There are people who have enjoyed Fortitude from start to finish, have even looked forward with unbearable anticipation, week-by-week, to the inevitable uncovering of answers. The Distinguished Thing is now here in its entirety (pace R. Fiore) and they have professed themselves to be satisfied, even though Fortitude‘s final episode was devoid in anything resembling an answer. To anything.
At least we know what kind of story it was. It was an old-fashioned horror story, all Weird Tales, dark sub-Lovecraftian things coming from a hideous past to destroy the modern world. All that stuff about investigating Charlie Stoddart’s death, and Billie Pettigrew’s, and killing off DCI Morton after just over eleven episodes for no apparent reason, that was all a smokescreen, a sub-plot meant to distract our attention away from the real meat of the story, and it would have worked too but for, no, not those pesky kids but rather the dramatic ineptitude of devoting roughly eleven-twelfths of the series to it.
Even in its last episode, the series was incapable of varying from its glacial pace. There have been some episodes since I stopped blogging Fortitude weekly where I have sweated and groaned and howled at the sheer length of time episodes were taking: five minutes of story drawn out over forty-five minutes of screentime that felt like three hours! Even in the thrilling climax I was stealing glances at the clock and gasping in shock that only another ten minutes had gone by.
I’m not going to start trying to elucidate things for you: let that be done by someone who cares and who can bend their mind around some of the truly awful ideas and appallingly empty acting this show has boasted. There’s the lovely Elena, wandering around like a plague victim, clearly the latest victim of the mammoth-hatched primordial parasite wasp menace, looking like death warmed up and on the biggest bender of all time, and sweet, innocent ten-year old Carrie can get a croquet mallet to the back of the skull and a pair of kitchen knives to the stomach. For what? For the puerile cliche of lovelorn Sheriff Dan being forced to shoot her.
There’s Governor Hildur deciding to forgive, take back and snog the face off of cheating husband Eric (some actors have all the luck), for no better reason than that he brought her ice cream truck back. I’d say that the last tie to reality snapped and shattered at that out-of-left-field moment, except the last shard of reality had spent the whole of the last four episodes sat in that fucking cupboard with Ronnie, who ended up being burned to buggery, like the mammoth.
And that was it, and it was all as senseless as that. The faithful viewer who has put up with this pretentious load of wank had to put up with there not being an ending. Because, of course, there’s going to be a second series. And, like Broadchurch‘s second series, there is nothing left for them to do except repeat the first all over again. After all, the mammoth’s graveyard is still there under the snow…
If you want to watch twelve more episodes of poorly written, ineptly acted, pretentious and idiotic writing, I can’t stop you, any more than I could stop you walking face first into a high speed woodchipper, though I suggest that woodchipper would be far less painful, and would certainly involve wasting far less of your time. I won’t be there. I’ve heard there’s some very exciting footage of paint dripping on Channel 5 that night and I’m intrigued as to how it will develop.