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"An Endless Cycle" is the sixth episode of Season 2 of Dark. It premiered on June 21, 2019, and is the 16th episode overall.


Armed with a plan to prevent the apocalypse, Jonas travels to 2019. During the Nielsens' anniversary party, Ulrich sneaks off with Hannah.



The episode begins with a montage—where critical events of the previous fifteen episodes are rewound, ending with Michael hanging himself ("Secrets"). Adam asks, "Where did it all begin? ... Do beginning and end even exist? Or is it all connected in an endless loop, and are 'beginning' and 'end' just different words for one and the same moment?"

The day before Michael's suicide (June 20, 2019)[]

Sixteen-year-old Jonas Kahnwald awakes in his bedroom calmly and without a scar around his neck. He hurries downstairs to get breakfast, and his father, Michael (still alive), joins him. Jonas's mother, Hannah, soon enters as well. Michael becomes unsettled by the mention of the anniversary party for Ulrich and Katharina Nielsen that evening. At the sight of Jonas's yellow raincoat (which he picks up as a storm is predicted), he experiences déjà-vu, causing him to drop a large container of coffee. Jonas leaves hurriedly to go to the lake with his friends. Hannah turns her attention to Michael and encourages him to come to the party, but this upsets him.

Over at the Nielsen house, Ulrich tries to pressure Katharina into having sex but is interrupted by Mikkel. He enters their bedroom, having developed a red rash all over his body which his mother recognizes as rubella.

At the Tiedemanns', Aleksander's attention is piqued when he comes across the headline "Murder in Marburg unsolved 33 years later. Search for two fugitive perps still on" while reading the newspaper. He ponders how an investigation can continue after more than three decades of searching.

Charlotte Doppler confronts her husband Peter about where he has been, and he asks her if she will ever believe anything he says. He tells her he gets nothing from her, and it's as if she's dead inside. Charlotte says she thinks it's best if she goes to the party alone, and he walks out.

At the lake, Martha Nielsen, Bartosz Tiedemann, and Martha's brother Magnus are swimming. Bartosz is telling the story of a woman who drowned in the lake. Magnus and Bartosz prank Martha to scare her, and she gets out of the water. She sits next to Jonas and starts talking about her parents' relationship. She asks Jonas if he thinks his parents are happy, and he replies that he doesn't know. He finds a pendant in the sand with an engraving of St. Christopher.

Meanwhile, the Jonas, who has traveled from 1921 to this date and has a wound on his neck (which he covers up with his jacket), is spotted by Katharina, Ulrich, and Mikkel at an intersection. They are surprised he's not at the lake with the others and offer him a ride, but he declines.

Magnus pees behind a tree when he sees a girl face down in the water. He runs in, and Franziska Doppler rises from the water naked. She tells him she's okay, and he leaves. Martha is reading a book and asks Jonas if he ever wonders what will happen in the future. Magnus interrupts the moment by jumping in between them and into the water. Jonas suddenly remembers that he promised to teach his grandmother Ines how to use her new tablet and hurriedly leaves. The slightly older Jonas observes his younger self go and then decides to approach Martha. She is surprised he has returned so soon and says he seems different. Jonas says, "I wanted to tell you something. I've wanted to for a long time. I think we're a perfect match. Never believe anything else", and kisses Martha deeply. He leaves the lake.

Katharina, Ulrich, and Mikkel make a stop at the Kahnwald house to pick up some extra glasses for the party. Watching from an upstairs window, Michael is very distraught and anxious at seeing Mikkel. Mikkel says he needs to use the bathroom. Hannah looks at Mikkel and experiences déjà-vu. Michael slowly comes downstairs out of curiosity, and despite trying to hide, he and Mikkel make intense eye contact, which seems to distress both of them emotionally.

Magnus, Martha, and Bartosz are biking home. Bartosz apologizes to Martha for not being able to attend the party (he has to celebrate the hotel's opening with his family) and compliments her hair and looks. She thanks him and says goodbye.

At the power plant, Aleksander calls Torben Wöller as he stares at the newspaper clipping and asks him to find something out for him confidentially.

