Netflix Dark Season 1 Episode 5 Recap: Truths

In both time periods, the police investigation is going nowhere. 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.

Episode 1.5 Truths

In the last episode, the characters at large were hitting many dead ends when it becomes to solving various mysteries. Yasin has just become the third boy that has gone missing, following the disappearances of Erik and Mikkel. As we open the episode, the camera shows parallel shots of Egon, Charlotte, Hannah, Ulrich, and Ines in 1986 and 2019, reminding us that our story now contains multiple time periods, and that we are watching these characters in both timelines. Although they have aged 33 years, their stories seem to be repeating themselves. As part of the montage, we also see Martha, Jonas, and Bartosz, and their "love triangle." Bartosz has tried to call Martha 22 times with no answer. Martha is trying to call Jonas, wanting to talk. In his needy state, Bartosz also tries to call Jonas. Yet they are all alone in their thoughts. No two people are reaching out to each other at the same time. Ulrich examines a game piece that is yellow, a trinket from the magic trick that Mikkel showed him. Jonas examines the red cord. 

After the title credits, we open on Winden in 2019. The radio commentator announces that the third boy has gone missing and no clues or progress has been made. We see angry crowds standing outside the police station when Ulrich pulls up. People are upset that the police seems to be failing. The camera also shows Egon looking at evidence in 1986 and Charlotte in 2019, reminding us that both of them are stuck.

Back at the Doppler house, Charlotte interrogates Elisabeth about the man, Noah, she met in the woods. She tells Elisabeth that Yasin is missing and that any information she can provide might be useful. This is all perfectly natural conversation you would expect Charlotte to have with her daughter, only she's interrogating her like a suspect brought in for questioning. Elisabeth is in tears thinking about poor Yasin, but she manages to sign that the man was as tall as Dad, had blue eyes, and wore a hat. After Charlotte stops the line of questioning, Peter tells her she's being too rough on Elisabeth. Charlotte then turns her attention onto him. Where were you the night Mikkel disappeared? He tells her that, of course, he was at work. Charlotte finally pulls out the print out of his car driving by the woods and calls him him out. Then demands to know if he knows anything about the missing kids. Then he gets angry and says she's crazy. 

Back in 1986, Ines continues to try and get Mikkel to talk, giving him a gift wrapped in yellow paper. She wants to earn his trust, and tries to get him to open up by saying his parents must be worried. He remains silent, of course. 

Back at Winden Hotel, the stranger has completely filled the walls of his room with papers, newspaper clippings, and images. The walls are barely visible. One of the images shown is a labyrinth and a lithograph of the Minotaur, going back to the reference about Ariadne's thread and the Minotaur's maze. He puts the machine into the suitcase and leaves the room, stopping at the front desk to tell Regina he is leaving for a few days but would like to keep the room. He also asks her to deliver a box that reads "Jonas Kahnwald." Of course, we wonder what's in the box. 

The stranger has filled the walls of his room with papers about the missing boys. Photo: Netflix. 

Back at his house, Bartosz tries again to call Martha and once again gets her voicemail. He looks at the cellphone found in the bag of dope and sees the message that there's only one attempt left to unlock the phone. The phone then begins ringing from an unknown caller. Bartosz answers the phone and a voice says, "Bartosz, this is Noah." Bartosz is confused that this man knows his name.

Hannah is tired of Ulrich ignoring her and decides to show up at his house, with the excuse that she made a casserole for the family. Very clever, Hannah, make yourself out to be a "good friend and neighbor." Katharina doesn't seem too excited but she lets her in, feeling obligated because of the food. Hannah asks about Magnus and Martha, and, oh, by the way, where is Ulrich? He's in the shower. He comes down and finds Hannah, clearly taken aback. Ulrich is going back to work, and Hannah asks for a ride home. Ulrich has no choice but to comply or look like a total a-hole. Katharina seems almost eager for Ulrich to go, giving Hannah good sniff as she gives her a hug. Ulrich, my friend, you have been found out. 

Jonas and Bartosz hang out at the Tiedemann household, smoking pot and playing video games. Just like Hannah was trying to get info about Ulrich from Katharina, Bartosz casually asks Jonas about Martha. It's clear he's just using Jonas to feel better about himself. He tells Jonas about Noah and says he is "meeting Erik's dealer tonight." He wants Jonas to come with him to the meeting, and Jonas says sure. Always. 

Jonas has to listen to Bartosz complain about his love life. Photo: Netflix

Charlotte examines the pocket watch that Noah gave Elisabeth. 

