Black Butterflies – Season 1 Episode 4 Recap & Review

Past and Present

Episode 4 of Black Butterflies begins on the eve of Albert getting rid of Carrel’s body, dumping him in the basement. This behaviour, of course, has been in the works for a long time, which we see from the flashbacks to Albert’s life.

Off the back of dumping their son in the graveyard, Sol and Albert’s life begin to fall apart. There’s not the same love there once was and ironically, Albert tries to force himself on Sol when she doesn’t want to. It’s all kinds of hypocritical, given Albert’s “code” for killing and eventually, in his enraged state, he lets a couple of hitchhikers in with the intention of taking his anger out on them.

However, things don’t go well and one of the men stabs Albert with a penknife, leaving him with a bloody gut. Sol takes him to the hospital, where the doctor reveals that Albert was lucky. The stab wound missed his kidney. Police show up to talk though, wanting to know exactly what’s happened here.

Albert wakes up, weakened, and tries to protect Sol, telling her she needs to blame him completely and play the victim. Detective Durond though, believes that Sol and Albert are victims too, so the pair agree to give a false description of their “attackers”. They obviously don’t want the other couple questioned, given it could link back to the truth, but they also manage to quite literally get away with murder.

Adrien listens to this story, incredulous to all the details and writing up Albert’s notes. He also ignores numerous calls from Nora in the process too. Adrien is spiralling, and in fact he ends up sleeping with Nastya in the bar toilets too. Adrien is slipping into old vices, brought on by the darkness in Albert’s story, and he even starts practicing to box again.

When he and Nastya get closer, Adrien checks out her tattoos and notices several of them are quite similar to some of the things Albert has been talking about. Are the pair connected in a more intimate way than we’ve been led to believe?

When Adrien sends over the work he’s done to his publisher, the latter has some suggestions. He brings up that the police sketch story is a little farfetched and beyond the point of believability. Adrien shrugs it off, telling him to trust the process.

Alan phones Nora and suggests they head out together for a drink. Nora though thinks they should just skip the drinking and get straight to the good stuff.

After a stint in hospital, Albert returns home again after discharging himself. Carrel is actually still alive, believe it or not, and he’s got a splint on his leg. He’s been in the basement for 3 days and Albert has been feeding him and keeping him alive, admitting to his son that Adrien has been writing up his life story. When it’s done, Carrel will know everything about his past.

Speaking of which, Adrien picks up the tape recorder he left for Albert earlier in the episode before heading out. With headphones on, Albert narrates more of his past, including detailing Sol’s estranged past. This brings us up neatly to 1980 in Genoa.

Sol shows up to see Hans Schrieber, revealing herself to be the daughter of Francoise, her mother. Hans initially seems happy to see his daughter but decides they should meet at 5pm in a cafe down the road to chat properly. Albert attends too but largely stays in the periphery, allowing them to talk.

Unfortunately it’s not good news. Hans tells her they can’t talk or see each other anymore. “He’s just like the others,” Albert bitterly retorts, when he finds out.

Albert tells Sol that there’s only him and heads out with a fork in hand. Sol follows and tries to stop Albert but it’s no good, he kills Hans in cold blood right at his doorway. After killing Hans’ partner too, one more shock is in store. The room adjacent to the living room happens to be a bedroom – a kids’ bedroom to be precise. And their daughter’s name? Nastya.

The Episode Review

For a while I though Nastya may have actually been Sol in disguise but it now becomes clear that she’s not, but still very much connected to the bloody history of Sol and Albert.

It’s also pretty telling that there are black butterflies hanging in the room, which is another subtle hint toward the consistent motif of butterflies and their symbolism for metamorphosis, cleverly tying everything together thematically.

The show has done well to keep things interesting across these episodes, with Adrien slipping into old habits thanks to the sheer darkness and horror of Albert’s story. Seeing his descent is actually fascinating to watch and it goes some way to show what can happen if we fly off the deep end and let our demons take control.

While this episode is a tad slow in parts, especially with the Carrel investigation and Albert moving around the hospital, it’s still a decent watch and sets things up nicely for the final two chapters.

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You can read our full season review for Black Butterflies here!

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2 thoughts on “Black Butterflies – Season 1 Episode 4 Recap & Review”

  1. Carrel was a baby they found in the caravan after killing the man watching it/his father. Solange says ‘that’s not us’ when Albert looks at her as if they will have to kill the baby, too. She also then notices the different coloured eyes.
    Watching in French but I thought that was pretty clear. when she was pregnant before, they ‘went to the hospital’ . For another abortion.
    good show, agree that the watcher has nothing on this ..
    am not done yet, gotta say it’s certainly not for everyone tho, quite a few intense scenes and themes here.

  2. Hi, first of, I’m glad you took the time to write a review for this great show, it’s getting way too little attention in my opinion, while everyone and his dog did a review on that much lesser recent Netflix show ‘The Watcher’.

    Les papillons noirs/Black Butterfly is on a whole other level, but people have to be willing to step out of their comfort zone I guess, because it’s not your typical Hollywood style drama.The French just have another way of telling stories and doing cinema, so there’s that. Again, it’s a bloody shame.

    Anyway, I’m actually writing this comment because you seem to think that Carrel is Albert and Solange’s son, but I beg to differ, I think it’s a child from the man the couple murdered in that caravan. It would make no sense otherwise and besides, Albert would have certainly told Adrien that he and Solange had a baby, don’t you think? Instead he tells him they took a longer vacation because Solange needed more time to recover from her second abortion.

    Kind regards,

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