"Truths" is the fifth 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 other episodes in the first season.
A split-screen view follows characters in 1986 and 2019. The teen Hannah Kahnwald keeps a scrapbook about her crush, Ulrich Nielsen; the adult Hannah calls him constantly. The teenage Ulrich rides up to Hannah, but the older Ulrich mopes in his missing son's room, ignoring her calls.
Charlotte Doppler adds Yasin to her missing persons board, while a predecessor investigator, Egon Tiedemann, is frustrated by the lack of progress on Mads Nielsen's disappearance. The 1986 Ines looks in on Michael at the hospital; her older counterpart pulls out the children's book I Am Not Afraid (Ich fürchte mich nicht).
Martha Nielsen calls Jonas Kahnwald, but he ignores her; Bartosz Tiedemann calls Martha, and she ignores him. Jonas stares at the bracelet-sized red noose that was left on his bicycle while he was in the Winden Caves.
At the Doppler family residence, the radio announces the mysterious disappearance of Yasin, and that the police believe his case is related to those of Mikkel Nielsen and Erik Obendorf. Charlotte talks to Elisabeth about the disappearance of her "boyfriend," asking if she might have any information to share. Elisabeth demurs, but Charlotte presses her, presenting the watch that Noah had given her the previous night. Elisabeth agrees to help, and Charlotte says she will send a sketch artist.
Peter Doppler dislikes Charlotte's tone. Charlotte asks him again where he was the night of Mikkel's disappearance, and he claims he was in the office until 11. At this, Charlotte pulls out her printout from the wildlife camera, showing his license plate and proving he was not where he said he was. She wants him to promise her that he is not involved with the disappearances, but he tells her she is insane, and walks away.
Ines visits Mikkel, bringing him a present, and tries to ingratiate herself with him. She promises that she will protect him if he tells her the truth, and that his parents must be worried. He remains distant, however.
The Stranger's evidence board is seen, with a newspaper clipping headlined "Where Is Mikkel?" The "Where" is crossed out in red marker, and "When" written above. Other mysterious shapes and diagrams are seen.
Bartosz, trying unsuccessfully to reach Martha, is startled when Erik Obendorf's phone rings. He answers the call, and Noah greets Bartosz by name, introducing himself. Bartosz asks how Noah knew who he was.
Hannah brings food over to the Nielsen family house. Katharina lets her in, and they strain to make small talk. Ulrich enters and says he is leaving for the police station. Hannah asks him for a ride, on account of the rain, and Katharina hugs her goodbye.
At the front desk of the Waldhotel Winden, Regina Tiedemann is fielding call after call of cancellations. The Stranger appears to tell her he is leaving for a few days, but plans to return, and so wants to keep his room. He asks her to deliver an urgent package which must be delivered to Jonas that evening.
Jonas comes over to the Tiedemann family house to visit Bartosz, who is frustrated that he has not been able to reach either Jonas or Martha. They begin to play a video game together, and Bartosz confides that he has spoken to who he thinks is Erik's dealer (Noah), and that they plan to meet that night. He wants Jonas to come along, and Jonas reluctantly agrees.
Noah introduces himself to Mikkel as a priest at St. Christopher's Church, saying Ines had invited him. He asks Mikkel what he believes about God and creation, and Mikkel replies that the world came to be through the Big Bang and evolution. Noah asks what was there before the Big Bang, since nothing can come from nothing. Mikkel volunteers that his father told him religion was only brainwashing of the masses. Noah takes this in stride, saying—somewhat ominously—that God has a plan for every human being.
As Ulrich drives Hannah home, he tries to call off their affair, telling her to stop calling him and to leave his family alone. Hannah refuses, saying they are more than just a fling. As he drops her off, she warns that she will not simply let him go.
She reminisces a moment from 1986, beaming and chatty as she walks by his side down a corridor at the high school. She quotes a line from the American film The Breakfast Club—"When you grow up your heart dies"—saying it struck her, because even though the group seem to be friends because of their shared experience, they are still pigeonholed. But Ulrich is distracted, having sighted Katharina and her friends. He brushes Hannah off to go talk to them, and she stares in jealousy as he and Katharina hold hands.
Katharina reminisces herself, about the time she told Ulrich she wanted to have sex with him. He asks if she is sure, and she says she would rather do it with him than some other guy. She makes him promise to get condoms, however, because she doesn't want AIDS and she doesn't want kids—she never wants to have kids. He promises, "no kids."
As Mikkel waits in his room, Selma Ahrens, a social worker, tells Ines that the authorities will place him in a children's home until his family can be found. Ines asks if he can stay at the hospital; Selma says it is impossible, and the home will be best for him. She asks Ines if she has children, and Ines replies no; she had had a son, but he had died very young. Selma apologizes, but says they will find where Mikkel belongs. As Ines reluctantly shakes her hand, she warns that Mikkel is a peculiar boy, very sensitive, which the case worker acknowledges, saying she will be back on Wednesday.
