"Past and Present" is the third episode of Season 1 of Dark.


It's 1986, and Ulrich's brother, Mads, has been missing for a month. Confusion reigns as past and present intertwine.


1986 Edit

1x03 0002 JanaCouch

Mikkel sees Younger Jana.

The confused Mikkel Nielsen enters the house, further noticing the difference in the ambiance. He notices a woman on the couch, idly watching the TV. He thought it was his mom at first, but it was actually Jana Nielsen, his grandmother. Jana initially thought he was Mads, before kneeling down in front of him, clenching his beaten left arm, demanding if he knew where Mads was. Mikkel snatches himself away, leaving the woman to cry on the floor.

Nurse Ines Kahnwald walks through the hallways of the hospital. Another nurse, Donata Kraus, asks her to take over for the night shift, since she has "no family". Young Charlotte Tannhaus cycles through the forest road, and picks up a dead bird to keep it. In the forest, Charlotte peacefully sketches a dead bird.

At the police station, elderly chief inspector Egon Tiedemann listens to the radio. The speaker talks about Mads' disappearance 4 weeks ago and how the police hasn't found any useful information, leading towards protestors. Egon receives a call from a farmer, reporting dead animals. Meanwhile, Claudia Tiedemann (Egon's daughter) is preparing for her first day as the new and first female director of the Winden Nuclear Power Plant. She is driving her teenage daughter, Regina, to school. Claudia says that the future belongs to the bold and successful. She discredits Regina, scolding her for how she doesn't take care of her appearance and calling her a "limp dishrag". She continues to brag about her new position, much to Regina's annoyance.


Mikkel talks to Young Katharina.

Mikkel stumbles upon the high school, noticing the different people around him. In the school hallway, Hannah Krüger is conversing with Katharina and another girl. Katharina hands the other girl a music tape, expressing that it's about a guy kidnapping and murdering a girl for wearing lipstick. Hannah states that, according to her father, lipstick is for prostitutes and that she prefers different music. Katharina calls her a square. Mikkel approaches them, asking for help to look for his mother (who happens to be Katharina). Katharina crudely talks to him and shoves him aside, thinking that he was on drugs due to his constant confusion.

Claudia has arrived at the Nuclear Plant. Helge Doppler, a janitor, was scrubbing a graffiti that says "NO FUTURE". He greets and congratulates Claudia, giving her a book in the form of a present. The aura is awkward until Claudia hurries inside.

1x03 0012 DeadSheep

Dead sheep.

Egon has arrived at the farm, which was sprawled with 33 dead sheep. Farmer Hermann Albers states that they just died out of the blue. Such things didn't use to happen in Winden. He quotes "Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come", which was The Gospel of Mark, 13:33. Egon didn't know he was a churchgoer, and Albers responds that the parish has a new priest.

Claudia was approached by Secretary Jasmin Trewen, informing her that a journalist named Tronte Nielsen wants to interview her. She also hands her the figures from 1986 and 1985, like she requested. Trewen congratulates her for being the first female boss. Claudia gestures at her to leave, and further inspects the figures.

Egon sets up the file for the 33 dead sheep, until Mikkel arrives in his office, asking to look for his dad. When he mentions Ulrich's name, Egon goes to show his disliking for said person, assuming that this was some sort of prank. Egon notices his facial scrapes and injured arm, further surmising that Ulrich battered the boy. Mikkel asks him the exact date, and Egon replies to him. Mikkel was taken aback by the realization. Egon decides to call a nurse to come pick the boy up. He leaves to go talk to Ulrich, leaving Mikkel alone in the office.

Claudia privately meets up with Tronte. It turns out they are having an affair, and that the "interview" was a coverup. She instructs him to make a new appointment with her secretary next time. Tronte secretly caresses her hand, saying he misses her. He begs her to continue their relationship but she dismisses it.

