Valuable life lessons learned from Netflix’s ‘The Serpent’

Photo from Netflix's "The Serpent"
Netflix/Courtesy

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I’ve been wanting to write about “The Serpent” ever since I watched the entire show in essentially a single sitting. Who can deny the allure of a true-crime remake dribbled with ’60s and ’70s fashion, French spoken in hushed tones, a Bonnie-and-Clyde moment and the heart-pounding mystery as to why things happened the way they did. So, if you, too, were enamored with this series or are interested in taking a peek with the help of a nudge or two, here’s a list of life lessons we can all extract from “The Serpent” to make us a little wiser.

Never take drinks (or food) from a stranger

If you have watched this show in its entirety or even the first one or two episodes, this golden rule should be pretty obvious. Anything consumable can easily be tampered with, and so being cautious, especially when the beverage or food item in question comes from a complete stranger, is a great lesson to take away. At the very least, Google it to see if what they claim they’re giving you is actually what they’re giving you.

Nothing in the world is free, and if something seems too good to be true, it probably is

He’ll give you a ride, a place to stay, friendship and food on top of that? For free? The world might have been a different place back in the day, but in our good ol’ 21st century, there’s no such thing. Another great lesson is to identify motives. While that doesn’t mean you should distrust anyone and everyone, thinking twice is better than not thinking at all.

You hold more power than you might know

Throughout this series, I had a recurring thought: A person can have an inordinate amount of influence over someone or something. Take Alain Gautier, or Charles Sobhraj. The sheer number of lives he’s ruined is incredible yet incredibly horrible all the same. But if one man can have so much power and influence, you have it in you as well. Use it for good.

Be careful who you fall for

Monique, or Marie-Andrée Leclerc, is one of my favorite characters in the show. She has made mistakes and performed unspeakable deeds as an accomplice, but perhaps her biggest mistake was falling for the wrong person. As we covered above, people are more influential than you may expect. This provides all the more reason to surround yourself with the most authentic and loving folks.

Never give up

Herman Knippenberg is hands down the most underrated character in the series. The Dutch diplomat thought only for a moment when he heard the case, little hesitation had. He not only investigated the string of murders, quite unrelated to him, but pursued the trails until the end. From diplomat to detective, he brought the notorious “Serpent” to justice, even though we viewers thought he was doomed to fail. Apply this to your school life and personal life. See how it serves you as it did Knippenberg.

With lessons as strong as these to come out of a show, your bingeing will be entirely justified. Screw studying for your upcoming exam or writing that paper that’s due tomorrow, and whisk yourself away into the world of “The Serpent” — you’re bound to find something in there that’s directly applicable to your life.

Contact Angelina Yin at [email protected].