The Woods is a frustrating mini-series that keeps you on your toes – in the best way possible. The Polish drama is based on Harlan Coben’s novel of the same name. The series spans several decades and jumps from the past to the present and back. The Woods stars Grzegorz Damięcki, Hubert Miłkowski, Wiktoria Filus and Agnieszka Grochowska in title roles.
A trip gone wrong
There are two distinct timelines in The Woods, and, unlike Dark, you won’t need an extensive map to keep track of who’s who. The distinction between the past and the present is made very well and at no point will you ever get confused as to which timeline you are.
So, the story starts off in 1994 when four kids end of disappearing in the woods on a school trip. Two of them end up end, while the other two are never found. One of them is Kamila, Pawel, our protagonist’s sister. Pawel never really got closure as to where she went. We then jump to 25 years later, when another dead body is found linked to the 1994 crime. Pawel is surprised to find one of his missing friends, Artur’s dead body. This gives him hope that his sister might also be alive.
The Woods then jump back and forth between these two timelines – asking questions in one and answering them in the other. As I mentioned above, the two timelines are extremely well separated, so much so that there’s a slight difference in colour tones. I am no expert, but the 1994 timeline has a more sepia tone to it, while the events of the present are cooler. This makes the two timelines appear old and new, respectively.
Who do you trust?
I will try not to spoil as much of the story as I can. That being said, The Woods has some amazing twists and turns that will keep you at the edge of your seat. Every time you near the answer to a question, it goes just beyond your reach. The teasing is sweet and torturous at the same time, and I was 5 seconds away from tearing my hair out.
Basically, you cannot trust anyone in The Woods. If you thought there’s someone who is innocent, you’re wrong. Turns out, they’re probably one of the worst of the lot.
There are various parallel storylines that don’t necessarily feed into the 1994 incident, but which go along with the main story with the same speed. It doesn’t make The Woods more complicated than necessary, rather, I found that it added more to the mystery of it.
No love lost
Along with all the twists and turns, we also have a sweet love story between Laura and Pawel. Whenever the story flashed to 1994 and I saw the two together, doing lovey-dovey stuff, it was a sigh of relief. A much-needed break in the midst of the chaos that is Pawel’s life, if you will.
However, their romance is cut short due to the tragedy, and what follows after.
The Woods also shows what parents are ready to do for their children. Had some of them acted rationally, a lot of hurt could’ve been avoided. But, that didn’t happen, and it caused a major fallout and heartbreak that was absolutely unnecessary. However, such is life.
Twists and turns
The Woods is 6 episodes long. And for 5 of those episodes you will have no idea as to what had happened in 1994. Both the audience and Pawel try to piece together the incident as a unit, along with Laura.
I kept scratching my head trying to figure out who could’ve murdered those children, and where the other two could be. However, I came up empty-handed. The story is tightly knit and does not give away even one clue as to who could be behind it all.
Or maybe it’s because there are multiple forces at play? Guess you’ll have to find that out for yourself.
In the end, The Woods is a must-watch for everyone who likes a good thriller to make you go slightly mad. It’s 6 episodes long, with each episode around an hour-long – perfect for a binge session.
The Woods is streaming on Netflix right now.