Mikkel solves a rubiks cube and attempts to call (presumably) his present Ulrich, only for failure. He also grabs a lighter and put it in his jacket. He notices files and clippings surrounding the missing Mads, and a photo on the desk, displaying him and Ulrich together. When the door opens, he places down the evidence and meets Nurse Ines, who tells him that she's going to take him to the hospital to look at his arm, but he remains silent.

1x03 0026 UlrichEgonHoof

Egon and Ulrich have a fierce conversation.

Egon arrives at the Nielsen family home, where loud metal music was exploding even from the outside. He presses the door bell, but there was no answer. He knocks, but it turns out the door was unlocked. The music was thunderous enough for nobody to hear Egon downstairs. He goes upstairs to see the source of the music in Ulrich's room. The teenager was playing video games. Egon turns off the boombox, and the disappointed Ulrich picks himself straight up. Egon quotes a lyric from the song: "My only aim is to take many lives. The more, the better I feel". He despises that statement. He accuses Ulrich of forcing Mikkel to perform a prank, warning him that he will get arrested one day. The teenager smells his breath, and rudely asks if he's been drinking. After finding a hoof on the shelf, he accuses Ulrich of killing the sheep. Ulrich tells Egon that if he were to stop drinking, then Mads might be found already. When Jana entered the room, she explains that she unlocked the door for the chances of Mads returning. Ulrich claims that Egon arrived to give an update on the investigation, to which he stays silent, just like the teenager expected. Ulrich turns the boombox back on and plays his game. Egon leaves as Jana has a despondent expression.

1x03 0032 BerndClaudia

Claudia and Bernd.

At the hospital, Mikkel refuses to reveal his identity, and has his arm checked. In his hospital ward, he cries at the realization of his situation. Ines kneels down to calm him down, saying that it's going to be okay. Meanwhile, at the Nuclear Plant, Director Bernd Doppler (Helge's father) is packing his belongings due to retirement. Claudia sets foot into his office, scolding him for keeping secrets from her, for which she has discovered something in the figures. Bernd tells her that there are things worth knowing and things worth not knowing, because they can't be changed. Claudia shows him records of something that happened 3 months ago. He explains that ever since Chernobyl, people have lost faith in the Nuclear Plant, but the workers still made progress. He strictly tells her that everyone in Winden depends on the Plant for their wellbeing, so when Claudia takes responsibility over the place, she'll take responsibility for the town. She is further determined to prove Bernd that he's not wrong about her being the boss.

While the coroner was performing autopsy on a dead sheep, he applauds Egon for Claudia's new job. He informs him that all sheep died from cardiac arrest. He says that sheep are sensitive creatures, when one panics, they all do. Egon questions the source, and the coroner jokes that if it were to be one person, then they would be "Freddy Krueger". Turns out, none of them is missing a hoof. He suspects satanists to have done this. They realised that the eardrums are ruptured on both sides.

1x03 0043 YellowDrums

Claudia finds the yellow barrels.

Claudia pushes Bernd's wheelchair to an area in the forest surrounded by a chain link fence. Before giving her the key, he says "What we know is a drop, what we don't know is an ocean.". Going past the gate, there was a huge hole leading to an underground section of the Winden Caves. She climbed down using a rope and starts venturing. She was shocked to find dozens of large yellow barrels containing toxic waste deep inside.

Mikkel stays at his bed silently until nighttime. Ines offers him to sleep there and tells him that he can talk to her about his troubles. When Ines was going to leave, Mikkel admits that he came from the future, much to her disbelief. Meanwhile, Regina returns home and finds that her mother isn't around. A recorded message from Claudia tells her that she will come home late. She opens her sleeve, revealing several cuts on her wrist. She has been performing self-mutilation.

Egon goes to the field where the dead sheep were. He hears a roar from beyond, and a dead bird falls on his shoulder. His flashlight flickers madly and dead birds were raining down. He runs inside his car and gapes at all the birds. Charlotte was placing a dead bird in her freezer, until the lights started flickering. At the hospital, Mikkel sees that the nurses were distracted by the flickering lights. He takes the opportunity to jump through a window. He ran through the forest and reached the cave, understanding that he needs to find a passageway to return home. He uses his lighter as a light source in the dark.

