To the Lake season 1, episode 2 recap – the journey gets underway

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: October 7, 2020 (Last updated: December 4, 2023)
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To the Lake Season 1 Recap
To the Lake Season 1 Promotional Image Courtesy of Netflix


The road trip north begins but doesn’t go smoothly, as a vengeful military and worsening weather threaten to derail the journey before it even begins.

This recap of To the Lake season 1, episode 2 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

Check out our spoiler-free season review.

We pick up where we left off in To the Lake episode 2, with the military having gunned down Sergey and Anna… but it’s not them, just another random couple in the wrong village. The real Sergey and Anna are approached by a man whose wife is pregnant, but Ira fires a few warning shots and refuses to help. They have to send him on his way. Immediately it’s clear who’s going to be altruistic and who isn’t here; Anna and Marina want to help people, Ira and Lyonya don’t, Sergey is stuck in the middle, and Boris is busy being a pragmatist. It probably makes sense in that case that they split up. Ira and Anton go with Boris, which neither of them is happy about, though for different reasons. Anna, eventually sick of the whining, offers for her and Marina to swap with Ira and Anton. Very diplomatic.

Everyone’s on the main road into the village, which, if the military return, is likely to be the road they’re on. Taking a detour is proposed, but Anna refuses and instead takes the faster route. After a while, her car starts smoking and breaks down. As this is happening, we see the military arrive back at the house and discover their dead comrade. If they weren’t mad before, they’re certainly going to be now.

Boris is fuming that Sergey doesn’t have a tow line to drag Anna’s car to the nearest gas station to fill it up with the right diesel. Boris and Lyonya discuss where they’re going, many miles north to the lake. Lyonya claims he doesn’t have a tow line either — he left it with the ATV after hunting. He sets off to retrieve it, taking Marina and Polina with him. Of course, he was lying about the tow line to give him an excuse to leave — he thinks the group is useless and aren’t going to make it.

Marina has to get out and pee and takes Lyonya with her, which turns out to be a stroke of luck. Polina spots the glare of headlights coming towards them, and all three are able to hide before the military arrives. They head out into the woods to look for them. Another tense sequence. They don’t find anyone. Sanya is their leader, and he’s fuming about his brother having been killed. He also isn’t shy about laying into his own men. When he takes it too far, one of the others, Lekha, shoots him, and his body dangles right in front of where Lyonya, Marina, and Polina are hiding. Lekha also shoots the man Sanya was attacking so they can cover up what happened when they get back to base. Camaraderie doesn’t seem to be at a premium among the Russian military.

Ira tells Sergey about locking her mother out of her apartment. Anna and Boris listen in over the radio. Boris tries to cut it off when Sergey starts promising he’ll always be there for her — Anna hears nonetheless. I’m sure that’ll do wonders for their already testy relationship. Lyonya radios in saying he has the towline and requests a pickup. Sergey tries to go alone, but Anna and Misha insist on coming too. When they all hook up, it’s obvious that they were fleeing. Ira makes no secret of this and insists they shouldn’t squeeze them all in their car. Lyonya proposes he drops them at a nearby gas station, which seems a fair compromise.

At the gas station, though, it’s obvious that nobody’s going to help them. Misha is adamant that everyone can fit, and Sergey gets out to retrieve them, just as it majorly kicks off in the crowd. Someone is possibly infected and another man stabs him, causing chaos. Everyone drives off, leaving Lyonya, Polina, and Marina behind. The infected guy left his car behind, but they can’t use it for obvious reasons. Lyonya pays the station attendant to let them inside.

The attendant quickly gets creepy with Polina and tries to give her vodka. Lyonya stands up to him, not entirely convincingly, so the guy pulls a shotgun and throws them out. Outside, Sergey arrives to pick them up. He mentions they need to replace the fuel, and Lyonya now has an idea for that. They raid the gas station. Outside, Misha examines the corpse of the so-called infected guy and determines that he wasn’t actually infected at all, which means his car is now available.

Boris lays out where they’re going: to an island in the middle of a lake where an abandoned ship has washed ashore. He has been going there for years and has made it livable. There’s space for everyone. Over the radio, they hear a man coughing. He says his name is Igor, and he’s infected. He doesn’t know any prayers and wants someone to pray for him. Boris and Misha pray for him. It’s a sad, melancholy way to close out this episode.

Survivor’s Notes:

  • There’s a lot of effective, night-vision-style green lighting in this episode.
  • The weather begins to play a factor here. The diesel has frozen, limiting the distance the cars can travel, and everyone is extremely cold. Expect this to become even more important as things go on.

Thanks for reading our recap of To the Lake season 1, episode 2.

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