"As You Sow, so You Shall Reap" is the eighth episode of Season 1 of Dark. It was written by Martin Behnke and Jantje Friese, and directed by Baran bo Odar. It premiered on December 1, 2017 along with the rest of the season.
In 1953, the disfigured bodies of two boys are exhumed at a construction site, the future location of Winden's nuclear power plant.
- Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.—William Shakespeare
As young Helge Doppler rides his bicycle down the path through the forest, Egon Tiedemann speeds past him on the way to a construction site. There investigators are already speaking to workers, who have found the bodies of two children—dressed oddly, as if in costumes. Above them all stands billboard with likenesses of the Doppler family, saying "An important investment" and "Atomic power for every household!"
The Stranger arrives at the clockmaker's shop to see H.G. Tannhaus—right on time, like a clock, as the old man observes. They continue a conversation about the Einstein-Rosen bridge, linking a black hole, the entrance, and a white hole, the exit, which connects time and space. To pass through it is to travel through time. Tannhaus continues that although our thinking is shaped by dualism—entrance and exit, good and evil—reality has three ends, not two. He holds up a drawing of the triquetra, which the Stranger recognizes as a trinity knot, to ilustrate that there is an up and down but also a center. If Einstein and Rosen got anything wrong, it was failing to realize a wormhole connects three points: future, present, and past.
As they speak, the elderly Helge continues through the depths of the Winden Caves, muttering "tick tock" to himself. Ulrich Nielsen, following behind with only his lighter to light the way, manages to lose track of him. He finds the ouroboros ring, however, and follows the red cord, as strange noises emanate from deeper. Ulrich reaches the portal, reading "Sic Mundus Creatus Est" aloud, and then opens the door to pass through it. He sees no trace of Helge, but pushes onward.
Helge rides home, but is barely through the front door when his mother Greta Doppler, comes down and scolds him for his dirty clothes. Helge tries to explain what he has seen, but Greta seizes him by the ear and forces him to disrobe in the entrance hall, even his trousers. Bernd Doppler enters behind him, and Helge smiles at his father, telling him he was at the construction site as Bernd strokes Helge's face affectionately. Greta expresses her displeasure at this, but Bernd presses Helge for details. Helge reports that two bodies were found, who looked like kids. Hearing this, Bernd hurries out without bidding farewell. Greta hands Helge a clean pair of shorts, and tells him he is late for Claudia.
The bodies are now in the pathology lab at the Winden Police. Udo Meier, the examiner, informs Daniel Kahnwald and Egon that the boys' eyes are burned as if from a phosphorous grenade, and their ears are completely destroyed. Adding to the mystery, both boys had a 1986 pfennig coin strung around their neck, and their clothes are labeled "Made in China." Egon assumes the boys must be from China, and Udo says at the least, they are not locals, as one boy looks Mediterranean or Arab, and the redhead has a strange tattoo of an alicorn spitting a rainbow, which he says is the strangest thing he has ever seen.
Ulrich emerges from the cave, mystified by the appearance of an iron gate at the mouth, and at the altered apperance of the surroundings. Helge, meanwhile, rides to the shack. Playing by himself, he sights the entrance to the bunker and goes inside, where, he plays make believe using sticks as rifles and pine cones as grenades. He sees dates written on the wall, but does not comprehend them.
The Stranger asks Tannhaus about writings concerning Nietzsche's eternal recurrence, a universe that endlessly repeats itself. Tannhaus is surprised to see a copy of A Journey Through Time, as only 500 were ever printed. The Stranger presses on, asking about the lunar-solar cycle in which everything repeats itself every 33 years. Tannhaus explains that every 33 years, the cycles of the sun and moon are aligned, but 33 has greater significance. Jesus performed 33 miracles, there are 33 litanies of angels, and Dante wrote 33 cantos each in the Purgatorio and Paradiso cycles of The Divine Comedy. The Stranger observes that 33 was also when age at which the Antichrist began his reign. Noah is seen standing outside the church as the bell tolls, holding the triquetra notebook.
Tannhaus draws a stick figure on a piece of paper to illustrate his ideas. If one shines a flashlight to the left, he says, one would expect the beam to travel forever. But a wormhole twists space time, so nothing is what it seems. He rolls the paper, and now the light shines back to the stick figure, from the other side.
Egon wonders to Daniel what could make someone into a murderer, whether one is born that way or becomes that way. Daniel quips that their jobs would be easier if they knew in advance, so they could lock them up when young, before they get on the wrong track.