Hannah and Jonas arrive at the anniversary party. Jonas finds Martha, and she asks if he wants a drink. Katharina is in full-party mode. She greets Hannah and Charlotte warmly and encourages them to dance and drink with the other guests. Funnily enough, Hannah and Charlotte have left their husbands at home for different reasons: Michael adamantly refused to come to the party, and Charlotte asked Peter not to come due to their current rocky relationship and his affair with Benni (whom he visits). They chalk it up to each other as something like a summer cold.

The time-traveling Jonas goes home and is discovered by his father, who thinks he has left the party early. Jonas hugs him intensely and tearfully says he knows he is Mikkel Nielsen.

Upstairs at the Nielsen home, Mikkel wakes up feeling sick again. He comes downstairs to get his mother, and after some pleading, she goes upstairs and lies down beside him in bed.

At the Kahnwalds', Jonas begs his father not to hang himself. He shows him his suicide note. Michael says he has no idea what he is talking about. Jonas asks him to promise that he won't hang himself.

Martha brings the younger Jonas upstairs and gives him back the St. Christopher medal from the lake, which she has put on a string. She says, "I thought about what you said at the lake," though he doesn't know what she means because she refers to what the time-traveling Jonas said after he left. She tells him, "I think you're right," before kissing him. The two have sex.

Jonas asks his father about the night he vanished ("Secrets"). Michael responds that someone showed him the caves, and it was Jonas. Mikkel lost him at first, but then Jonas took him back to the cave, took him through the passage, and left him alone. Jonas says he never did that—but an older self of his will. Michael suggests that he has, in fact, not come to stop him from killing himself, or he will not be born and that his role is more significant than he thinks, as Jonas's older self once told him. At that moment, an elderly Claudia Tiedemann enters and declares she is opposed to Adam, who has sent Jonas there to ensure everything happens as it always does. She says she has seen the world without Jonas, which is not what he expects. Jonas will have to wage war against himself—Adam. Everyone has to make sacrifices, including his father.

Meanwhile, Hannah and Ulrich are sitting on a swing set smoking cigarettes as the storm draws nearer. Ulrich asks if this is the apocalypse, referencing a conversation they once had as teenagers ("Past and Present"), and Hannah responds by saying it's disappointing. They laugh. Ulrich asks what she would wish for if the world started over tomorrow, and she replies by saying a world without Winden. As the rain begins to fall, they run to cover near a shed, where they kiss passionately. This appears to be the start of their affair.

Various scenes play over each other. Franziska sees her father enter Benni's trailer. Bartosz has dinner with his parents, and they toast. Jonas and Martha have sex. The scarred, heartbroken Jonas says goodbye to his father, and Claudia leads him back to the cave while Michael begins his suicide note. Magnus stares at a photo of Franziska on his phone. Charlotte arrives home to an empty house.

June 25, 1921[]

Adam clutches the St. Christopher's medal in his hand, remembering the incident on June 20, 2019. A middle-aged couple enters as the man tells Adam he could have told Jonas his purpose. Adam simply says that there are two more days and leaves the room. The woman says to her partner, "We all have to make sacrifices, Magnus."