Ulrich relates the story of why he became a police officer, citing the case of his brother Mads. The chief investigator then was a "drunken moron," and the police had made every mistake in the book. He had vowed never to become an incompetent asshole like he was—but that was 33 years ago, and now he himself was a joke. His own son had disappeared, and everything was the same, except now he was the incompetent asshole.
Charlotte asks him if he knows about the 33-year cycle. The 365-day calendar is slightly off, but every 33 years, things would be just like they were in the previous cycle. Her grandfather had been obsessed with such things with Nietzsche's idea of eternal recurrence. As a child, she always felt there was something wrong about Winden, and now that feeling had returned.
Jonas, sitting on a bench near his father's grave, is joined by The Stranger, who tells him he looks like his father. Jonas is confused, and asks if they know each other. The Stranger says no, but that Jonas's father had saved his life long ago. He says life is a labyrinth, which some people spend their whole lives trying to escape, but the only path leads one deeper, and you do not realize this until you reach the center. Death is incomprehensible, but you can make peace with it; till then, he should question whether he has made the right decisions. Jonas, bewildered, does not answer, and the Stranger walks away.
Sebastian Krüger and Hannah arrive at the hospital in his dry cleaning delivery van. He tells her he will be busy for half an hour, and while she is gone, she notices Mikkel sitting on a bench, finally opening the gift that Ines had brought to him earlier. It is the children's book Ich fürchte mich nicht—I Am Not Afraid—by Henni M. Lohnau. Hannah walks over and asks him if he thinks she is pretty. He hesitates to answer.
She tells him that she likes to pretend she can do magic, that if she wants something really badly, it happens, like moving a bottle cap on the ground. Mikkel asks if she has heard of Harry Houdini, then picks up the bottle cap, saying there is no magic, only illusion. He closes his hand around it, taps his fists, then reveals it in his other hand. She asks where he learned to do the trick, and he replies that he is from the future, which amuses her. They make their formal introductions, and for the first time since his time travel, Mikkel gives a short smile.
The next stop for the dry cleaning van is the high school, where Ulrich and Katharina have begun their liaison in the changing room. Hannah hears Katharina's laugh, and walks to the window, where she sees them together.
As the Stranger returns to the cave, and Jonas returns to the school, Martha rehearses her monologue from Ariadne on stage, about the old world and the new world, that nothing changes but always repeats in a cycle, that one fate is tied to the next, that knots cannot be undone but they can be severed. Jonas enters the auditorium and watches her.
As he does, he receives a call from Bartosz, who is waiting for Jonas so that they can meet Noah together. Jonas, however, declines the call, to Bartosz's frustration.
Jonas visits Martha in the dressing room afterwards and tells her he has not been in France, as Bartosz had told everyone, but in treatment for his post-traumatic stress following his father's suicide; he had not wanted her to think of him as a "freak." He asks why she had called him that morning instead of Bartosz. She does not answer, but rises, walks to him, and kisses him.
A car drives up to Bartosz, standing alone by the road. He introduces himself as the window rolls down, but the occupant already knows who he is. He introduces himself as Noah, and asks if he wants to get in, moving his hat. Bartosz gets in the car, and they drive off.
Charlotte, meanwhile, adds the sketch that the sketch artist has made from talking with Elisabeth—a sketch of Noah.
Ulrich comes home to find Katharina asleep on Mikkel's bed. He spoons her tenderly, but she asks directly if he is cheating on her. Ulrich does not give her a direct response. She asks again, and he denies he would ever do such a thing.
Sebastian continues on his rounds with Hannah, who asks him what she should do if she has seen something that was "not right." Sebastian tells her to say exactly what she saw, and Hannah tells him she witnessed Ulrich assaulting Katharina. She is soon seen repeating the story to Egon at the police station, saying Ulrich violently choked and raped her. Egon tells her she did the right thing, and has been very brave.
Noah drops Bartosz off at the railroad bridge and drives off. At the same time, the Stranger, with his suitcase, has returned to the cave, and Jonas returns home to his room, to find the package from the Stranger that Regina had delivered as promised. He opens it to find strange orb light, and a Geiger counter—then his father's suicide note.
The letter explains that no matter how much we try to lie, or try to forget, the truth always makes its way back to the surface. And his truth is that on November 4, 2019, he traveled through time to the year 1986 and remained there, and in time, Mikkel became Michael, who never knew where he belonged. He hopes Jonas will forgive him. It is signed, "Mikkel/Michael."
As he reads it, scenes are shown of Ines at Michael's grave with his copy of Ich fürchte mich nicht, and of the 1986 Ines caring for Mikkel as he sleeps at the hospital, and of the chaotic night of his disappearance. The book, with "This book belongs to Michael" handwritten on the title page, is juxtaposed with Michael's gravestone. Jonas contemplates the implications of it all.
