Warning: Major spoilers ahead for Netflix’s second season of “Dark.” Netflix’s second season of “Dark” took concepts of time travel paradoxes to new depths, and threw in a last-minute twist of potential alternate realities and worlds. Keep reading for our full analysis of the character Adam, how he’s connected to Noah, and what was going on with Martha on the season two finale.Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Netflix’s second season of “Dark” took concepts of time travel paradoxes to new depths, and threw in a last-minute twist of potential alternate realities and worlds.From the confusing struggle between Jonas and his own older-self to the Biblical and mythological references planted in the characters’ story lines, let’s dive into everything revealed on “Dark” season two and what it means for the coming third and final season.
Noah and Helge on season one of Netflix’s “Dark.”
The revelation that Noah was a pawn of someone else all alongThe first season of “Dark” set up Noah as the villain of the series, a man seemingly embattled in an eternal fight with Claudia for control of time travel. But season two revealed that Noah was a believer in a larger prophecy and a leader named Adam (who’s really an older and disfigured Jonas). More on Adam/Jonas in a bit, but first let’s explore what we know about Noah now that the second season is complete.As we learn on the third episode of season two, “Ghosts,” Noah once worked under Claudia but something went horribly wrong in their relationship.
“You took everything from me,” Noah says when he first raises the gun to aim at Claudia. “You’re going to die, and with you dies all you stand for.”
Noah wasn’t the purely evil character he was made out to be on the first season.
When Claudia then implies that this entire confrontation is just one more predetermined event, Noah tells her he’s no longer her “pawn.””But you’re still one of Adam’s,” Claudia says. “The paradise he’s promising you is nothing but a lie. He’s selling you the illusion of freedom. Ask yourself if you are really free. If you were really free, you’d have a choice. Do you have a choice?”Noah then shoots and kills Claudia, though we see this Old-Claudia more later on the season because she was bouncing through time prior to her death. (At least, that’s our assumption. Is it possible there’s a second Claudia around, just as we saw a second Martha? Again more on that later.)
Elizabeth and Charlotte on season one of “Dark.”
Noah finds something troubling in the pages of notes he finds on Claudia, and travels to 2020 to speak with his daughter, Charlotte. Despite his previous devotion to Adam and the prophecy, Noah is now breaking faith with Adam. He tells Charlotte that he only did the awful things (like kill children) “so that it will one day no longer happen.”
“So you’re not taken from me again and neither is your mother,” Noah says. Noah is Charlotte’s father, and Charlotte’s mother is her own daughter Elizabeth. At the end of season two, we see that Young Noah and Young Elizabeth are in the bunker together when the Apocalypse happens. Presumably they grow older together and eventually Elizabeth got pregnant with Charlotte. Sometime after Charlotte was born, she was taken by an unknown person and brought back in time. Charlotte was raised by H.G. Tannhaus, never knowing who (or where or when) her parents were. She then got together with Peter, and they had Franziska and Elisabeth — who’s both Charlotte’s daughter and mother.
H.G. Tannhaus is the clockmaker who built the time machine.
“I promised her I’d bring you back,” Noah says. “I’ve looked for you all these years. But you were here the entire time. Adam knew it was you, he knew it the whole time. He is preparing for what comes afterwards. I read the last pages. The nuclear plant, Jonas — it’ll all happen again. The apocalypse … in two days. But I now know what I must do. I have to end Adam, so everyone lives. Not just those in the bunker.”
Noah realizing Adam had the answer to his search the entire time was the breaking point. But Noah failed to kill Adam, and was instead shot and killed by his sister Agnes. Adam says he’s an older version of Jonas, and he’s trying to ‘create a new world’ outside the confines of timeWhile the first season of “Dark” left us believing Noah and Claudia were fighting for control of time travel, the second season shows us the much larger picture. Apparently Jonas and Claudia are waging a war against his older self “Adam.”
Adam claims to be Jonas, but is that true?
This Adam person has a face covered in scar tissue, making him unrecognizable as any character we had already met. But he says he’s Jonas, simply older and with a physical body that has been changed after time traveling many times. The younger Jonas wishes to keep the people of Winden alive and break the cycle of awfulness plaguing their families. Adam says he wants to create a new world, one in which time — and therefore God — does not exist. Part of this plan for creating a new world, which he also refers to as “paradise” and seems to be touting as part of a prophecy to the Sic Mundus group, involves making sure all of the 33-year-cycle events from 1954 to 2019 happen.
“In the future there’s a prophecy about a new world. That Sic Mundus will lead people into paradise. Is this that? A religion?” Jonas asks on the fifth episode of season two.”We are the exact opposite of that,” Adam says. “We’ve declared war on time. Declared war on God. We’re creating a new world, without time, without God.””What does that mean?” Jonas replies.
