The Woods season 1, episode 1 recap – what happened in “End of Innocence”?

By Daniel Hart
Published: June 12, 2020 (Last updated: December 4, 2023)
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Netflix series The Woods season 1, episode 1 - End of Innocence


The Woods season 1, episode 1, “End of Innocence” throws the audience into a mystery immediately in an absorbing first chapter.

This recap of Netflix series The Woods season 1, episode 1, “End of Innocence” contains significant spoilers.

Access the recaps of all episodes.

How does The Woods season 1, episode 1, “End of Innocence” open?

Episode 1 begins in August 1994 at the Summer Camp of Korczak High School. In the woods, police have found a dead body and they are transporting it in the back of the car. Pawel is watching from a distance.

High spirits

In the next scene, the teens are in high spirits in the woods. Pawel’s parents ask where he is and say it’s his responsibility to look after the group; Pawel insists he is before continuing to walk through the woods with Laura — she’s a keen photographer. Kamila (Pawel’s sister) tells Pawel that Daniel gave her a bracelet and asks Pawel if he’s trying to get laid with Laura or if he’s trying to have a girlfriend. Pawel seems nonchalant about the conversation. He heads back into the woods and sips alcohol. The Woods season 1, episode 1, “End of Innocence” presents Pawel as a teenager who seems different from the rest of the group.

Driving the car

One of Pawel’s friends Artur wants to show him something in the middle of the night — a car. He wants to drive it. Laura joins in on the fun and they drive off in the car through the woods. Suddenly, Artur pretends that he has hit someone as a joke but someone is lurking in the woods nearby watching the car.

September 2019

Episode 1 then moves to September 2019. Pawel is watching his daughter Kaja in a diving competition. He’s a prosecutor, a workaholic and clearly weighted by his past. Pawel heads to the office and looks at a case file. Inspector Jork Buczkowski comes to see him — he wants to show Pawel something and it cannot wait. A person named Marek Kowalski was murdered — they believe Pawel can help as there were items on him that make them believe they knew each other. Pawel is shown the dead body and he’s told that Marek had Pawel’s address on him. The Inspector references the camp 25 years ago and how he was the chaperone.

Artur is interested in someone

Episode 1 then moves back to the camp when Pawel was younger. Artur is interested in a girl called Monika and ends up hooking up with her; his mother finds him and calls him a fool — his mother is a cleaner at the camp. Episode 1 clearly highlights some fractured relationships with the parents.

I can’t help

Back in the present, Pawel is looking at old newspaper clippings that Marek had regarding the “Summer Butcher”. Pawel tells the investigators that he cannot help and walks off. He returns home and reads his daughter a bedtime story. The Woods season 1, episode 1, “End of Innocence” has an air of conflict as Pawel seems to be crippled by his past.


Back in the past, the teenagers are enjoying a disco at the camp. Artur sees another boy kissing Monika and ends up fighting him. Pawel breaks it up. Daniel, Artur, and Pawel drink and sing into the night. Pawel ends up throwing up outside and Laura asks if he is okay and helps him inside. In the present day, Pawel looks at old photos of the camp. His sister-in-law asks what he is doing. He shows a photo of his mother and says, “What kind of person do you have to be to leave your child?”.

The Woods season 1, episode 1, “End of Innocence” then reverts to when Pawel is younger and his mother is clearing up the alcohol around a hungover Pawel; she asks who was with him — “Like father, like son”. Pawel’s mother tells Artur that if he brings alcohol to the camp again he will be kicked out — she also says that he’s not good for her son. Artur makes a sly comment stating she isn’t a good mother.

A rape case

In the present, at work, Pawel is shown a social media profile of a woman. Pawel asks this woman if he recognizes two photos. The woman points them out to be Bartosz Marancz and Emil Dunaj-Szafranski — she says they raped her. Pawel reminds her that these are serious allegations; she tells Pawel they recorded it. Pawel wants a minute by minute story.

While having his lunch, a TV journalist named Kryzstof Dunaj-Szafranski (the father of one of the boys who the woman is accusing of rape) introduces himself to Pawel. He tells Pawel that the woman Klaudia Broniarek is lying about the rape; “it was just a frat party”. Kryzstof offers to pay Klaudia and Paewet and asks if he’s ever made a mistake — “Everyone has secrets”. The TV journalist walks off.

Young love

Episode 1 then moves back to Pawel at the camp. Laura tells him it is the last night. The pair walk in the woods together and have sex — there are suggestions that Laura is losing her virginity. While having sex they hear screaming in the distance and suddenly get up. Pawel asks Laura to run away.

How does The Woods season 1, episode 1, “End of Innocence” end?

Back in the present, Pawel enters the trial over the rape case and tells the judge there will be forensic evidence and a video. Kryzstof Dunaj-Szafranski tells Pawel, “You didn’t listen to me”.

Pawel then rings Jork and asks to meet him at the morgue. Pawel narrates that the camp he was at he was a junior instructor and it ended tragically; four kids entered the woods and never returned — two bodies were found soon after. The other two were never found, one being his sister. Pawel checks out Marek Kowalski’s body again — he sees a scar on his left arm and is shell shocked that he knows him. Jork asks Pawel who is he — it is Artur Perkowski. “If this is Artur, maybe my sister is alive”. The Woods season 1, episode 1, “End of Innocence” throws the audience into an induced mystery immediately in an absorbing first chapter.

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