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Netflix Dark Season 1 Episode 9 Recap: Everything is Now

Ulrich is apprehended by Egon, his eternal archnemesis, in 1953. 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 9 uses the motions of the time machine to form the structure of the plot. The time machine has 3 cylinders that begin in the closed position. As each cylinder raises up and turns, the plot focuses on our three time periods: 1953, 1986, and 2019. 

Opening prologue: "Man has always puzzled over his origin -- his genesis. Created by God? Or a product of evolution? If we could see yesterday and tomorrow at the same time, the origin and the end, the entire universe in a single moment, we might finally find answers to the biggest questions of all. What is man? Where does he come from? What drives him? What is his purpose?" 

Cylinder 1: 1953

We open on the Doppler family. Greta sits forlornly thinking about Helge and wondering if it's her fault that he disappeared. Helge hasn't come home yet, and Greta is feeling guilty because of the rough way she spoke to him. Bernd leaves to go to the police station to make a report. 

A brief shot shows us Ulrich sitting in front of the hatch with bloody hands. As Egon arrives at work, Daniel Kahnwald tells Egon to speak to Bernd Doppler about Helge's disappearance. Before he goes into the room, Egon tells Kahnwald about the strange man (Ulrich) who visited yesterday. The man was asking about Helge and raving about a missing boy. Kahnwald tells Egon to quietly put out an APB on Ulrich. 

Once Egon enters the room, Doppler doesn't waste any time. "Find my son; whatever it takes." He wants Egon to do whatever it takes, even if it means delaying the opening of the power plant. 

Cut to: Claudia and Tronte search for Gretchen (the dog) in the woods. Claudia smiles at Tronte and tells him that his haircut makes him look like James Dean and asks if he has a girlfriend. Tronte just smiles -- happy for the compliment. Claudia then asks why he and his mother left their last home. He says his mother just wanted a change. 

Agnes gives Doris the gift of a yellow dress in 1953. Photo: Netflix.

Cut to: the Tiedemann household. Agnes sits at a table in a stunning blue dress, which is even prettier than the red one she was wearing before. The show uses a lot of primary colors in the costumes. Doris comes down in a lovely yellow dress worn over a flouncy petticoat. Both ladies look heavenly. Doris seems flushed and says she's never worn a dress like this before. Agnes gets to work fastening the ties and putting on the final touches. The two converse about their marriages. Doris and Egon have been married 10 years. Egon is rarely home and only seems to think about work. Agnes says she was married 15 years to a priest and that he wasn't a good person. Although the interaction seems innocent enough, the way Agnes is touching her seems rather intimate. Agnes tells Doris the dress is hers to keep. "What would Egon think?" Doris says. Agnes doesn't think this is important and leans forward to put her chin on Doris' neck. Doris abruptly pushes away and rushes away to take off the dress. 

Cut to: Back at the Doppler house, Greta sits with Noah. She admits that when she was pregnant with Helge, she prayed for him to be taken way or that harm would befall him because he may not be Bernd's child. She can't escape her guilt. Noah tells her that everyone is selfish and that she can't fall further than God's hands. God sent Noah to her, after all, so not to worry. The words are comforting enough, but as he prays, his affect is predatory. He looks at Greta as he prays; then looks at the picture of Helge on the mantle. She dabs her mouth with her handkerchief. If I didn't know better, I would think he was sizing her up for seduction. 

The sound of Noah's prayer is heard as the screen shifts to Ulrich walking along the road. Egon drives in his car and stops when he spots Ulrich. Ulrich begins to run, and Egon tells him to halt. Ulrich ignores him and keeps running. Just as Helge tried to escape Ulrich, Ulrich is now trying to escape. Egon takes some kind of short cut and intercedes Ulrich just before he reaches the cave. He arrests Ulrich and asks where Helge is. Ulrich starts yelling that he changed the murders because Helge can't kill anymore. Egon ignores Ulrich's pleas. 

Cut to: The body of Helge lies in the bunker. Suddenly, he sits up, taking a deep breath.

Cylinder II: 1986

Ulrich and Katharina are stopped from bullying Regina in 1986. Photo: Netflix.

