'Van der Valk' Season 2, Episode 1 Recap: "Plague on Amsterdam"

Marc Warren as Piet Van der Valk and Maimie McCoy as Lucienne Hassel

Van der Valk's new season begins with windmills; who doesn't love those, even if a dead woman hangs nearby, scarecrow style, as a bloody cheese slicer is washed. The series cuts to another woman, Juliana Holt (Saskia Neville), on a date with Rita Wyngarden (Liliana de Vries). She returns home to be drowned in her own fish tank. Meanwhile, our titular detective abandoned dating, only to have two women throw themselves at him. He's rescued by a stranger, Lena Linderman (Loes Haverkort), who he then goes home with.

VdV: Sometimes, even to live is an act of courage.

As for our real hero, Cloovers has a hearing regarding Season 1's ending with the team's boss, Dahlman, where he's exonerated. (Dahlman is still grieving the loss of her dog, though.)  Hassell and VdV meet De Vries and Davie at the windmill body, which has an X sliced on it and a note. "It's about Ethics; where's XX? Follow the Philosopher's Eye," written lefthanded. The body is solicitor Susie de Windt. Her husband Roland (Joseph Millson) didn't report her missing and says he doesn't know about her cases. Davie notes she died via rat poison.

Susie's last successful case was an eviction against an artist commune in London; her body was where the city offered to relocate them. (They refused.) VdV spies Ruud Lipman (Ruben Brinkman), Susie's client, who will now turn the land into a tourist trap. Hassell and de Vries question commune residents Tonie Alderlink (Robert Boulter), his wife Clara (Bobbi Blijleven), and Django Keet (Marcel Hensema). Cloovers and VdV question Cassie Davids (Beatie Edney), the commune's lawyer. She notes Roland was in court with her a lot. 

Maimie McCoy as Lucienne Hassel and Luke Allen-Gale as Brad de Vries
(© Company Pictures, NL Films & A3MI)

Cloovers identifies the quote from 1677's Ethics by Baruch Spinoza. VdV heads to the Spinoza statue Holt walked by on the way to her date; dredging brings up her body from the canal, an X on its back. There's another note: "Tick Tock. Who owns this city? The fire stealer." Holt's home has circus music playing when VdV and Hassel check it out. VdV turns it off, which reveals "EXILE BETRAYAL" with a red X on the wall. Django catches on to VdV's surveillance of their commune and turns cameras on them before kissing Clara.

Hassell jokes she could be the third X as she has three on her hand: The city flag symbol. VdV questions Roland again since he wrote a book on the city. Cloovers and de Vries visit Lipman, who shows them drawings for the Amsterdam Eye Ferris wheel, the heart of his new project. With Roland stalling, VDV and Hassell hit up Django, who stalked Susie after she spied on the commune and is a calligrapher. However, he's a righty, and his ink's wrong. Meanwhile, Lipman and Cassie were also shagging, but broke up now the trial is over. 

At the bar, Cliff notes, the three Xs on the city flag are for the three trials it survived: the Flood, the Plague, and the Fire. Cloovers adds it together: Susie was the plague (rats), Juliana the flood. The third victim would logically be "the fire stealer." Homeless Frank pipes up: "Prometheus?" Lipman's tourist trap name. The team rushes to his house, but the killer has already set Lipman ablaze as they arrive; Hassell puts him out, but that means they can't search him for a note since he's in surgery.

Marc Warren as Piet Van der Valk and Luke Allen-Gale as Brad de Vries
(© Company Pictures, NL Films & A3MI)

Hassel finally finds a link between Holt, Susie, and Lipman: Roland bought her a car. She also uncovers the date, and De Vries recognizes Rita from his dating apps; her profile says she's an ink maker. VdV orders him to ask the woman out, and they wire de Vries up. The date is a hilarious disaster because de Vries can't stop bringing up clues like the ink and Juliana Holt. But instead of frightening her off, Rita assumes he's connected and asks if he's "the ink person." Holt asked her out on the suggestion of someone who'd bought her ink.

Lipman dies, and the following day Cassie offers herself for questioning since she saw him last and figures a good defense is offense. But VdV dismisses her, as Django's gone "De Wint Hunting," catching him just before he beats Roland's brains out for fixing his wife's case with bribes. Django also recognizes Holt; she was involved with PR around the case. The car wasn't for an affair; it was another bribe, this one to get Holt to drop her defense of the commune.

Davie retrieves Lipman's note: "Valient, Steadfast, Compassionate. GOD Must Die," promising a "Big Bang At High Noon. Littorally." GOD is the initials of Tonie's company, Great Original Design. Littorally means shoreline, Hassell volunteers Lipman's Amsterdam Eye was a replica of one by the pier near the Hague; there's an ink maker there named Ben Hawthorne, the English translation of Baruch Spinoza.

Marc Warren as Piet Van der Valk
(© Company Pictures, NL Films & A3MI)

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 booth is evidence central, with a photo of "Hawthorne" revealing him to be Tonie. He's not the victim; he's exacting revenge because being evicted for the Amsterdam Eye is a replay of his parents being evicted for the Ferris Wheel by the Hague.

He's learned Clara is leaving him for Django, so he's at the pier in a suicide vest, which he claims 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 as Tonie live streams, broadcasting VdV talking him down to the whole city, including VdV's new girl, Lena. As Hassell defuses the bombs one by one, VdV almost has Tonie talked down when the City Police overrides Dahlman and orders his men to take the shot.

Shot in the head, Tonie drops the trigger, which lands button-side-down and detonates. Thankfully, Hassell finished defusing the bombs, and the vest was fake, filled with confetti. Tonie's death is tragic, and Dahlman is irate, but VdV is willing to let it go. He buys the boss a new dog, much to her delight, despite her insisting she could never love again. As everyone has a beer, VdV and Hassell wonder if they should ask Cloovers about his ongoing lie about his mother and decide to let it sit for now.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on BlueSky and other social media of your choice: @anibundel.bsky.social

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