“As You Sow, So Shall You Reap”, DARK’s eighth episode very quickly began to answer some of the questions that have been building up and burning in the back of my mind over the last few weeks and, I must say, it answered them in the most brutal, disturbing and jaw-dropping way it possibly could have! But we will get into that.
Normally I try to recap the entire episode from start to finish and give you my opinion as we go along but, I’m afraid, I am going to have to skip right to the meaty parts of this episode because, boy, is this one juicy steak!
We begin this episode with a young boy, later to be confirmed as Helge, riding his bike home. This is the same boy we saw in the previous episode walking around the bunker with blood clogging the side of his face. In that image, the bunker was the confirmed form of the 80’s bunker, with the wallpaper and furniture in it, so it begs the questions. How did he get that injury on his face? And, how did he end up in the 80’s?
On his way home Helge see’s a younger Egon with a fellow police-officer looking at the bodies of two dead boys. The two boys definitely look familiar and we can piece together that they are very possibly the two boys that have gone missing from Winden in 2019. Both of their faces, particularly across their eyes and ears, look burned in the same manner we saw with Mads’ body. They were sent to the 50’s, perhaps that was the reasoning for the dates we saw Noah write on the wall at the end of last week’s episode. But why? Just to hide their bodies? No, that doesn’t make sense. Noah is clearly using these boys for something. But what?
At the police station the bodies are examined by the forensic team which really only consists of one very perceptive man who notes that in both cases the ear’s of the children are completely destroyed (the same as the birds that Charlotte notices in 2019, I wonder if that is somehow a link) He also notices that both boys have a necklace around their neck with a coin dated 1986 before addressing the elephant in the room: their clothing. They clearly aren’t from around here, they hypothesise.
We left Ulrich last episode following an older Helge through the tunnels and we pick up from there with Ulrich continues going further and further into the tunnels until he loses Helge. He does, however, manage to find the doorway. He opens it and makes his way through the tunnels and into the past.
Interestingly, as Ulrich is looking for an old man in pyjamas, in the 50’s Egon and his assumed partner are questioning why someone would become a killer, if someone is born a killer or they become it and how or why that might happen. We can’t help but think of Helge in that moment, a young innocent boy who at that moment is playing soldier in a war bunker, who would later assist in the killings of 4 confirmed boys. We think about the things we know that drove him there. But is it ever that simple?
From the tunnels, Ulrich stumbles through the woods in his quest to find Helge and after a while he does indeed find him, only he hasn’t yet realised it. He see’s Helge in the form of a young boy being bullied by older children. Ulrich runs up to them and scares them away, asking the young boy if he has seen an old man in pajamas go by. It seems as though Ulrich hasn’t quite clued on to where, or shall I say when, he is.
Helge shakes his head and Ulrich turns away and carries on running (he does a lot of that in this episode) until he runs towards a car and a woman, well dressed in beautiful, classical 50’s clothing asking him for directions to the house he lives in.
“I live there.” He bluntly says to her.
“Then you’re Egon Tiedemann?” She returns.
Confused, she shakes his hand and announces herself as Agnes Neilson ~ his grandmother ~ mother to his father, Tronte. Ulrich’s expression turns as he realises that he is stood face to face with his own father and grandmother’s younger selves. That is enough to drive anyone mad!
She confirms it is 1953, the year his father came to Winden and it finally looks as though Ulrich is catching on. Took him long enough!
Ulrich runs to a clock and watch shop and finds H. G. Tannhaus, the author of A Journey Through Time, the book we have seen Helge reading consistently throughout the series. Ulrich asks if Tannhaus is H. G. Tannhaus by doing something no one would recommend a time-traveller do and that is by showing him his own book that he has yet to write from the future, perhaps this encounter actually prompted the creation of the book itself?
After, not only seeing his own mother, Jana, but also hearing of the two bodies found that day, Ulrich freaks out and in his frenzy, leaves his coat in the clock shop. He runs straight to the police station and shouts at Egon, demanding to know if one of the boys is his son. Egon reasons with him. Looking like a mad-man Ulrich asks him if he has seen Helge Doppler and from their conversation he pieces together that in this time Helge must be the boy he saw earlier.
Finally, the question of the boy’s injury and Helges’ scar is answered. When Ulrich finds the boy he then chases him through the woods, catching him and beats the side of his head with a rock until he is presumed dead. But we know Helge isn’t dead in the present, will this have changed anything? Does he even have the power to do that. This will explain the reaction Helge had towards Ulrich when he came to question him a few episodes ago. So is Helge dead here? Will any of that happen, or could it have happened if Ulrich didn’t come back in time to do this one action?
As Ulrich drags Helges’ body into to the bunker the running finally stops for him and he sits outside of the hatch, staring at the closed-door. The face of a killer. I couldn’t help but think back on that conversation that Egon had with this partner about what drives a killer. Egon’s friend talks about locking them up while they are little to stop them from hurting anyone, the same way Ulrich planned to stop Helge. It begs the age-old question of, if a baby that you knew would grow up to be an evil person was in front of you, what would you do? Could you do anything?
But it all comes down to cause and effect, a cause from the past affects the future even in the tiniest way. But do we even have a say in what happens? The stranger questions this with Tannhaus. Is free will real? Or are we all just living out a pattern that has already been written, repeating it time and time again. And it seems as though everything is connected to everything else and all we do is follow the connections…