Helge, still playing at the shack, is set upon by two bullies. They steal the money in his pockets—after all, his father has money coming out of his ears—and one unzips his pants and proceeds to urinate on him. They hear someone approaching and run off; it is Ulrich, who spies the young Helge, and runs over. He asks Helge whether he has seen an old man in pajamas, then advises Helge that he needs to learn how to defend himself. Helge objects that they are stronger than him, and Ulrich suggests he bite them the next time. He walks out to the road and finds it unpaved, and there is no traffic light at the intersection.
A 1950s car stops nearby, and the driver, an behatted woman wearing a red dress and white gloves, asks for directions to Killinger Strasse 61. Ulrich tells her that is the address of his own house, and she asks if that means he is Egon Tiedemann. She apologizes and introduces herself as Agnes Nielsen, and calls her son, a teenage Tronte, to greet him. Ulrich asks the year, and when she replies "1953," he realizes he is speaking with his father and grandmother, and runs off.
The Stranger asks H.G. Tannhaus if it is possible to change the course of events, but Tannhaus says any scientist would say no, because causal determinism forbids it. Human nature, of course, requires that we believe our actions can change things. He says he used to dream about traveling to the past or the future, but now realizes his place is in the here and now.
The Stranger continues that in the book, Tannhaus wrote that the number 33 might represent the difference between the planes of a three-dimensional wormhole. Tannhaus thinks that might be the crux of the problem.
Ulrich arrives at the clockmaker's shop to find a youthful H.G. Tannhaus behind the counter; when shown the photo of the older Tannhaus from the back cover of A Journey Through Time, however, the 1953 clockmaker does not see the resemblance. Ulrich asks him what year it is, and Tannhaus says it is 1953: Stalin is dead, and England has a queen, and Nanga Parbat has been conquered.
A young girl plays with her white poodle, named Gretchen, when there is a knock at the door. It is Helge, and the girl is Claudia, who is tutoring him. She says he is late, and he says he forgot to bring the money, and they head inside. He does math problems, and she marks the wrong answers. There are quite a few wrong answers.
They hear voices in the other room, and head over; it is Claudia's mother, Doris Tiedemann, who introduces Agnes and Tronte. She says her husband is not around much, being very devoted to his job with the Winden Police. She asks about Agnes' husband, and Agnes replies that he is dead, and an apologetic Doris quickly offers to show her the rooms upstairs she and Tronte will be renting. She suggests Claudia show Tronte around the neighborhood later.
Ulrich, clearly upset, has taken a seat at the clockmaker's shop, and Tannhaus offers to call a doctor. They are interrupted by two girls, Jana and Ines, who have come in to pick up Ines' father's watch. While doing so, they share the gossip about the two bodies found at Bernd Doppler's construction site; Ines says they were kidnapped by aliens for experiments. Ulrich realizes that it is his mother standing before him, but is more alarmed hearing about the bodies, and dashes out of the shop, leaving behind his jacket and phone, to the others' bewilderment.
At the construction site, Bernd Doppler makes his presentation before the city fathers, below a banner reading "The Energy of the Future." Uranium fission, he says, heralds an age of reason, objectivity and the dominance of man over nature. He proposes that Winden should become home to Germany's first nuclear power plant, ensuring the local community's long-term stability and prosperity. He cannot, however, avoid the crowd's distraction at the crime scene perimeter the police are erecting nearby.
Egon asks him afterwards for a list of employees who have been on the site. Bernd is indignant, however, noting with suspicion that the two corpses appeared just as he had spoken with the town council regarding the building permit. He suspects that his rivals, the coal plant operators, planted the bodies there to sabotage the project. He offers to provide a list not of his workers, but of the coal plant operators, saying the whole thing is a conspiracy.
Tronte and Claudia walk through the forest with Gretchen, with Helge following a distance behind. They pause near the entrance of the Winden Caves; Claudia says they only enter it on a dare, and Tronte seems up for it. She tells Helge to head home, taking pleasure in being rid of him. Helge throws a stick into the cave, and Gretchen chases after it barking. Claudia calls for her, and Helge runs off.
Ulrich has run to the police station, where he demands to see the bodies that have been found, wanting to know if one had brown hair and blue eyes and looked about eleven, as his son is missing. He reaches to show Egon a picture, but realizes he left his jacket. Another policeman assumes he is drunk, but Egon tells Ulrich one is dark and looks foreign, and the other is a redhead. Ulrich asks where he can find Helge Doppler, and Egon tells him that Helge is Bernd Doppler's young son. At this, Ulrich dashes out again.
