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All Episodes Talk: The Absence of Light

Glad to see there’s a forum for this show.I have to think that Noah and Claudia are trying to manipulate time for their own gain. I don’t think One is necessarily good/evil. Anyone else notice that both Noah and older    Jonás have that weird tattoo on their backs? And for being from a dystopian future 2052 Jonas looks damn good for 50!

I really hope that they end this after next season as I have the horrible feeling this could be like Lost-aka losing the plot. That said, I think the only problem with this for many people I know is that there isn’t a character that one can like. They all have huge flaws. 

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That's interesting. I like all of the characters (yes, even Hannah and Helge). Noah is the only character I am ambivalent about, but then we still don't know a lot about him.

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I'm surprised that some people don't like *any* of the characters.  Some of the kids come to mind.  What did Mikkel do to anyone?  Or (young) Jonas?  Or Michael's mom?

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Ok so my question is how did Mikkel accidentally go thru time in the first place? He’s running with Jonas, away from the caves through the woods, Jonas trips and then Mikkel is immediately gone. But I thought you needed to follow the red string and the radiation through the cave and open those metal doors? So Mikkel accidentally ran back, went into the cave and did all that in seconds?

(Not to mention, I’m curious how Gretchen the dog opened those doors to go from 1953 to 1986...)

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I assumed Helge grabbed Mikkel. Did not think about the dog.

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16 hours ago, Cotypubby said:

Ok so my question is how did Mikkel accidentally go thru time in the first place? He’s running with Jonas, away from the caves through the woods, Jonas trips and then Mikkel is immediately gone. But I thought you needed to follow the red string and the radiation through the cave and open those metal doors? So Mikkel accidentally ran back, went into the cave and did all that in seconds?

(Not to mention, I’m curious how Gretchen the dog opened those doors to go from 1953 to 1986...)

I think whatever the event was that spontaneously sent Mads' corpse to 2019 simultaneously sent Mikkel to 1986, because he was within a certain radius of that center point.  Which makes my next question, how did he then end up *in* the cave.

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On ‎12‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 4:00 PM, Paloma said:

We've only seen him experiment on boys, so maybe there is a reason. There are probably plenty of opportunities to grab girls in the woods, like when Elizabeth (the deaf girl) walked home alone.

I assumed he was only using those boys because those boys were the only ones who disappeared.    Everything that happened is a closed loop, so Noah was abducting boys who history recorded as having been taken.   

 

On ‎12‎/‎30‎/‎2017 at 10:22 PM, BSB said:

So were the two dead boys found in 1953 Erik and Yasin?

Yes, they were.    

Edited by jcin617.
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I thought Helge grabbed Mikkal? I seem to recall Noah picking out his targets ahead of time. The question is why these boys? The let the death girl go so why is it only male subjects?

Hope to see more of clockmaker turned mad professor. He must have his own backstory.

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On 12/16/2017 at 6:19 PM, Negritude said:

Liked this overall but the dubbed English took me out of it a little. I'm probably in the minority but I'd rather hear the original language and read the subtitles. 

Did anyone else wonder about child and adult Mikkel/Michael being alive in the same community at the same time? I was expecting to see flashbacks of Michael creepily staring at little Mikkel.Furthermore it would be interesting to see Michael realize that his son is the friend of his older brother who was with him when he disappeared. Hopefully adult Michael's storyline will be explored more in season 2. 

Since I lost my fluency in  German over the years, I wanted to hear it in German to improve my vocabulary, and for nostalgia's sake. I was able to do it on my system, and then just used English subtitles. I was understanding more by the end (of the German, the show just got more confusing).

Yes, I wondered about teenage and adult Mikkel watching his father and mother, and then his siblings and himself. 

On 12/21/2017 at 3:04 AM, marinw said:

The music was incredible, and really added to the atmosphere and pathos. Were all the songs original?

I don't know about all of them, but in the last episode they played a song by Nena - the woman who did the 99 Luftballoon song in the 80's about nuclear war - so it was pretty appropriate. It wasn't that specific song, but I believe it had a similar theme. I was surprised I recognized her right off, and used my Shazaam app to identify the song.

