With an infected member of the group expiring and the rest unravelling, flashbacks help to provide additional context for the core characters in a slower-paced but still powerful chapter.
This recap of To the Lake season 1, episode 6 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
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The opening of To the Lake episode 6 provides an interesting wrinkle to what we’ve seen thus far. As we see a man in military uniform cough up blood as he prepares to burn himself and what one assumes is his dead family in their home, a news report indicates that the military outfit or so-called “Cleaners” that we’ve been seeing rounding people up and executing them are not the Russian military but some kind of private outfit who’ve been using the guise of evacuation to slaughter people who resist being corralled. This raises many new questions that may or may not be interested in the last three episodes.
Anyway, with Anna now exhibiting clear signs of infection, the group has to decide what to do next. Anna has to be quarantined, at the least, but this is obviously going to cause some severe discord.
Anyway, we flash back to a year and a half prior, to Sergey meeting Anna and then discovering that she’s going to be his couples therapist — it’s obvious that we’re being allowed to better understand their relationship so that Anna’s obviously impending demise hits harder. And just like that, we cut back to the group driving, with Anna struggling to maintain consciousness. Everyone is forced to pull over. They take shelter in an abandoned house as Anna’s condition worsens, rapidly.
In another flashback, we see Sergey’s couples therapy going very well indeed. But we also see Anna put the empty condom wrapper back in Sergey’s pocket.
Back at the house in the present day, Pavel gives Anton and Ira masks — how familiar — and sets them the task of searching the place for medication. Pavel reveals to Sergey that he’s potentially immune to the virus; he has been directly exposed multiple times. They’re interrupted by a screaming Marina, who has discovered the bodies in the study. This is the house we saw in the episode’s opening. Pavel looks them over and realizes they were infected — he closes the room off, but we have to assume that Marina has been exposed, and we can’t forget about Ira rooting around in the pile of infected corpses in the previous episode. And all of them being in close proximity to Anna, obviously.
From her quarantine, Anna begs Ira not to abandon Misha when she’s gone, which he unfortunately overhears. Sergey is clearly in denial. He thinks it’s a regular cold since someone else among them would be sick, but nobody’s buying that. Lyonya wants to divide the house into different areas for different people, but Sergey is grossly offended by the idea, even if it makes some degree of sense to me. Marina, meanwhile, is increasingly frantic about infection and wants to leave as soon as possible.
Speaking of Marina, she’s next up for the flashback treatment. We see her taking a pregnancy test while on shift at a strip club, so it looks like there might be some truth in the accusation Polina levelled at her way back in the premiere. It’s there she meets Lyonya, and they have sex in his car outside. So, she was already pregnant when they met.
We next get some context for Polina’s attitude. Her flashback shows her at her mother’s bedside as she’s hooked up to a ventilator. Lyonya is in the room arranging her funeral, which Polina is furious about. Lyonya tries to explain that she’s braindead and isn’t really alive anymore, despite the beeping of the machines, and just as he’s consoling his daughter Marina calls him. There’s no wonder, really, that Polina is the way she is. There’s a lot of trauma in her backstory.
In the present day, Anna talks to Polina through the door, asking her to hold up the flashlight for her to find the switch. It’s obvious what’s coming, but it’s still a shock, to Polina and the audience, to see Anna’s eyes glazed over with the infection. Misha roams the green-tinged corridors of the house — almost a direct replica of the opening shot — and into the study, where he takes the pistol the officer used to execute his family (he hid this earlier, presumably to return to it for this reason.) Misha holds the gun under his chin, preparing to commit suicide, but Polina catches him. Misha delivers a big self-loathing speech, partly due to circumstance and partly due to his obvious difficulty with emotion. Polina confesses to being in love with him, but he coldly replies that he isn’t in love with her.
With Marina increasingly frantic, the decision is made that she, Lyonya and Polina will leave alone, with directions from Boris to try and make it to the lake. There we have it: The first major fracture in the group.
Back inside, Sergey confronts Boris about an earlier flashback of his father, drunk, accidentally shooting him in the leg with a shotgun. It’s obvious that Sergey is taking out his frustrations on the easiest target here. Presumably following Boris’s old example, Sergey gets extremely drunk. Ira later finds him passed out with his head in the pool, almost drowned. Ira kisses him, and they have sex beside the pool.
As this is happening, we cut to Marina and Lyonya, and Marina discovers she’s bleeding — she isn’t coughing it up, either. In their panic, they drive off the road and crash. Pavel, meanwhile, gives Anna a transfusion of his own blood. If she survives now, there’s going to be a lot for Sergey to answer for. And it looks very much like survival is on the cards, since the final scene of the episode sees her conscious, no longer blind, and presumably eager to see her husband. Yikes.
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