The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Season 1 Episode 4 Recap & Review

Episode 4

Episode 4 of The Tattooist of Auschwitz begins with a brief prologue, which eventually paves way for Lali being tortured and kept in solitary confinement. He’s questioned over who has giving him contraband but Lali simply tells them that he gets it in parcels. Despite having the words “names” thrown at him repeatedly, alongside stiff jabs to the face and ribs, Lali doesn’t break nor reveal anything.

The torturer is just as innocent as he is, given he too is a prisoner, and he tells Lali in confidence that he’s being careful over where he’s hitting so he doesn’t break anything major or cause him lasting damage. The man also encourages him to hang in there, admitting that if he reveals any names, then Lali is going to be killed. So he needs to hold on.

Word of Lali’s misfortune reaches Gita, whom Leon goes to see. His look, with a slight shake of the head, is enough for her to understand this is serious. When air raid sirens wail and the whole camp goes into disarray, Gita sneaks over to the desks and tries to check the logs for Lali’s whereabouts. She suspects he’s been chosen for the gas chamber but the reality is just as grim. He’s being kept in the infamous Block 11 in Auschwitz 1.

Gita knocks over the ink marker and given Baretzki knows who Gita is, he surprisingly doesn’t take her away when she’s found out by Cilka, the woman who works at this desk. Gita is shaken though when she finds out her parents didn’t make it. She struggles to find her purpose but in the end, manages to hold it together long enough to ask Cilka for help.

Cilka is someone whom we met right at the start of the episode, where she takes an administration log and seemingly has absolutely no emotion about the ordeals the prisoners are going through. In reality, she drowns her sorrows by the candlelight that night, burning her hand so she feels the harshness of what’s around her; her own personal coping mechanism.

Cilka is also involved in a sordid affair with one of the SS officers too, which Gita notices. She approaches Cilka in camp, kisses her hand, and begs her for help in freeing her beloved from Block 11.

Speaking of Lali, his torturous ordeal continues as he’s forced to wade through watery blood outside in the “yard”. There, he watches  a whole bunch of inmates being killed, shot in the head against a wall in some sick firing range. This is his last experience in Block 11, as it turns out, as Gita miraculously manages to free him and bring him back to the barracks. The kids run away in fear, given the state of him, and he falls into Nadya’s arms.

Lali awakens to Baretzki shouting at him. Apparently it’s just a joke and he gets a day off work after being beaten so badly. Baretzki also tells him to continue smuggling the contraband but this time being “more careful”. Apparently there’s a rat in this whole operation but Baretzki promises that it’s not him and he even brings a kid inside so Lali swears on his life that he believes him.

Hearing all of this takes its toll on Heather in the present, who becomes consumed by her work. In fact, she ends up having a panic attack. She struggles to breathe and Lali calls her an ambulance. At the hospital, her partner believes Heather needs to transfer and get away from this work. In reality, Heather just needs some boundaries.

She shows up at Lali’s place and, sitting together, she points out she needed some time on her own. She’s never done anything like this before and she explains to Lali that she’s completely overwhelmed by what she’s heard. She didn’t want him to know she was struggling because it’s such an important story.

Heather is terrified of messing the story up and not getting the words out… but to show her trust, she hands over the first 150 pages of her novel so far. For now, they’re definitely need to go ahead but there are some ground rules – 1 phone call a day maximum and if Heather needs to go away then she will.

Continuing the story, Lali shows up to see Gita at the administration office. His eye is a complete mess and he’s been beaten raw, and Cilka watches as true, genuine love unfolds before her eyes. And all they do is just hold hands. That night though, Gita goes to see Cilka and they talk about love. Cilka empathizes with this doomed love, given what she’s feeling for this SS officer. She knows their love is doomed.

Back in the camp, Lali speaks to Nadya and they discuss what they’ll do if they leave Auschwitz. Lali decides they should all go and find an island to get away… and of course Lali managed to do that by heading to Australia – as far away from Europe as possible. As for Nadya, she never made it that far. In fact, she’s taken away that night, loaded onto trucks with other prisoners – including children.

That next day, a small glimmer of hope seems to filter through for the inmates. Looking up, Gita notices a plane flying overhead. Is this the Allied Forces on their way?

The Episode Review

The Tattooist of Auschwitz continues to deliver harrowing drama and it certainly leaves the door open for where these final two episodes may go next. Gita and Lali are hanging on by a thread, and we’ll have to wait and see how their story is going to end. Given we know Lali is on his own in the present, it definitely doesn’t pose well for their prospects of a happily ever after.

The poignancy of this series is plain to see and it’s obvious that things are not looking good for anyone. How many of these prisoners are going to make it out in one piece? We’ll have to wait and see in the episodes to come.

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