This is very, very late to the party but having finally decided to hop on the hype train, I am big fan of the conversational exposition shown by one scene in the pilot of Dark. Hopefully the show espouses more of that skillful brand. The show’s notoriously complex web of family trees was evident in action mid-episode, after showing an actual chart of the cast pre-title.

When officers Nielsen and Doppler are theorizing the possible fate of the missing Erik, Nielsen adamantly asserts it has nothing to do with his brother. At first, I assumed that that brother was the suicide victim, and that the cop was having an affair with his brother’s widow. It is amid this flurry of information that obtuse minds are challenged to keep up—in my case, I chose to watch it in its original German audio track on Netflix. I am not suggesting myself to be dense, but the episode flows with such steady pace that engenders frequent stoppages to ensure the subtitles jived with my comprehension.

The menacing mood is established, and later sustained, by an ominous score but there is also the suspense of a parent teacher assembly looming over events. In particular Hannah, the widow, is apprehensive of encountering the woman whose betrayal she is complicit in. It his her son, Jonah, who is the focal point of the episode. His nightmares, therapy sessions and dropping out of school for a semester are some of the disruptions brought on to his routine. Yet it is the stigma of his father’s suicide that ought to be the easiest to overcome.

And about the affair, that scandal lends to the sordid small town syndrome of lovers waiting their turns as if the adult musical chairs (that might be a game at elite orgies). My guess is that that it has been carrying on for a while, predating Michael’s passing. I also wager a probability of 30 percent that the affair caused the suicide because I believe the writers are creative enough to have a more compelling reason. There is a suicide note that only Ines, Michael’s mother, is aware of. The instructions are clear: only open on a specified date and and time. The same day as the assembly at the school.

The structure of a separate era per season was already spoiled for me but I am anticipating the show’s other powerful dramatic tool—genealogical strands—to extend across all time periods. Luckily, the Einstein quote and the show’s theme song enforce the notion of time, how it is perceived and experienced, very early. I had my qualms about the dystopian possibilities at first. Now that has been quelled for good. I hope.

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