"Where did it all begin? Where did things begin? In the past? In the future? Who can say where it began? Will we ever be capable of knowing the origin of all things? Or is there still an origin before that? And before that? And before that? Do beginning and end even exist? Or is it all connected in an endless loop, and are 'beginning' and 'end' just different words for one and the same moment?"
―Adam's voiceover from the start of the episode
"You weren't moving and I… I… I thought you were dead. He said there was a dead body there."
"Still plenty alive."
―Franziska and Magnus at the lake
"Weren't you leaving? Everything okay?"
"I thought I had more time. Why do people say that anyway? 'To have time.' How can you have time when it clearly has you?"
"Has something happened? You're different somehow."
"I wanted to tell you something. I've wanted to for a long time. I think we're a perfect match. Never think anything else."
―Martha and the time-traveling Jonas
"Where's Peter?"
"Summer cold. And Michael?"
"Something similar."
―Charlotte and Hannah justify their absent husbands
"The night you vanished, you were there and then suddenly gone. Did you go back to the cave? How did you find the passage there?"
"I didn't find it, someone showed it to me."
"You.… We ran. Then I lost you. I turned around and you were gone. But suddenly you were back again.… You said there was something there, in the forest. Something evil. And that we had to return to the cave. You brought me all the way to the door, and through the tunnel. I was so afraid. But you held my hand. And then you said, "We have to stay here, all night, but when morning comes everything will be all right." And when I woke up you were gone. All these years I've tried to understand why you did that. But then, at some point it all just faded away. It became ever more unreal, like a dream."
"But that's impossible. I never did that."
"I saw myself today. Mikkel. It's all returning. That coat, you—as if it's all falling into place. Maybe you're not here to stop me at all. But rather to show me what it is I have to do. Maybe you only showed me the letter so I know what's in it, so I go and you live."
"No, that can't be. That can't be! He told me I could stop the origin. If you don't kill yourself, none of the rest will happen."
"But if none of the rest happens, you won't be born. And maybe your role in all this is much greater than you think, and perhaps I'm just a small part of a huge cancer that is much greater than any of us can imagine."
"Someone has said that to me before."
―Michael explains to his son what happened on the night of November 4, 2019
"Are you with Adam?"
"There are two sides out there. He is the darkness. I don't follow him, I follow the light. He lied to you. He brought you here to trigger everything so it happens as it always has."
"No, that can't be. Adam wants this too."
"No, he does not. He doesn't want to fix things. He wants to destroy them forever. Your role in all of this is much greater than you believe. Only you alone can put an end to all this."
"What does that mean?"
"We're at war, and you have to wage it against yourself—against Adam."
"But if I don't exist, if I'm not born, then Adam won't exist either."
"I've seen the world without you. Believe me, it isn't what you're expecting. There are times in life when you must see that the decisions you make affect more than your own destiny. This isn't just about you and Mikkel, this is about everyone—your mother, your friends, Martha. You alone can save them."
"What does that mean?"
"We all have to make sacrifices. Your father must make sacrifices too."
―Jonas meets Claudia Tiedemann for the first time, and she explains his role in this knot
"Is this the apocalypse?"
"A bit disappointing."
"I imagined it being louder. More glaring. If the world ended tomorrow and everything started anew, what would you wish for?"
"A world without Winden."
―Ulrich and Hannah joke about the apocalypse, paralleling a conversation they once had in 1986, but roles reversed



  • As Adam poses at the start of the episode: Where did it all begin? Where did things begin? Evidently things did not begin with Michael's suicide.
  • Is the story of the lady of the lake as told by Magnus and Bartosz true or is it merely a legend?
  • In everything is now, we know Alexandr who is actually Boris Niewald, while he is wounded, is chased and runs away with a gun in the woods of Winden. Is he one of the two fugitives Aleksndr reads about? Why is he bringing that newspaper out now?
  • What world has the old Claudia seen that is "without Jonas"? Why is it not what he is expecting?
  • What lies ahead for Jonas as a ward of Claudia? He will, at the very least, be the one to take Mikkel back to 1986. Claudia is dead come the morning of June 24 the following year. What is in store for Claudia's "pawn" as his first experience with the apocalypse draws near?


  • Jonas himself is the cause of his father's suicide. By going back in time to try to stop it, he ends up inspiring Michael to do it. This is what the Stranger meant when he told his younger self that Michael once saved his life, but he only realized it later ("Truths").
  • The incident between Jonas and Martha that occurred "last summer" when they spoke under the bridge in "Secrets" is revealed here. This also reveals when the shared memory of their lovemaking is from.
  • Bartosz's interest in Martha goes back to at least around this time. However, Martha does not reciprocate because she is interested in Jonas, and the slightly older Jonas has already made a move on her at the lake.
  • Mikkel ended up in 1986 after a slightly older Jonas (than even the slightly older Jonas we see here) finds him in the forest and takes him into the caves and through the passage. When Mikkel fell asleep in 1986, Jonas left him. The very next morning, as Mikkel stumbles out of the cave into an unfamiliar forest, we saw back in "Lies".
  • Adam was indeed lying to Jonas about being able to stop their father's suicide. Where this path is meant to take Jonas, as the older Magnus brings up, remains to be seen.
  • Jonas and Claudia first became involved with each other after the elderly Claudia intervened in the bittersweet reunion and roped Jonas away. During these first few months of cooperation, Claudia has Jonas take Mikkel from 2019 to 1986, as he is meant to go.
  • Franziska discovers her father's secret this episode.
  • We see the beginning of the relationship between Ulrich and Hanna. At the start of Secrets, they've been dating for about 5 months
  • Although this is the first time we have seen him, the middle-aged man who also seems to be a part of Sic Mundus alongside Adam, Noah, and the unknown woman is revealed to be an older Magnus.
  • Who is the woman beside him?
  • Jonas once described his father as having "gotten sick" during a conversation with his mother ("Crossroads"). By the end of this episode, it is clear that his suicide was more because of Jonas than mental health issues. Was this a post-hoc explanation for his father's suicide by Jonas at the time, or did Michael truly become "sick" in some way toward the end of his life?

