Totem & Taboo
It’s official – Freud has started to jump the gun. What began as an intriguing, dark and well written procedural has now started to descend into a satanic, blood-lusting fetish that feels like a far cry from the early episodes of the show. Still, we begin episode 4 of Freud with Freud himself continuing to grapple with his inner-demons, as Sophia controls him and tries to convince Freud to kill himself. Fighting the urge, Freud finally awakens and spits out the hydrochloric acid he swallowed during the opening scenes of the episode.
Given Freud managed to mentally overcome their influence, Sophia and Viktor discuss this revelation and the threat both Freud and Fleur have become. Even worse, they worry that the opera singer may know something that implicates them to the crime.
Viktor meets the Crown Prince outside and he requests to see Fleur again. As the Crown Prince rides away, Viktor speaks to Sophia about the implications of allowing him to see Fleur. Maria knocks on Fleur’s door and tells her she’s alone, requesting to come in. Only, it turns out she’s not and Viktor bursts in the room, holding her up as Sophia enters. She requests to be left alone with Fleur and as she shuts the door, Sophia speaks the truth about what she’s doing to her.
Fleur agrees to do the private seance for the Crown Prince but before she leave, Sophia talks to her and tells Fleur she’s becoming “a taltos”, another throwback to this strange term.
Freud meanwhile teeters on the brink, heading down to the basement where he finds Dr Von with the opera singer behind bars, humming. Freud tells Von about his visions and tries to talk to him but he walks away, refusing to engage.
Kiss starts to experience shaking in his hands again, exacerbated by hearing the words “father” repeatedly echoing in his mind. Back at the station, the boy with a dog from the canals enters and tells them Dr Von was the one behind Clara’s torturous ordeal. After showing a picture to the boy, he points straight at Von as the one responsible.
At Von’s house, Freud heads up to find the good Doctor with his wrist slit and lying in bed embracing a doll. Kiss questions just why he killed himself, leading Freud to examine Von closer and see that he was staring at a picture with blood behind it. As they move the portrait, they find a satanic symbol written in blood, etched with the severed remains of a finger.
The duo then head down to see the opera singer and Kiss relives his nightmare again, with Georgtelling him to kill the prisoners. The “father” shouts he’s been hearing comes from his son taking the gun and shooting himself in the head to prevent the prisoners meeting an untimely demise.
As they draw the symbol for him to look at, Freud ponders the possibility that this may link to the melody between the two men. As the opera singer sees the symbol, he screams in shock before humming the same haunting melody from before.
Fleur arrives at the Crown Prince’s house, ready to conduct the seance. He tells her to fight back and scream, hitting Fleur square across the jaw before showing his animalistic tendencies. Suddenly, something inside her snaps and she headbutts him, proceeding to salivate and seemingly be controlled by something devilish.
This much rings true too, as Freud finds Fleur waiting for him outside his apartment. After inviting her in, Freud senses something wrong as he starts patching her up. Fleur grabs his hand and forces it up her leg before jumping on top of him which is where the episode ends.
With Fleur seemingly being controlled by something satanic and evil, this episode blends in surrealist imagery with more of a fantastical cult edge to proceedings compared to the early parts of the show. The violence and nudity does feel unnecessary at times while the more interesting storyline involving Kiss and his demons from the war feels like it’s been dragged out across the show, with multiple instances of the same scene repeated numerous time.
As we cross the halfway point, Freud seems to be turning into something far darker and less believable than the early parts of the show but it remains to be seen whether this actually improves over time or not.