The plot very much thickens in “Signs of the Times”, as the death of a local figure is felt deeply by many, and suspicions around it begin to grow.
This recap of Oktoberfest: Beer & Blood episode 2, “Signs of the Times”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
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There’s no wonder Prank has a bee in his bonnet about Oktoberfest, at least if the brief flashback opening of “Signs of the Times” is anything to go by. In it, we see him as a child being restrained by a giant, scarred bald man as his father is assaulted, one assumes fatally. That shot of the candy floss covered in blood, being swallowed by the dirt, is returned to again, and fair play — it’s a provocative image of one’s childhood innocence being lost in real-time.
In the present day, Clara is feeling the effects of the night before and hasn’t done much to disguise her dalliances, which Colina is fretting about. Roman seems a lot prouder of his walk of shame, but that only lasts a moment — he can tell by the faces around him, including Ludwig’s, that something’s amiss.
Prank, meanwhile, is furious about how Glogauer dealt with Ignatz — he wanted a clean death for him, something a decent fella like him deserved, and not this mess; especially not since the police aren’t likely to just point fingers at the cannibals, as Glogauer suggests. Nevertheless, the chief of the South Sea Samoans has been arrested, despite the… “uncertainties” surrounding the case. Maria, Ignatz’s widow, suggests to the police that he might have been carrying his golden spigot, which will do for a clue.
What follows in “Signs of the Times” is a lot of morbidity. Maria gives a speech to the workers, which Roman interrupts to blame the “godless savages”; Colina, meanwhile, helps Clara ensure she isn’t pregnant with the help of vinegar essence. Roman incenses the men and heads out with them on the trail of the cannibals, who it turns out are under the protection of the police. This leads to a tense standoff between Roman and Inspektor Eder. The Samoans claim not to be murderers, even though their chief has apparently confessed to having committed the crime. Eder, though, has seen it all before and knows a patsy when he sees one. He’s one to watch, this fellow.
Of course, a big part of the episode is Clara and Roman encountering one another again, since we’re really running with that whole Romeo & Juliet angle. Their earnestness with one another in amongst all the dodgy business dealing and bloodshed helps to round out both characters; it’d be easy to dismiss Roman has a hothead, and arrogant when it comes to his expansionist business ideas, so his genuine warmth and affection for Clara, even after only having met her twice at this point, gives him a relatable tinge.
I also appreciate how the various characters, especially Commissioner Urban and Maria, are switched-on enough to notice the extreme coincidence of Ignatz being murdered right in time to make way for Prank’s Oktoberfest plans. By the time the Hoflingers are having their lot auctioned off, it’s obvious what kind of game is afoot here, and the show doesn’t beat around the bush in that regard. People are figuring it out — people who will want blood spilled in return. And a welcome complication arises in the episode’s cliffhanger, which suggests that perhaps vinegar isn’t the best morning-after contraceptive after all.
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