The Stranger tells Tannhaus that he is interested in time because he wants to know if things can be changed, if everything has a purpose, and if so, whose? Does the universe depend on God, or coincidence, or is it simply an eternally recurring cycle? Are human beings slaves to time and space?
Tannhaus tells the Stranger that time loops have a significant impact on cause and effect. As long as a wormhole exists, everything inside it is mutually dependent. The past doesn't just influence the future, the future influences the past. It becomes a chicken-and-egg problem, where no one can say which came first, because everything is dependent on everything else.
Egon returns home, and Doris greets him saying the meeting with Agnes had gone well. She brings him over to Agnes and introduces them. Egon asks why she would move to Winden, of all places, and Agnes replies that her grandmother was from Winden and always spoke highly of it. Before she can mention her grandmother's name, however, Claudia and Tronte dash in to report that Gretchen has gone missing. Egon asks where Helge is, and all conclude that Gretchen must be with him. Egon agrees to pay the Dopplers a visit.
Helge, sitting a short distance away from the Doppler home, looks at a box of dead birds he has collected, when Ulrich turns up. He shows Helge the pfennig coin, but Helge does not recognize it. Helge shows him the dead birds in the box, and Ulrich asks if he killed them. Helge replies that they fall from the sky, and he simply collects them; they are beautiful when dead. Ulrich says ominously that Helge will kill, however, in the future, and decides that he will change things in the future by changing them in the past. He seizes Helge, but Helge bites him and gets free, running into the forest. Ulrich chases after him. Before Helge can make it into the safety of the shack, however, Ulrich tackles him, and grabbing a stone, savagely beats Helge in the head.
Egon arrives at the Doppler home, and Greta comes downstairs to greet him. He suggests Helge might have taken Gretchen home, but Greta says coldly that is certainly not possible, as Helge knows animals are not allowed in the house. Greta notices that Helge is missing, however, and heads outside calling for him. The lifeless Helge is being dragged into the bunker by Ulrich.
As Claudia waits for Gretchen, and Doris and Agnes exchange a touch and a look while making the beds, Tronte pulls up his shirt sleeve to look at scars from cigar burns on his left forearm.
Different photographs on the string wall in the bunker are shown, as an older woman studies it. In a voiceover, H.G. Tannhaus says lives are all connected, for every deed is a response to a previous deed, cycling in an endless dance; everything is connected to everything else.
Tannhaus admits to the Stranger that it is just a theory. The Stranger, however, tells him everything in the book is true, and his theory on the formation of wormholes from gravitational impulses in not mere theory, for such an impulse is to be found in Winden. He tells Tannhaus he has come from the future, and traveled through the wormhoel to 1986. He unpacks a wood and brass contraption and asks Tannhaus to repair it.
Tannhaus says it is beyond his capabilities, but recognizes it as an apparatus that opens a portal through which one can travel 33 years into the past or the future. Jonas did not use it to arrive in 1986, but a few months ago, an incident at the power plant had released a blast of energy which had had the same effect. Tannhaus asks if the Stranger wishes to re-create the wormhole, and the Stranger replies that instead, he wants to destroy it. At this, Tannhaus orders him to leave.
The Stranger tells him, however, that having seen the future, he must set things right again, and Tannhaus must help him. The Stranger departs, leaving behind his broken apparatus. Tannhaus climbs up and retrieves a box from the shelf—which turns out to be another, apparently working version.
The younger Tannhaus packs up to go home for the night, and sees Ulrich's jacket left on the chair. He checks the pockets and finds Ulrich's smartphone, but does not know what it is. He grazes a button and the screen lights up, startling him.
Ulrich, meanwhile, waits in the dark outside the bunker.
- Tannhaus: Our thinking is shaped by dualism: entrance, exit; black, white; good, evil. Everything appears as opposite pairs. But that's wrong. Have you ever heard of the triquetra—the trinity knot? Nothing is complete without a third dimension. There isn't only up and down. There's a center, too. I think Einstein and Rosen overlooked something.…A wormhole connects not just two,
but three different dimensions: future, present… and past.
- Tannhaus: Imagine traveling back in time and meeting your father, before he had you. Would you have already changed things with this encounter? And is it even possible to change things? Or is time an eternal beast that can't be defeated?
The Stranger: What do you think? Can we change the course of events?
Tannhaus: Any scientist would tell you no. Causal determinism forbids it. But it is human nature to believe that we play a role in our own lives, That our actions can change things.
- Ines: They found two dead bodies on Doppler's construction site. Two little boys. They were abducted by aliens for experiments!
