The program starts out as a sort of Hansel and Gretel for adults. Children start disappearing from a bleak German town hard by a soon-to-be-closed nuclear power plant, leaving a trail of candy wrappers. The older folks in town remember that the same thing happened 33 years before — is there a connection? The story veers between standard horror movie themes — don’t go into that cave by yourself, you idiot — and psychodrama, as the older folks start reflecting on how they have unwittingly become their parents. Then things get really weird. Where else are you going to hear people talking about Chernobyl, Nietzsche, and the Einstein Rosen Bridge (a real thing) in the space of a few episodes? Trust me, it’s all connected.
I found this show fascinating from beginning to end. The episodes pairing events in the 1980s with the current day, showing both teenaged and adult versions of the same characters, were particularly effective. Despite the dark subject matter, the show is not without moments of (I think intentional) humor. When the local high school wants to make people feel better in the midst of all the mysterious disappearances, they decide to go forward with the school play – Medea. And there are several rather overt references to a famous American movie which I can’t mention without giving away a plot twist, but which will be pretty obvious as soon as you see them.
The ending, while it doesn’t wrap up all the loose ends — they wanted to save space for a potential Season 2 – provides enough resolution so you don’t feel cheated.
History nerd alert: They make a big deal about 33-year historical cycles, pointing out that Danta’s Inferno has 33 cantos, and the anti-Christ began preaching at age 33. It’s also the age, according to tradition, at which Jesus Christ is believed to have died which is, in fact, why Dante picked the number 33 and why the Anti-Christ is that age. Seems a bit more important, no? Nudniks.