The Final Stand
Episode 8 of The Serpent begins on the 28th June 1976 in India. Charles is still on the run with Marie, as the pair get up to old tricks. Only this time things have changed. There’s no Ajay and both of them are forced to get their hands dirty and mix with the locals. Marie is not happy and certainly not convinced this is the right play.
Meanwhile, Herman leads the charge as a similar incident to what they’ve seen before takes place in India. A man rocks up dead – thanks to Charles and his new gang – as we cut forward a day later and see police begin buzzing around Marie and Charles.
This time though, Marie is less than composed. She’s unable to trust anyone. Instead, she phones home and tells her Mother she’s innocent, blaming everything on Charles. She lets her guard down momentarily, enough time for her new associate, Mr John, to have a change of heart and take off with her bag – which just so happens to hold all their passports inside.
When Marie tells Charles what has happened, he lashes out at her and forces Marie to hand over the ring. He’s going to pawn it for money, eventually leading to the two coming to blows. Charles is physical with her too, beating down Marie into submission.
Fast forward a week and Mr John is off relaxing in Goa, India. He receives a call back from a police officer called Tuli, where he eventually confesses that a man died on Charles’ watch.
With International arrest warrants out, Tuli manage to find a crucial clue in all this as Mr John agrees to tell them what he knows in exchange for being allowed to go home.
This eventually sees the police, led by Tuli, arrive at Charles’ apartment and take all the men and women outside. Marie leaves willingly with Tuli, agreeing to tell him what she knows.
Herman eventually finds himself taken off the case, with everything handed over to the Ambassador and the higher authorities. Only, he’s made a copy for himself and keeps it hidden in his house for the time being.
Knippenberg continues to fret over what to do with this case, determined to see it through to its conclusion. Angela however, decides to go and visit her parents in Germany. Herman’s obsession with this case is too much and she outright admits to him that he’s too busy for her.
While she’s gone, Paul and Herman hit the booze and curse Charles for what he’s done – and continues to do – to innocent victims around the world.
In the morning, a very hungover Herman receives a call confirming Charles has been arrested. After poisoning 30 people at Interpol, Charles is finally apprehended. However, Herman still finds himself shunned by the others at the embassy, especially after the way he went to the reporters and blew this case wide open. Despite all that though, Charles has now been arrested.
We then jump forward a year, where we see Charles in prison. Evidence is mounting against him but he wants to meet Knippenberg. After serving time in India, Charles has a date with destiny – or more specifically Thailand. Marie meanwhile, has turned toward religion.
Fast forward 7 years and Marie doubles over in her cell, clutching her side in pain. Marie eventually finds herself in a wheelchair, in the same cell as Charles. She says goodbye to him and confirms he won’t see her again. She’s got cancer in her womb and is being sent home to die.
Jump forward to 1997 and Charles is on TV for his first interview. Unfortunately present day laws means he’s managed to avoid prosecution in Thailand and is free to go. This puts us back to the moments during episode 1. Only this time, Herman watches this play out and realizes that Charles is now a free man.
It’s been a few minutes since the last time jump so I guess it’s time to cut forward again. This time, we’re 6 years later in Kathmandu. A plane touches down holding Charles where he’s eventually held in custody. The Bangkok Post confirm he’s arrested as Angela and Herman both discuss this event on the phone. They’re separated, having recently remarried, although clearly still on talking terms.
She encourages him to check the news though and brings up the Herman case. This inevitably leads to Herman phoning through to Nepal, pleading with the authorities to hold Charles as long as possible.
Desperate to make sure he stays in custody, Charles faxes over information that can help incriminate the man thanks to Marie’s witness testimony. This is enough to press charges against Charles, keeping him in custody. Herman and the others breathe a sigh of relief as this monster is finally put behind bars.
The Episode Review
This final episode of The Serpent bows everything out nicely, with the case wrapped up and a whole stack of flash-forwards at the end allowing the story to play out with a neat bow.
At the same time though, The Serpent has taken some liberties with the timeline and Charles in his later life. Despite that, The Serpent has been an enthralling watch and a really solid crime drama.
In fact, this entire series has been one of the better offerings that BBC have released in quite a while. Now that Netflix have International rights to stream this, a much larger audience will be able to experience this story too – which is obviously a good thing.
With excellent acting, costume design and visuals, the idea of chopping this story up across many flashbacks and flash forwards will inevitably be a point of contention for many people.
Understandably, The Serpent can be somewhat difficult to follow sometimes – especially the first and sixth episode which both skew the balance slightly.
Despite that though, The Serpent has been a really solid watch and an excellent crime drama to bolster out the 2021 TV roster.