Episode 1 of All the Light We Cannot See brings us up to date about who is who in the fictional historical show. We’ve learned that Marie is all alone in a house in St. Malo, where she waits in desperation for her father and Uncle Etienne. She does get to interact with her uncle, though, and she learns that he is on the radar of the Nazis, so he cannot come home with her. On the other hand, Nazi soldier Werner is making sure his people do not find Marie and her radio, where she broadcasts code. He believes her messages bring hope because it is the same frequency a man known as the professor used to broadcast from. At the end of the episode, Rumpel, a distraught Sergeant Major who is very sick, finds who he has been searching for—Marie—in order to get his hands on a legendary stone that is supposed to cure all illnesses.
What Happens In The Episode?
Blind Marie manages to escape the hands of Rumpel by scratching him hard on the face. Back when they were in Paris, and the German soldiers arrived, Daniel and Marie packed their things to escape the capital city. They first went to the museum, and Daniel put the precious stones along with the skeletal head of a T-rex there so they could be taken out of Paris safely and away from the hands of the Nazis. What Marie didn’t know at the time was that Daniel kept the “Sea of Flames” to himself, probably because it’s the most precious stone that needs the most protection because it belongs to Paris. In the present day (1944), Werner dumps the body of his fellow soldier in one of the bomb fires to make sure he doesn’t get caught. When the senior officer arrives, Werner cleans the room, and the officer knows what is going on. He tells Werner that he must lead him to the girl and kill her himself.
How Did Werner Become A Soldier?
Werner was a genius back in the orphanage, and one day, an SS officer made a visit, taking Werner away to fix a radio for him. The officer knows Werner has been illegally building radios and listening to broadcasts from other countries, which is punishable by death. Werner needs to solder a piece of wire, but the officer refuses to get him equipment. He’s told that if he can’t fix the radio, he’ll be killed right then. Werner uses his genius brain and chewing gum to fix the problem. The impressed officer recommends Werner to the National Political Institute of Education in Berlin, so his mind can be used for the war. Werner has to leave his sister Jutta behind, but she reminds him never to let them take over his mind.
At the same time, Marie and Daniel find their way to St. Malo by stealing a car. Marie has also taken her radio with her because the professor’s voice is a sign of hope, which she needs. Daniel tells Marie that they have family in the coastal town, which is why they’re going there. Oh, is Marie in for a treat? On the other hand, the institute that Werner is taken to is not a place of education but a hell hole. As Werner arrives, since he’s an orphan, the principal must first determine if he’s remotely a Jew. He makes Werner strip down to make measurements and checks him to make sure his blood is purely Aryan. Werner is immediately in tears, but this isn’t even the start of it all. After the tests are complete, Werner passes and is accepted to the institute.
His next step is to meet his fellow classmates, or monsters. Werner is shown the way to his dormitory, and his things are dropped on the floor by the soldier showing him around. As he tries to pick them up, the boys kick and harass him. The soldier tells Werner that he will be taught how to “eat country and breathe nation” because what happens in the institution is stripping away cowardice and becoming completely fearless in order to be a soldier of Germany. Before the soldier leaves, he tells the rest of the boys to give Werner the “regular welcome,” something Werner is completely unprepared for. One of the boys tells Werner to run, and as he does, the entire group of at least 10 boys follows him into the forest. When they finally catch him, quite easily, they beat him up until a teacher (presumably, they’re all soldiers) picks him up and tells them to be gentle with the “radio genius”.
Even though the institute is trying to desperately strip away the humanity in Werner, he writes to his sister about how beautiful the forests around the place are. He will always remember the words she said to him and keep his promise to stay true to himself.
Does Werner Find Marie?
In the present, it’s the next day after the officer found Werner and realized he’d killed his fellow soldier. Since Werner is the only one in the whole town who can work out any kind of radio, being Boy Wonder and all, the officer spares his life just so he can watch Werner kill Marie himself. Werner is rather quick at figuring out where shortwave 13.10 is operating from. Werner’s fear grows further when the officer tells him that, apart from his own life at stake, his sister Jutta is in danger, too. He claims that if Werner doesn’t do his job right, his sister will die “very badly.” The soldiers and Werner are in a car, and he figures out where Marie is with his simple radio. At this time, Marie is broadcasting to her father, reminding him of the time when they arrived in St. Malo. Werner begins to cry as he realizes he’s going to be the cause of the death of not just a simple girl but of hope itself.
At the end of the episode, the senior officer shoots at the lock of Marie’s door as she tries to listen from the top floor, the attic where she broadcasts. Werner gets a small glimpse of her. Werner asks for forgiveness before the officer pushes the door open, telling Werner it is time to meet his friend. What will Werner’s plight be? How will he save Marie when there are two German senior officers with him?