'Vienna Blood' Season 1, Episode 2 Recap: "The Last Seance, Part 2"

(Credit: Courtesy of Petro Domenigg / © 2019 Endor Productions / MR Film)

The premiere episode of Vienna Blood ended on a cliffhanger. But this week doesn't pick up there. Instead, we open with Max called to the carpet by Professor Gruner, the head of the hospital, whose lectures viewers saw last week includes torturing women with "hysterics." He read in the papers about Liebermann's exploits with the police. He threatens Max will not have a position if he keeps it up. But by "keeps it up," Gruner means going to Freud's lectures, sneering some "Jewish Doctor's" ramblings are not worth listening to, with a frowning suggestion that his anti-jewish sentiments extend to Max.

Shaken, Liebermann makes his rounds, checking in on Amelia. She is horrified at the conditions in the hospital. He gets ready to release her until an orderly enters, and she flips out again. Max finds himself questioning his judgment as he heads home for a night out with the family. Mendel's new friends got them into an upper-class soiree, a concert given by Gustav Mahler. Dad's proud as punch, while Clara desperately tries to flirt with her distracted date. She suspects he's fretting about Amelia, but it's more the sea of antisemitism he feels around him. Still, Max's ambivalence towards Clara has reached the point that even his sister Leah noticed.

Not to worry, Gruner soon electrocutes Lydgate, which he claims cures her. Max knows this is nonsense; it was his hypnotism that did it, bringing forth her repressed memory of rape at the hands of someone wearing the same cologne as both the waiter and the orderly. But with his job at the hospital hanging by a thread, he lets it go, especially since Clara is clearly ready for her assumed future husband to stop talking about her.

(Credit: Courtesy of Petro Domenigg / © 2019 Endor Productions / MR Film)

Back at the police station, Strasser is irate that no arrest has happened. He wants Reinhardt to pin it on Braun. Reinhardt argues he doesn't fit the "profile." In 2020, this is an accepted methodology, but here in 1906, the entire concept of a "killer's profile" goes over like a lead balloon. "What the hell is that?" Strasser's ready take the case away from Reinhardt, who we learn lost his child to illness, causing his wife to leave. But Braun can't be held anyway, so he's released, with Haussmann tailing him. Braun heads to the theater, where an old biddy, Isolde (Maria Bill), is doing burlesque. Distracted, Haussmann stays out front while Braun heads backstage, where he is murdered with a hammer.

Reinhardt rounds up Max, who notes the clumsiness of this murder suggests their killer is panicking. Haussman discovers a mysterious note. It's a guide to gravestones, which Max surmises will give them the dupes Braun and Charlotte had targeted for their con. The gravestone names: Sucher (the seamstress from last week), Reihe, Holderlein, Überhorst, von Rath. Some clearly couldn't be the father of Charlotte's baby, like Cosma Von Rath (Petra Morzé), a countess. Karl Überhorst (Gerhard Liebmann), a gentle bookseller with no reputation to protect, also seems unlikely. But there's Mendel's new friend Heinrich Holderlein (Roland Koch). The Holderlein targeted was his wife, mourning her twin sister, but her husband did come with her.

Holderlein's questioning brings out Hans Brückmüller, the man running for mayor, demanding his friend's release. They can't hold him based on "profile." Reinhardt needs evidence to back it up. He and Max cook up a way to get everyone in one room, old fashion murder-mystery-ending style: Staging a fake seance. It's appropriately creepy, with a dramatic Medium de Jour, Madame DeRougement. (Yes, it's the burlesque dancing old biddy.) Holderlein's wife collapses from the drama of it all and has to be removed. It suggests Heinrich has a secret she feared being revealed, but that's not evidence.

Another trip to Charlotte's rooms reveal a hole in the wall and a brainwave for Max. She was arranged on the settee because she had taken a secret photograph with her lover there. She wasn't just a con artist, but a blackmailer. Somewhere, (lordy) there are photos. But a second round of questioning with Holderlein doesn't turn up anything. He seems insulted they would think him attracted to such a con woman in the first place.

(Credit: Courtesy of Petro Domenigg / © 2019 Endor Productions / MR Film)

Instead, it pisses off the mayor, and Strasser begins to pull Reinhardt off the case in favor of von Bulow. But then the murder weapon turns up, and Reinhardt recognizes the antique gun is the type where one doesn't need a bullet. When the Austrian army used these weapons, they would pack them with debris when they ran out of ammo, because the gunpowder would propel anything. The person who did it was a doctor, while leads Max to realize they used forceps to turn the key through the lock from the outside.

But there's still no clue who did it until they take the evidence to Strasser. It turns out he'd been reporting their progress to the mayor every day, including they suspected Braun knew who did it. So who in the mayor's office knew what was going on every step of the way?  Dr. Hans Brückmüller, the one running for Mayor.

Max confronts Brückmüller in a private car of a Ferris wheel and lands a confession. But it's not just that Brückmüller killed some nobody whore. He wants to "clean the city" thoroughly. The moment he starts ranting about "vermin," "journalists," and "intellectuals" we all know where this is going. Naturally, Brückmüller then tries to throw Max out of the Ferris wheel car. Thankfully, Reinhardt is one car over, and fires. Max holds the man's bullet wound closed so that Brückmüller will live to stand trial. 

The episode ends with Max faced with the understanding he will always need protection from others in his class, protection Clara provides. As she starts pushing at him over their future, he ends the episode with a proposal. It's what she wants, and it's what he needs. At least, so long as Vienna runs with blood.