Back at the hospital in 1986, Noah is now talking to Mikkel. He asks Mikkel if he believes in God. The two have a very interesting back and forth about where the world came from. Mikkel tells Noah that his Dad taught him about the Big Bang and evolution. Noah congratulates him on questioning things but ends by saying God has a plan and that sometimes it's good to question people who question things. Making for a very esoteric and confusing talk for Mikkel. But Mikkel seems very willing to talk to Noah, when he hasn't really wanted to talk to anyone else. This is one of the first times, we have come into contact who has a clear worldview they profess. 

Ulrich and Hannah sit outside the Kahnwald house in Ulrich's car. Ulrich tells her to stop calling. Hannah gets angry and tells him he's not allowed to stop. She's not going to let him go that easy. She's here for whatever he needs, and he tells her he needs her to go away. As she gets out of the car, she makes a threat: "I'm not going to let you go." 

We flash back to 1986; Hannah and Ulrich are walking in the hall of the high school together and he's gushing about quotes from the movie Breakfast Club: "When you grow up, your heart dies." Hannah is thinking he can go watch the movie again with her, but Ulrich stops listening when he sees Katharina. He leaves Hannah behind to go talk to her, and we can see he's wearing his No Future jacket. Hannah's face is filled with annoyance, and we can see how she has always known she's second best. We cut back to 2019 and Hannah stands in front her house in the rain, the same look on her face -- only this time her face seems twisted in simmering rage.

Back in 1986, Ulrich and Katharina sit on a bench outside the school. They are discussing if they will have sex or not. Katharina tells Ulrich he has to get condoms because she doesn't want AIDS and she doesn't want kids. She repeats this twice. Haha, joke is on you both. The camera cuts to dear Mikkel, their beloved missing child. 

Back at the hospital, a worker from the CPS arrives and tells Ines they will come back Monday to take Mikkel to a children's home. You can tell Ines is not too happy with this plan. She's worried that his sensitive spirit will get trampled in a children's home. It feels like a given that Ines is going to adopt Mikkel sooner or later.

We move back to 2019. Ulrich and Charlotte talk in the police station. Rather than a conversation, Ulrich seems to be taking this moment to give his confession. He talks very openly with Charlotte -- more openly than he speaks to his wife. He feels ashamed about how things are today. He made the decision to become a policeman after his brother went missing and swore he would do thing different. Now today, he's just the same and feels like a joke. He tells Charlotte that it was 33 years ago. Charlotte finally speaks up and asks him if he's heard of the 33-year cycle. Our calendar is a little off, but every 33 years the alignment is exactly the same, and there's a repeat of the lunar-solar cycle. Apparently Charlotte's grandfather was obsessed with such things. 

Jonas sits on a bench near his father's grave. The stranger walks up behind Jonas and tells him that he knew Jonas' father. That Michael Kahnwald saved his life. Then he begins speaking the same type of philosophical mumbo jumbo that the narrator and Noah seem to enjoy. All about labyrinths, death, getting to the center, one true path. Jonas isn't sure what to make of this stranger that came up and talked to him so intimately. Of course, the center of the labyrinth calls back to the image of the Minotaur's maze. 

The stranger has a conversation with Jonas near his father's grave. Photo: Netflix.

Now we are back in 1986; a dry cleaning van pulls up to the hospital. Inside Hannah sits with her father, whom we haven't seen before. He tells her he won't be long picking up the laundry -- about 30 minutes. She's waiting in the car, when she sees Mikkel sitting on a bench outside opening his gift that Ines gave him earlier. It's a book called Ich f├╝rchte mich nicht/I'm Not Afraid by Henni M. Lohnau (I believe this is a fictional book). By this time, Hannah has come up to Mikkel and asks him if he thinks she's pretty. She then tell him that she can do magic, which of course, gets Mikkel's attention. He shows her a magic trick where he moves a bottle cap from one hand to another, and she seems impressed. 

We then have an interesting series of intercut scenes. On the one hand, in 1986, Katharina and Ulrich find a spot at the school to have sex. It's hard to tell where it is, but for whatever reason, it's situated in a place where Hannah is able to observe the two of them. Apparently after going to the hospital, her father stops at the high school to pick up their dry cleaning, and that's where Hannah spies on them. At the same time, in 2019, Martha is at the high school practicing the school play. Jonas observes the rehearsal, and Martha sees him watching in the audience. Bartosz calls to remind Jonas it's time to meet the dealer but Jonas chooses to ignore Bartosz' call to stay close to Martha. Martha delivers a monologue about her mother and the stories she would share about the "old world." The monologue speaks of a mother that would sometimes act cruelly when remembering the past and the character's father. A red thread connects all our deeds, and everything is connected. At the same time, we are watching Ulrich and Katharina take a step that will move them closer to having kids, losing Mikkel, and leading to the way Martha is feeling right at that moment. Acting out a dance of fate. One more interesting tidbit -- Martha's costume is a white robe with a red cord knotted about her waist. 

