Freud is a German gothic thriller series about a young Sigmund Freud, who becomes part of a murder investigation by using his unorthodox methods.
Freud begins the way one might expect of a show about the controversial psychologist, Sigmund Freud — with him attempting to hypnotize his maid, Lenore.
At first, it looks like his stopwatch pendulum trick is working. Lenore seems to recall a traumatic event where she witnessed her daughter being hit by a horse-drawn carriage. Until suddenly, she cries out, and the illusion shatters.
We learn that Freud is striving to be taken seriously by the biggest names in Viennese medicine. To do so, he intends to prove that hypnotism is a valid form of psychotherapy. Lenore isn’t too keen on assisting Freud but seems to relent in the end.
The Murder Of Steffi Harváth
After our brief introduction to Freud, we meet Inspector Kiss and Porschacher after they answer a call at a local inn where a woman has been found bloodied and presumably dead. Poschacher interviews Anneli, the innkeeper, who insists that Steffi was a mild-mannered girl and not a prostitute.
Kiss finds a box of Cats Tongues chocolates and, most sinister of all, a small silver button with the number five imprinted — meaning that Steffi was likely involved with an Inspector.
Most shocking of all is the fact Steffi isn’t dead, at least, not at the time Kiss and Poschacher arrive. Kiss hears her rattling breath and leaps into action, demanding they bring her to the nearest doctor, who turns out to be Freud, of course.
Poor Freud, he was in the middle of reading a love letter from a woman named Martha when Poscacher and Kiss burst in his front door with Steffi’s body in tow.
Unfortunately, there is little anyone can do to save her. Freud discovers that she bears brutal stab wounds to her genitals that left her cut up inside.
Poschacher dismisses him as a doctor, which might be fair due to the cocaine, but still, Poshacher is kind of a jerk. That becomes even more apparent in the next scene between he and Kiss when they meet to mull over the little evidence found at the crime scene.
Poscahcer isn’t convinced that Steffi wasn’t a sex worker, and to him, that essentially makes her expendable. He doesn’t think much of Kiss’s evidence, even if it could be someone they work with, he remains unmoved.
Kiss continues his investigation. At the morgue, he meets with Steffi’s mother and learns that she may have been with a man named Georg. The name appears to startle Kiss.
We get a scene with Georg and another man. Georg admits to visiting Steffi the night before, saying he brought her the chocolates. However, it remains unclear what relationship they had, as Georg demonstrates his sexual preference for men by engaging in oral sex on his friend. Is bisexual? Or is he gay and his relationship with Steffi is much different than what was presented?
Things get complicated fast because Kiss arrives to interrogate Georg and we quickly realize the two men have major beef of some kind (rumored to be something that happened when they were in the war together), as we suspected given his earlier reaction. He threatens to stab Georg after pushing him out into the alley, but Poscacher stops it from happening. Kiss gets kicked off the Horváth case (I doubt that sticks).
Freud’s Quest For Someone To Take Him Seriously
After Freud calls for men to take away the body left to bleed all over his foyer, his friend Arthur shows up and persuades him to come to a special event. As Arthur points out, Freud wouldn’t be able to sleep while amid “cocaine’s grip,” anyway.
There is a running theme of people dismissing Freud. First, Poscacher, then, the men in his lecture. He is considered a charlatan, to say the least, thanks to his affinity for using unorthodox methods in his work. As Doctor Leopold von Schönfeld pointed out, he is never far apart from “hocus pocus.”
It is interesting to see the type of backlash the real Freud may have received upon his initial introduction of things like “the unconscious” and hypnosis techniques. He uses his lecture to try his hypnosis technique with Lenore once again, he calls her Mrs. L and claims he has worked with her for years.
This time, Lenore appears to see real visions of the incident, even though it never happened. Unfortunately, no one else in the room is moved, and everyone goes back to laughing at Freud and belittling his methods.
Fast-forward to the aftermath, Lenore and Freud are trying to figure out what happened to make Lenore vividly experience something that never happened. They seem to be exploring the possibility of false memory implantation. Freud deduces that he made the hypnosis happen by touching her, something he hadn’t tried before.
A Little Hocus Pocus
Hasn’t your fellow physician pal ever took you to a weird seance where everyone chants in Latin? Well, that is exactly what where Freud ends up when he visits the Count and Countess alongside Arthur.
Fleur communicates with the dead husband of Henriette and the father of her daughter Clara. Interestingly, the Countess recited the three names before any of this started after reading them off of a note. Did they plan this? Is it a scam?
In the middle of her communication with the man, Leopold, who we learn is Henriette’s son and Clara’s brother, insults Fleur. Once she looks at him, Fleur goes into a separate trance where everything fades to black, and everyone in the vicinity freezes. She slowly begins to walk around the now ominous house until she sees a vision of Clara and follows her.
At the end of a long hallway is a naked man covered in blood who slowly walks uncannily toward Fleur. Fleur suddenly awakens. What the heck?! I’m in love with the gothic horror vibes on this show. Is the naked guy Clara’s father? Leopold? Is he Steffi’s killer?
Even while at home washing herself, Fleur continues to witness her disturbing vision. She faints and wakes up on the back of a horse, so I guess her washing up was part of a “dream.”
When she tells the Countess, the older woman reassures Fleur, but the whole thing is very eerie. It gets even creepier when she puts Fleur to sleep by simply saying “go to sleep.” The Countess is definitely hiding some creepy “hocus pocus,” as they say.
As an aside, there is something strange going on with the von Schönfeld family. We get a quick scene of Clara playing the piano while her Leopold watches on with a strange look in his eye.
Shortly after, we get a scene of Clara sleeping when a creepy man enters her bedroom and coaxes her out of bed.
Arthur brings Freud to the Count and Countess’s home once again for some kind of pseudo-artistic bacchanal party. It is not exactly Freud’s cup of tea and he accidentally stumbles into Fleur’s bedroom while blitzed on cocaine.
The two have a (sexually-charged) conversation about their respective paths, him as a neurologist, hers as a medium. Ironically, Freud scoffs at the notion of a “medium.” When Fleur starts talking about her foggy memories, Freud’s lightbulb goes off. Here is a prime candidate for hypnosis!
Well, things get much freakier as Freud puts Fleur under his spell. She sees Clara following the bloody man down a dark Vienna canal and finds the little girl strapped to a table like a scene out of Hostel. The man takes a scalpel from a set of torture tools and moves toward Clara. Before we can see what comes next, Fleur starts having a seizure, foaming at the mouth, and seeing visions of the head of a bull like something out of a Pagan ritual.
Even though Freud might know how to hypnotize people, he needs some work on waking them up. The Countess storms in and finds Fleur having a fit. She shoos Freud out of the room and tends to her while Freud is drawn to the Vienna canal Fleur described.
Once there, he decides to turn back before venturing into the darkness alone, but the last thing we hear is a girl screaming from within.
That was a great start to the season, are you looking forward to what comes next on Freud? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.