A man runs in the woods. He's wearing jeans, a leather jacket, and a black ski mask. The sound of a helicopter can be heard flying low over the trees. The man stops to take his ski mask off, and we see a new face. His face contorts with pain and his shoulder is bleeding. He has a gun and a bag of some sort. 

Cut to: Winden High School. Katharina stands out front smoking a cigarette. She is still healing from the black eye and some scratches on her face, as well. Hannah walks past and asks about Ulrich. Is he still in prison? No, he will be released today. And what about you and Ulrich? Katharina says that's none of her business and that love is stronger than hate. Even if her parents forbid her to see Ulrich, she won't stop seeing him. Hannah then asks if they know who ratted him out? And then plants the idea that perhaps Regina told. 

Egon enters Ulrich's cell with his streets clothes. It's time for Ulrich to be released, but before he goes, Egon assures Ulrich that he knows he is hiding something. Jana sits in the hall smoking. As Ulrich enters the hall, she stands up, goes over to meet them, and slap Egon right across the face. "Stay away from my family. I want you taken off my son's case [Mads]." Ulrich looks over his shoulder and gives Egon the old "ha ha" face.

Cut to: Claudia slides down the rope in the cave and finds the barrels. This is a repeat of events we've seen already. She has a machine that measures radiation, and the signal is super strong. The barrels are filled with radioactive waste. She hears a scuttling noise and a barking sound. It's her dog, Gretchen, from 1953, not looking any older. Claudia seems truly shocked. 

Cut to: Katharina and Ulrich stand together near the deer stand Jonah slept in a few episode ago. They are sharing a cigarette and talking about their mutual disgust with the world and everyone in it. Regina appears, walking home from school. Katharina begins to harrass her about tattling. Regina tries to protest that she did no such thing but Katharina just knees her in the gut. It looks very bad for Regina, but another figure appears. It's the young man in the leather jacket we saw earlier. He orders Kat and Ulrich to apologize. When they refuse, he shows them the loaded gun. They run off, and Regina thanks him. Just then, the boy faints, and Regina realizes he's bleeding. She wants him to go to a hospital, but he doesn't want to do that. Regina then offers to take him to her place. It turns out this very hot boy is Aleksander, Regina's eventual husband. 

Cut to: Gretchen's in the car, barking loudly, outside the Doppler house. The older Bernd Doppler and Claudia talk about the yellow barrels in the cave. She wants to know what happened and he tells her there was an explosion due to some corroded connections. Hydrogen gas collected in the tubes. Claudia thinks this all seems shady, but Bernd says it's fine. The floor was removed, and the waste stored in a safe place. You call that safe? The only people on duty that night were a few people who have been paid for their secrecy and Helge. She then asks, "So what happened down there?" Perhaps she's thinking of Gretchen and what consequences this explosion may have had. Bernd says that what happened is the story she will tell. Her story will impact the town, so she needs to think carefully about what story she plans to tell others. Claudia considers this.

Cut to: At Helge's cabin, middle-aged Helge comes out of the hatch. Old Helge is hiding behind a tree watching him. So apparently when Helge went into the cave, he went to 1986, while Ulrich ended up in 1953, because he took the other path. Egon is in the police station looking at the note: Why not Forest Road? The clock ticks, and he realizes Helge isn't coming to his appointment. Back at the cabin, Helge is making figures out of pinecones and nuts, similar to the ones we've seen. A car approaches; it's Egon. Helge hides out of sight and doesn't answer the door. Eventually Egon leaves. 

We see Aleksander back to the tree we fled to before. He opens a passport with his photo that says "Boris Niewald." He then opens another passport that has the name Aleksander Kohler. He puts the gun, the Boris passport, and some other things into a shopping bag and hides it near the tree. It turns out that he's being spied on by none other than Hannah -- the last person you want spying on you. 

Cut to: Claudia sits at her executive office with Gretchen on the desk. Her secretary informs her that a young man is here to see her who is a friend of Regina's. It's Aleksander/Boris, who says he would like a job. He's a metalworker and can learn fast. She says there's no work at the moment, but maybe there will be later. She asks for a phone number, and he just says he will come back tomorrow. 

