The group finds new allies when one of their number goes missing, but as enter the back half of the season, the infection finally catches up with them.
This recap of To the Lake season 1, episode 5 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Anyone with kids of a certain age has probably fretted about losing them plenty of times, so the trauma of Boris discovering that Anton is missing is pretty deeply felt here in To the Lake episode 5. I’d love to say that this was a consequence of Ira’s complete inability to properly care for him as anything beyond a tool to weaponize against Sergey, but no such luck — he was clearly the responsibility of Boris when he disappeared, and he disappeared because he did something completely idiotic. After tensely clearing a military checkpoint, the gang realizes they’re a head short, and also realize, with some help from Misha’s quick mental calculation, that they only have a limited time to double back and look for Anton before the soldiers return.
So, that’s our ticking-clock device for the episode established. Soldiers roam the landscape among other horrors, all of whom Anton is at risk of encountering. The boy quickly stumbles on soldiers blithely executing infected civilians and gives it legs, pursued into a hospital by a lone soldier, who doesn’t seem in much of a hurry to find him. Nevertheless, Anton’s efforts to hide under a bed prove fruitless, but as the soldier c***s his weapon and points it down at him, we cut away.
Meanwhile, the group spot Anton’s footprints leading into the forest and follow them, noisily shouting his name, which isn’t exactly good drills given the circumstances. Pavel, fitting right in, realizes he has probably headed to the hospital, so they veer in that direction. When they arrive, they find the place deserted, but also discover a child-sized pool of blood right where we saw Anton laying in the previous scene. Outside is a bloody pile of corpses, all executed civilians, and on her hands and knees, Ira frantically searches them, unbothered about them all being infected. She breaks down, demanding everyone leave her there. Pavel eventually slaps her out of her hysterics and convinces her to leave with them, as a helicopter flies overhead and drops a bunch of the pamphlets warning that the district is being evacuated. Goodness, that was bleak.
The group next figure that Anton might be at one of the bus stations, where people are amassing to evacuate. They surveil the area from a distance, but once Ira spots a kid who looks vaguely like Anton, she bolts right at the crowd. Of course, it isn’t Anton, but by that time it’s too late. Ira and Sergey are made to stay on the bus. Boris intervenes and holds the guard at gunpoint so Sergey and Ira can leave. Meanwhile, Marina snatches up a gun of her own and holds it at Lyonya, insisting she’s in charge now.
We cut back to six hours previously, back to Anton being held at gunpoint, and discover he was saved by a woman in a lab coat, Olya, who knocks out the guard and takes Anton with her. She gives him a coat and tells him they have to move quickly, but they’re interrupted by another soldier looking for his comrade. They flee quickly, but during their escape, Anton, useless as ever, rolls his ankle and is unable to walk, forcing Olya to drag him behind her on his coat. Anton gives Olya a quick run-down of his current family arrangements, and she gives a comically confused reaction before continuing on back to her home, where she introduces him to her companions, some of whom are very drunk. Olya explains that the soldiers killed everyone at the hospital, sick or not.
Speaking of the soldiers, they arrive on a half-track and order everyone out of their houses, going in on-foot to search the buildings. While Olya and the others hide in the cellar, the soldiers execute a sleeping drunk, one of their companions. This is extermination, plain and simple. They take his covered corpse to a shed outside and promise to come back and bury him in three days — if they survive. Their chances of doing so are greatly increased by a stash of World War II-era firearms stashed under one of the beds, and thus begins a classic homegrown militia training sequence, as everyone shoots bottles for target practice outside. There are some welcome comedic beats here. Eventually, Olya leaves Anton in the care of the other women and sets out with the fighters to cause some trouble.
This is where the two parallel storylines of the episode coalesce, as Olya and her group arrive at the bus station just as it’s all kicking off with Sergey, Ira, and Boris. Things quickly begin to kick off much worse as the militia open fire and chaos erupts. Olya, having overheard Sergey and Ira asking after their son, plans to take them back to Anton. But in a quick cutaway scene, we see the boy being run out of the house at the end of a pitchfork by his so-called protectors, who blame him for spreading the virus in the first place since he’s from Moscow. Ira is more frantic than ever when she arrives back at the house and finds Anton missing again. She staggers out into the night but manages to find him taking shelter.
With everyone reunited, it looks very much like we’re heading for a happy ending. But no such luck. Anna starts coughing up blood.
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