It’s back and darker than ever! By popular demand we decided to bring back our weekly DARK episode reviews because, lets be honest, this show is just too intriguing to leave hanging! We are picking up right where we left off with episode 4:” Double Lives.” Let’s get into it!
Now, I must admit, going into this show I was sceptical, I was determined that this series was going to follow the extremely overly done murder mystery story-line of; a small town setting where nothing bad ever happens until one day, out of the blue some kids go missing… But, I am continuing to eat my words more and more as this show progresses. The intricacies of the story-line are finally starting to emerge from the darkness and it’s really enjoyable to watch (if not incredibly confusing at times.)
In this episode we glance into the lives of the Doppler family, their secret’s, their flaws, and we soon learn that this family is as messed up as the others in Winden, go figure!
Early on within this episode we confirm that Charlotte, the small-town cop, and her husband, Peter, the therapist, although still married are separating as they emerge from adjacent rooms grunting “Good morning.” We already sensed a disconnect between the two but this validates any thoughts we may have had about their relationship as being parents over being husband and wife. These thoughts are only further confirmed by Franziska’s emotional locker room monologue where she outs Peter as a homosexual to Magnus, son of Ulrich and brother to Mikkel, after he followed her to the woods, possibly out of suspicion, possibly out of lust. Magnus searches Franziska’s bag and finds a large sum of money. When confronted, Fran confesses that she is going to use the money to get out of Winden and goes off on an emotional rant about her parents separation, her fathers sexuality and how unhappy and fake everything in Winden is, particularly her own family. This is possibly the reasoning for the episodes title, that from the outside her family seems normal but it is falling apart from the inside out. Even Fran herself lives a double life, disguised as a straight A, ribbon wielding student that is sneaking out of class to do god knows what in the woods for money, we can only draw conclusions as to what that is at this point. Connecting his pain with her own, Magnus kisses Fran and the two end up breaking some hygiene boundaries in the locker room. I think this is a powerful scene, even if it isn’t one that is safe for work. All that needs to be said about these characters is expressed in those few short seconds. Magnus and Fran have not much in common other than their broken families and the intense feelings they have bottled explode in a rush of sexual tension.
The only action Jonas is getting, however, is the peering eyes of the mysterious hooded stranger we’ve met before that creepily watches him from behind a tree as he heads into the caves with his fathers map in hand. Who is this man? Only TIME will tell… get it? Okay… moving on…
Charlotte remains the focal point of this episode. We follow her intuition as she tries to unearth the mystery of Mikkel, starting with some footage she recovers from a “wildlife observation camera” box which reveals footage of her husband, Peter, driving near the crime scene around the time of Mikkel’s disappearance. And, when Peter lies about his whereabouts, it appears he could have been hiding more than just his sexuality… Yet, Charlotte makes a point of keeping this from her fellow police officers, to protect Peter? To protect her family? Here we begin to understand more about the complicated relationship between the Doppler’s family dynamic as we see Charlotte’s own flaws. Does Charlotte care more about protecting the remains of her family more than solving Mikkel’s disappearance? It’s may be too soon to tell.
I won’t sugar coat it, this family is bleak! It appears the only ray of sunshine comes in the form of an eight-year-old deaf girl named Elizabeth Doppler. Elizabeth’s character isn’t explored as much, yet she remains my favourite part of this episode, her smart, savvy and frankly, sassy attitude creates an enjoyable contrast from the seriousness of her fellow characters. Nevertheless, it is this very contrast that gives her significance. Her parents are both so consumed within their own lives and secrets that they didn’t realise she needed to be picked up early from school that day and Elizabeth dangerously walks home alone. When Peter finally realises she isn’t at school and Charlotte finds her hat lying in the rain, we are lead to assume that she is the next victim. Charlotte and Peter console each other and it appears that Elizabeth is the glue that keeps this family together, the cold space between the married couple showed at the beginning of the episode by the dim colour score and the thought-out use of wearing coats indoors, is replaced with a warmer hue and the image two saddened adults hunched over a damp woollen hat.
Our panic is short-lived however, as a few hours later, unphased and dripping wet, Elizabeth returns home saying that she met someone in the woods named Noah. The plot thickens as Elizabeth explains that Noah gave her a gift, handing Charlotte a pocket watch that once belonged to her. This plants the largest seed of apprehension in this episode…
Who is Noah?!
We later gain confirmation that Noah, whoever he is, is somehow responsible for the disappearances of the children. Shortly after, presumably the next day, Elizabeth’s boyfriend, Yasin, is walking home when he is stopped by a hooded figure.
“You must be Yasin.” The figure speaks. “Noah sent me.”
All this does, however, is give us more questions than it answers. The fact that Noah knew Yasin’s name and assumed he would by chance be walking alone in this stretch of woods suggests some form of clairvoyance on Noah’s part. Does Noah know what is going to happen and when? Why didn’t Noah take Elizabeth? What does he want with Yasin? Is Noah from the future? Perhaps he is the hooded peeping-Tom that keeps following Jonas? Perhaps we will find out in episode 5? Either way I can’t wait to see where this goes!
I give “Double Lives” a: 7.5/10
What did you think of this episode? Are you excited about the return of our DARK episode reviews? But most importantly, WHO ON EARTH DO YOU THINK NOAH IS? Let us know all your theories by commenting below or tweeting us @TheGameOfNerds #DARKNetflix