Cut to: Regina stands in front of a mirror combing her extremely curly hair. 

Cut to: Helge and Noah are in the blue wallpaper room repairing the time machine chair. Helge looks very upset and asks why it's not working? Noah just says it will work eventually and that experiments and failure are part of any success. Helge says he doesn't want to do it anymore and points a screwdriver at Noah's gut. Rather than back away, Noah pushes his body against the screwdriver as if to say he isn't afraid. He bullies Helge into relenting by saying that because of all he [Helge] has done, he's as good as damned already, so he has to keep going. There is no plan or God. Life is a spiral of pain. This room is their ark, and he's Noah. They will control time to create a new world. It's all very creepy as you can imagine, and Helge shrinks. Noah gives him a creepy hug that is anything but comforting. 

Cylinder III: 2019

Helge and Noah fix the chair in the creepy wallpaper room, 1986. Photo: Netflix.

At the Kahnwald house, Hannah goes to the cupboard and pull out a box. Inside the box is the shopping bag Aleksander left at the tree all of those years ago. She has the gun, the passport, everything. So all this time, while she's been working for him as his masseuse, she has been waiting to call in this favor one day. 

Cut to: At the police station, Charlotte listens to Ulrich's voicemail that he left for her before following Helge into the cave. Katharina bursts into the room, wanting to know where Ulrich is. Charlotte tells her that Ulrich was suspended so he could be with the family. Katharina goes crazy and assumes he's with Hannah. She leaves. Before, when Katharina was principal, she seemed pretty calm. Now as her security begins to falter, we can see the temperamental teen bully she used to be. 

Cut to: Magnus and Franziska are in bed together. She tells him she has to go and starts getting dressed. He holds out the necklace to give to her. Where did you get it? Under the train tracks. "Just because we f*** doesn't mean you have to know everything about me," she says angrily. He stops her from getting up and says he wants to know the real her. Not today, she replies. 

Cut to: Martha is downstairs, curled up in a ball. She's trying to reach Jonas again. We see Jonas at his house ignoring Martha's call. He is studying a piece of red cord in his hands. Cut back to Martha. Franziska comes down the stairs, and it's obvious Martha didn't suspect this at all. Magnus then comes down the stairs, looking not one bit sheepish. Martha wants to know why their family has so many secrets. "Some things you just want to keep to yourself," Magnus says. 

Cut to: Katharina arrives at Hannah's house and knocks on the door. She wants to know where Ulrich is, and Hannah tries to play dumb for a bit, before she realizes Katharina knows about the affair. Katharina gets to rant and verbally assault Hannah in the same way she did as a child. Hannah then says that it's over because she ended it. Ulrich wanted to leave Katharina and said he didn't love her anymore. Obviously it's all a lie because Hannah is such a sneaky, conniving woman. She's probably the most unlikable person on the show. Katharina begins to cry, and Hannah gets up and pets Katharina on the head, as if to comfort her. Disgusting. 

Cut to: Bartosz is at his house playing video games alone. The old version of Claudia appears. Bartosz comes outside to ask what she's doing on his lawn. She tells him that she is his grandmother. Apparently Regina told Bartosz that Claudia was dead. Claudia replies that, to Regina, she probably is dead because she wasn't a very good mother. He wants to know more about where Claudia has been, but she says not now. She then gives him a picture of her and Regina and asks Bartsoz to give it to his mother. 

Cut to: Hannah arrives at the power plant to give Aleksander his massage. She steps away for a moment and lays the bag down on the floor, where Aleksander can see it from his position on the massage table. He asks what she wants, and she tells him she wants him to destroy Ulrich. He should lose everything. Aleksander wants to know how he is supposed to do that, and she replies that it's not her problem. 

Cut to: Jonas arrives at his house in the rain. He stops still when he sees Martha waiting for him. She's soaked. She wants to know why he's been avoiding her. Why did he kiss her and now ignore her? He tells her it was wrong for them to do that. Because of Bartosz? No, because of us. We aren't a good match. She then kisses him to prove him wrong, but he just apologizes and walks off. He has no way of explaining to her that she's his aunt. He just leaves her in the rain, and it's very sad. 