1x03 0052 HannahHopeful

A hopeful Hannah.

Hannah cycles to a bus stop to meet with Ulrich. They sat together and took a gander at the flickering lights in the streets. She jokes around that the current situation was the apocalypse, and Ulrich refers to it as a disappointment. Hannah concurs with him, stating that she expected it to be more loud and glaring. She asks him if the world was going to end and renew, what would he wish for. Ulrich replies "a world without Winden". Hannah was brighten by his answer. After the lights stopped flickering, she says that Winden might not give up that easily, but Ulrich believes that next time it will.

Ines walks into Mikkel's hospital ward, noticing that he snuck out. Tronte is lighting a cigarette, and later goes home to his insomniac wife. A confused Claudia opens the present Helge gave her, A Journey Through Time by H.G. Tannhaus. Regina is putting on lipstick and strips herself in front of a mirror, presumably insecure about her appearance. Charlotte finishes her sketch. Ulrich is at home, sorrowfully staring at Mads' empty bed.

As he walks through the cave, Mikkel slips down a steep edge and breaks his right leg. He hears some faint banging of metal (due to Ulrich trying to break the metal door in 2019) through the unseen passage, so he shouts for help. He struggles his way outside, sits on a hill, and cries in frustration.

(Scenes with split screens reveal who some characters from 1986 and 2019. They also show Ulrich and Mikkel, though separated in time, exiting the caves of their respective years)

2019 Edit

Ines is staring at the box where she keeps Michael's suicide letter. Tronte is sitting in a brown-lit room. Regina feels a pain in her breast. Charlotte sees the dead birds outside the police station. Jana is wondering where her husband went. Ulrich sorrowfully stares at Katharina sleeping in Mikkel's bed. He decides to bring his large crowbar and head to the sealed door in the caves.

1x03 0065 UlrichSurprised

Ulrich barely hears Mikkel.

He sticks the edge between the door and the trim, trying the break open the door. He is unable to do it, so he resorts to banging the door with the crowbar. While tired, he hears a faint voice shouting "Help!" (due to Mikkel breaking his leg in 1986). He is curious as to where it was coming from. He climbs out of the cave, sits on a hill, and cries in frustration.

Elsewhere Edit

In a clockshop, H.G. Tannhaus is finishing a complex brass apparatus (the same one the stranger has in 2019).



  • Claudia: In times like these, one must face one's own fears. Because the future… the future belongs to the bold, not to the doubters, those forever stuck in the past.
  • Ines: I'm Nurse Ines—but you can just call me Ines. I'll take you to the hospital now. We'll take a look at your arm, okay? Then I'll bring you home safe and sound.
  • Bernd: There are things that are worth knowing and things worth not knowing, because you can't change them anyway.
  • Hannah: Is this the Apocalypse?
    Ulrich: A bit disappointing. I imagined it being louder. More glaring.
  • Hannah: If the world ended today, and everything started anew, what would you wish for?
    Ulrich: Easy. A world without Winden.
    Hannah: To a world without Winden.
    Ulrich: To a world without Winden.
    Hannah: I don't think Winden is going to give up that easily.
    Ulrich: Well, maybe next time.


Mysteries Edit

  • Why did Helge give Claudia the book?
  • How did the sheep die?
  • What happened in the Nuclear Plant during the summer of 1986? What was in the yellow barrels?
  • What room was Tronte in during 2019?
  • How is there a wormhole connecting 2019 and 1986?

Answers Edit

  • There is some sort of wormhole in the caves, which allow a person to travel to different years.

Themes and Motifs Edit

Time Edit

  • Mads disappeared 4 weeks earlier.
  • Claudia believes that the future belongs to the bold.
  • Ulrich doesn't believe in a great future.
  • Something happened in the Nuclear Plant during the summer of 1986.
  • The dead sheep were alright 1 day earlier.
  • A clock was ticking while Ulrich 2019 was going to the caves.
  • Tannhaus works at a clockmaker shop.
  • November 5, 2019 and November 5, 1986 are happening at the same time, due to the wormhole connecting these two time periods.

