Dark Tourist season 1, episode 5 recap: ‘Europe’


In episode 5 of Netflix series Dark Tourist, David Farrier visits a forbidden European city, re-enacts war and visits a very disturbing museum.

First, on his trip to Europe, David Farrier visits folks in England. However, this isn’t the usual tea and crumpets and a packet of crisps. No, he’s there as a dark tourist.  As such, he wonders what it’s like to re-enact a time that wasn’t so jolly, like World War II.

That’s what David gets to see in Paddock Wood, England, on what would otherwise be a quiet farm. David doesn’t only watch from the sidelines, though. He participates in a mock battle against the Second Battle Group (aka the Germans).

David hits a bit of a snag, however. For whatever reason, he can’t get past the fact that he’s instructed to call them “Germans” instead of Nazis. He also has mixed feelings about the re-enactments themselves.

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Still, like a real trooper. he trains by crawling through mud and notes how rains supply additional, realistic wartime misery.

The real awkwardness is when he meets the German SS role players. Though he says they seem like nice people and acknowledges they’re just pretending, he does ask us: Is it possible to re-enact such things without condoning the bad parts?

In the end, he calls it an immersive experience and an adrenaline rush but is glad when the war is over — even if it wasn’t the real deal.

It does, however, bring to mind another collector of Nazi memorabilia,  the now-deceased Lemmy Kilmister of rock band Motörhead.

Lemmy occasionally got heat for his hobby. However, like the re-enactors here, Lemmy insisted he was “not racist at all,” elaborating: “I just like the decorative aspect of the Nazis. I like the pageantry, the pomp…The bad guys always have the best uniforms.”

The Littledean Jail Crime Museum

Andy Jones runs an interesting little museum in the village of Littledean, England.

How to describe it?

It’s a glimpse into the macabre, the twisted, the just plain weird. Or, quite simply, it’s one of the most offensive places one could visit as a dark tourist. So, as David Farrier tours the Museum, he wonders if the purpose is education or mere shock value.

There are Klan robes, racist statues and freakish exhibits scattered all over the place. There’s a lampshade made of human skin in the Nazi exhibit (which Andy insists is real) and bizarre and disturbing concentration camp dioramas.

It’s all in very bad taste, and certainly not something for the easily offended.

Farrier also questions the historical accuracy of the place. For example, a Michael Jackson figure randomly stands in the Nazi Germany diorama! If that isn’t out of place, what is?

Also, David wonders if certain things really are authentic, and how they are verified. For example, when Andy Jones meets someone about a necktie said to belong to serial killer Fred West, Farrier is skeptical.

Sensing David’s general skepticism, Andy sets him up to meet Paula Williamson, the wife of Charles Bronson — not the actor, but Britain’s most violent and notorious prisoner.

Together they speak with Bronson on the phone, implying that Andy has genuine “insider” connections, that he isn’t a total fraud, and that he takes his exhibit’s authenticity seriously — apart from implying that Michael Jackson moon-walked in Nazi Germany, of course.

Famagusta: Ghost City of Cyprus

After the Turkish invasion of Cyprus of 1974, one of the casualties of war was an entire city. Famagusta used to have 40,000 inhabitants, but now it’s empty. The Greek Cypriots who fled were never allowed to return. The city was fenced off, journalists banned.

So, of course, David Farrier really wants to see it. Can he get around the Turkish army, though? That’s the big question.

Technically there are three military zones around the city. There’s the Cypriot army zone, the UN buffer zone and the Turkish army zone. In his quest, Farrier is warned that he could be arrested, interrogated and even shot.

Interestingly, he does wrangle up a tour guide named Andreas, and he and David tour the area outside of Famagusta on Segways. However, Andreas is not willing to breach etiquette by trying to breach the barriers to the abandoned city.

After a bit of gunfire is heard near the UN buffer zone, Andreas tells him, “If your life is in danger, you see things from a different perspective.”

David also meets with a woman named Anna, and they discuss her history and the rapid abandonment of Famagusta. The two make it surprisingly close to Famagusta, and it’s clear that Turkey has flags everywhere in the place, as if they are obsessed with marking their territory.

Though they don’t quite make it inside the place, it’s the closest Anna’s been to it in 43 years. Also, even though he didn’t quite get inside the barrier, David is detained and taken to an interrogation zone. He is sternly told to leave.

Defiant, David heads to a nearby beach with video recording “spy glasses” on, intending to swim past the border into the ghost city. Unfortunately, he gets arrested yet again by a Turkish officer. Famagusta appears to be out of reach, and it’s one of Dark Tourist‘s most profound moments, where the show crosses the line from spectator or re-enactor of history to active participant.

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While David Farrier won’t likely open Famagusta up with this episode, it is documenting a real situation in a real place, and showing the consequences of territoriality — which maintains “This place is now ours,” even if nobody’s allowed to live there.

That’s it for this Dark Tourist recap! What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!