stranger enter the shop of H.G. Tannhaus and notices that he fixed the machine. Ah, now Tannhaus shows him that there are two machines and the newer, shinier version he built has never been used. He then shows him that Ulrich's cellphone (he doesn't call it a cellphone, of course) interacts with the machine. When the phone comes near the machine, it triggers the operation. The two devices "talk" to each other. If it weren't for the Stranger coming in to ask him to build the machine, he would never have figured out how the machine worked. So the past informs the future, and the future influences the past. There are also two valves included in the plans that he's not sure of their purpose. The Stranger shows him a small tube with something inside. It's Cs-137, a radioactive isotope of Cesium, and that what he pilfered from the yellow barrels last episode. The isotopes generate a Higgs Field, remarks Tannhaus. Basically this scene is the two of them nerding out over science, which is kind of fun. 

The black hole opens a portal between 1986 and 1953. Photo: Netflix.

The Cesium expands in mass and then implodes into a black hole, which is what happened in the power plant so long ago. The Stranger ends their talk by asking Tannhaus why he decided to help. Tannhaus replies that he has a feeling that his whole life has boiled down to this one moment. That he's a part of the puzzle and that he should not stop anything from happening. He wants to know what the future is like. The Stranger just answers that he hopes it's different after today. The Stranger and Tannhaus both represent a side of the predeterminism/fate vs. free choice. Tannhaus believes he was meant to fulfill his role, while the Stranger wants to claim agency that he can change the future. 

Cut to: 2019, Charlotte calls Peter again about his father. She wants to know when he was kidnapped, and he tells her 1953, 66 years ago. Peter tries to talk to her again, but she jumps off the phone quickly. 

Cut to: 1986: middle-aged Helge comes to the cabin and finds old Helge sitting on the steps. Old Helge wants to tell younger Helge that he needs to stop. He [Noah] is using you. His promises are lies. He isn't the chosen one. The two men look at each other and notice each other's damaged ears. Helge wants old Helge to stop talking. He ends up driving off in his car. Old Helge changes his wording from, "You have to stop" to "I have to stop." 

Cut to: 2019, Jonas is in his dad's studio. He comes downstairs. Hannah sits at the table. She asks him where he's been and what happened. He tells her he got into a fight, then hugs his mom, and ends with the never-assuring message, "Everything will be okay." He is going to leave but will be back. He looks happy and ready to change the world. Hannah wants to know where he's going, but of course, he tells her nothing.

Cut to: 2019, Tronte and Peter sit in the bunker. Peter mentions that Charlotte asked him about the cabin and Helge and what happened in 1953. Tronte says just a few hours more and Mads will live. Do you believe her? They seem to be talking about Claudia who has made them some promises. Also, everything she said would happen has happened according to prediction (similar words spoken by Bartosz of Noah). 

Cut to: 1986, Helge and Noah have one of their talks about where Helge questions Noah and Noah talks Helge down. Noah says there is no God. Well, if there's no God, why do we believe a lie? Noah tells Helge that his pain has made him who he is today. Noah speaks about a man that lived with his family -- a boarder. I am very curious about who this man could be. It's then revealed that Noah has decided Jonas is his next target of a boy to kidnap. 

Cut to: 1986, Jonas comes out of the cave. We then move to the hospital, where a CPS worker comes to pick up Mikkel for the children's home. She tries to speak to Mikkel but he just sits on the bed, unresponsive. Ines makes a decision. She wants to adopt Mikkel and take temporary custody of him while the adoption is being processed. The workers seems taken aback, but Ines mentions that she has a home and a job. More importantly, he trusts her and talks other. 

Back to Jonas. Charlotte sits in the woods, sketching pictures of the dead birds. Jonas asks what year it is. It's November 12, 1986. She wants to know if he's from there, and he says no, but that he's come to bring someone back form the dead. She then wants to know if he can bring the birds back. He says no. 

Cut to 2019, Charlotte sits in front of a machine, studying old newspaper clippings. She finds the mug shot taken of Ulrich. The headline reads "Is this Man a Child Murderer?" Boy is Charlotte surprised to see such a familiar face. 

Jonas finally learns the identity of the Stranger. Photo: Netflix.

Cut to: 1953, three men enter Ulrich's cell. Daniel Kahnwald and tow armed guards. Daniel wants to know where Helge is, and Ulrich doesn't want to tell. He's afraid that if she divulges, Helge will live be able to go on his "killing rampage." All three men beat him simultaneously, while Egon listens outside. 

