While the dead returning to life has traditionally been the …
Shall we play a game?
The year that War Games hit theaters, 1983, was also the year that the world came the closest it had to nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis. While that film depended on a computer to figure out the concept of mutually assured destruction, Deutschland 83’s penultimate episode of the season, “Bold Guard,” places that burden squarely on Martin’s young shoulders.
After focusing almost entirely on Martin–and the enormously appealing Jonas Nay–in its earliest episodes, Deutschland 83 has slowly widened its frame to include a larger mix of characters. Last week’s “Cold Fire,” while still centering on Martin’s return back to the West, spent considerable time exploring the stories of Alexander, Annett, and even Ursula Edel. Now comes “Brandy Station,” which brings Alexander to the forefront and feels like the first truly ensemble episode of the series.
It’s no surprise one of Daniel’s dream destinations is the land of Carthage in Tunisia, home of the Carthagian empire that fell to the Romans in 146 BC. When their lands were stripped and the Carthagian people were enslaved, legends said the Romans “salted the earth” of Carthage, cursing the land for re-inhabitation by the Carthagians or any others.
However the opening of “Cold Fire” doesn’t afford Martin that glossy cover: he’s just rolling around in bed with Yvonne, and it’s a little off-putting. But everyone grieves in their own way. According to Yvonne, Martin’s way is to get wasted and tell a bunch of Osho followers that he’s a spy, which she doesn’t believe. “I am a spy,” he deadpans before rolling on top of her and telling her not to spill his secret. “If you do, I’ll have to kill you.”
Things just got serious on Deutschland 83. Deadly serious. If Martin–or viewers–had any doubts as to the stakes involved in his accidental spy career, “Northern Wedding” dispells them with taut, gutting efficiency. As the series hits the mid-point of its 8-episode run, nearly every relationship on the show was brought to head and the fallout leaves literal and emotional casualties everywhere.
To this point in its short run, the series has excelled during moments of quick-witted comedy. The writing in that department shows experience and understanding of natural humor as well as command over punchlines. But “Thameside Center,” while still containing pieces of that comedic know-how, is actually more powerful as blunt piece of dramatic work.