By TVPlus4 January 2023
Donkerbos episode 6 recap: For the children
The discovery of six dead children at an abandoned farm continues to mystify the townsfolk of Donkerbos, along with the detectives working the case who are chasing any lead they can find. Here is everything that happened in episode 6 of the chilling Showmax Original thriller, Donkerbos.
Content warning: Episode 6 has a warning disclaimer that the content might be upsetting to children so it would be wise to not watch this episode with little ones around.
The paedophile Spook Steenkamp (Eben Genis) met his gruesome end when he was stabbed repeatedly in his cell by a hooded figure (possibly the murderer of the six children) in episode 5 of Donkerbos. Sadly, his death came too late for Spook’s niece Zellie (Amelie van Heerden) – the child he raped and killed. The Donkerbos mystery is still far from over, and the hooded figure is much more dangerous than we first thought.
As the story takes up again, we are transported to a flashback from episode 1, specifically to the boy who was running for his life in the dark bush screaming “No” at the person hunting him. More details are revealed surrounding this scene, as we see the hunter running with a knife in his hand. As the boy falls to his death when a thick branch pierces his abdomen, he says those chilling words, “Why are you doing this? I trusted you, you, you. . .” We then see the hunter’s hand as it touches the boy’s face.
In a pool of blood
The scene shifts to the present. Officer Wolf (Stian Bam) returns to the police station after battling the fire that the hooded figure started as a distraction to get access to the station and kill Spook. Wolf is taken aback when he gets into the bullpen, where Spook has been dragged and displayed, dead in a pool of blood.
Wolf curses and the scene cuts to Braam (Edwin van der Walt), who greets Kallie (Steph van der Merwe) who has just woken up. They share small talk and Braam says that they should not go to school as Braam’s brother Sybrand (Wilhelm van der Walt) didn’t come home last night (was Sybrand the hooded figure? Hmmm).
“Here to investigate you”
Back at the station, detective Fanie (Erica Wessels) stares at Spooks bloody corpse as her partner Tsedza (Sanda Shandu) reads Wolf the riot act and reprimands him for leaving the door unlocked while he was off playing fireman.
And we find out that there’s no CCTV footage to catch the culprit – “it’s not the department’s priority,” says Wolf (alas, a familiar tune). Fanie tries to comfort Wolf, but she is shaken. As she heads outside the station, Tsedza confronts her to ask whether she is heading to Sybrand, and he points out that Sybrand had keys to the station, making him the prime suspect in Spooks murder – especially coupled with the fact that Sybrand was suspended for assaulting Spook months back.
Tsedza pushes further and reveals to Fanie that he is not in Donkerbos to investigate the murders of the six children; he is there to investigate Fanie. Her former partner Wim Botha (not on screen) was murdered by a boy named Bennie (not on screen), who accused Wim of sexual assault. It was an open-and-shut case, but Tsedza smelled a rat and he adds that evidence has gone missing in that case, including a video file. From Fanie’s reaction she must know where it is (shocker! Is this where the mysterious painting comes into play?).
Bring my brother
Fanie searches for more clues to Spook’s murder and declares that it must have been committed by the murderer of the six children (Yes! Score!). Referring to the children’s book De Mutterbaum, which is like a bible to the killer, Fanie claims that the killer murdered Spook to make an example of him, like the Mother Tree did in the book.
However, De Mutterbaum killed the parents of the children they abused (rather than killing the abused children themselves). As Wolf and Officer Bongani (Aphiwe Sithole) head out to canvas around the station for witnesses and evidence, Fanie is left alone with Tsedza, and she asks him to meet her at the lodge in one hour, hinting that all will be revealed about Wim and the missing evidence (the plot thickens).
Before following another clue, Fanie calls Kallie to check up on him. He gives the phone to Braam, who asks Fanie whether Sybrand is with her, as he is still not home. Braam curses, upset, when Fanie says no, but he confirms they will have a braai in the afternoon and if there is one thing Fanie can bring, it’s his brother Sybrand.
Back on the trail, Fanie stops at her best friend Marietjie’s (Nicole Holm) house, where she’s startled by Francois (Marko Vorster), Kallie’s best friend, who tries to talk to her. When Marietjie interrupts them before Francois can speak, as he walks away, he begs Fanie, silently, not to tell his mum what he and Fanie’s husband Jaco (Jacques Bessenger) got up to in the treehouse (read more here – inappropriate and illegal sexual contact is hinted at).
Marietjie pushes Fanie for answers about what happened with Francois and why he doesn’t want to talk to her anymore (she knows Fanie knows what really happened), but Fanie brushes her off and heads to Sara (Peggy Tunyiswa), Marietjie’s domestic worker, whose son Mpho (Zayan Jansen) is one of the six murdered children.
