The fourth season of “Babylon Berlin”: the party is over

Charlotte Ritter (Liv Lisa Fries) at the Dance Marathon at Moka EftiFrederic Pater / ARD / SKY

“Once Upon a Time, Like Gold” Max rap sings in nearly every episode of the new season of “Babylon Berlin,” but the living hymn is actually the death hymn. The roaring twenties are over and it shows. No more fascination with nightlife, which previously offered the series contrast with the perilous reality of many Berliners in the Weimar Republic, and no more unbridled creativity that questions existing forms and morals. On New Year’s Eve in 1931, when Season 4 begins, SA’s signature costume dominates.

Inspector Jerion Rath (Volker Broch) also wears one, initially to the shock of his classmate Charlotte Ritter (Liv Lisa Fries), who accidentally crosses his path on Cudham when SA men smash windows and attack Jews. Charlotte is not on site for this reason – the police are holding back – but because a young man has fallen from the KaDeWe roof. Viewers and Charlotte’s sister Tony (Irene Bohm) already know: It wasn’t just an accident.

The boy’s death is just one of the threads that seem to be growing in number and getting thinner, which is explained by the team of writers made up of Tom Tykwer, Achim von Boris and Henk Handlogen, also backed by Peten von Boris and The Betrayal of the Farrier for season four. This time then weave it together masterfully. It should be expected: at the end of the new twelve episodes, there are more knots this time around, and in some places the action fades away. But it still captivates.

Actor Volker Brooch as Gereon Rath who was exposed to the mediaFrederic Pater / ARD / SKY

This was unaffected by the memory of Volker Broch’s political behavior last year, when he lightly appealed to the government as part of the “#allesdichtmachen” campaign to please him further. While many prominent participants quickly distanced themselves from the supposedly satirical videos, Bruch stood by his creative criticism of Corona’s actions until the end and later followed up with “#allesaufdentisch”. The association may irritate some viewers in the first scenes with Gereon Rath – when the actor, openly flirting with right-wing member Die Basis, is democracy’s guard against the Nazis. It is not known that Bruch is also committed to refugees and the “Extinction Rebellion”. But the series soon develops an allure that makes the mimes and their media baggage almost completely disappear behind their characters. It helps that Bruch has perfected his craft and perhaps also that he’s not currently doing any interviews.

Gangsters, Nazis, and child killers

In theory, Season 4 is based on Volker Kutcher’s novel “Goldstein,” the third installment in his crime series about the character Gereon Rath, but the screenwriters took major creative liberties with the adaptation. In fact, it now appears that the level of the verb with the same name for all things is misplaced. Goldstein is the name of the rightful owner of a priceless diamond that somehow found its way into the safe of eccentric Alfred Nissen, foolishly played by Lars Edinger again. On New Year’s Eve, he hung it around the neck of his new wife (Hannah Herzspring), whose character, meanwhile, has taken a very infamous turn. He wants to prove his love for her and impress Berlin’s high society at the same time, but in doing so he summons a Jewish gangster from New York who plots revenge. By the way, Alfred would also like to send missiles to the moon, or alternatively to the enemy capitals of the world, but only marginally. After all, Goldstein’s story triggers some scenes in the Scheunenviertel’s Jewish community, which have hardly found a place in the series so far.

In addition to the boy from KaDeWe, there is another one who does not survive the end of the year, a main character in the Berlin underworld, where there are brutal but also funny characters called Eisen-Else, Messer-Ede or Ratten-Robert. Chaos ensued and soon the corpses piled up. Confused about who is actually pulling the leads and who is worth shooting for, the gangsters, including Walter Weintraub (Ronald Zerfeld), are at some point willing to collaborate with the police. The result is one of the most shocking scenes in the series ever.

Aizen Els (Barbara Philip) in her own territoryFrederic Pater / ARD / SKY

What else happens Malu Seegers (Saskia Rosendahl), who will be sold to viewers as a particularly androgynous, continues her affair with gay Reichswehr General Colonel Wendt (Benno Führmann) and soon receives the order to make him harmless. Journalists Katelbach (Karl Markovic) and Heymann (Martin Woetke) are on trial for their revelations about illegal German rearmament. Charlotte investigates a series of deaths of poor children and young adults, and turns to a fearsome organization called the White Hand, which gives those who have already been convicted their supposedly just punishment.

Hope game

Gereon Rath is busy with Berliner SA, but is only undercover, because he soon confesses to Charlotte who is very relieved. The organization is led by Walther Stennis, a passionate street fighter who gets on his nerves with “Hitler’s lax ways”. Better sooner rather than later, he wants to overthrow the “Apprentice of Austria”, who is now roaming the German provinces. Stennes shows how seriously he means it in a lavish scene in front of the yodel star at Moka Efti; And finally in the NSDAP party building. Here, the series’ creators once again brilliantly manage to fuel the viewer’s yearning for a different ending to the story by their orchestration of historical events, knowing full well that imagination will ultimately remain powerless in the face of impending catastrophe.

Hanno Kofler as SA Leader Walther SteinsFrederic Pater / ARD / SKY

Overall, the series thrives on that sentiment and also on the grief of people still fighting their destiny at the height of their power. Hans Litten, for example, who played Tristan Potter, defended opponents of German citizens in court and was in fact driven to suicide by years of torture in the Dachau concentration camp. Or the great boxer Johann Wilhelm “Rockele” Trollmann, a Sento who was forcibly sterilized by the Nazis, then sent to the front and then to a concentration camp, where he was beaten to death.

To see how the signs of horror with these people sink into the heart – when the brown mob insults and throws Rockelle in the ring, the judges let Litten out with legally groundless arguments without having to fear the consequences.

The celebration against misery was no longer a success in 1931, as Tykwer, von Borries and Handloegten make clear in the new season. In Moka Efti, ordinary people instead of stars stand on stage during the economic crisis, which would not be tragic in itself if they were not preemptively handed over to the raging audience for humiliation. There is no salvation in dancing either – it deteriorates in competition to the point of complete exhaustion. The daring life spirit of previous seasons is outdated. “Greetings to Moscow, Paris and Vienna / We wave to you, everything is coming to Berlin / Everything is loud, everyone wants it, it was always clear to everyone / We are crazy,” Max Raab sings at the end of his song. In 1931 no one could believe him anymore.

Rating: 4 out of 5 points

Babylon Berlin. The fourth season has twelve episodes. far October 8 every Saturday in double episodes from 8.15pm on Sky One, parallel on Sky Q and on demand on Wow Streaming.

Leave a Comment