The Serpent episode 8 recap – the ending explained

By Daniel Hart
Published: April 1, 2021
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BBC and Netflix series The Serpent episode 8


Episode 8 provides a complete ending that shows the true cost of the investigation of Charles Sobhraj, and it goes into the mind of the killer

This recap of the BBC and Netflix series The Serpent episode 8 — the ending explained — contains spoilers. The drama is already out in the UK on the BBC, but it will be released on Netflix on April 2, 2021.

It was clear in the penultimate chapter where this story was leading, but it’s still fascinating watching it all unfold. The final episode begins on June 28, 1976, in India; Charles is on a road trip with Marie-Andrée — later on, Marie-Andrée is wondering how many friends they have to make in India; nothing has changed — there’s still robbery, drugging and murder. Meanwhile, Herman’s investigation has led to a global effort. Everything has led to this moment. Herman is getting impatient with how different authorities are handling information. He demands that they catch him. An Interpol Investigator tells him to step down from the case and hand over records.

Same old

The Serpent episode 8 shows how nothing has truly changed, but there’s this clear end of the road — maintaining this life was never a forever thing.

Marie-Andrée is still complicit in Charles’s actions. Under pressure, she rings her mother in Canada. She’s worried that she’s all over the newspapers. While she’s sobbing on the phone, one of their new allies named Jean steals her bag and walks off. When she returns to their new place, Marie-Andrée tells Charles that Jean has stolen her bag. Charles is desperate for money and takes off her engagement ring to sell it. He calls Marie-Andrée his worst mistake and a “cripple”. They have recruited drug addicts and desperate people; it’s a dire situation compared to Bangkok.

Marie-Andrée mocks Charles and calls his life a joke and a mother’s boy who lives in a drugs den. He grabs her by the throat, but she tells him that if she had his baby now, she’d smash its brain in front of him. Charles beats her up. Meanwhile, Jean is ringing the police and reporting the couple.

And at what cost?

With the investigation coming to a natural end, Nadine and Remi tell Herman that they will miss him. Angela wants to spend time with Herman after a long investigation and leave the city. Herman wants to stay around in case he is needed. Angela is disappointed that he’s no longer needed but still wants to stay — she tells him she’s going to visit her parents in Germany; it feels like the end for them. The true cost of Herman’s obsession to catch the killer.

Herman spends time in a night club with Paul Siemons. He’s told that his wife is beautiful and that he shouldn’t be in this club. This investigation took over his life — it became a lifestyle to catch the killer.

Accidentally coming across most wanted criminals

Jean learns that he has found some high-profile wanted criminals, and an investigator shows him international arrest warrants. He wants assurance that if he helps out, that the authorities will help him home.

In the middle of the night, the police turn up, but Charles is out, and loads of people are throwing up in a restaurant — as the police are called, he steals a bag. Marie-Andrée stays in the apartment, accepting that her fate is coming — she’s done; the investigator asks where Charles is. In the restaurant, Charles is arrested. He’s finally caught. The next day, Herman learns that Charles has been caught. Despite the success, the Ambassador gives him zero praise.

In India, he’s loved

Do you know when criminals become famous? This story is one of those stories.

1 year later — Delhi; Charles is charged for poisoning over 30 people at once at a restaurant. Charles asks the Interpol Investigator if he’s going to be extradited because, in India, he’s loved. The investigator tells Charles that as soon as his sentence is served in India, he will serve charges in Thailand. The same investigator updates Herman and gives him a copy of Marie-Andrée’s transcript and the rest of the evidence to keep. Herman reads it, and Marie-Andrée gives the entire story of her life with Charles.

Marie-Andrée is dying

Seven years later; in prison, Marie-Andrée is in intense pain. Charles tells her that she betrayed him. They end up in the same prison cell for one last conversation. Marie-Andrée tells Charles that she’s going to go home to die after an agreement with authorities. She’s disgusted that he’s still pitiless. She reveals that she has cancer in the womb where she wanted a child once and that her faith has told her to forgive everything that happened, including herself and him — she hasn’t forgiven yet, but she’s trying. She wonders if Charles has any guilt for what he did and notices how powerful his vanity is to defeat anything. These were powerful words — she recapped Charles in a nutshell.

He was never tried for murder

The Serpent episode 8 moves to July 21, 1997 — Paris, France; there’s a television interview with Charles, now known as “The Serpent”; authorities tried their case to extradite him to Thailand, but he escaped captivity before it happened. When he gave himself up, the Indian courts sentenced him to another ten years in Delhi jail before any further extradition can be granted. By the time of release, Charles calculated that the statute of limitations for murder in Thailand had expired, so his warrant for his arrest had been removed. He managed to return to France as a free man. The absolutely audacity.

The courts have decided no

In Athens, Greece, Herman receives a tape in the mail from Angela — they are separated now. It’s the interview with Charles. When asked if he committed murder, Charles says, “The courts have decided…no”. He’s smug that he cannot face trial anywhere in the world. After the interview, he kisses Juliette, and they leave together. It looks like she still loved him after all.

Six years later — in Nepal; Charles smugly returns and asks for a photo to be taken, so everyone knows he’s back. The police arrest him, and he tells the police that it’s a misunderstanding. Charles tells the Inspector that he wasn’t in Nepal in 1975, but the Inspector remembers him and his companion Marie-Andrée. Meanwhile, in New Zealand, Angela gives Herman a call — she tells him to open his email. He sees that Charles has been arrested in Nepal and wonders what he’s doing. He believes Charles got himself caught on purpose due to his vanity, notoriety and that he likes to escape. He’s become a typical serial killer, thirsting for attention.

The ending

Herman rings the police in Nepal and thinks he can help. He tells them to stall Charles. Herman then looks over copies of old records. He checks out Marie-Andrée’s transcript and faxes over a vital piece of information that describes her time in Nepal. The Inspector asks Charles to be detained immediately due to Marie-Andrée’s witness statement. Charles realises it was Herman who did this to him. In the end, we’ll never know why Charles when to Nepal — was it a true vanity trip or did he know he’d be imprisoned? Only he knows.

The Serpent episode 8 ends with Herman looking out at sea, and then the audience is treated to the following text:

  • The reasons behind Charles Sobhraj’s decision to return to Nepal in 2003 are still a matter of conjecture and known only to himself.
  • In November 2004, he was sentenced by a Nepalese court to life imprisonment for the murder of Connie Jo Bronzich in December 1975.
  • Charles lost two appeals against his conviction.
  • In 2010 the United Nations Human Rights Committee expressed the view that he did not receive a fair trial.
  • In 2014 a Nepalese court found Charles Sobhraj guilty of the murder of Laurent Carriere, also in December 1975. He was sentenced to a further 20 years. He didn’t challenge this conviction.
  • In December 2020, he remained imprisoned in Kathmandu.
  • Although the Thai police issued a warrant for his arrest in 1976, Charles Sobhraj never returned to Thailand and has never been tried for any crimes there. In the absence of a guilty verdict, Sobhraj is therefore presumed innocent.
  • Marie-Andrée Leclerc died of cancer at home in Quebec, Canada, in 1984.

The Serpent episode 8 provides a complete ending that shows the true cost of the investigation of Charles Sobhraj, and it goes into the mind of the killer

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