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Netflix’s ‘Dark’ season two spoiler-free review

The beautifully complex character-driven drama returns in full force

Netflix released season two of Dark on June 21st. The German-language sci-fi drama’s first season pulled people in with its complex characters and detailed storyline. While the highly anticipated second season is ten times more complicated than the first, it’s also just as great, if not better. Co-creators Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese have also been given the green light by Netflix for the third and final season, completing the cycle.

Image: Netflix

A mind-bending twist on the family drama

Dark on Netflix continues to be one of the best television shows on right now. If you can handle reading subtitles (or watching dubbed shows, for the weak), then you need to give it a watch. It’s one of those shows where you could benefit from having a notepad and pen at the ready, or you can just go with the flow and figure it out later.

Dark is very similar to Netflix’s other sleeper hit, The OA. Both shows were created by strong creative teams who started with a set, multiple season vision, and with a clear and known ending. Honestly, with Dark, there’s no way this show could exist without an extremely detailed show bible that outlines all the twists and turns of the overlying story.

Image: Netflix

Season two of Dark still takes place entirely in the small town of Winden, but the adventure feels much larger. Our favorite (and least favorite) characters investigate the mystery of all their missing friends and family, along with Noah, and whatever’s going on at the nuclear power plant.

While the time-travel mystery is at the forefront of the plot and the characters’ interactions, the characters’ relationships are still the heart of the show. We feel for them, and that’s why we put the effort into understanding all of this. Whether it’s seeing Jonas suffering from having his world turned completely upside-down, or Regina and her family dealing with her cancer diagnosis, you can’t help but connect with these people. At its core, this story is a heartfelt family drama, and we love it for that.

Where the season starts

Without giving too much away, season two gets more involved with time travel as we follow Jonas (Louis Hoffman), who is stuck in 2052. When season one ended, young Jonas was transported into the future, where Winden is a ruined wasteland. When we pick up the story in season two, about eight months have past (in all the time periods because of the 33 year cycle). Jonas has managed to adapt and survive in the new environment.

Because older Jonas (Andreas Pietschmann) successfully destroyed the portal in the tunnels, young Jonas has to figure out a new way to get himself back to his own time. Along with that, he now knows that Winden gets destroyed through an apocalyptic event, and he starts working on stopping that too. Can someone please give this boy a break?

Image: Netflix

It’s obvious that the disaster in Winden is related to the time traveling. We quickly meet up with all of the other characters of the show (new and old), as they become more involved and more secrets are revealed. Fair warning, the family tree gets a lot more complicated this season.

Twisted time-travel

While season one slowly unveiled the time-travel mystery, season two dives right in, switching through the different years and storylines repeatedly through all eight episodes. It can and will be confusing when you watch, but the show makes the transitions clear, with the date always written on the screen at the beginning of the scene.

In this season, young Jonas takes a more active, knowledgable role in trying to fix Winden, just as his older self (Andreas Pietschmann) was trying to do in season one. We start to see young Jonas change, and understand the origin of a few of older Jonas’s scars and trauma.

Image: Netflix

But just as we saw inklings of other travelers and their journeys, this season expands on that, showing us how Claudia learned about time travel, as well as somewhat how Noah became Noah. Also, the families in 2019 keep investigating the case, and soon new people start traveling through time. The show does a good job at explaining the convoluted mechanisms of the plot so we know enough to not feel too lost, while still maintaining the mystery and slow reveal.

The acting is consistently incredible

On top of all that, the huge cast of actors is astoundingly talented, and their ability to portray their characters is what keeps this story so grounded. One key factor in selecting actors for certain roles is dependent on their physical likeness to another actor, as they play that character at a different age. While on its own it’s amazing that they found so many actors that look alike, they’re all great actors as well.

Image: Netflix

In season two we see a few characters at new ages, and with one character, fans were so convinced that it was the same actor in makeup to make them look older, that they were shocked when they found out it was an entirely different actor. It’s a testament to the effort put in by the creators to make this show just as they envisioned it.

We love season two of Dark and how successfully it builds on the first season, and we anxiously await season three. Hopefully it will fully wrap up the story, and give at least a few of our favorite characters a happy ending. The third season of Dark just began filming, and they are planning to release the last season most likely next summer on Netflix!

Seasons one and two of Dark are streaming on Netflix right now!

(Featured Image: Netflix)

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Devon Forward

Devon is an artist, writer, and current student of film/television development. She loves anything science fiction or fantasy, and her favorite show is Charmed, which kick-started her obsession with powerful yet imperfect female characters. You can usually find her somewhere analyzing a tv show or reading a good book. On Twitter @dev4wrd

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