On 12/27/2017 at 6:30 AM, truthaboutluv said:

That's my guess.  Because if you remember, when he met her mother to ask for the job and she asked him his name, he simply said Aleksander and wouldn't add a last name, even when she pressed him about it. Whatever and whoever he was clearly running from, he probably figured if he used the full name of the guy's identity he took, it would make it easier to find or trace that he wasn't him. 

His second passport  had a name I took to be Russian (I think the first name was Boris, but I could be mis-remembering) So my guess is that he was either an escapee from one of the communist countries, or someone sent to spy on the nuclear plant.

I got quite confused toward the end, and am not sure I'd watch a second season, even though I love time travel. There was a bit too much staring moodily off into space while dramatic music played for my tastes.

I did enjoy the subtle start of a relationship between Tronte and, was it Claudia's, mother?

Edited by Clanstarling.
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Another thing I found interesting about the show has little to do with the mystery. But more that there was no mention/acknowledgment at all of East and West Germany. I don't know where it's supposed to take place, but it was filmed in what used to be East Germany (even recognized an old guard tower in one episode). Given that they popped into 1986, before the unification, and into 1953, less than 10 years after the war, it was kind of remarkable that history (other than pop culture) didn't really play a role at all. With the exception of Chernobyl, which was linked thematically.

I don't mean that it should be part of the plot necessarily - they're not going to show any of the '53 (or even '86) characters being defeated Nazis or Communists, and I don't know if I would want them to. It just is interesting to see the changes in Germany not even mentioned. (I lived in West Germany for much of my youth and have friends from the former East Germany, so it stands out to me).

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18 hours ago, Clanstarling said:

His second passport  had a name I took to be Russian (I think the first name was Boris, but I could be mis-remembering) So my guess is that he was either an escapee from one of the communist countries, or someone sent to spy on the nuclear plant.

I double checked. My take on this was mistaken. Both passports were from the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (West Germany in 1986). Alexander's name on the passport with his picture was Boris Neuwald. So I think I'm pretty off on my guess. The question is, why was he carrying the other passport with the name Alexander (which had a different boy's face on it). I guess there are plenty of questions to support a second season, now that I think about it.

A minor point about casting - even as confusing as it was to see two or three versions of the characters, they did an excellent job of casting different ages for the same role. 

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On 1/7/2018 at 9:53 AM, Clanstarling said:

Another thing I found interesting about the show has little to do with the mystery. But more that there was no mention/acknowledgment at all of East and West Germany. I don't know where it's supposed to take place, but it was filmed in what used to be East Germany (even recognized an old guard tower in one episode). Given that they popped into 1986, before the unification, and into 1953, less than 10 years after the war, it was kind of remarkable that history (other than pop culture) didn't really play a role at all. With the exception of Chernobyl, which was linked thematically.

I don't mean that it should be part of the plot necessarily - they're not going to show any of the '53 (or even '86) characters being defeated Nazis or Communists, and I don't know if I would want them to. It just is interesting to see the changes in Germany not even mentioned. (I lived in West Germany for much of my youth and have friends from the former East Germany, so it stands out to me).

I read an interview with the writer and he mentioned how they didn’t include any information about location of town or politics as not to take away from the plot focus of time travel. Apparently all the actors speak without a regional accent as well.

 

If anyone is interested in another German show,Babylon Berlin will be on Netflix at the end of the month. It’s based on a book about a detective who goes to Berlin to investigate the Russian mafia in 1920s. Has a fair amount of sex/violence but has gotten good reviews.

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40 minutes ago, Tardislass said:

I read an interview with the writer and he mentioned how they didn’t include any information about location of town or politics as not to take away from the plot focus of time travel. Apparently all the actors speak without a regional accent as well.

That's interesting. Time travel without major historical markers is an unusual choice. Candy, pop music, clothes and the kinds of "backpacks" the kids use are the major differentiators. It works, it's just curious to me.  I well remember the leather backpacks that looked like a briefcase - though my German school year was almost 20 years later.

