Going Dark: The Newest Netflix Series
By: Robert Warren
In the Netflix original series “Dark” everything is connected through past, present and future in the small town of Winden, Germany where an investigation of two boys gone missing occurs in this thriller of persistent searches. This supernatural themed series begins with a man hanging himself and it gets more disturbing, but enticing to watch as the series goes on. Egon Tiedemann (Sebastian Hülk) is a cop searching for information on the two boys’ disappearance. He is trying to find out how they could`ve died and who is behind it. Further into the series we learn it isn`t necessarily just about who killed the boys, but rather when. In heavy depths of mystery-after-mystery, this series pulls you in to watch it because you want to have all your questions answered.
“Dark,” the first season of ten episodes, begins with a group of children of various ages who enter the woods in the middle of the night. In the year 2019, the children start creeping into a dark cave in hopes of finding a lump sum of drugs hidden by a kid that had died. The children, entering with handheld lights, (all of whom who may not come back) are driven to find that drug stash as the mystery intensifies straight from the start of the series.
In the cave a loud noise makes as sound as though the sound is approaching the children from the cave. Unfortunately, one of the kids disappears, raising questions right from the get-go. Where could the child have gone and is there anyone that could find him? Posters of missing children are not uncommon in this series, especially the poster for Erik Obendorf (Paul Radom).
There are multiple mysteries as the pilot episode takes off and it seems a man may be doing experiments on the children who go missing as this series goes on. Leaving you hanging frequently, with minimal music per episode and graphic images to shock you, more and more questions begin to be raised episode-to-episode. One such shocker is when a death occurs in the series such as a boy found deceased in the leaves of the woods with his eyes practically burnt over and eardrums busted out. Again, that just raises more questions for the police to try to figure out. So, the police begin the hunt.
Entering the third episode of the series, past and present begin to intersect as it goes from present 2019 to the year 1986 where Ulrich Nielsen`s (Oliver Masucci) brother has been missing for a month. It begins to raise questions as to if the cave could be a wormhole to travel from present to past. It could be the thing that makes time travel a real possibility.
The past and present intertwines are crafted beautifully with the cinematography of side-by-side imagery of several characters younger selves verses elder selves. Some of the images you see in this episode really help you understand who is who in the connections. Seeing where each of the characters are lying in both the present and the past is incredible with the cinematography choice of the side-by-side screens.
The third episode also brings up a nuclear power plant mention of Chernobyl, which if you recall had a devastating nuclear disaster that had occurred in 1986. This makes viewers question as to what the effect of Chernobyl is going to have on this intensifying show. As it progresses on, viewers begin to realize that Chernobyl is part of what created the wormhole cave between the past, present and future.
This series isn`t a light watch for those with an uneasy stomach to disturbing images, but rather is a show with disturbing images set to shock the viewer into watching. An example of this is in the fourth episode as birds drop down from the sky on the ground and falling dead because of a sound…It burst the eardrums of the birds just like that of the kid had died. Later on, a young deaf girl named Elisabeth Doppler (Carlotta von Fakenhayn) disappears briefly and there are many family problems occurring both in and out of the household that bring attention to her vanishing. Her mother Franziska Doppler (Gina Stiebitz) is emotional about all this family drama and ends up sharing a lot of their family secrets to beau Magnus Nielsen (Moritz Jahn). Elisabeth later returns home with a pocket watch from a man named Noah (Mark Waschke), raising more questions.
Watching “Dark” is an experience of twists and turns with each of the episodes, from dead birds falling from the sky to thirty-three sheep lying dead all over a field. The aerial shots are powerfully shocking in this series as are the eyes of the children that are dying in this series. This is part of what is so shocking, creating a surprise factor that makes this series unique.
Another question that arises while watching “Dark” is how much of this is how much of an effect does the nuclear power plant have on what is happening. From wormholes, dying children and dying animals – is this a Chernobyl effect? And an even bigger question is…who is going to die next?
A Journey Through Time by H.G. Tannhaus is a book that is often mentioned in the episodes of “Dark.” Time is a large question in this show as are interconnections to how one link can affect another – how we are all connected in various ways and in various sets of time. It is the web of connectivity that is messed with throughout this show. This show is a play on time.
There are more family challenges in episode Sic Mundus Creatus Est where some of the mysteries begin to piece together as the audience gets a better understanding of the value of time and the leaps stepped through this series. Additionally, there is a written note in this series that adds a mystery to it. However, the note is not supposed to be opened until November 4th and it is a big question as to why that is and what could be written on that note. There is a feeling that the note could be of importance as more mysteries continue to arise. Could that note help solve any of the mysteries? Could the note be harmful to anyone? What exact information could the note contain? We are left wondering as the season progresses.
The only problem with the series is that starting the show can be a quite difficult with so many characters, subplots, elements and many levels to the show that could leave you a bit confused. One thing that is very thought out though within the series is the titles to each of the episodes and the interconnectivity between the past, present and future. In the show, there are a lot of great statements such as, “Every decision for something is a decision against something else,” that are very thought provoking.
Additionally, throughout the series the cave gets explored further and further. As the story progresses, Jonas Kahnwald (Louis Hofmann) is looking for Mikkel Nielson (Daan Lennard Liebrenz) and is warned that it could be very dangerous to mess with the past. This further solidifies that everything, as the first episode mentions, is connected.
In this series time is really of the essence. It is a large puzzle for the at home viewer of how everything fits together. It is thrilling to watch because you are playing the “at home detective” game of trying to figure it out as you watch each of the episodes one at a time. Introduced at first to the present and then being thrown into the past, it isn`t until the last episode that the viewer even gets moved to the future. So, when journeying through this series the viewer learns that the past is inescapable – venturing into a cycle where the past effects the future. As the series notes, “Challenges make us who we are.”
This series is really about trying to make things right when it seems things have gone wrong and Noah plays a big part in trying to be the fixer-upper in this series. “Everything is connected to everything else,” is a big lesson in this show. You begin to realize after watching several episodes and, upon approaching the end of Season One, that everything is connected nicely. The wormhole was created by the nuclear plants Chernobyl and the only way to make things right is through the time machine. When a scientist named H.G. Tannhaus (Arnd Klawitter) is working on something and Noah approaches with a time machine that does not work, the series really does get very interesting.
In fact, it seems Tannhaus had previously created the time machine that Noah brought in, but their sole problem is that it does not work. Noah wants the scientist to fix it, but Tannhaus isn`t sure that he can…or so he claims. After Noah leaves, the scientist works to see if he can fix it. It is the intensity of this show alone that makes this series definitely worth watching.
One of the most interesting characters in this series is Noah. There are some deep secrets to Noah in this show. Noah adds to the draw of this series as you may not like this character, but it is because more so how much this character will frustrate you throughout the series. One of the biggest things with this show is that Noah does not age through the time travel and he is the priest that enjoys killing young men.
It is for this reason that “Dark” is exactly what this show is, but it is a very enticing watch and worth investing some time in. With mystery after mystery with every corner you turn, the show “Dark” will draw you in and leave you in wonder.