Jonas is seen in many different stages of life.
“It means that what people have worshipped for millennia, the God who holds everything together, that God is nothing more than time itself,” Adam says. “Not a thinking, acting entity. A physical law, with which one can negotiate as little as one can with one’s own fate. God is time. And time is not merciful. We are born, and our life is already trickling away like the sand in this hourglass. Death is forever inevitably before us. Our fate is nothing but a concatenation of cause and effect. In light and in shadow.”
At one point on season two, Adam lies to the Younger Jonas and tells him there’s a loophole which will stop the cycles. Adam says that all Jonas must do is prevent Michael/Mikkel (Jonas’ father) from dying in 2019. He says that will stop Mikkel from traveling back to 1986, and in turn will make it so that Jonas himself is never born.But this is a lie.When Young Jonas goes back to the day his father died by suicide, he realizes that Michael/Mikkel only ever made that choice after Jonas appeared and told him it had happened. Claudia enters the room, too, and effectively tells both Jonas and Mikkel that their roles in this war are larger than they realize.
“The Stranger” version of Jonas, or middle-aged Jonas.
Claudia tells Jonas he must wage war against Adam, and together they head back into the caves. We don’t see what she tells Jonas next, but instead we see him appear to the younger Claudia in 1987 when she is distressed over killing her father.
“We’ve got to go, we don’t have much time,” Jonas tells her, and reveals that Claudia’s older self had told him what she did. “She also said it didn’t have to happen that way again. Next time.”Jonas is both the hero and the villain of ‘Dark’ — but the when, where, how, and whys are all still unknownTaking Adam at his word and assuming he really is an older Jonas, there’s still so much we don’t know about how or why Jonas would become the master manipulator of the Sic Mundus group. The presence of an older Magnus and Franziska following him in a very cult-like manner just throws more questions onto the pile.How did they all come to be in that facility? Who built it, and when? Was Adam the one who made the metal doorway for the cave?
Jonas speaking to himself on season one.
What’s even more confounding is how the two younger versions of Jonas we’ve spent time with on “Dark” would become Adam. Their entire existences seem bent towards trying to undo Adam’s plan, so how would they eventually be the ones orchestrating it?
During the final minutes of “Dark” season two, Adam travels to Winden in 2020 and walks in on Jonas and Martha kissing. Adam says the “dark matter,” or God Particle, needs to be created in this 2020 apocalyptic event “so that in the future [he] can lead it to its new purpose: The end of this world.””I am the trigger, only not of what you think,” Adam tells Jonas. “I am the trigger for that will make you become what I am today.” Adam then shoots and kills Martha, throwing Jonas into a panic. Adam tells him he will “carry this pain for the rest of [his] life” until he can let go of Martha.
“You can stop me,” Adam tells Jonas. “Or you can try to save her. You’ll know what to do.”
So how does the middle-aged Jonas line up with these events? What happens to that version of Jonas to make him become Adam? When Adam told the younger Jonas “you can stop me or you can try to save her,” was he talking about the choice to bring the time machine to Bartosz, Francizka, and Magnus? Clearly there is another event or set of events we aren’t privy to yet which makes Jonas go from wanting nothing more than to stop Adam to becoming Adam. Hopefully the third season will make this trajectory more clear. In the meantime, watching a person wage a time-war against themselves makes for compelling (if confusing) television.The new Martha’s appearance introduces multiple universes, illuminating Adam’s plan When a new version of Martha appears just minutes after the Original Martha dies, “Dark” immediately lets us know that alternate worlds (realities?) exist, which then throws everything we thought we knew about the existing set of characters into question.
Future-Martha rescued Jonas from the Apocalypse.
Future-Martha tells Jonas the question is “not what time, but what world?”
Throughout season two, Adam repeatedly said he was trying to destroy “this world,” which now seems to mean he wants to destroy the universe in which the 33-year cycle happens, and live instead in one of the alternate realities where time has no meaning. What is not clear is why Adam wishes to create an alternate universe free of time. Does he believe all of the people he/Jonas care about will be alive and untethered from awful fates in that world? Does that world have anything to do with the one Future-Martha comes from? Earlier on the season two finale, the middle-aged Jonas tells Original Martha that she kept him alive for many years. Was he talking about this Future-Martha, or simply the thought and motivation of the Original Martha? The Biblical and mythological references connecting Martha, Jonas, Claudia, and AdamMartha and Jonas are both associated with the Greek myth of Ariadne, particularly on the entire first season when Martha literally plays Ariadne for a school production. The “Ariadne” play is referenced a few times over the course of season two, as well. As we explored after the first season finale, there are parallels between this story and the events in “Dark.”