There were a couple of mild regional accent markers - but I've been gone a long time, so those might have been adopted as general pronunciations nationwide.

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On 12/21/2017 at 6:04 AM, marinw said:

The music was incredible, and really added to the atmosphere and pathos. Were all the songs original?

Ben Frost did some original music for the show.  I've been able to find other songs.  Let me know if you have any questions.  

Has anyone considered that Michael committed suicide after he realized his wife was having an affair with his father?  While watching I was assuming their affair started after Michael killed himself, but what we learned of Hannah suggests it could have started before.  

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I considered that too. I think he knew for a long time that she didn't love him and never did. She actually wanted his dad all along. That must've been hard. Even if he was jealous, there was no way he could hate the guy. 

And I also remembered the conversation Jonas and Martha had about their kiss during the summer. They talked about what might've been if Michael hadn't killed himself (or was it about Jonas going away, either way, their first kiss was before the suicide). What if Michael found out? It might not have been the reason he killed himself, but if he was depressed, he might've felt responsible for something he wanted his son to have (love) and at the same time prevent and tell his son, that Martha is his aunt.

It might've contributed to his depression. He might've seen himself as the person that stood in the way of his son's happiness, his wife's happiness, his dad's (and probably wouldn't want to see either of his parents suffer through his disappearance as a child and not telling them that their son is okay). Maybe he even felt responsible for making things complicated/ruining them just by existing. It's not a rational thought but feeling responsible for all sorts of things is not uncommon for people with depression. Plus the suicide note might've been the only way he knew how to tell his son the truth about himself.

Maybe he remembered that Jonas' dad killed himself shortly before he travelled to the past and felt like his depressed thoughts must've been right, because it would always happen.

I put way too much thought into this. And I so wish there was more about him and how he felt about everything that happened, how he acted around his parents, especially considering Hannah and Ulrich - how did he act around his mother considering the situation, how did he remember the time as a child;  and how it felt like for him to see his siblings as his own son's playdates and at a time he never knew, because he wasn't even born yet. I hope he'll be in season 2, to show some of the complicated time travel feelings he had.

 

Quote

Apparently all the actors speak without a regional accent as well.

The weird thing is, that the lack of those markers would put Winden in the north. People in southern Germany often have heavy accents/dialects, especially in the countryside (The Bundeland I grew up in even has the slogan "We can do everything except speak Standard German", though there are other regions not in the south with strong dialects). The clearest Standard German without an accent is spoken around Hannover. So if we go by dialect it could be around there somewhere.

But on German TV it actually doesn't mean much. A lot of German shows, films and dubbing uses no regional accent or tries not to unless it's "Mundart", which makes full use of the different vocabulary of the dialect or it's that-one-weird-character. There are some exceptions, but they are few.

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13 minutes ago, tiramisue said:

I put way too much thought into this.

I appreciate your effort!  One of my frustrations with the show was that we didn't learn much about why Michael committed suicide but after reading your post and thinking about it for a bit, it becomes much more understandable.  I can imagine Michael feeling quite isolated in his daily existence, and then to be watching life in motion and feeling like he can do nothing about it.  There's something in one episode about it being human nature to believe that we play a role in our lives and that our actions can change things.  I can't remember if it's said by a narrator or H.G. Tannhaus.  But imagine what it might feel like to realize your actions will change nothing.  Harsh, lol.  

This makes me think of The Returned, where having your loved ones coming back from the dead wasn't the miracle it might seem to be.  Beware of time travel!  

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I finally finished the season after losing steam about seven episodes through. There are just so many characters. While I enjoyed the show, I was a little lost.

I had trouble with characters being able to see/interact with themselves in the same timeline. Isn't that a no-no in time travel? Interacting with oneself creates a paradox (or something)?

The unifying mustard color that carried throughout the show--Jonas's ubiquitous raincoat, the fall leaves, the paint around the school's windows, the drums from the nuclear power plant--was so visually arresting. I don't know if the color itself has a deeper meaning. I kept looking for the color in each scene.