Themes and Motifs[]


  • The dates featured in this episode are: June 20, 2019; November 4, 2019 (briefly); and June 25, 1921 (briefly). Various dates from the first fifteen episodes are seen very briefly as well in the opening, culminating in June 21, 2019, the day of Michael's suicide ("Secrets").
  • This episode interrupts the countdown to the apocalypse that has been fast approaching since "Beginnings and Endings". It is still 2 days until the apocalypse by the end of the episode.
  • Ulrich and Katharina are celebrating their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary today. This means they got married on June 20, 1994, when Ulrich was about twenty-three and Katharina was two days from her twenty-fourth birthday. (Recall that her birthday was revealed by Mikkel in "Dark Matter", which took place on June 22.)


  • Rubella (also called "German measles" although it is not related to measles) is a highly infectious childhood disease marked by a mild fever and red rash. Since the development of a vaccine in 1969, it has been eradicated in the Americas and Australia, but not Europe. In real life, there were 20 reported cases of rubella in all of Germany in June 2019. Dengue fever, which Mikkel guesses he might have, is similarly marked by a fever and rash but is a tropical disease transmitted through mosquito bites.
  • This is the only episode of Season 2 with scenes from June 2019. Since Jonas arrives from June 1921, the Sic Mundus portal is capable of transporting at intervals other than multiples of thirty-three years, as Adam explained last episode ("Lost and Found").
  • Longstanding hostility remains between the Tiedemanns and Ulrich and Katharina, the former of whom do not attend the party. This does not seem to prevent Bartosz from being friends with Magnus and Martha, but he also does not attend and spends the evening with his parents. (As it happens, they are celebrating the opening of Waldhotel Winden. This is not explicit in the episode—Bartosz says simply that the dinner has something to do with the hotel—but a newspaper article dated from June 20, 2019, that Claudia finds at the library in "The Travelers" describes the opening of the hotel.)
  • This is the only episode of Season 2 where the elderly Jana and Tronte Nielsen are seen. This is the only episode in Season 2 where Jana at any age appears and the only episode where Tronte at any age older than his child self appears.
  • The words Ulrich and Hannah exchange in the Nielsens' backyard are the same as the conversation they had at the bus stop in 1986 in "Past and Present," but spoken by the opposite parties.
  • We frequently are shown Jonas waking in his bedroom. Usually he has just had a nightmare and is very anxious. This is the only time he wakes up relaxed—before his world fell apart.
  • We switch between the contented, timid Jonas, prior to his father's suicide, to the time travelling Jonas, who appears worried and anxious.
  • This is the first time we see Michael, Jonas and Hannah together and see what their lives were like before Michael's suicide.
  • Jonas was checking the milk wasn’t spoiled even before his father suicided. This is a habit that has maintained over time, in fact the Strani back in 2020 repeats it one morning.
  • Michael is avoiding his real parents' anniversary, after being rejected by them while at school. He also wants to avoid meeting his younger self.
  • Now knowing that their time together is limited, either because he knows Martha will die in the apocalypse or that he will cease to exist if he prevents his father from suiciding ("Ï thought I had more time" he says to her), older Jonas makes his feelings toward Martha far clearer than his earlier self.
  • "Ultimate fist bump" appears to be the regular connection between Mikkel and Jonas, seen in episode 1 and in the meeting in the car and used again by Jonas when he meets his father to indicate he knows he is Mikkel.
  • The Saint Christopher pendant is evocative and travels through time, but it is the bond between Jonas the traveler and Martha who never travels. In 2019 it is in the hands of Martha but also in the hands of Adams in 1921 and in the hands of Jonas between Nov 2052 and June 2053