Cut to 1986, Jonas enters Mikkel's room in the hospital to find Noah sitting in a chair next to the bed. Jonas wants to know who he [Noah] is, and middle-aged Helge comes up behind him and either drugs him or cuts off his oxygen long enough for him to pass out. 

Cut to: 1986, Jonas sits in the blue wallpaper room. He calls for help and is answered by the Stranger! He's outside the cell but won't let him out. The Stranger tells him that the machine is an early prototype of the time machine but they [Helge and Noah] can't get it to work yet, so they keep experimenting on the boys. Jonas is the latest guinea pig. The blue wallpaper room is directly under the the Sic Mundus tunnel. He then drops the big reveal of the season. Perhaps you saw it coming. The Stranger is Jonas, 33 years older. He was the one who gave Jonas the older letter. He has been through everything Jonas has. And he can't let him out, because Jonas needs to become him. 

Jonas begs the Stranger to stop talking. He wants to bring Mikkel back. The Strangers say no and leaves Jonas to his fate, although to his credit, he seems a little torn up about it at least. 

Cut to: 1986, middle-aged Helge drives in a car, waiting at a stoplight. As he idles waiting for the light to switch, a car swerves out of nowhere and intentionally smashes into him. The car is driven by old Helge. Old Helge is dead, and middle-aged Helge just adds another injury to his medical history. 

Cut to: 2019, Charlotte reads the article about Helge in a car crash. She receives a text from Peter, who wants her to come to the cabin. 

Cut to: 2019, Noah and Bartosz talk in Noah's fancy black car. He share that Stranger Jonas belives he will close the black hole, when, in fact, his actions are what lead to its existence in the first place. Claudia is also working against them. There are two groups trying to control time: the light and shadow. He assures Bartosz that they are the light side. Bartosz' face shows he doubts this, but he needs to get revenge on Jonas. Noah warns him specifically about Claudia. 

Cut to: Strange Jonas sits in the Sic Mundus tunnel. The machine is working. All 3 cylinders are running, operated by the cellphone. As he looks down the tunnel, he sees the bloody and oil-covered face of Michael Kahnwald. As the musical interlude plays, we see Ines and Mikkel outside in the moonlight (1986), Charlotte meeting Peter at the hatch (2019), Katharina trying to call Ulrich, Ulrich bloody in his jail cell (1953), Tannhaus in his shop (1953), Doris and Agnes in 1953, Hannah in 2019, and many other characters. Lastly, we see a black hole forming in the sky, and Claudia and Aleksander watching it unfold. 

Song: "A Quiet Life" by Teho Teardo & Blixa Bergald

Cut to 1986 and 1953. Young Helge sits in the bunker in 1953. Jonas sits in the blue wallpaper room in 1953. As the black hole opens up, the two are able to see each other. They touch hands are both transported. Helge wakes up in 1986, in the blue wallpaper, where Jonas was standing. Jonas wakes up in a different place. 

Jonas gets up and looks around. We see the board, on which all of the pictures of the characters are hung. The sounds of fighter planes can be heard close by. Jonas walks outside to find a bleak landscape. All signs of vegetation seems to be gone. As he's standing there, a vehicle carrying many passengers drives up. The people are holding loaded weapons. "What year is it?" Jonas yells. For his trouble, he is told welcome to the future and gets a gun butt to the head. 

Welcome to the future, Jonas. It's 2052. Photo: Netflix.

Burning questions:
  • What happens to Stranger Jonas now? Noah claims his actions cause the black hole. Does he realize right away his plan didn't work? 
  • How long will Ulrich rot in a jail cell?
  • What will Charlotte do now that she realizes time travel is possible?
  • Is Claudia really evil as Noah says? 
  • Are there any good guys at all? 
  • How will Mikkel's life play out with Ines?
This season finale ended on a somewhat dissatisfying note. Many times, season finales tie up loose threads while dropping new threads. In the case of Dark, no threads were truly tied up. We know the identity of the Stranger, so that was a good reveal. But Mikkel is still lost, Ulrich is now lost, Jonas is in some post-apocalyptic world, and no one is fine, except maybe Doris and Agnes. That doesn't mean it's not interesting, but as a season finale, it just added new mysteries. 

This season got us close to all four families, made us comfortable with the laws of time travel, and showed us the central conflict that all the characters face. Can I control the future or the past? There are characters like Jonas, Ulrich, and Helge, who all believe they can change things. Yet, it just causes more chaos. On the other hand, you have characters like Tannhaus, Claudia, and Ines that promote the idea of being caught up in story and not interfering or trying to impose will upon what happens. 

Which groups seems happier? 

Sic Mundus Creatus Est

Comments