Spoilers ahead for Dark Season 2. Netflix's Dark is officially back, and if you thought it was wild and perplexing the first time around, buckle up: the Dark Season 2 ending ups the ante. As you may recall, the first season of this sci-fi thriller followed various characters in the German town of Winden. After a young boy, Mikkel Nielsen (Daan Lennard Liebrenz), goes missing — just one in a number of strange disappearances in the town — Jonas Kahnwald (Louis Hofmann) comes to the realization that there's a wormhole beneath the nuclear power plant where Mikkel was last seen. He eventually discovers that this wormhole sends those who come across it either 33 years into the past (1953) or 33 years into the future (2019), and that Mikkel — who is the son of local cop Ulrich Nielsen — is actually his father.
See, Mikkel fell through the time portal, where he discovered that he was stuck in 1986 and unable to return home. There, he was taken in by a kindly nurse who raised him, and ended up marrying Jonas' mom, Hannah Kahnwald (Maja Schöne). Confused? The bad news is that things get even more convoluted in the show's second season. The good news is we have a handy explainer. Here's what what went down and what it all means.
Who Is Adam?
It all begins and ends with Adam (Dietrich Hollinderbäumer), a new character introduced in Season 2. He's a bald, scarred man and a clear Big Bad. Not only is he Noah's boss, but as is soon revealed, he is Jonas in the future. Young Jonas swears he won't let himself become a villain, but when Adam shoots Martha (aka Jonas' aunt, who he is in love with in the present), he says that's what sets Jonas on the path to become his menacing future self.
What Happens To Jonas In The Future?
As we learn in Season 2's first episode, an apocalypse occurs on June 27, 2020, which renders Winden a barren wasteland and leaves most of its inhabitants dead. In this dystopian future, Charlotte Doppler's daughter, Elisabeth, becomes a militant leader who executes people for trying to venture into the power plant. Jonas stumbled into this future timeline in the Season 1 finale, and in Season 2, Elisabeth hangs him by the neck before shooting him down in a moment of mercy. Although he survives, he's left with a huge scar across his throat.
Who Is The White Devil?
This phrase is mentioned several times in Season 2 and refers to Claudia Tiedemann, who was in charge of the nuclear power plant in 1986. Adam's disciples gave her this nickname in reference to the two sides in the series — black and white. Light and dark. Each are convinced they're doing the right thing and both are trying to save the world from the impending apocalypse — albeit in hugely different ways. As Jonas tells Claudia, "Adam and Sic Mundus want to create a new world. You and I want to save this one."
How Can Elisabeth Be Charlotte's Daughter *And* Mother?
Move over, the "Mikkel-is-Ulrich's-son-and-also-Jonas'-father" storyline, because Charlotte's family tree is an absolute mess, too! We already knew that the policewoman didn't know her real parents, but we learn this season that not only is Noah Charlotte's father, but that she was born in the future and her daughter, Elisabeth, is somehow her own mother.
What Does It Have To Do With The Power Plant?
It all goes back to nuclear power. In Episode 8, Aleksander Tiedemann digs up some nuclear waste, which he had buried beneath concrete in dozens of yellow barrels. Charlotte attempts to stop him, saying that it will trigger the whole cycle again. Unfortunately, she doesn't succeed and the God Particle is recreated, bringing everything full circle.
Are There Two Marthas?
Adam (aka Future Jonas) shoots Martha and kills her, telling his younger self that he will carry this pain for the rest of his life. However, in the final moments of Season 2, a black-haired Martha appears seemingly out of nowhere, revealing a small device that's similar to the time machines used throughout the series. However, she's not who Jonas thinks she is, and when her nephew asks what timeline she's from, she gives a shocking response. "The question isn't from what time," she explains, "but from what world."
So while Dark Season 2 certainly answers some questions, it also creates several new ones, like how exactly does Jonas become Adam, how many other dimensions are there, what does Martha know, and can they prevent this apocalypse from happening? We see Winden seemingly get blown to smithereens in the Season 2's final moments, and though the fact that Martha has some sort of dimension-hopping machine provides some semblance of hope, the show is called Dark, after all; don't expect a happy ending when it comes back for its third and final season.