Cut to: Aleksander calls Woller at the station and asks him to find out any dirt he can on Ulrich. Woller asks what he should do with the truck. Aleksander just says that in a few days, they can put the barrels back where they came from. I guess this is what they've been hiding from the police. 

Cut to: Regina vacuums the carpets at the hotel. She enters to Stranger's room to clean his rugs, as well, but gets a real shock when she sees all of the newspaper clipping and artwork hanging on the wall. 

Cut to: The machine is running on all cycles, and we get action in all three time periods, showing it's all connected. 

In 2019, Bartosz waits in a darkened road. Noah's car pulls over, and Bartosz tells him that everything he said would happen did. He will accept his offer. 

In 1986, Aleksander comes back to talk to Claudia, and she tells him she does have a job for him but that's it's a secret. We then see Aleksander in the cave, welding a door shut to block off the barrels. Claudia holds a lamp to give him light and watches him do the work.

Back in 2019, Benni is shown getting out of a trailer truck, perhaps visiting a guest for a paid encounter. She rushes back to her trailer and spots a man standing between two trucks. She solicits him for sexual favors, but the man says nothing. She goes into her trailer. Next the man goes into a truck on the side of the road. It's the Stranger. He enters the back of the trailer truck, and we see all of the yellow barrels inside. He opens one of the barrels and places something inside. We don't see what it is. 

In 1953, Tannhaus uses some tools to investigate what's inside the cellphone. The old version of Claudia (who we just saw with Bartosz) enters the shop. He tells her they are closed. She pulls out a rolled up parchment. On it are plans for how to build the time machine. Now we know who asked him to build the machine he had when he was talking to the Stranger in episode 8. 

Musical interlude: "When I Was Done Dying" by Dan Deacon

Burning questions:
  • What offer did Bartosz accept?
  • If there are only two time machines, how is everyone who is time traveling being transported?
  • What will happen to poor Ulrich in 1953?
  • What dirt, if any, will Woller be able to procure on Ulrich?
  • What is the scoop on Aleksander/Boris? What was he running from? 
  • How does Aleksander rise from welder to acting manager of the power plant?
  • What did the Stranger put into the barrel and will it close the wormhole as he predicts?
  • If that does work, what will closing the wormhole mean for the people of Winden?
  • Did Gretchen go into the time portal? She can't have been living in the cave for 33 years, right?
  • Who is Helge's real father? Why does Greta think he might be someone else's son?
This was one of the best episodes. I love the character of Aleksander. I mean, yes, he's easy on the eyes, but he's also got that mysterious vibe. And it's high time Regina got some attention and care. It was awesome that he chose to protect her from the bullies. Seeing the interaction between Jonas and Martha was so sad. They both want each other so badly, yet Jonas feels like it's up to him to avoid any incest between them. But instead of telling her, he keeps it to himself. All in all, a lot of ground is covered in this episode. We find out what the power plant was hiding and see how all of the events are playing together. 

Ulrich tried to stop the murders happening by killing Helge, but it didn't have the effect he wanted. That's because his choices are what lead to Helge being in the bunker. I'm assuming Helge is found by Noah. It's all a circular action. It's becoming clear that correcting the wrongs of the past won't be an easy matter. The often lengthy dialogues between characters have us thinking about if we can change the past or if everything is predetermined. It's the oldest question in history. 

Sic Mundus Creatus Est


ACog said…
Hi, thanks for writing these! Your synopses are really well-written and I read them after finishing an episode. I'm not binge-watching, but rather taking my time. I’m hoping you get to writing about season 3.
Lindsey said…
Thank you so much! That's the plan. They take awhile to make. Thanks for your patience.
Anonymous said…
Nicely done your Recaps are more literate than the others and it doesn't appear to be any larger mainstream Publications reviewing this series.
I might consider hunting down a Wiki fandom page the problem with that is that they usually give away the endings in the headlines or early on in character descriptions.
Keep up the good work
Unknown said…
I agree with the above! Your posts have been crucial to my understanding and appreciation for this amazing show. Thank you!!
Anonymous said…
I am really enjoying reading these recaps after I finish an episode. It has helped so much! Thank you for everything!