  • Jonas is offered a lift by the Nielsens, similar to Hannah and her father in 1986 (his parents and grandparents), refusing both times.
  • It seems that the recurring dream Jonas and Martha both have that they have sex is based on a memory, not just a fantasy or nightmare and was made possible by alternate Jonas kissing Martha, which the younger Jonas was unaware of.
  • Jonas attempts to stop his father from killing himself but may well have actually brought it on. The yellow jacket, the encounter with Mikkel and then Jonas appear to jog his repressed memory of his time travel and true identity (as described in his suicide note). Had Jonas not appeared and brought it up, would Michael have continued to suppress his real identity and never have suicided, appearing to not know anything about it? Jonas believes this is where all the bad things began and stopping it will stop everything else but is it? Is there a beginning or is it all part of an endless cycle? Similarly, Ulrich tries to stop Helge but may well have caused him to do what he does. Attempts to change the past just appear to make it the same. Claudia says everyone has to make sacrifices. Did Michael kill himself so Jonas could carry on? His note was not to be opened until after Mikkel had travelled back to 1986. In "Truths", the Stranger (older Jonas) tells (younger) Jonas his father saved his life: perhaps by killing himself so he could live.
  • Michael's suicide note appears to be a bootstrap paradox (similar to Tannhaus's book), originating from when Jonas gave it to him, giving him the idea to write it and hang himself so Jonas can continue to exist.
  • The time traveling Jonas (neck scar) returns 5 months later to guide Mikkel to 1986, ensuring his existence. It is apparent from "Sic Mundus Creatus Est" that time travelling could only be accomplished with a lot of guidance. Therefore Mikkel would have required guidance from someone to find his way through the portal to 1986- Jonas, just as older Jonas gave younger Jonas guidance. Jonas in guiding Mikkel to 1986 preserves the events as well as his own existence. He appears to have different objectives to his younger self, who wanted to bring Mikkel back to 2019.
  • It is the first time that Jonas meets Claudia in person in the episodes seen. In fact, he does not recognize her.
  • In the preceding episode, Adam says that a man lives three lives: The first ends with the loss of naiveté, the second with the loss of innocence, and the third with the loss of life itself. We appear to see Jonas at least at the end of stage one.
  • Claudia already has the luminous sphere when she accompanies Jonas into the caves. It means she is from the future
  • The woman you see at the end with Magnus is also in the Sic Mundus photo of 08.01.1921, behind Adam. We already saw it at the end of the episode Beginning and endings


  • Still 80s soundtrack during family Nielsen's party. 1) Rick Astley "Never gonna give you up" 2) Belinda Carlisle with tha famous Heaven Is a Place on Earth, which clearly creates a connection with the paradise which has been mentioned by Elisabeth in the future. 3) During the party at the Nielsen house and at the beginning of this episode in Kahnwld's house, we hear Nena's song "Irgendwie, irgendwo, irgendwann" which Helge heard in the car in 1986 before being hit by old Helge (episode Alpha and Omega ) and when Erik is in the Bunker at the end of the Secrets episode


→ See 54 images from An Endless Cycle at Images from An Endless Cycle.


Dark Episodes
Season 1 "Secrets" · "Lies" · "Past and Present" · "Double Lives" · "Truths" · "Sic Mundus Creatus Est" · "Crossroads" · "As You Sow, so You Shall Reap" · "Everything Is Now" · "Alpha and Omega"
Season 2 "Beginnings and Endings" · "Dark Matter" · "Ghosts" · "The Travelers" · "Lost and Found" · "An Endless Cycle" · "The White Devil" · "Endings and Beginnings"
Season 3 "Deja-vu" · "The Survivors" · "Adam and Eva" · "The Origin" · "Life and Death" · "Light and Shadow" · "Between the Time" · "The Paradise"