'Satisfaction': o.k., but not extremely satisfying
It's about a case that involves German duelling student fraternities. The term 'satisfaction' here refers to satisfaction for an insult (or something worse). In duelling fraternities it can be obtained by a fencing duel. These duels are not fought to the death but are subject to strict rules. For example, the duelists have to use lots of protective wear. This episode involves a secret ring of students who don't want to follow the official rules but want to have more dangerous duels, without or with less protective wear. I don't know if such duels are really fought. I think one cannot rule it out completely, but I also think that it's highly unlikely. And this episode involves a pistol duel, which is even more unlikely to happen nowadays. I think there is too much in this episode that is very unlikely or simply not true. For example, it is not true that members of student fraternities have so much influence in Münster as is depicted in this episode. It's an old cliché that is probably a remnant of former times, when a high percentage of students were members of fraternities. Nowadays, only a very low percentage are members. There are still some old boy networks, but there are not as many (and they are not as influential) as the German leftists say. And the leftists now have their own old boy networks (since they started their so-called 'Marsch durch die Institutionen' - freely translated 'march to the top of society's institutions' - in the sixties of the last century), so it's hypocritical (at least in my opinion) when they point their fingers at the conservatives' networks.
Here's a short plot summary: The bones of a student who has been murdered (or killed in a pistol duel) are found. He had been missing for ten years. It comes out that he had been a member of 'Pommerania-Guestphalia' (or, differently spelled, 'Pomerania-Westphalia'), a duelling student fraternity. His father is a member, too, and his brother is also a member of a (different) duelling fraternity. They and the other family members are tight-lipped when Thiel asks them about the victim, so the investigations are going to be difficult. Boerne (the coroner who, as usually, works on the case with Thiel) is also a member of Pomerania. This complicates matters further, because distrust builds between the two. Thiel thinks that Boerne may hide some information from him. Was the student murdered, or was he killed in a pistol duel? And who shot him?
This is not among my favourite episodes featuring the team Thiel / Boerne. There aren't as many good jokes as in some of the other episodes. And the plot isn't very good either. There have been twelve episodes featuring this team so far, of which I have seen eight. This is the third of these that uses the plot element of a kid that is (allegedly or really) not the kid of his supposed father but of another man (the other two are 'Fakten, Fakten' and 'Der Frauenflüsterer'. 'Der dunkle Fleck' also has a somewhat similar element). This gets boring. I think they should come up with fresher ideas. And Thiel acts as if he was an idiot. When Baltus tells him that the victim died from a pistol duel shot, he doesn't question him any further about that - when any mildly intelligent detective would exert maximum pressure on him, since his knowledge implies that he may well be an eye-witness or even a suspect in the case. And there's a bad plot hole. It is stated at least twice in Thiel's presence that Boerne is a member of the fraternity. (Boerne is also present on these occasions.) But later in the movie, he suddenly accuses Boerne of having hidden the fact that he is a member! Also, they overuse the cliché that Münster is (allegedly) reigned by conservative old boy networks. As I have said above, these networks do exist, but they are - at least to my view and knowledge - not as influential and corrupt as they are pictured in these 'Tatort'-episodes. I know that this is just a movie, not a documentary, and that exaggeration is, to a certain degree, necessary. But in my opinion they exaggerate too much and use these clichés too often. The basic idea, murder in a duelling fraternity, has also been done before in lots of German TV thrillers, so it's not a fresh idea, either (examples: 'Balko: Tödliche Verbindung', 'Die Kommissarin: Säbelrasseln', 'SK Babies: Blutige Verbindung'). But at least 'Satisfaktion' is not as badly clichéd as these other thrillers since one of our heroes, Boerne, is a member of the fraternity. In the other thrillers the fraternities consist of only bad guys and idiots (Neo-Nazis for example). This is unrealistic. I don't like the idea of duels and some of the members of duelling fraternities are much too conservative (or even nationalist) to my taste. But there are lots of members who aren't Neo-Nazis. (I can tell since I have met some.) There are even duelling fraternities who accept non-Germans as members. So it's not purely fictitious that the fraternity in this episode has an Asian member. And the fact that they chose this kind of fraternity also shows that this episode is not as badly clichéd as the other thrillers I've mentioned.
On the plus side: it still had some funny moments, for example there is some of the customary funny banter between Boerne and 'Alberich', and there's one scene in the bathroom where they show one of the special sinks for vomiting that can be found at some fraternity houses (for those members who've had too much beer). Well, I'm not sure if it is funny or just ridiculous, but anyway I found it funny that they included this. It also adds some reality.
All in all, this episode is not really good, but not that bad either, so I have given it five points.
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