WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Season 2 of Netflix's Dark, steaming now.
Dark didn't reveal too many details when it came to the villains who were orchestrating the time-travel drama involving the fictional German town of Winden in Season 1. The main person we met was the shady Noah (Mark Waschke), a priest seemingly tied up in the occult and other supernatural-scientific projects.
Along with Helge (Peter Schneider) in the '80s, Noah was kidnapping kids, experimenting on them via the Ark and then leaving their bodies strewn all over the timestream. However, Noah hinted he was part of a mysterious collective. Season 2 finally revealed this group, and its roots in Winden run very deep.
Season 2 opens up with Jonas trying to leave the nuclear wasteland of 2053, using the wormhole at Winden's power plant only to end up lost in 1921. There, he meets a young Noah (Max Schimmelpfennig), who takes him to his boss: Adam (Dietrich Hollinderbäumer). Jonas, who began this journey at the end of Season 1 after being tossed into the timestream from Winden's cave in 2019, is taken aback by the scarred figure, who surprisingly enough isn't antagonistic towards him.
Adam actually ensures a wounded Jonas is nursed back to health, as he needs him to help stop the apocalypse. After seeing what happens in the 2050s, Jonas starts listening to Adam's plan, realizing Noah's evil acts may be part of the greater good. It turns out this group is known as Sic Mundus, and in 1921 they created the tunnels in the cave. It's why their label is on all the iron doors, as Adam reveals the Travelers' job to fix this time loop which tore their lives apart.
The Travelers are later seen in a picture belonging to H.G. Tannhaus, the man who built the time-machines known as the Boxes. In that image we see Noah, Adam and some other members of the group. Later in the season, we find out the two people on Adam's immediate right are the older versions of Magnus and Franziska (Jonas' high-school friends), with the person on their right hinted to be an older Bartosz (Jonas' rival for his girlfriend, Martha). As for those on Adam's left, it's Noah and his sister, Agnes (Antje Traue), who was the first of the Nielsens to come to Winden.
ADAM'S TRUE IDENTITY
Jonas is still very skeptical of Adam, because he still doesn't trust anyone who has Noah as a disciple. He also believes Adam's knowledge of the closed time loop means he and his followers have been manipulating the lives of everyone post-1921. At this point, Adam admits they're not waging war on an apocalypse per se, but on God himself -- and from his own travels, he believes God to be time.
Driven by this doctrine, Adam wants what Jonas wants: to stop the apocalypse and prevent everyone from withering away in the future because time decided to trap them in a blighted knot. His own temporal jumps have left him disfigured, and that's why Adam needs the likes of Noah and now, Jonas, to achieve his endgame of stopping the doom and gloom predestination has laid out for them all. To convince the lad, Adam reveals his true identity -- he's an old, decaying, radiation-laden Jonas, confirmed by a neck scar both share.
Adam -- clearly a nod to Jonas being the first Traveler -- organized the other Travelers to try to stop the apocalypse in 2020 that'll happen once this meeting with his younger self concludes. Adam's last job is to put Jonas on the path to find the beginning and kill off the origins that came before, all so Jonas can get back his dad Mikkel (whose suicide was the catalyst for everything in Season 1) and Martha (Mikkel's sister, which makes her Jonas' aunt too) so all these paradoxes haunting Winden end.
ADAM'S TRUE AMBITION
With everything revealed, Adam uses his own time chamber to send Jonas back to 2019 so as to stop Mikkel's suicide. However, in the later episodes, we discover Jonas is merely a pawn, just like Noah. With future information from the old Claudia (Lisa Kreuzer), aka the White Devil, coming to Noah via her diary, he finds out she's not the true enemy: Sic Mundus is. Sadly, Noah is killed by Agnes when he confronts Adam, as he's found out the Travelers actually want the apocalypse to happen so they can enter the final cycle: the end of everything.
It seems the Travelers have been driven mad by all this temporal activity and accepted there's no changing the loop, there's only the permanent destruction of the time knot to be had. Sending Jonas to the beginning was all a ruse, as the young boy going back to 2019 is actually what instigates Mikel's hanging after they discuss their temporal displacements. Thus, Adam sets in motion the meltdown at the nuclear plant in June 2020 and puts Jonas on the painful road to becoming him.
Adam played Jonas all along, and it comes full-circle when Adam shows up on the day of the apocalypse and kills Martha in front of the boy. Adam does this to first guide the heartbroken Jonas to become the Stranger (Andreas Pietschmann) from Season 1. Although the Stranger seemed like he was trying to end Sic Mundus' vision, like the White Devil, this act confirms he was another unwitting pawn in Adam's long-term scheme.
After the Stranger meets a young Noah in 2020, he's told to save the teenage versions of Magnus, Franziska and Bartosz, and then Noah and Agnes in a separate trip. Subsequently, as the nuclear explosion spreads through the town, the Stranger finds and teleports them all out of Winden to an unknown timeline, unaware Adam used young Noah to help him assemble the folks who'd become his Travelers and key players in the end of days.
Created by Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese, Dark stars Oliver Masucci, Karoline Eichhorn and Jördis Triebel. Season 2 is streaming now on Netflix.