Not Just An Accident
A woman is lying down on a boat in the middle of the sea at the start of Women of the Dead episode 1. As she listens to music with her eyes closed, we see flashes of two people trying to reach the boat’s ladder. The woman opens her eyes. Nobody is around. She sees something floating in the sea, away from the boat.
The same woman, Mrs. Blum, and another man are now in a funeral home, cleaning the dead body of an old man. When the selected coffin turns out to be too small, Blum says she will handle it. She gets a surgical cutting tool and asks the old man’s body if he won’t hold it against her. The body replies, saying that he doesn’t mind. She gets to work and begins to cut his feet.
In Blum’s bedroom, she wakes up to see her husband Mark. He says he came in late when she was asleep. It was a long and complicated day. Blum wakes up her daughter and then finds Mark on a tense phone call. He says it’s a work thing.
Mark gets dressed to go to work at the police station. He kisses his kids goodbye as they leave for school. He and his father have toast for breakfast. Outside the house, he gets on his bike and bids Blum goodbye. When he gets on the road, he is almost immediately run over by a black car. Blum runs out to help him.
At the hospital, Mark’s friend and colleague, Massimo, arrives. He tells Blum that Mark had taken a holiday that day but Blum knows nothing about it. The doctor comes in and tells the family that Mark has passed away.
Despite her colleague Reza’s protests, Blum insists on working on Mark’s body. She breaks down but soon gets to work.
At the funeral, people line up and offer the family their condolences. When Massimo tells Blum to reach out for anything she needs, she tells him to find the driver of the Rover that killed Mark. Others in the line include an old man named Mr. Theile, who lost his daughter years ago, and a woman unknown to Blum.
At a luxurious hotel, a woman talks on the phone with a man and assures him that ‘they’ won’t find anything.
Blum and her father-in-law enter the hotel and are offered condolences by people from the hotel and the police force, including Inspector Danzberger and Bertl Puch from the hotel. The woman from earlier, Mrs. Schönborn, does so too. Mark’s friend Massimo gives a speech on how Mark was a good person. He describes how Mark was called to deal with an incident with a Syrian refugee and instead of arresting the man, he brought him home and now he is working with Mark’s wife (this anecdote refers to Reza, Blum’s colleague). As Blum and her father-in-law are leaving, the inspector asks her if she knows where Mark’s gun is. She doesn’t but says she’ll look for it.
In his room, Reza hides the gun inside a hidden compartment in the wall.
Later, Blum goes to a nearby grocery store and realises the police have not asked to see the security camera footage yet. She goes to the police station and confronts the inspector, demanding that they do something or she’ll go to the press. When she leaves, the inspector narrates the incident to someone on the phone and says he will take care of it.
Meanwhile, someone is paid to tow a car away. While looking for Mark’s gun, Blum finds a milk slice wrapper and a toll ticket in one of his jackets.
She then gets a call from the mechanic who has taken a look at Mark’s bike. He says he can fix it and Blum tells him to do it. A flashback shows Mark and Blum in a room, with Blum telling Mark how she has always worked in the funeral home and it’s the only thing she learned how to do. Massimo enters the garage and asks Blum how she’s doing. They go to a bar and have a coffee. Blum asks Massimo if Mark was cheating on her. She tells him about the milk wrapper but he insists there could be a hundred different reasons for that.
Blum gets home to realise she forgot to pick up her son, Tim, from school. He walked home anyway. A young boy named Jakob comes by to give Nela some notes he took for her in school. Realising that her daughter skipped school, Blum accepts the notes and then confronts Nela at the ice hockey rink where she’s playing with her friends. Nela claims to be tired of hearing about God’s will at school, she just wants her father back.
A flashback shows Blum back on the boat in the open sea. She removes the headphones and all of a sudden begins to call for help. A nearby boat stops and Mark steps onboard. Blum tells him that her parents were swimming in the water and disappeared when she fell asleep. He comforts her and calls for help.
Blum picks up the repaired bike and rides it around town. In a small compartment, she finds a phone showing 19 missed calls from ‘D’. She calls back. A woman answers but cuts the call as soon as Blum says she is Mark’s wife. She sees a note on the phone saying ‘Joe Blenk’ as well as messages directing someone to leave a clinic and head to a cabin.
The linked map leads Blum to a small, wooden cabin where she comes across a scared woman who begins to run as soon as she sees Blum. Blum catches up to her and tells her she just wants to talk. The woman’s name is Dunja. When Blum tells her Mark is dead, Dunja begins to cry, saying that he is dead because of her and ‘they’ got to him.
The Episode Review
Episode 1 jumps into the murder mystery right away, which is good. The urgency and overall pace does slow down later, which is not so good. Still, the show offers an interesting set of characters and a classic small town setting — a promising combination. Blum is definitely one of the most intriguing of the lot as she brings together a cold rationality as well as the spark of emotion.
The talking to corpses is also a fascinating feature and hopefully, we’ll learn more about it in the episodes to come. Mark, too, has been well established as the quintessential good person. An exciting question is whether that reputation will remain untouched as we find out what he was really up to.
That said, a few more revelations would have done this episode good. As a viewer, I’m still unsure what the core of the show really is. Overall, a good pilot episode that sets up a solid mystery but doesn’t quite reel one in.