He had a name
Meanwhile, as Wolf struggles with his emotions after Spook’s murder in the station, the bloodhound reporter Mariaan (Nicola Hanekom) seeks him out to get answers, as Captain Baleka (Thoko Ntshinga) gives a statement outside of the station about the body of the seventh child, who was found recently, but he resists her (you go, Wolf, don’t fall for her sly seduction).
Wolf heads back to the office, where he glances at the bulletin board, which holds a flyer with details of a missing child, Thomas Archer (Caleb Payne). This is the boy with the long hair, who was running through the bush in the flashback at the start of the episode. (Eureka! Another clue, and now we have his name.)
At the lodge we see a drunk, distraught Pattie (Leandie du Randt), Zellie’s mum, accost Mariaan in anger over the death of her child. And we watch Jaco wander aimlessly in his backyard before he climbs into the treehouse, where Kallie caught him getting up to no good with Francois. Jaco makes a big mistake when he calls Francois … because he doesn’t realise that Francois hasn’t picked up the call. Marietjie holds her son’s phone as Jaco says the words, “I miss you”.
Marietjie, whose 15-year-old child is asleep at her side, realises what Jaco must have done to Francois, and she ends the call calmly, but something in her face tells us that Marietjie is going to take matters into her own hands. (Better run, Jaco!)
Wim was a sick person
Sybrand shows his face back home just as Braam is getting things ready for the braai, but before we can see more of him, the scene cuts to Fanie meeting Tsedza at the lodge. She gives him a flash drive (the one that was hidden behind the painting of the boy in her house). On the drive is a video of Wim in which we hear him molesting and raping Bennie. Fanie admits that she stole and withheld it to protect Wim because she cared for him deeply as a partner (but she only found the video after Wim died and Bennie’s conviction and death in prison).
She asks Tsedza to keep this quiet until Kallie is 18, then they can take her badge and do with her what they want. Tsedza makes no promises.
Time’s up for Jaco … and the detectives’ new prime suspect
As always, the pace kicks up in the final 20 minutes, in a rapid-fire series of scenes. Mariaan convinces Pattie to do another interview with her at Spook’s house, where Zellie was murdered.
Sybrand keeps his silence as Braam badgers him about where he’s been all this time, especially during Spook’s murder. Jaco falls asleep in the treehouse and wakes to a text from Francois, asking him to come to his parents’ garage at home while his parents are at church. Fanie arrives at Braam’s house for the braai, and when Kallie asks whether she is okay, she claims she is just going to take a quick shower because she smells like death (looks more like she needs a quick moment to cry in private).
Dried and dressed again, she breaks down further when she talks to Sybrand in his room. She informs Sybrand of Spook’s death (and from his look of genuine shock it looks like he wasn’t the hooded killer) and then she continues to tell him about Jaco and Francois. Sybrand tells her that everything will be okay, he will fix it, and he will sort out Jaco. They kiss before Fanie slumps in exhaustion and sleeps.
In a quick flashback, we see where Sybrand has been. He went back to the institution where he was staying as a patient, to confront his psychiatrist. Sybrand declares that he was right about Spook, and that he should have killed him instead of being “rehabilitated” for assaulting the paedophile. Then he tries to get his roommate Tobias (Ben Albertyn) released from the institution (the sh*t hole, as he calls it), but the psychiatrist tells him that Tobias died earlier that morning (he killed himself), which breaks Sybrand even further.
Jaco arrives at Francois’ house but as the garage door closes it becomes clear it’s not Francois waiting for him there. Before we can see who it is, the scene cuts to Wolf conducting an interview on a posh estate with Mrs Archer (Sylvaine Strike), mother of the murdered boy, Thomas. Wolf learns that Mrs Archer’s husband Frank (not on screen) is dead, and that Thomas ran away from home to escape Frank’s violent abuse. She reveals that she was too afraid to tell the police the truth at the time, and just reported her son missing.
But what she reveals next has us all on the edge of our seats. Thomas had a friend, a grown man, who Frank didn’t trust. “He gave him books to read. German fairy tales, trees covered with eyes. He doted on Thomas,” says Mrs Archer. Wolf asks for the person’s name, and with that, the killer of the seven children is finally revealed! Wolf calls Fanie at Sybrand and Braam’s house, and when she makes sense of what he is trying to tell her, she looks right at Braam…
Episode 7 will air on Tuesday, 10 January and we’re expecting a real flip and turn on this crime rollercoaster.