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‘Dark’ Theories and Burning Questions: Jonas’ Fate, the Wallpapered Room, and That Massive Back Tattoo

We’re still trying to make sense of Netflix’s maddening but addictive new show.

Dark Season 1

Andreas Pietschmann and Louis Hoffman, “Dark”

Stefan Erhard/Netflix

Who Created the Design for the Machine Tannhaus Built?

Claudia the time traveler must have received the schematics from someone, but why she would give it to the younger H.G. Tannhaus is unclear since he never was able to finish it. Mature Jonas also brings him an older version of the device, so he must have encountered it on his time travels. The design seems very steampunk, although it seems compatible with the radioactive isotope of Cesium that Jonas provides.

What Is the Significance of Martha’s Play?

Lisa Vicari, "Dark"

Lisa Vicari, “Dark

Netflix

It’s a really grim play for school, but there’s more to it. Martha is portraying Ariadne, a figure in Greek mythology and the daughter of King Minos of Crete, who himself has the legendary Labyrinth created and had young people sacrificed to the Minotaur in its center. Although Ariadne is the half-sister of the Minotaur, she falls for the hero Theseus and helps him defeat the creature, retracing his steps out of the maze using a ball of thread. According to some versions of the story, he later abandons her.

Ariadne imagery and themes abound in “Dark.” Older Jonas has many images of the Labyrinth on his wall of clippings in his hotel room. The maze of tunnels in the underground caves could be seen as a labyrinth — instead of a ball of yarn, Claudia has left a red rope to help Jonas find his way. Incidentally, one end is anchored to the Ouroboros, the ancient symbol of a serpent eating its tail, which often denotes the cyclical nature of things and has been a symbol in alchemy. (It all comes back to alchemy!)

The entire mystery of time travel could also be seen as a labyrinth that Jonas must escape from, as well. And like Theseus, he seems to have abandoned his love Martha after he realized she was his aunt.

What’s more intriguing is that there is a problem-solving term called “Ariadne’s thread,” which requires that logic is applied to every possible avenue of solving a problem. It’s through this exhaustive process that an end result can be achieved. In the world of “Dark,” this might mean there are plenty of false starts and errors in numerous timelines to be reconciled before finally achieving Jonas’ desired goal.

Why Did All the Birds and Sheep Die?

"Dark"

“Dark”

Netflix

The coroners have stated that something about the animal’s sense of balance was upset. They didn’t know what was up or down, and that the inside of the ears were blown out – similar to how the abducted boys’ ears were. It’s curious that the animals are the ones who are affected by whatever crazy anomaly is happening in Winden, but that the townsfolk are not (yet). Perhaps it’s like the literal canaries in the coal mine: The animals are more sensitive and presage something even worse coming. Maybe it’s the apocalyptic event that will cause that bleak future.

How Did Hannah Raise Such a Good Kid?

Can we just say that Hannah (Maja Schöne) is pretty much the worst? Short of murdering people, she really does seem to have psychopathic tendencies, and blithely sets out to ruin others. She’s so self-centered, it makes us wonder what sort of mother she’s been to Jonas to make him such an upstanding-seeming guy with heroic sensibilities. Perhaps his dad Michael/Mikkel had more to do with forming him.

Who Did Jana See in the Forest?

Jana Nielsen (Tatja Seibt) mentions to her husband that she saw a figure with a “giant head” in the forest and that there are “things out there our minds won’t comprehend.” She also reveals the candy wrapper that she found, noting that it is the same candy that their son Mads used to love. Later, we discover that Helge also likes that brand. That leads us to believe that maybe Jana actually did see something/someone that is connected to Noah.

What Is Up With the Crazy Wallpaper?

"Dark"

“Dark”

Netflix

The wallpaper in the bunker room depicts various woodland creatures — foxes, rabbits, hedgehogs — wearing clothing. It’s kind of adorable, but the the brightness of the blue background is far more vibrant than one would expect for a kid’s room. It lends to the overall twisted tone of the room coupled with the torture/energy harnessing chair. Seeing how the bunker/time travel room is basically a prison for kids, there’s a sick fascination we have with how or why Noah chose that wallpaper. We could see him erroneously thinking that it would be comforting for his abductees. The woodland theme also echoes the how so much of the action takes place in the forest.

Which Actress Who Plays Ines Has the Mole?

Angela Winkler, "Dark"

Angela Winkler, “Dark”

Netflix

OK, this is rather silly, but we can’t help but wonder about that mole. “Dark” has so many characters from the outset that it can be daunting trying to keep them straight. Fortunately, Ines always had that distinctive upper-lip mole. Since we’ve seen three different versions of her (child, middle-aged, grandmother), we were curious whether or not the mole was real in the first place or just placed on with prosthetics to help distinguish her through the ages (much like Joe Wright did with the character Briony in “Atonement”). After some IMDb sleuthing, it turns out that the eldest actress, Angela Winkler, is the one who has a real mole, which meant that the actresses who play the younger versions of Ines had to have makeup/ prosthetics to match the mole.

What Happened to Wöller’s Eye?

Karoline Eichhorn and Leopold Hornung, "Dark"

Karoline Eichhorn and Leopold Hornung, “Dark”

Netflix

From what we can tell, Torben Wöller (Leopold Hornung) is a police officer who works with Charlotte. And while we’re grateful that the giant bandaging across his right eye helped distinguish him from the other characters from the beginning, its presence never really explained. From the looks of it, whatever the damaging incident was is fairly recent because he also has a bloody wound across his nose. Was it a car accident? A fight? He’s been shown to be Aleksander’s (Peter Benedict) inside man among the police, so maybe some of his dirty dealings have resulted in violence.

Did we miss any? What are your theories?

”Dark” is currently streaming on Netflix.

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