Signs season 1, episode 1 recap – there’s something in the water

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: July 22, 2020 (Last updated: November 23, 2023)
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Signs season 1, episode 1 recap - there's something in the water


This gloomy opening episode introduces a lot of different plot elements, but it’s difficult to escape the cliche at this stage.

This recap of Signs season 1, episode 1, contains spoilers. You can check out our spoiler-free season review by clicking these words.

Check out our in-depth recaps of every episode by clicking these ones.

The opening of Signs episode 1 certainly sets the tone. In it, a young woman walks along the banks of a lake while exchanging very clunky dialogue with her mother over the phone. She’s not too worried about someone who has just been released from prison. She’s upset that her mother presumably hates her, and insists she’s going to leave “this place”, at which point her mother will realize “she’s all she has.” Then someone shoots the young woman dead.

Welcome to another international Netflix crime series, I guess. We then meet Chief Trela, who arrives at the police station earlier than expected and finds it in disarray. But at least a local conspiracy theorist woman, Zofia, gives him a bottle of holy water, which he glugs. Trela’s a new arrival, here with his daughter, Nina, at a small town jam-packed with religious iconography which is about to celebrate its 800th anniversary. Trela will be present, at the request of the mayor, for that particular celebration. But first: A death. The local priest is dead of a suspected heart attack. Something about the case throws Trela for a bit of a loop. He speeds to a local church congregation, arrests its leader, Jonasz, and confiscates all the holy water.

Jonasz has a reputation as a healer; Trela as a boozer who might have been banished from Krakow for alcoholism, among other things. Trela naturally thinks Jonasz is a charlatan. Nobody knows why he has brought the supposed healer into the station, or why he needs to go home to lay down. Doing so leaves Nina stranded, where she meets Agata, the daughter of the mayor, who gives her a ride. She’s immediately suspicious when she learns her dad is having a nap and gives him the standard booze sniff.

The next morning, Nina pushes Trela about why he passed out, but he brushes it off, claiming he’s fit enough to be an astronaut (he has been smoking in virtually every scene until now, so I’m skeptical.) He gives the conspiracy theorist lady, who everyone says hasn’t been the same since the death of her daughter, Laura, a ride home. He comes in for tea and asks her how she knew he had a daughter (she mentioned it offhandedly as the station yesterday). Her fridge is full of Jonasz’s holy water and almost nothing else. Trela is lured away by an urgent call.

Trela sits down with Jonasz and reveals that he knows plenty about his made-up holy man background and that he has been spiking his water with ecstasy. Hence Trela passing out, and the frantic results phonecall after he’d called in a professional favor to have the water analyzed. Another urgent call, this time for Adrianna, pulls them both away. A young girl claims her mother has disappeared. Trela ventures into the nearby woods and finds her father unconscious, presumably drunk.

Trela is summoned to the school by the principal, which has been graffitied by Agata. Her father is already on-site “putting out fires”. The context is very disparaging towards the dead priest, but these two aren’t giving anything away. Meanwhile, Pawel, the drunk man from the woods, has woken up and has no idea where his wife Patrycja is. Useful!

Nina is going to a campfire with Agata to meet her friends, which Trela is oddly okay with given the day’s events. The campsite is near where a local girl was shot twice in the heart, which of course we saw in the opening. Everything seems to be connected in this little town, but quite how remains a mystery. Meanwhile, the police begin an official search for Patrycja, as Jonasz languishes in his cell, and Zofia dances in the yard while tipping the ecstasy water all over herself. A final lingering shot of some remains implies that Signs season 1, episode 1 has plenty more mystery to come.

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