The atmosphere reminded me of the first season of The Killing. It was either damp or absolutely raining buckets.

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On 1/11/2018 at 5:33 AM, bilgistic said:

I had trouble with characters being able to see/interact with themselves in the same timeline. Isn't that a no-no in time travel? Interacting with oneself creates a paradox (or something)?

But that's just speculation, though, right?  We don't know what would happen if we time-traveled back and interacted with our self.  I thought the show was presenting the possibility of past self-interaction in a cautionary tale kind of way.  

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9 hours ago, enchantingmonkey said:

But that's just speculation, though, right?  We don't know what would happen if we time-traveled back and interacted with our self.  I thought the show was presenting the possibility of past self-interaction in a cautionary tale kind of way.  

Agreed. Time travel exists only in science fiction, and the rules set in fiction vary, though there are some schools of thought - one being we can't - or shouldn't - interact with past selves. 

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That just pissed me off again over there being so many characters. I'm going to have to watch it again. I'll wait until season two comes out because I'll forget everything by then.

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I am of the 12 Monkeys school of Time Travel where you can not ever interact with yourself.  Past or future versions. So the Jonas interaction irritated me.

I thought it was weird that it took them 7 episodes (I think, more then half the season) to figure out that they found Mads in the woods.

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On 1/11/2018 at 2:33 AM, bilgistic said:

The atmosphere reminded me of the first season of The Killing. It was either damp or absolutely raining buckets.

Yes! The dreariness made me wonder if German schools are on a different timeline than the US as we started on the first day of school but the weather looked more late fall. 

And as a sidenote as someone who lived in Seattle for 7 years, the downpours in The Killing always bugged me. It almost never rains like that there, it's just always wet.

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5 minutes ago, MaryWebGirl said:

Yes! The dreariness made me wonder if German schools are on a different timeline than the US as we started on the first day of school but the weather looked more late fall. 

And as a sidenote as someone who lived in Seattle for 7 years, the downpours in The Killing always bugged me. It almost never rains like that there, it's just always wet.

The schedule is somewhat different, but school still starts around the same time, at least it used to. 

Though it can be dreary, I think the gloom is part of the show, another character, if you will.

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Pretty sure it's standard tv rain which comes down hard for dramatic purposes, only to have the characters clean and dry in the next scene.

Going back to paradoxes: It must have been strange for Michael to see Mikkel grow up into the boy that would eventually disappear. I think Jonas and Mikkels older brother were friends so it's likely they came across each other at some point, no? I think that also contributed to his demise. Knowing that he couldn't be around on the day Mikkel vanished. 

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I’ve now watched this show a total of 3 times. And it’s still good. Rare. I am still amazed I was able to follow the story and the characters.

I think two of my favorite scenes from the entire season are:

  • Charlotte and Peter worrying that Elizabeth has disappeared
  • Katharina confronting Ulrich about his affair with Hannah

Both scenes are very quiet, and the actors underplay a lot, which always moves me.

Edited by Gillian Rosh.
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On 1/1/2018 at 7:14 PM, Cotypubby said:

Ok so my question is how did Mikkel accidentally go thru time in the first place? He’s running with Jonas, away from the caves through the woods, Jonas trips and then Mikkel is immediately gone. But I thought you needed to follow the red string and the radiation through the cave and open those metal doors? So Mikkel accidentally ran back, went into the cave and did all that in seconds?

(Not to mention, I’m curious how Gretchen the dog opened those doors to go from 1953 to 1986...)

I came here to ask that too! 

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Does the “Welcome to the future” line at the end indicate that whoever those people are know that Jonas has traveled forward in time?

Edited by Accidental Martyr.
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OK, what did I just watch? I was going along pretty nicely till about Episode 9. Now I'm confused. When did Jonas get together with Claudia, as Noah stated in that last conversation with Bartosz? Why was Claudia doing what she was doing - it looked like she was purposely destroying the power plant? Why would she, of all people, be doing that? What was the import of the radioactive barrels, and were they hidden in a truck for 33 years? Were they the initial cause of the time shifts? Why did Jonas get thrown into the future? So that means his plan failed? Noah was right? What is Noah's deal anyway - what does he want?  