Katharina and Ulrich decide to sleep together. Photo: Netflix. 

After the play practice ends, Martha sits in her dressing room, and there's a knock at the door. It's Jonas. He wants to tell her that for the time period he was gone, he wasn't in France. He was actually in a "nuthouse," and that he was too ashamed to tell her the truth. He's having trouble speaking, but he wants to know if what happened between them was real, and she nods yes. The two end up kissing. 

While this is going on, Bartosz waits alone for his meeting. Noah pulls up in a town car and tells Bartosz to get in. The two drive off. We are wondering if he is going to kidnap Bartosz. 

Back at the Nielsen house, Ulrich finds Katharina lying in Mikkel's bed. He gets in and embraces her from behind. She asks, "Are you cheating on me?" He says, "I would never do that." Oh, Ulrich, this was your chance to make it right. 

At the Kahnwald house, Hannah changes her bedsheets and seems deep in thought. We flash back to 1986 and another piece of the puzzle snaps in place. On the drive home from all the dry cleaning deliveries, Hannah decides to make up a story and tell her Dad that Ulrich sexually assaulted Katharina. The dad immediately drives Hannah to the station, where Egon takes her statement and seems almost gleeful that he has another excuse to harass Ulrich. She makes up all kinds of horrid details, knowing she has to make the story convincing. Ulrich is arrested, and a series of parallel shots show us Hannah, Ulrich, and Katharina in both time periods. In 1986, Katharina has a black eye. 

The stranger walks out of the cave with his suitcase. He looks like he's on a mission. Bartosz gets out of Noah's car. We have no idea what happened. 

Then Jonas comes home and goes up to his room, only to find the box that the stranger asked Regina to deliver. Inside the box is a lantern shaped like a globe that operates by touch, a Geiger counter, and the letter we saw in episode 1 written by Michael Kahnwald. The letter is clearly beaten up and looks like it's been through some wear and tear since it was last seen. 

Jonas reads the letter, and Michael's voice reads the whole thing aloud. After some rambly talk and apologies, he finally gets to the meat of the matter. It turns out that Michael Kahnwald and Mikkel are one and the same. After Mikkel disappeared, he had to make a new life for himself in order to survive. The father he lost is the same person that Jonas "lost" in 2019 by letting go of his hand. Dum dum dah!

The episode ends with the stranger walking into a shop filled with clocks. He's carrying the suitcase. The man inside the shop is no other than H.G. Tannhaus, the man who wrote A Journey Through Time

Interlude music: "Me and the Devil" by Soap & Skin

Lingering questions:
  • What happened between Noah and Bartosz?
  • What was Peter Doppler really up to the night Mikkel disappeared?
  • How is Hannah going to take Ulrich's "break up" of the affair?
  • Is Katharina going to figure out about Ulrich and Hannah' affair?
  • Is Bartosz going to find out about Jonas and Martha's kiss?
  • If Mikkel is Jonas' dad, does that make Martha Jonas' aunt?
  • What are the weird tools inside the box left for Jonas?
  • How did the letter get to look so old and weathered in just a few days?
  • Who is the stranger, and how does he play into all this? 
  • And how can Noah be in both time periods? 
This episode really changed the game. The revelation that Mikkel and Michael are one and the same adds new complications and fascination to the story. New pieces add up and new puzzles start. It's also interesting to think of how the Kahnwald and Nielsen families are connected in more ways than we thought, as if it weren't already complicated enough. 

Hannah is turning out to be more devious than we thought. Photo: Netflix.

The character that really grabbed my attention this episode is Hannah. Up to this point, she seemed like a fairly decent person, and perhaps even a sympathetic one. Who hasn't felt the sting of rejection before? She's also the mother of our hero. But now, knowing that she lied about Ulrich out of spite and jealousy, and seeing how manipulative she's being towards Katharina in 2019, it shows a great lack of character. Hannah is more devious than we initially though, and jealousy is never a good look. 

Sic Mundus Creatus Est


Dean Winter said…
Having just watched this episode, I think the moment that Katharina knew that Ulrich was having an affair with Hannah was after the meeting in 2019 when she dropped off the casserole. As she left, Katharina deliberately offered Hannah a big hug, to compare her smell with the perfume she recognized from Ulrich's jumper in an earlier episode.
maxolga said…
Our minds are blown, it's crazy that adult Mikkel just saw himself being born and grow up.
Max & Olga
Anonymous said…
Why doesn’t adult michael stop Mikel from going to the past??
Lindsey said…
Anonymous are you talking about later in the show? We don't see adult Michael again until season 2 episode 6. When Mikkel goes to the past, adult Michael is not around. Adult Michael is dead when Mikkel goes to the past. Kind of a brain twizzler. If you want to talk more about adult Michael. Maybe place those question in season 2 episode 6.