In Greek mythology, Ariadne is the daughter of King Minos in Crete. Minos placed Ariadne in charge of the labyrinth on the island, which houses a Minotaur at its center and is used for ritual sacrifice.According to the myth, the hero Theseus comes to the labyrinth to kill the Minotaur and Ariadne falls in love him. She helps him navigate back out of the maze by giving him a ball of thread. They escape Crete together, but then Theseus abandons Ariadne.
Martha as Ariadne in her school play.
In the “Ariadne” play Martha stars in, she performs an emotional monologue about the heartbreak and her own mother. “The old world came to haunt her like a ghost that whispered to her in a dream how to erect the new world, stone by stone. From then on, I knew that nothing changes. That all things remain as before. The spinning wheel turns, round and round in a circle.One fate tied to the next. The thread, red like blood, that cleaves together all our deeds. One cannot unravel the knots. But they can be severed. He severed ours, with the sharpest blade. Yet something remains behind that cannot be severed. An invisible bond.”This description of knots being severed is exactly the same language Adam uses to describe his plan to undo time itself and create a new “paradise.”
Within the structure of the myth, Jonas and Adam are a stand-in for both Theseus and the deadly Minotaur, and even perhaps King Minos. Martha is our Ariadne, while the labyrinth is the figurative maze of time travel and also the literal caves (where a red string marks the pathway to the door).
Jonas is in a serious tangle throughout all of “Dark.”
That this myth ends with Ariadne abandoned by Theseus could mean more tragedy for Martha and Jonas’s future or alternate realities. But it’s also possible the creators of “Dark” have set up Martha to be the “Eve” to Jonas’s “Adam.”We don’t know when or why Jonas began calling himself Adam, but the obvious meaning of both Adam and Noah’s assumed names is Biblical. Adam sees himself as the origin of humankind and the bane of God. In Adam’s case, God is time itself, and he’s recruited minions like Noah to help him maintain the natural order of things. But Adam and Noah and the Sic Mundus group also have connections to the Antichrist and Lucifer and the archangel Michael.
Throughout season two, we see Adam standing in front of a painting by Peter Paul Rubens called “The Fall of the Damned” (or “The Fall of the Rebel Angels”). In the Book of Revelation from the New Testament, Michael is an angel who leads a war again Satan, and casts him down to Earth along with other fallen angels.
“The Fall of the Damned” by Peter Paul Rubens, circa 1620.
Does Adam in “Dark” believe himself to be a version of Michael, or another of the fallen angels? Or is he Satan himself, left on Earth to wreak havoc and take his revenge on the higher power? Back during the first season, we believed Noah was an allegory to the Antichrist, but now Adam is fulfilling that role. Perhaps the other Sic Mundus followers are fallen angels, as well. Then of course there is the connection between Michael/Mikkel’s name and Michael the archangel. Everything on “Dark” began with Michael’s death, even though that death itself was the first paradox introduced.We also find ourselves wondering if Adam is really Jonas. His unrecognizable face makes it possible for him to actually be someone else, perhaps Bartosz (who’s missing from this older set of characters) or another person.
Are any of the season 2 events an actual break in the time loops?The biggest question we have after season two of “Dark” comes down to the cycle of interconnected events and the introduction of multiple dimensions or worlds. With every passing episode, it seems as if none of the characters ever break the loop — each event or attempt at destroying the time cycle only proves to be a new paradox or fulfillment of fate. But Future-Martha’s appearance could mean Jonas is now on a split timeline.This new Martha tells Jonas she’s not who he thinks she is, which we’re taking to mean she isn’t from just another time on their planet and in their loop — she’s from a whole different reality. This means there’s another Jonas out in the universe, in his own reality, too. Could Adam be a different Jonas? It would explain why his behavior is so starkly different from the younger and middle-aged Jonas we know. The existence of a different Jonas could also mean that we saw a break in the time cycle finally, perhaps when Future-Martha pulled Jonas into a new time/world.
At one point on season two, Claudia told Jonas that she had “seen the world without him” and it was not a place she wanted to recreate. Clearly Jonas is instrumental to the preservation of life in Winden, while Adam is its antithesis. How “Dark” will square these two motivations is still a shrouded mystery.The third and final season of ‘Dark’ should answer these questions and moreWe know from cocreator Baran Bo Odar that the coming third season of “Dark” will be its last.”It is the final cycle of this great journey,” Odar wrote on Instagram in May 2019. “We always had three season in mind when we developed ‘Dark’ and are happy to tell you that we will start shooting the third and final season in four weeks so we can deliver you guys the final chapter of ‘Dark’ next year.”
The second season was timed to premiere in real life with the fictional important date of June 21, 2019 — the day Michael/Mikkel died.
Now the third and final season will arrive on June 27, 2020 — the day of the Apocalypse in the show’s timeline.