- Black holes are considered to be the hellmouths of the universe. Those who fall inside disappear, forever. But whereto? What lies behind a black hole? Along with things, do space and time also vanish there? Or would space and time be tied together and be part of an endless cycle? What if everything that came from the past were influenced by the future?
Charlotte and Peter Doppler emerge from their separate bedrooms as Franziska shouts that Elisabeth has stolen her lipstick. Elisabeth denies she has taken it, and grins mischievously as Franziska shouts.
Peter says he is going to visit Helge on his way home, and Charlotte says she will take Elisabeth to school. Elisabeth says she doesn't like Mikkel, finding him a show-off, and doesn't care if he ever comes back.
Peter visits Helge at the nursing home, warning him that he mustn't leave it, but Helge mutters that he has to tell "him," that "it" has to stop.
Charlotte, driving Elisabeth to school, passes by a wildlife camera aimed at the road. She stops the car, breaks it open, and takes the memory card from it. Elisabeth asks if she has stolen something, and Charlotte defensively says she is "confiscating" it; Elisabeth, however, says it is the same thing.
Jonas reaches the cave and sneaks past the barrier. The Stranger observes him secretly.
Charlotte drops Elisabeth off at her school, telling her that she will pick her up after school as well. Elisabeth keeps looking over at one of the boys, telling Charlotte that she and Yasin are dating. She kisses Charlotte goodbye, then runs over to join her "boyfriend."
Franziska is in literature class when they are interrupted by Magnus. The teacher observes that Magnus is not supposed to be in the class, but lets him stay, continuing on with his discussion of symmetry and repetition in Goethe's Elective Affinities (Die Wahlverwandtschaften); it begins at a central point and branches off in two opposing directions. Franziska excuses herself to go to the bathroom, and Magnus follows, seeing her leave the school grounds entirely.
At the medical examiner's lab, Charlotte is sure the strange phenomenon of the dead birds dropping out of the sky and the recent disappearances of the young boys are related to what happened 33 years earlier.
Jonas, meanwhile, makes his way deeper and deeper into the Winden Caves.
Charlotte comes out of the lab and is set upon by Torben Wöller, who asks where she has been all morning; the phones have been ringing off the hook as news of the discovery of the boy's body nas been leaked to the public. She tells him simply to go through the missing persons report again, this time going as far back as 15 years.
Charlotte loads the memory card she took from the wildlife observation camera and checks for files from around the time of Mikkel's disappearance, between 9:30 and 10:30 p.m. She sees a car caught on camera and prints the screenshot as Torben walks in; she ushers him out. The license plate of the car shows that it is none other than Peter's Volvo.
Peter is leaving the office when he sees red dirt on his floor mats, and flaps it out. Charlotte calls him then to ask she he had called her the night Mikkel disappeared, and he says it was probably nothing, because he had been at the office until ten in the evening writing reports; Charlotte now knows he is lying about that night.
Franziska, meanwhile, makes her way down the railroad tracks and Magnus observes her from a distance. She stops below the railroad bridge and retrieves an envelope from a box buried there, stuffing it in her pants. When she returns to school, Magnus is still trailing behind. He watches her at dance practice,
Charlotte visits Benni's trailer, flashing her badge, asking if Peter had visited the previous Monday. Benni, matching up the names, is cagey, asking if this is a private or professional matter, but confirms that Peter has not visited in over a year. Dismayed but not dissuaded, she then heads up to her father-in-law Helge's old hunting cabin, where she finds tire tracks caked in red clay.
She gets a call from the medical examiner just then. The birds also had burst eardrums due to pressure, but had likely died shortly after becoming disoriented, crashing into the ground. She also mentions that the white spots on the feathers were genetic mutations first documented after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, but that the radiation being emitted from the dead birds were currently at normal levels.
School is over, and Elisabeth and Yasin are talking outside when Yasin's mother comes to pick him up. She offers to give Elisabeth a ride as well, but Elisabeth demurs, saying her own mother would be there any minute. But Charlotte is not on her way. She has searched through the cabin, and now heads into the bunker, where she receives a call about Ulrich.
