Sigmund Freud is a character who never particularly fascinated me; but, for his historic and scientific importance, he caught soon my attention with a new Netflix series.
Struggling with career and cocaine, Freud is involved in a gruesome crime and then in an exclusive spirit session led by a charming medium. But nothing is as it seems in von Szápáry’s mansion, and soon young Sigmund will face the most striking case of hypnosis of his life.
Sigmund Freud was a neurologist, undisputed father of psychoanalysis, convinced of the existence of an “I” within us, much larger than we think. Consciousness is the companion of the unconscious, the part of us that we are unable to control, which hides our most primitive impulses and acts in the shadows.
His life was influenced by the use of cocaine, in those days still undergoing experimentation, which was discovered only later that caused a strong dependence.
His life, the strong correspondence he had with his fiancée, and his studies on hypnosis, on the beneficial power that he could bring to the victims of hysteria, is reported within this show.
Freud is a half-character, an incredibly intuitive doctor and an insane student. Almost obsessed with his ideas, he always pushes himself to the limits by using cocaine as a stimulant. It is by pure chance, due to the insistence of a friend, that he comes across the bewitching Fleur Salomé when he takes part in a spirit session at the home of the von Szápáry family, of Hungarian origin.
Fleur turns out to be something different, a unique case of personality dissociation. In her mind, it seems that more than one spirit comes to life, fomented by the immoderate use of hypnosis that occurred on her from an early age. Something is hidden on the edge of his memories, something dark that does not want to surface.
I found Robert Finster’s interpretation of Freud to be perfect, with attention to the smallest details; Fleur’s actress also did an excellent job. The plot is full of suspense, has a pressing and anguished rhythm, with a really good psychological background. Moreover, I also greatly admired the historical accuracy and how superstitions take a scientific sense.
Therefore, I imagine that the director wanted to give an idea of the story as something raw, alive and real; something which can be frightening, which can lead beyond, because sometimes scientific discovery requires a leap into the darkness, into the twisted meanders of the human being; and I think he succeeded very well in the intent, given the mix of violence and madness that permeates the whole show.
In conclusion, it is a journey; the journey of a man who tries to make sense of the human psyche, trying to find the truths hidden behind inexplicable facts, to events that seem disconnected from each other. So, an open mind and fearless heart for those who choose to follow Sigmund in his discoveries.
Conclusion of the first season
Sophia and Viktor von Szápáry seem to have devised an infallible plan to bring down the monarchy. But Fleur’s broken mind finally returns intact thanks to the help of Sigmund and their intentions come to the surface.
It is an almost self-contained ending; although Inspector Kiss still seems to have some outstanding accounts with the past, and the hypnosis induced on him by the unconscious Fleur seems to have left its mark.
How will Freud’s studies continue? Did he choose to give up hypnosis? I hope for a good following.