The show had its good points. Highly atmospheric, the use of caves was genius. Some of the characters were compelling. But there were too many of them and I kept losing the thread of who was related to whom, and it got worse when they introduced past versions. I almost made a chart. :) The high point of the series, for me, was the episode where Elizabeth disappears. After that the action became slightly less interesting. I figured out that the stranger was older-Jonas, but many aspects of the time travel were headache-inducing. Also there were a few too many characters acting mysterious with no payoff (like Tronte's mother). I did have a thought that Egon's wife left him for her.  

I may or may  not watch S2. Pretty disappointed in the last scene.

Edited by peggy06.
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I just watched the first episode and while the subject is fascinating, I'm really distracted by the dubbing.  Not only are the voice "actors" poor, the English seems to be spoken by non-native speakers.  I'd vastly prefer watching the original German version with English subtitles.

Can anyone reassure me it gets better?

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8 hours ago, RedheadZombie said:

I just watched the first episode and while the subject is fascinating, I'm really distracted by the dubbing.  Not only are the voice "actors" poor, the English seems to be spoken by non-native speakers.  I'd vastly prefer watching the original German version with English subtitles.

Can anyone reassure me it gets better?

I watched it in German with English subtitles. That option was available, though I think I had to hunt a little bit for it, because the dubbing was indeed awful.

I am semi-fluent in German so I always want to hear the original language. I've lost too much of my fluency to follow along without subtitles, but I still am fluent enough to be able to see when the subtitles have it wrong (or at least, not the translation I would make). Also, it helps me improve my German.

Edited by Clanstarling.
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I watched in German with English subtitles too, because the stereotypical American accents were jarring.

Edited by Enigma X.
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5 hours ago, Enigma X said:

I watched in German with English subtitles too, because the stereotypical American accents were jarring.

I find them as bad as the British woman doing a Valley Girl Meghan Markle in The Windsors.  And Regina's is so very clearly heavily accented English.  Netflix only offers this version which is a shame.

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50 minutes ago, RedheadZombie said:

I find them as bad as the British woman doing a Valley Girl Meghan Markle in The Windsors.  And Regina's is so very clearly heavily accented English.  Netflix only offers this version which is a shame.

No, I watched this on Netflix. So this isn't the only option. At least not on my tv. I think (it's been awhile) I had to change the language first, and then go to the closed captioning settings.

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30 minutes ago, Clanstarling said:

No, I watched this on Netflix. So this isn't the only option. At least not on my tv. I think (it's been awhile) I had to change the language first, and then go to the closed captioning settings.

I watched it on Netflix and was able to change my defaults for foreign-language shows. I forgot how though.

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49 minutes ago, Clanstarling said:

No, I watched this on Netflix. So this isn't the only option. At least not on my tv. I think (it's been awhile) I had to change the language first, and then go to the closed captioning settings.

 

17 minutes ago, Enigma X said:

I watched it on Netflix and was able to change my defaults for foreign-language shows. I forgot how though.

Thank you!!  I will see if I can figure it out,

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4 hours ago, RedheadZombie said:

Thank you!!  I will see if I can figure it out,

Go to wherever you see options for "Audio & Subtitles" or it may be labeled "closed captions."  It's where audio and subtitles are that you can change which audio language you'd like and which subtitles.  With every platform, it's different so I can't give you more specific directions than that.  (i.e. my TV is different than my Roku and different than my cable box.)

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5 hours ago, Irlandesa said:

Go to wherever you see options for "Audio & Subtitles" or it may be labeled "closed captions."  It's where audio and subtitles are that you can change which audio language you'd like and which subtitles.  With every platform, it's different so I can't give you more specific directions than that.  (i.e. my TV is different than my Roku and different than my cable box.)

Thank you!!

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