Deutschland 83 s1 ep 5

Things have changed for Martin after the events of the last episode: he’s had to bury Linda, someone about whom he cared – and to whose death he contributed – and he wakes up in Yvonne’s bed, although that for now is a plot development I can live without. Anyway, he’s decided that he’s had enough of the spy life, and tells Tischbier that he wants out. Unfortunately – on more than one level – his mother has collapsed, and thanks to Lenora’s intervention has jumped the queue for a kidney transplant. This, of course, is dependent on Martin’s continued co-operation. And on his kidney; it turns out that the blood Lenora took from him was indeed just a test to establish compatibility.

So Martin has to get back to East Berlin, and in what looks like a nod to Cold War-era Western plenty vs. Communist deprivation he’s asked to take a couple of tins of coffee home: one ordinary, one decaf. But when he stops off in West Berlin, and hands one of the coffee tins to a contact, within a few seconds a bomb goes off. It turns out that the tin contained detonators, and that Martin’s contact either is, or is working for, Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, well-known during that era as Carlos the Jackal, a terrorist of international renown. This particular attack – on the Maison de France in West Berlin – actually took place, but while I generally like it when the world of D83 intersects with real life, I felt that the incident was sold a little short: would the explosion really have taken place a matter of seconds after the handover? And would a famous terrorist (or a member of his team) allow himself to be chased, caught, and beaten up by novice spy Martin?

Meantime, Tischbier manages to engineer a falling-out with Alex, who then manages to pick a fight with his sister and her commune chums. After the spat with his father last week this all provides further evidence for the proposition that as well as being ideologically-driven he’s pretty objectionable. So with no allies left he fetches up at the GDR embassy offering his services, thus going where Tischbier always wanted him to go. And Thomas tells Annett about his secret library of proscribed literature, whereupon she does what (I assume) Lenora always wanted her to do, and grasses him up.

Hanging over it all, and giving the show its context, is the genuine East German belief that the West is about to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike. Deutschland 83 generally manages to strike a balance between the global and the personal, but this week perhaps the geopolitics were underplayed a little; I liked the episode, but was left with the lingering feeling that Deutschland 83 has been better.

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One thought on “Deutschland 83 s1 ep 5

  1. CJ Cregg February 2, 2016 / 10:38 pm

    It wasn’t quite as OMG as last week’s but I thought it was still very good. I suppose, although Martin’s a novice spy, he is a reasonably experienced soldier so maybe him catching and beating up Carlos/Carlos’s pal isn’t necessarily quite as much of a stretch as it seemed, although I know what you mean.

    Mrs Edel’s fish-based revenge was a bit odd.

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