The Boat: A Second Chance

Photo from the third season of the series Das Boot (c) Bavaria Fiction GmbH / Sky Germany

With the adventures of U-949, the successful German series Das Boot, based on the film epic by Wolfgang Petersen, is entering its third round on Sky. In our review of the season opener, we explain why the combination of drama and action with a touch of soap opera turns out to be inconsistent.

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After Oberleutnant zur See Robert Ehrenberg (Franz Dinda) stabbed Captain Wrangel on U-822, he now serves as an instructor for the Kriegsmarine. His next command takes him to the submarine 949, which is led by the inexperienced commander Franz Buchner (Konstantin Gries). On board, Ehrenberg meets former pickpocket Pauli Müller (Alessandro Schuster), a talented but unruly cadet who quickly finds a benevolent mentor in him. Meanwhile, the unscrupulous Gestapo official Hagen Forster is transferred to Lisbon to investigate the mysterious murder of an agent. Across the Channel, the captain of the destroyer HMS Persevarence, Jack Swinburne (Ray Stevenson), sets sail and hunts down German U-boats to avenge the death of his son. He does not shy away from illegally shooting prisoners of war.

A fresh start with familiar characters

With the end of the second season of Das Boot both the exciting France plot and the story of the fame-seeking Captain Wrangel came to an end. Also, the authors let all the main characters die, except for Kaleun Hoffmann, Ehrenberg, and Forster. The latter two characters gain correspondingly greater importance in the course of the third season. Ehrenberg becomes an instructor and accidentally meets the pretty optician Greta (greatly played by Elisa Schott) and her daughter in the port of Kiel. He falls in love with her and after his grueling experiences at sea finally experiences a little normality again.

Franz Dinda (“Mogadishu“) has filled the role of the traumatized but committed naval officer brilliantly since the beginning of the series, so it’s a pleasure to see him again in a leading role. Forster is also embarking on new adventures, although the character took a turn in season two that wasn’t entirely understandable. A man who unscrupulously has old people and children shot, rapes his former lover and tortures people cruelly simply has no conscience.

The doubts put into the character’s mouth about the “final solution‘ and his disgust when his superior shot a Jewish man and his young son were simply unbelievable. The extent to which this trend of change will continue remains to be seen over the course of the season. What is interesting, however, is the historical background that leads him to Lisbon. The double agent that the Gestapo man is chasing after his colleague’s murder may be based on the (then) Yugoslav spy Dusan Popov, who later served as a model for the well-loved James Bond.

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