Time Travel Edit

Determinism Edit

  • Egon's hatred for Ulrich prompted him to constantly suspect the teen for anything.
  • Claudia's curiosity led her to finding the yellow barrels.

Colors Edit

  • Jana wears blue during the day, even when she was younger.
  • The walls of the hospital are sky blue.
  • Claudia is wearing red, and has blue eye shadow.
  • The high school students wear clothes and have belongings that vary from different flashy colors.
  • Bernd gives Claudia a yellow key
  • Claudia finds yellow barrels.

Historic Recurrences Edit

  • A member of the Nielsen family is missing in both time periods, and the mothers (Jana and Katharina) are facing complex depression.
  • A Nielsen is having an affair. Tronte with Claudia in 1986, and Ulrich with Hannah in 2019.
  • The inability of the police to solve Erik's disappearance in 2019 is identical to Mads in 1986. Ulrich blames Egon, similar to Erik's family blaming the police in 2019.
  • The Nuclear Plant is keeping a secret.
  • The flickering lights and dead animals occur at around the same time in 1986 and 2019. The two years are connected, since time isn't linear.

Religion and Mythology Edit

  • Ines wears her cross pendant even when she was younger.
  • Farmer Albers quotes "Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come", which was The Gospel of Mark, 13:33.
  • Egon despises satanists, assuming they killed the sheep.

Observations Edit

  • Mads' disappearance took a toll on Jana's mental state.
  • This episode is happening at the same time as the previous one.
  • There happens to be tension between Ulrich and Egon.
  • Egon seemed a bit upset about Claudia being the new director.
  • Regina was a suicidal teenager. She is neglected by her mother.
  • Ulrich has the same "NO FUTURE" message in his room as the graffiti on the Nuclear Plant parking lot. This shows that he was the culprit.
  • The dead sheep have fractured eardrums, similar to the dead boy in 2019.

Cultural References Edit

  • Raider Chocolate Bar: Jana was idly watching a Raider commercial on TV. Raider was known outside Germany and Austria as Twix, and renamed as such in 1991.
  • November 1, 1986 chemical fire: The radio news mentions a chemical plant fire in Switzerland. This transpired at a storage facility outside Basel owned by Sandoz, a predecessor company of Novartis. Around 1350 metric tons (1488 U.S. tons) of toxic material spilled into the Rhine, killing nearly all plant and animal life downstream for 180 km.
  • Gaetano "Nino" D'Angelo: Hannah prefers his music rather than Falco. Nino D'Angelo is an Italian pop/folk singer.
  • Johann Hölzel, a.k.a. Falco: Hannah prefers Nino D'Angelo over him. Falco was an Austrian singer and songwriter.
  • Freddy Krueger: Dr. Schaller says "Freddy Krueger" may have been enough for a single person to cause the 33 sheep to panic enough to just drop dead. Freddy Krueger is the bogeyman of Wes Craven's 1984 slasher film A Nightmare on Elm Street, who has a glove with long knives attached to each finger. He is able to haunt the dreams of children and murder them there, who spend their waking lives in terror of him.
  • Rubik's Cube: Mikkel solves one on Egon's desk. The Rubik's Cube is a 3-D combination puzzle box popularized in the early 1980s.

Soundtrack Edit

  • "Goodbye" by Apparat
    The opening song.
  • "Partita: III. Courante" by Roomful of Teeth
    Ines walks through the hospital. Charlotte finds a dead bird.
  • "Shout" by Tears For Fears
    Mikkel walks into the high school of 1986.
  • "Pleasure To Kill" by Kreator
    Loud metal music Ulrich was listening to.
  • "The Look Of Love (Part One)" by ABC
    Music playing near the autopsy room.
  • "Familiar" by Agnes Obel
    Scenes with split-screens reveal certain characters as their 1986 and 2019 selves.


→ See 58 images from Past and Present at Images from Past and Present.
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