The Big Reveal
The season 1 finale of The Woods picks up moments after the dramatic shooting as Pawel is rushed to hospital. Splintered memories of his Mother telling him to be strong come back, which eventually sees us plunge back to 1994 where we see David and Kamila together while Wojtek watches this unfold from afar.
Back in 2019, Pawel is no longer a suspect given Jork has uncovered ballistic data linking Dawid to Marek’s death. This, coupled with the blood stains in his car that Laura found, mean he’s off the hook for now.
Pawel discharges himself from hospital and tries to get through to Laura but fails to do so; she’s a mess and isn’t talking to anyone, including Leon. Instead, he heads back to see the forensic scientist where he learns that the woman in the woods had given birth so it couldn’t be his sister as she certainly wasn’t pregnant. After asking her to run a DNA test, Pawel heads home where Kupa asks for help to get his sister out of this legal mess.
Pawel heads out and confronts Bozena over the DNA results he’s received, confirming once and for all that Marek was definitely Artur. As he questions Bozena over why she lied, it turns out Kamila survived the woods that night. It’s here we cut back in time and see exactly what happened as Artur and Kamila both follow Wojtek, where he shows Kamila that Daniel isn’t faithful and currently in bed with Monika.
Wojtek suggests they get their own back and light a bonfire after the party. After drinking copious amounts of alcohol together, Kamila gets her own back and starts choking Monika out down by the shore. Wojtek however, takes things one step further and slits Monika’s throat infront of them as they watch in horror. “We’re in this together” He says, as Kamila screams and the kids run into the woods.
Artur hides from Wojtek but unfortunately mistakes Daniel for him. Stabbing the boy multiple times, Artur suddenly realizes what he’s done and as panic washes over him, he bolts. Bozena was the one who found Artur and Kamila that night and took them in, hearing their story. Natalia was also there, helping to cover all of this up and prevent Artur from going to prison. They hid the kids for 24 hours but realized they needed to hide them permanently forever and trick the police into thinking they were killed. Pawel’s mother however, didn’t tell his Father anything.
At work, Pawel admits to Iza that he believes his sister is still alive. As it turns out, the woman they found dead in the woods is actually his missing Mother. After finding this out, Pawel also has a breakthrough with the Klaudia case but when he returns home Krysztof happens to be waiting for him. Pawel confidently tells him he has nothing on him and he smiles, revealing that he could spin things to his liking before leaving.
As he does, Laura arrives and the two hook up together. In the morning, Pawel sits with his boss and hands over the indictment for Klaudia’s case along with his own resignation. That way, he can take a loan and save his sister-in-law. “People go to great lengths to protect their children,” He says, finally understanding the gravity of what this means. As he heads out, he tells the reporters waiting to hear from him that he was the one who stole the money and covers for his sister-in-law.
On the back of this, Pawel clears his desk but receives a visit from Bozena who drops off a letter from Kamila. She reads out the painful words for him and as they continue on, Bozena mentions how she wanted to go to the police with what happened but Natalia is defiant, telling her she’d rather die than split the kids up.
This brought her inside the house where she confronts her husband and tells him she wants a divorce, demanding both kids in the process. However, he refuses and instead takes her into the woods where he starts digging, hoping to find Kamila. Obsessed with this hunt, he suddenly turns around and tells her she won’t take Kamila away from him and chokes her, killing the woman and bundling her into the large hole.
With the truth surrounding who killed his Mother now out, Pawel pleads with Bozena to show him where Kamila really is. As he drives up to a secluded mansion in the woods, he approaches a woman leaning over the bannister and calls out for Kamila. She turns her head, slightly, but the screen fades to black before we can be sure it’s actually her.
Although there’s a nice explanation and twist for who the killer/s are, the final ambiguous shots of the season are a bit of a disappointment. The entire situation involving Klaudia and the rape case has felt really weak, playing out like convoluted busy-work alongside the much more interesting timeline in the past. Still, the past is where this series has really shined and it’s here Harlan Coben does a good job building up a mystery with lots of layers to peel off and reveal more twists hiding in their wake.
Compared to The Stranger earlier this year however, The Woods pales by comparison. The story doesn’t quite have the same level of energy and tension, making for a compelling enough watch but not something you’d return to in a hurry. Still, there’s enough here to enjoy and the finale bows out with a decent enough ending.