"Past and Present" is the third episode of Season 1 of Dark. It was written by Jantje Friese and Marc O. Seng and directed by Baran bo Odar. It premiered on December 1, 2017 along with the other episodes in the first season.
It's 1986, and a confused Mikkel walks through what would become his future house calling for his mother. Instead, he finds his grandmother Jana who reacts hysterically, commenting on his striking resemblance to her missing son Mads, frantically asking him who he is and if he knows what happened to her son, who at this point had been missing for over a month. Starting to realize something was off, but not yet understanding the shift in time, Mikkel decides to head over to the high school to search for his mother, who he still believes is the school principal. Having no luck, he then goes to the police station in an attempt to find his father.
Egon Tiedemann, a police officer working at the station at this time, laughs when Mikkel attempts to explain to him that Ulrich Nielsen is his father. Egon believes Ulrich is nothing but a troublemaker and suspects he may have beat Mikkel up and forced him to go to the station and tell this outlandish story as a prank.
Left alone while Egon heads off to find a nurse, Mikkel solves the Rubik's cube, swipes Egon's lighter, and looks through Egon's files on the desk and finds his uncle Mads' recent missing person's report, as well as a photo of him with the teenage boy he met earlier, who was identified as Ulrich. Shortly afterwards, Ines Kahnwald, a hospital nurse, takes him to the town hospital, and Mikkel tells her he that is from the future, much to her disbelief.
In 1986, Claudia Tiedemann, Egon's daughter and Regina's mother, is hired as the first female chief of the nuclear power plant. She is initially quite proud but is quickly shocked to discover that the plant is being intentionally mismanaged. The retiring chief Bernd Doppler informs her that the public had lost their faith in nuclear power since the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine that occurred in the spring. He later sends her to the cave nearby to learn about one of many secrets of the plant: a vast collection of yellow drums filled with an unknown substance that has been marked as nuclear waste.
Back in 1986, the lights in Winden then start flickering on and off, and a teenage Charlotte witnesses the strange phenomenon of birds falling dead from the sky. Out of curiosity, she takes detailed notes, especially interested in the odd white specks on their feathers.
Egon, investigating the mysterious deaths of 33 sheep in a field, is told by Dr. Schaller, a veterinarian, that it seems that the sheep all died of cardiac failure, most likely caused by a panicked herd, though very oddly with their eardrums ruptured. That night, Mikkel escapes from the hospital and runs back to the cave, hoping to return to his familiar timeline. Meanwhile, in 2019, Ulrich heads to the cave as well with a crowbar in hand to open the locked door, though he is ultimately unsuccessful. He begins banging on the door in frustration.
Mikkel falls and injures himself, and hearing Ulrich's loud banging from the crowbar—in the future—calls for help. Ulrich hears his faint calls through time, but as they walk through the same place, they are separated by 33 years, and unable to interact with each other.
- 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.
Cultural References Edit
The radio news mentions a chemical plant fire in Switzerland. This is likely referring to the November 1, 1986 chemical fire 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.
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.
Mikkel solves a Rubik's Cube on Egon's desk. The Rubik's Cube is a 3-D combination puzzle box popularized in the early 1980s.
- Anne Lebinsky as Jana Nielsen 1986
- Daan Lennard Liebrenz as Mikkel Nielsen
- Anne Ratte-Polle as Ines Kahnwald 1986
- Stephanie Amarell as Charlotte Doppler 1986
- Christian Pätzold as Egon Tiedemann 1986
- Julika Jenkins as Claudia Tiedemann 1986
- Lydia Maria Makrides as Regina Tiedemann 1986
- Nele Trebs as Katharina Nielsen 1986
- Ella Lee as Hannah Kahnwald 1986
- Peter Schneider as Helge Doppler 1986
- Felix Kramer as Tronte Nielsen 1986
- Ludger Bökelmann as Ulrich Nielsen 1986
- Michael Mendl as Bernd Doppler 1986
- Angela Winkler as Ines Kahnwald
- Walter Kreye as Tronte Nielsen
- Deborah Kaufmann as Regina Tiedemann
- Karoline Eichorn as Charlotte Doppler
- Tatja Seibt as Jana Nielsen
- Oliver Masucci as Ulrich Nielsen
- Jördis Triebel as Katharina Nielsen
- Christian Steyer as H.G. Tannhaus 1986
- Anna Schönberg as Nurse Donata
- Tara Fischer as Girl in School
- Thomas Arnold as Farmer Hermann Albers
- Lea Willkowsky as Secretary Jasmin Trewen
- Hannes Wegener as Dr. Reimann
- Luc Feit as Veterinarian Dr. Schaller
- → See 58 images from Past and Present at Images from Past and Present.