Ulrich: What did you just say?
Ines: About the aliens?
Ulrich: No, about the boys.
- Helge: Did you find the man you're looking for?
- Tannhaus: And the wormhole you traveled through? Did that device create it?
The Stranger: No. A few months ago, an incident at the nuclear power plant released a blast of energy. But the device is able to repeat that same process.
Tannhaus: And you want to create another wormhole?
The Stranger: No, I want to destroy the one that exists.
Tannhaus: I want you to leave now.
The Stranger: This town is like a festering wound, and we're all a part of it. But I can change it. Your device can change it.
Tannhaus: Leave. Leave now.
The Stranger: I've seen the future. I know what will happen. I have to set things right again. And you have to help me.
- The wormhole is sometimes referred to as an Einstein-Rosen bridge after Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen, who developed its theory.
- The Antichrist, in Christian tradition, is a figure who presents himself as Christ, but is actually working in opposition to Him; he is a central figure in the Book of Revelation, also known as the Apocalypse of St. John. In most traditions, he is not Satan, but a human whom Satan inhabits. Chapter 33 of Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra is entitled Der Antichrist.
- The Nielsens arrive in Winden in what appears to be a Lloyd 300, a car with a wooden frame manufactured between 1950 and 1953 and marketed to the middle class.
- Stalin died March 5, 1953. Elizabeth II ascended the throne upon the death of her father in 1952, but was coronated on June 2, 1953. Nanga Parbat, the ninth tallest mountain in the world, was summited on July 3, 1953 by Austrian climber Hermann Buhl, covered in a famous documentary by German cinematographer Hans Ertl, himself a participant in the expedition.
- Alien abduction as a theme in popular culture was popularized by the American film Invaders from Mars, released April 9, 1953, but that film was not released in West Germany until November 28.
Themes and MotifsEdit
- The Stranger describes the wormhole and the apparatus as two separate mechanisms by which time travel is possible.
- Egon wonders whether murderers are born that way, or created. Daniel quips that their jobs as police would be easier if they could know in advance.
- The Stranger asks Tannhaus if things can be changed, and if everything has a purpose, and who has determined that purpose. Tannhaus tells him that so long as a wormhole exists, everything inside of it is mutually dependent.
- Friedrich Nietschze's writings are mentioned; Nietschze theorized "eternal recurrence," the possibility that one's life will repeat itself endlessly. Acceptance of this fate is a characteristic of the Übermensch.
- Ulrich attempts to murder Helge, believing him to be destined to become a kidnapper and accomplice to murder, hoping thus to change the future and prevent the boys from being killed. But did he in fact inflict brain damage on him, turning him into what he became and had it not been for this the deaths would never have happened? Can events be altered by revisiting the past or are they set? Was Ulrich's attempt to alter future events just what caused them all along?
- In travelling to 1953 Ulrich leaves his phone to be discovered by Tannhaus and used to power the time machine.
- Agnes wears a red dress and red lipstick when she arrives in Winden
- Helge wears a blue sweater when he meets Ulrich, and when he accompanies Claudia through the forest
- The road sign pointing the way to Winden is bright yellow.
- Teenage Claudia wears a red blouse when tutoring Helge, and when she meets Tronte
- Ines Kahnwald wears a red coat when she visits the clockmaker's shop
- Helge collects dead birds which fall from the sky, much as his daughter-in-law Charlotte will do 33 years later
- Ulrich lights the way in the cave using his lighter. Similarly, his son Mikkel also used a lighter, taken from Egon's desk, to light the way through the cave.
- Ulrich advises the child Helge to bite his attackers; later, Helge bites Ulrich when he is attacked
- When Ulrich raves at the police station, one of the officers says dismissively that he must be drunk. Ulrich, in turn, had always resented Egon as a drunk who mishandled Mads' case.
- The Waldhotel Winden in 1953 is the Doppler manse. Why do the 2019 Dopplers no longer live there?
- Why does Bernd, who is relatively young, need a cane to walk?
- Who are the bullies who attack Helge?
- Why is Greta so cold to Helge? Why does Bernd, who is affectionate to him, tolerate this from her?
- In 1953, the Tiedemanns are living where the Nielsens will in 1986 and 2019. How did the property come into the hands of the Nielsens?
- What happened to Gretchen after she ran into the cave?
- Who is responsible for the burns and scars on Tronte's forearm? Was he abused, or does he self-harm, like the teenage Regina?
- → See 67 images from As You Sow, so You Shall Reap at Images from As You Sow, so You Shall Reap.