Franziska, done with dance practice, returns to the changing room, where Magnus confronts her about a large stash of money he has found, accusing her of dealing drugs. Visibly shaken at his discovery, she says she'd like to leave Winden because of the town's "lying problem", most notably her parents, who hadn't slept in the same room in about a year since her mother discovered her father was homosexual, but yet still pretend that everything is normal. Magnus then comforts her, starts kissing her and eventually escalates into having sexual intercourse on the locker room bench.
Charlotte calls Peter as she heads to the power plant, saying Peter will need to pick Elisabeth up. Peter says he cannot, because he has a patient, but Charlotte insists, and he agrees. He does not arrive in time, however. Elisabeth waits for a while, putting on some of the lipstick she has stolen from Franziska, then heads home in the rain. She delights in the puddles, and comes across a Raider bar wrapper. When Peter does arrive ta the school, the teacher tells him that Elisabeth is gone; school finished early that day, because Mrs. Clemens was out sick.
Ulrich, bleeding from a blow to the head, is being held by plant security in Aleksander Tiedemann's office. He had climbed over the fence to get onto the grounds. Charlotte scolds him as they drive home, saying he is lucky Aleksander is not pressing charges, but Ulrich is embittered, saying he receives sympathy but no cooperation over his missing son. He demands Charlotte drop him off, and she relents. She receives a call from a panicked Peter, however. Elisabeth is missing.
Charlotte, searching through the forest, finds her knit fox cap and takes it home, where Peter is waiting. The various others return home as well: Jonas from his unsuccessful search through the caves, Franziska from her eventful day. Ulrich returns home and encounters Katharina, but they say nothing to each other as he heads upstairs. Helge, however, has fled the nursing home again, encountering the police in the forest who are searching for Elisabeth. He says nothing coherent to them, just repeating over and over that he "must stop him." He continues to do so back at the nursing home, restrained in his bed. When the nurse asks who, he replied, "Noah."
Elisabeth does make it home—but much later than she should have. She says she met someone named Noah, who gave her a gold pocket watch he said used to belong to Charlotte. Franziska comes downstairs and gives her a hug, but seeing Elisabeth wearing her lipstick, slaps her. Charlotte opens the watch and finds an engraving: "For Charlotte."
- We're searching for Ariadne's thread, the one meant to guide us along the right path—a beacon in the darkness. We'd love to know our fate, where we're headed. But the truth is that there is but one path through all times, predetermined by the beginning and by the end—which is also the beginning.
The next morning, Yasin walks through the forest, alone on his way to school, and pauses to pick up a stick figure left in the path. A hooded man tells the young boy, "You must be Yasin. Noah sent me."
- Elisabeth: I don't like Mikkel. He's a show-off and a jerk. I don't really care if he ever comes back.
- Teacher: Symmetry is a special kind of doubling. The repetition is mirrored
along a central axis. So, the repetition begins at an imaginary center point and branches off in two opposing directions. There are several encrypted references to later events in the novel. Ottilie's starvation, for example, is referenced in the third chapter of part one, as her "excessive abstemiousness in eating and drinking." This reference is again repeated later.
- Franziska: You want the truth? Fine. My parents have slept in different beds for over a year. My mom found out that Dad's actually into dicks. Their marriage is over, but no one will say it. Instead, this big fat secret is always with us at the table. It eats our bread rolls, the butter and the homemade jam. It gets fatter and fatter, until there's no space left in the room, until you can't breathe.
- Andreas Pietschmann as The Stranger
- Hermann Beyer as Helge Doppler
- Gina Stiebitz as Franziska Doppler
- Karoline Eichorn as Charlotte Doppler
- Stephan Kampwirth as Peter Doppler
- Louis Hofmann as Jonas Kahnwald
- Carlotta von Falkenhayn as Elisabeth Doppler
- Maja Schöne as Hannah Kahnwald
- Moritz Jahn as Magnus Nielsen
- Jördis Triebel as Katharina Nielsen
- Oliver Masucci as Ulrich Nielsen
- Peter Benedict as Aleksander Tiedemann 1986
- Walter Kreye as Tronte Nielsen
- Vico Mücke as Yasin Friese
- Nils Brunkhorst as the literature teacher
- Anna König as the medical examiner
- Leopold Hornung as Torben Wöller
- Anton Rubtsov as Benni
- Lena Dörrie as Nurse Clara Schrage
- Eva Maria Jost as Nurse Anne Reisch
- Helena Abay as Yasin's mother
- Nina Weniger as the School for the Deaf teacher