Perfume finale recap: Captivation


Another woman is killed and De Vries is seen synthesizing perfume in a lab somewhere. A shadowy figure comes to check on him and he assures them he’s nearly done.

Meanwhile, Simon interviews Elena about Merten. She admits to everything, that she and Toothless killed him and then had De Vries make a perfume that would make her a daughter to Merten’s parents.

They took care of her until she was 17 and the perfume ran out. She was amazed that she would sometimes actually have conversations with the father.

Elena was a juvenile when the murder took place so she can’t be charged, but Toothless will have to face charges. De Vries didn’t take part in the murder at all and has plausible deniability.

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The new victim is Toothless’s therapist’s sister, a wheelchair-bound angel that everyone loved. Toothless is the only suspect who wasn’t under surveillance when the murder occurred, so he’s the number one suspect now.

But Simon knows De Vries is in cahoots with someone, someone who is desperately looking for love and will kill to make a perfume to get it. De Vries notes how ridiculous her search criteria is: “Everyone is looking for love.”

Köhler goes back to Katharina’s neighbor to have her identify the car from the night of the murder. She can’t identify make or color because it was at night but she remembered seeing a sticker on the dashboard of two stick figures. It was Brettschneider! But Köhler doesn’t know anything about it.

Butsche waits for Roman at his house to threaten him with a gun, either to scare him or intending to actually shoot him in revenge for leaking the story about his sexual abuse. Butsche sees the pizza that Roman had with him, the same brand of pizza Butsche bought for Elsie, and he puts the gun down.

He takes the pizza and brings it to the home where Elsie is staying. He’s not allowed to see her, but he eventually convinces them to let her have the pizza.

Simon goes to pregnancy counseling, telling the counselor that she would be a single mother and working 16 hours a day. She wants to certificate for the abortion.

She tells the story of how her mother would leave her alone for days at a time, locking her into the apartment. But she missed her mother and wanted to find her. Eventually, she managed to open a window and fell out, getting her head injury.

After coming back to work, Simon puts on Katharina’s bra under her clothes and confronts Grünberg. We hear Poe’s Dream-land again as she approaches the door.

She tells him she got the certificate for the abortion and says goodbye, but he starts kissing her. He says “What are you doing to me?” as if he can’t understand what’s making him do it. He stops himself in the end and tells her to get lost.

Köhler lies for Toothless, telling the judge that Elena acted alone. At the custody hearing, she is declared an unfit guardian. For fear of Magda going into a home, she doesn’t try to suggest that Roman is an unfit parent, even though he’s a terrible risk to her.

Brettschneider drives Simon to interview the therapist and she notices again the stick figure sticker on his glove box. She hides her suspicion well and subtly makes calls to Köhler to investigate Brettschneider’s involvement and alibis. He was with Pearl at the brothel and halfway suffocated another girl with a fishing line.

While interviewing the therapist Simon gets a call from Köhler. The therapist’s sister died by drowning rather than strangulation, an unusual deviation from the strangulation method. Simon finds a pool at the therapist’s house.

She thinks about how everyone loved the sister and how she must have been killed by someone desperate for love. She finds a secret perfume laboratory in the basement, where De Vries had been working earlier. The therapist killed her own sister to make a perfume that would make people love her.

Meanwhile, with Simon out of the room, Brettschneider confesses to the therapist about murdering Katharina and being obsessed with her. He attacks her, trying to rape and strangle her, but she is able to take his gun away and shoot him. She had put too much of the perfume on and it made Brettschneider murderously lustful.

Simon takes the perfume from her. The therapist warns her of the dangers of using it, that she will end up like Grenouille – devoured by love. Simon is truly desperate, though, and kills the therapist so she can take the perfume for herself.

When Grünberg arrives on the scene he asks her what happened. She stays silent, waiting. He takes her to the car and asks her again. Still, she waits to see if anything will happen. It takes a while to kick in, but suddenly Grünberg looks troubled, confused, overcome, desperate.

There’s a lot going on in his face here, it’s startling and fascinating. He says to her again, “What are you doing to me?” and there almost seems to be fear in his voice. It’s like he knows he’s not in control of himself.

He touches her tenderly at first, but then passionately grabs her by the neck. He puts his other hand around her neck and kisses her as he strangles her. The end.

One of the most fascinating things about the film Perfume and this adaptation is the ability for love to turn murderous — that an excess of love can tip over into uncontrollable, lustful violence.

You think about squeezing someone you love, holding them tight, or kissing them hard on the mouth — all extensions of intense passion. Imagine feeling that love so intensely that you can’t control your muscles, that you squeeze them tighter and tighter until you’ve loved them to death.

It’s both frightening and compelling. I haven’t read the Patrick Süskind novel yet, but I’m looking forward to it as my first book of the new year.

Next. Perfume season 1 premiere recap. dark

Random thought: Simon’s time could have been better used by killing Grünberg and having De Vries make her a perfume called “Respect” that would make her male co-workers take her seriously as a professional and treat her with normal human decency. Now that’s a proper motive.