The Tourist Trap
Episode 2 of The Serpent begins on the 1st March 1976. Knippenberg arrives to see the dead bodies at the morgue, as we jump back and see fragments of Marie-Andrée in the room with these two tourists. In turns out the bodies were set on fire while they were still breathing, in a horrific, toe-curling act of barbarism.
The missing letters from Willem and Lena arrive at the office, prompting Herman to get to work uncovering what’s inside. He’s blinded by emotion, which makes the trip to the police station that much more difficult. The General refuses to open a case, although the officers do allow him to continue his investigation off the books.
Knippenberg deliberates over what to do, especially back home when Angela finds him looking at all the different documents, lost in thought.
As she sits with Herman, he shows the Washington Post which confirms that Alain is a gem dealer. Only, this is the same gem dealer mentioned by Willem and Helena in their letters. Now we’re onto something.
Well, Knippenberg meets Paul Siemons again, who brings him up to see Jurion. He too has interest in Alain, as Knippenberg mentions the gem dealer story.
It turns out a French woman actually made some accusations regarding drugging, robbing and murdering several months back. She did the rounds at the embassies, which immediately riles up Herman – especially when he learns nothing happened on the back of this. Angry, Herman decides to go looking for the French woman.
This eventually sees Herman phoning through to the various different embassies himself, desperate for answers. He does eventually receive a breakthrough with the British, who claim that this French lady showed up.
Meeting with this man, Herman receives a book that the hysterical French woman left at the embassy. Inside are various different photographs and documents. There’s also a phone number too, but predictably no name. Herman sees all this and hands over the photo of the burnt couple to the official. He lectures the man about his lack of compassion and eventually walks away.
This only fuels Herman on, as he visits the apartment complex next looking for answers. There, he finds Nadine and Remi.
In the other timeline in this episode, we jump back to the 5th May 1975. This is 10 months before the events I’ve written out here, where we see Marie-Andrée with Charles off on his boat.
Charles (still using his Alain alias) used to be a war photographer and it’s clear that Marie-Andrée has taken a fancy to him. With her travel companions ill, this gives Charles just the opportunity he needs to take Marie-Andrée with him.
Skip forward 2 months and Charles encourages Marie-Andrée to head up to Bangkok to meet him. 3 weeks later and Marie-Andrée is entrapped with this cold-hearted man. He hasn’t shown any sort of romance toward her – nothing like the moments back in Paris. Even worse, with her money handed over to Charles, she finds herself alone and at his mercy.
Charles encourages Marie to head up to the beach for a romantic few days as a getaway. Only, this is all part of Charles’ plan, telling Marie to concoct a whole story for herself, including adopting the alias of Monique and that she’s into fashion.
This unsuspecting couple happen to be Australians and Marie watches in horror as Charles takes their gear and leave them in a heap on the ground, vomit lining the ground like a disgusting mosaic after drugging them.
Several months pass and Marie finds herself caught in Alain’s web of deceit. She begins to doubt everything, especially the story she’s been fed to lead her to Bangkok. Eventually Charles comes clean, telling her his real name. He tells Marie everything he’s ever wanted he’s taken, holding Marie round the neck for emphasis while he says it.
Time passes and Marie-Andrée is still at Charles’ mercy. This catches us up to the moments where Teresa arrives at the complex. Marie watches from afar as Charles takes the girl away.
In the morning, when Ajay and Charles return without her, she questions where the pair have been. The news eventually breaks that they’ve killed Teresa, with Charles dancing around the actual facts by claiming Marie doesn’t need to worry. Instead, he hands over her money and asks Marie to cash it in.
It turns out Charles has been playing her all this time, especially when a Thai woman named Suda shows and happens to be involved with Charles. Determined to get her own back, Marie starts dancing with one of the men…who eventually collapses on the ground. This catches us up to the moments at the start of the first episode, as Marie and Charles both drug this Turk.
We then cut us forward to Teresa and Willem from that ending last episode. Marie apologizes to them both as they realize, with horror, that they’ve been duped. Willem tries to stand up and stumbles over, as Charles and Ajay show up and force them back down. With the door shut, sickening hard blows sound as Marie tries to drown out this noise with loud music and smoking.
The Episode Review
This second episode of The Serpent switches things up slightly, showcasing two different timelines but doing so in a way that actually makes sense narratively. The mystery and intrigue with these two stories essentially switches the spotlight onto Marie as we see more of her plight and issues with Charles.
As Marie realizes the horrifying extent of her entrapment, she’s forced to play along with Charles’ game and try to grin and bear everything that’s happening. Seeing her nightmare just get worse over time is pretty damning and Jenna Coleman does a wonderful job bringing this character to life.
Charles however, is a little less engaging and not quite as charismatic as his real-world counterpart is. However, he’s no less chilling and commanding. This is a very well-made show and this episode leaves the door wide open for the rest of the horrors this season may have waiting for us.