‘Van der Valk’ Season 2, Episode 1 Recap: “Plague on Amsterdam”
Van der Valkthe new season begins with the windmills; who doesn’t like those, even if a dead woman hangs nearby, scarecrow-like, while a bloody cheese slicer is washed away. The series moves on to another woman, Juliana Holt (Saskia Neville), on a date with Rita Wyngarden (Liliana de Vries). She returns home to drown in her own aquarium. Meanwhile, our titular sleuth has given up on dates, only to have two women throw themselves at him. He is rescued by a stranger, Lena Linderman (Loes Haverkort), with whom he then returns home.
VdV: Sometimes even living is an act of courage.
As for our real hero, Cloovers has a hearing regarding the end of Season 1 with team boss Dahlman, where he is exonerated. (Dahlman is still mourning the loss of his dog, however.) Hassell and VdV meet De Vries and Davie at the windmill body, which has a sliced X on it and a note. “It’s about ethics; where is XX? Follow the eye of the philosopher”, written on the left. The body is attorney Susie de Windt. Her husband Roland (Joseph Millson) has not reported him missing and says he is unaware of his cases. Davie notes that she died by rat poison.
Susie’s last successful case was an eviction against an artists’ community in London; his body was where the city offered to move them. (They refused.) VdV spies on Ruud Lipman (Ruben Brinkman), Susie’s client, who will now turn the land into a tourist trap. Hassell and de Vries question the inhabitants of the commune Tonie Alderlink (Robert Boulter), his wife Clara (Bobbi Blijleven), and Django Keet (Marcel Hensema). Cloovers and VdV interview Cassie Davids (Beatie Edney), the local attorney. She notes that Roland was often in court with her.
Cloovers identifies the 1677 quote Ethics by Baruch Spinoza. VdV walks over to the statue of Spinoza that Holt walked through on his way to his date; the dredging brings his body back from the canal, an X on his back. There is another note: “Tick Tock. Who owns this town? The fire thief.” Holt’s house is playing circus music when VdV and Hassel take a peek. VdV turns it off, which reveals “EXILE BETRAYAL” with a red X on the wall. Django realizes that VdV is monitoring their commune and points the cameras at them before kissing Clara.
Hassell jokes that she could be the third X because she has three on her hand: the symbol of the city flag. VdV questions Roland again since he wrote a book about the city. Cloovers and de Vries visit Lipman, who shows them designs for the Amsterdam Eye Ferris wheel, the heart of his new project. With Roland at a standstill, VDV and Hassell encountered Django, who stalked Susie after spying on the commune and is a calligrapher. However, he is right-handed and his ink is bad. Meanwhile, Lipman and Cassie were also fucking, but have broken up now that the trial is over.
At the bar, notes Cliff, the three Xs on the town flag correspond to the three trials he survived: the Deluge, the Plague and the Fire. Cloovers adds it up: Susie was the plague (the rats), Juliana the deluge. The third victim would logically be “the fire thief”. Homeless Frank launches: “Prometheus?” Name of Lipman’s tourist trap. The team rushes to his house, but the killer has already set Lipman on fire when they arrive; Hassell kicks him out, but that means they can’t search for him because he’s in surgery.
Hassel finally finds a connection between Holt, Susie and Lipman: Roland bought her a car. She also finds out the date and De Vries recognizes Rita from her dating apps; her profile says she is an ink maker. VdV orders him to ask the woman out, and they wire de Vries. The date is a hilarious disaster as de Vries can’t help but bring up clues like the ink and Juliana Holt. But instead of scaring him off, Rita assumes he’s connected and asks if he’s “the person in ink.” Holt asked her out on the suggestion of someone who had bought her ink.
Lipman dies, and the next day Cassie sets out to be interrogated since she last saw him and thinks good defense is offense. But VdV fires her, as Django left “De Wint Hunting”, catching her just before he beat Roland’s brains out for settling his wife’s case with bribes. Django also recognizes Holt; she was involved in public relations around the case. The car was not for business; it was another bribe, this one to get Holt to drop his defense of the commune.
Davie retrieves Lipman’s note: “Valiant, Steadfast, Compassionate. GOD Must Die,” promising a “Big Bang at noon. Coastline.” GOD is Tonie’s company acronym, Great Original Design. Littoral means shore, the volunteers of Hassell. Lipman’s Amsterdam Eye was a replica of the one on the pier near The Hague; there is an ink maker there named Ben Hawthorne, the English translation of Baruch Spinoza.
At first, VdV thinks Tonie is the next victim, but the ink maker’s address leads Cloovers and de Vries to a theater where “Ben Hawthorne” is a projectionist. The stand is at the center of the evidence, with a photo of “Hawthorne” revealing it to be Tonie. He is not the victim; he wants revenge because being kicked out for the Amsterdam Eye is a replay of his parents being kicked out for the Ferris wheel by The Hague.
He learned that Clara was leaving him for Django, so he’s at the pier in a suicide vest, which he thinks will also blow up the Ferris wheel. (He’s not lying, Hassell finds the electrical panel wires with explosives.) Dahlman buys them time with the city police while Tonie goes live, broadcasting VdV talking to the whole town, including the new girl from VdV, Lena. As Hassell defuses the bombs one by one, VdV nearly gets Tonie talking when the city police overrule Dahlman and order his men to fire.
Hit by a bullet in the head, Tonie drops the trigger, which lands button side down and explodes. Luckily, Hassell was done defusing the bombs and the vest was fake, filled with confetti. Tonie’s death is tragic and Dahlman is furious, but VdV is ready to let it go. He buys the boss a new dog, much to her delight, despite his insistence that she could never love again. As everyone grabs a beer, VdV and Hassell debate whether they should ask Cloovers about his continued lie about his mother and decide to let it go for now.