- Ulrich: Do you know why I became a policeman? When my brother vanished back then, they made every mistake in the book. The chief investigator was a drunken moron. And I... I swore I'd do everything differently. That I'd do things right. That I wouldn't become an incompetent asshole pig like him. That was 33 years ago. And now look at me. I'm a joke. I cheat on my wife. My son has vanished. I can't do anything. Thirty-three years. Everything is the same. Just that now I'm the incompetent asshole.
- Charlotte: When I was little, I always felt that something was wrong with Winden. I have that same feeling again—that everything's repeating, that this has all happened before. Like a massive déjà vu.
- Mikkel (performing his magic trick): There is no such thing as magic, just illusion. Things only change when we change them. But you have to do it skillfully, in secret. Then it seems like magic.
- Martha (as Ariadne): She spoke of yesterday as though it were before her very eyes, as if today was but a veil that shrouded in shadow all that was real to her. The old world came to haunt her, like a ghost that whispered to her in a dream how to erect the new world, stone by stone. From then on, I knew that nothing changes. that all things remain as before. The spinning wheel turns, round and round in a circle, one fate tied to the next.
- Michael/Mikkel's suicide note: By the time you read this everything will have happened, irrevocably. It can no longer be changed.
- Karoline Eichhorn as Charlotte Doppler
- Christian Pätzold as Egon Tiedemann 1986
- Maja Schöne as Hannah Kahnwald
- Ella Lee as Hannah Kahnwald 1986
- Angela Winkler as Ines Kahnwald
- Anne Ratte-Polle as Ines Kahnwald 1986
- Daan Lennard Liebrenz as Mikkel Nielsen
- Oliver Masucci as Ulrich Nielsen
- Ludger Bökelmann as Ulrich Nielsen 1986
- Louis Hofmann as Jonas Kahnwald
- Lisa Vicari as Martha Nielsen
- Paul Lux as Bartosz Tiedemann
- Carlotta von Falkenhayn as Elisabeth Doppler
- Stephan Kampwirth as Peter Doppler
- Andreas Pietschmann as The Stranger
- Jördis Triebel as Katharina Nielsen
- Deborah Kaufmann as Regina Tiedemann
- Mark Waschke as Noah
- Nele Trebs as Katharina Nielsen 1986
- Anne Lebinsky as Jana Nielsen 1986
- Felix Kramer as Tronte Nielsen 1986
- Christian Steyer as H.G. Tannhaus 1986
- Tara Fischer as Girl in School
- Barbara Philipp as Caseworker Selma Ahrens
- Denis Schmidt as Sebastian Krüger
- "Fairy's Fountain" by Koji Kondo
Hannah meets Mikkel
- "Me and the Devil" by Soap & Skin
Teenage Ulrich is arrested
- The time on Bartosz's phone shows 08:27, but just moments later, the time on Eric's phone shows 09:26.
- When Bartosz and Jonas are playing the video game, the controllers do not appear to be powered on; the light facing the television should be illuminated.
- Theseus and the Minotaur — Images of the labyrinth from the Stranger's wall are seen. Later, he tells Jonas life is a labyrinth, and the only way to understand it is to make it to the center.
- The Playstation 4 game which Bartosz and Jonas play is The Surge, a sci-fi action RPG set in a dystopian future. Developed by Deck13 Interactive and released in 2017, it does not have a split screen dual player mode.
- The movie the teenage Hannah quotes to Ulrich is The Breakfast Club, which was released in West Germany in July 1985.
- The teenage Ulrich wears a "No Future" punk jacket
Themes and motifsEdit
- The noose made of cord left on Jonas's bike is red
- Ines's present to Mikkel is wrapped in yellow wrapping paper
- Noah tells Mikkel that God has a plan for everyone
- Ulrich says everything is the same as it was 33 years ago
- Charlotte describes her understanding of the 33-year cycle, and feels that everything is repeating
- This is the last episode where The Stranger and Regina see each other.
- The address of the Kahnwald house is given as Felding 8 ("8th Lane"), 36777 Winden. The postal code is fictitious, but a code starting with 36 indicates Hesse or Thuringia in central Germany.
- The book Ich fürchte mich nicht (I Am Not Afraid) and its author "Henni M. Lohnau" are fictitious.
- The text of the newspaper article about the disappearance of Mads Nielsen ("Windener Junge vermisst") has no relation to the title. Another headline mentions Winden becoming a sister city of Kiel, in northern Germany near the Danish border.
- When did Ines have her son, and why did he die? Who was the father?
- How did Michael Kahnwald save the Stranger's life?
- In the montage, Katharina is seen with a black eye and bruises on her face. Who did this to her?
- What is the purpose of the mysterious light and Geiger counter the Stranger leaves for Jonas?
- Why did Michael leave instructions not to read his suicide note until after Mikkel's disappearance?