Episode 4 of The Serpent begins on the 23rd December 1975 in Nepal. A young boy stumbles upon the burnt remains of a couple. This then cuts us across to the airport as Marie flies out the country to Kathmandu – not France. Marie is shocked to learn she’s using Helena’s passport. Even worse, Ajay excitedly chirps up that the burnt couple they found are believed to be Australian.
The trip to Kathmandu soon goes awry when Charles loses all their money in a bet. He brushes it aside though, deciding that it can easily be replaced. Marie loses her composure and starts hyperventilating, telling the pair that she wants this to stop.
After paying off Ajay, Charles sternly talks to Marie and keeps her under control. In order to do that, he encourages her to drink a tea with crushed up pills inside. This is all a test of her loyalty.
Ajay unfortunately feels Charles’ wrath as he sleeps with a traveler. When he does, Charles approaches and holds him down, telling Ajay he’s not a brother anymore and walking away.
In the morning, Marie awakens to find a red rose on the bed next to her. She heads out into the street, where she gets talking to a couple in the street. Marie encourages them to head back with her, especially when they discuss gemstones. However, Charles tells them the stones they have are just glass – offering to drive them up the mountain the following day.
Ajay and Charles eventually drug the couple, burning their bodies but first slicing them up. They then head back together and settle their account at the hotel using their money.
Back in the present day, Remi leads Knippenberg up to the post office to try and find Nadine. They’re desperate to find her, eventually leading Remi to head up alone to Kanit House.
There, he finds Nadine inside with Charles and the others. They hand over a commission – for all the clients brought to him – as they leave for the evening.
The pair immediately ring Knippenberg, letting him know they’re together. Nadine tries to bring them evidence but the pair tell them they need to be careful. For now, Remi and Nadine are going to snap some photos. With this evidence, they should then be able to go back to the police open a proper case against Charles.
Remi and Nadine play their parts well, snapping photos down by the pool. Ajay refuses to have his picture taken though. This brings Charles into the loop too, who also rejects this. Nadine seizes her opportunity, knocking ice across the ground and taking the chance to snap photos around the room while everyone is distracted.
Meanwhile, the Ambassador shows up and confronts Herman about the case he’s getting mixed up in. Given all the newspapers he’s been given, and the papers for his case, the Ambassador threatens to recall him. Thankfully, Remi and Nadine show up that evening with the photo reel, confirming the evidence they’ve snapped together.
On top of that, Nadine also draws out a schematic of the apartment floor, including the safe where all the passports happen to be. Among the pictures happens to be a business card for the Kathmandu Hotel.
Herman heads back to see Paul Siemons where they piece together the trail of bodies, eventually leading them back to see Laver. The statement for Viola and Greg identify a white dog and lo and behold, Nadine’s picture shows Marie with a dog.
With all this evidence, Herman rings Kanit House, intent on getting Remi and Nadine out. Only, when he rings no one answers the phone.
The Episode Review
The midway point of The Serpent shifts perspectives slightly as we see the trip to Kathmandu and the wavering loyalties from both Ajay and Marie. This does, of course, eventually finish off with our group on the same page, but also raises some interesting questions along the way too.
Nadine and Remi’s bravery has done enough to start the investigation as well, with a raid on Charles’ property imminent. On top of that, the cat and mouse chase continues to deliver compelling drama and although not quite as tense as the previous episode, delivers this story in a really engaging and compelling way.
Some will, of course, bemoan the way The Serpent jumps around with the timeline. It’s a fair critique to be fair but personally it doesn’t detract too much from the enjoyment in this one.
This biographical drama is easily one of the best in 2021, and as the noose starts to tighten around Charles’ neck, it leaves everything wide open for the next four episodes to come.