Deutschland 83 – ‘Cold Fire’


Episode 5


Moritz wakes up from a night with Yvonne. He tells her he’s an East German spy, but she takes it as a joke. As he leaves, Tobias turns up. Moritz is angry with Tobias for murdering Linda. Tobias says he did it to clean up Mortiz’s mess, and attacks him by pulling Moritz’s arm behind his back. He tells him he has to go to East Berlin. Moritz says he has quit as a spy, but Tobias says the reason he has to go back to East Berlin is that his mum Ingrid collapsed that morning and had to be taken to hospital. Moritz is the kidney donor for her operation, so he has to go there immediately. Tobias also mentions that Annett is pregnant.

Moritz goes on a train and Nina is waiting for him. She tells him to take a bag, and that he has to meet a man at the train station to give him a red coffee canister, which she says is decaf coffee. He meets the man and gives him the red canister. As Moritz walks away, there is an explosion! The man must have set off a bomb! Moritz chases after the man down a subway tunnel, he catches up with him and they fight, with both getting the upper hand at some point, but eventually the man is killed by Moritz. He takes the red canister, sees another bomb was in there and dismantles it. Moritz makes it to the East German border, becomes Martin Raunch again and donates his kidney to his mother.

The East believe the West are planning an attack on Moscow from West Germany. They hear about the terrorist attack. Schweppenstette thinks it’s amusing, but Commander Markus Fuchs (Uwe Preuss) doesn’t. The terrorist behind it, Carlos the Jackal, has worked with the East Germans before. They could be in trouble if this attack is somehow traced back to them, as if the West are planning an attack, this will give them the perfect excuse. Even if they aren’t, they could see it as a reason to retaliate.

Thomas meets Annett and tells her he loves her. He also says he has a mobile library of forbidden books, great literature that the East German public should be free to read. “We can’t let the state censor our imaginations” he says. Annett replies “The state just wants people to be happy. Dangerous fantasies and false values only confuse them”. Even after she says this, the action Annett takes next is unexpected. She goes to meet Schweppenstette and grasses Thomas up to him! Interestingly the book she shows him is George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Quite appropriate, considering the year and the subject matter.

Alex has lost his virginity to Tobias, and seems to have fallen for him, but Tobias seems to have seen it as a more of a one night stand. Alex is upset about Tobias thinly veiled attempts to get him to leave and runs out. He goes to stay at Yvonne’s ashram. He doesn’t get on any better there than he does in the army, seeing the ashram as the opposite extreme. He does have more in common with his father Wolfgang than he might think. He says a lot of similar stuff to him. “Sometimes you need force to make a point”, that the people at the ashram plan to “give each other back rubs while the world goes up in a mushroom cloud”, and his accusing the ashram of being “selfish and passive” is pretty close to his dad seeing peace and love is “hippy speak for lazy resistance”.

Though Alex goes from one extreme to another himself, in a totally different way. At the end he is seen offering his services to East Germany!

‘Cold Fire’ was  an action packed episode, and ended with the biggest cliffhangers so far, with the shocking decisions Annett and Alex made.

Nineteen Eighty-Four is an interesting reference. It was written by George Orwell in 1948, and was a dystopian vision of what at the time of writing would be the near future, and was based largely on the Soviet Union, as well as wartime for many countries during the Second World War. Annett in some ways reminds me a bit of characters in the book like Katharine Smith, who the book calls “goodthinkful” sorts of people, who tow the party line and see it as unquestionable.

Ursula, out of pure spite for her husband, picks one of Wolfgang’s fish from the tank, drops it on the floor and lets it die. Even though Alex isn’t at home, she brings in a fake sick note, saying he has a contagious virus. Frau Netz seems to think it is AIDS. Not to spoiler future episodes too much, but this is a bit ironic in hindsight.

Frau Netz says “We worry so much about the world when the real dangers are lurking in our own back yards”. In context, this doesn’t mean much, but an interesting quote nonetheless, and fitting in a series where nearly everyone has secret agendas.

To reference another George Orwell novel, there are moments in this episode that show the same sort of hypocrisy the pigs end up showing in Animal Farm. Worcester sauce is banned in East Germany at this time, but that law only seems to apply to citizens. The officers are pouring it all over their dinners. When Annett brings Schweppenstette the copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four, he goes as far to say that he thinks it’s a great book, but it is forbidden for citizens.

Alex at one point says “All pop songs are about unrequited love”. There is a lot of truth in that.

Speaking of pop songs, Yvonne says Moritz was wasted naked on the dancefloor dancing to ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ by Bonnie Tyler. A shame this happened offscreen!

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