Saturday SkandiCrime: Arne Dahl – Afterquake


Just get the bloody fringe cut, will you?

If it was a mistake to preface the Arne Dahl of two weeks ago with a trailer for The Bridge 3, it was doubly dumb to put another on between this week’s two parts, especially as the first half of ‘Afterquake’ had seen the show at its sludgy worst. After rising with their subject matter last week, A Group fell back to their usual standards with an unconvincing story about a potential terrorist bomb attack on a Stockholm subway train.

Of course, this might have been a half decent episode and I too bunged up with a cold and stressed from forcing myself into work to be sufficiently sympathetic. Taken objectively, there wasn’t too much silliness: Kerstin is still blaming Paul for Bengt’s death last week but with the two of them forced to cooperate on this terrorist attack, it took unsurprisingly little to get Kerstin back down off her high horse.

And little Ida, the A Group baby has not unknotted her tight little bun over eight hours of film thus far, and continues to stare suspiciously out from under her fringe with the same petulant expression on her mouth as that of a twelve year old told she can’t sit up to watch the Horse of the Year Show.

A Group were just one of the many teams called in on what was essentially a Secret Service operation when a bomb went off on the underground train at 12.45pm. There was some surprise that the terrorists would target a train with so few people on it, as opposed to the possibilities of rush hour, but a far more intriguing mystery was what relevance Internal Affairs (i.e. Paul) had to do with it, apart from keeping him off the streets when he isn’t in A Group any more.

Then there was the bald guy who spoke English and who was going around killing all the members of a particularly silly and ineffectual group of far right, racist idiots, with a very long penis-substitute (sorry, I mean silencer) on his penis-substitute (sorry, I mean his gun).

To cut a long story short, since I can’t be bothered explaining how it all unraveled, the claim that the bomb was planted by a radical Muslim, ISIS-style group was bullshit on two grounds: firstly, because the claim was being made by these neo-Nazi looneys to discredit Muslims and accelerate the glorious day of all-out, take-it-back-for-Whitey race war, and secondly because the bomb was actually detonated by a mentally-ill young man out to kill the young woman who’d left him.

That the young man happened to be the son of the Secret Service man who was heading the investigation was just another unnecessary complication, too many of which sunk the story into a slow moving, tortuous effort at creating tension.

Baldy, aka Tom Graus, an out-and-out Muslim-hating veteran of Afghanistan, did have a serious reason to be in Sweden, above and beyond killing idiot children neo-Nazis. He was actually there to assassinate Annie Bright who, despite the name, was Sweden’s EU negotiator at the peace talks over Syria.

This was supposed to be the big revelation near the end, but to be honest, not only had Kerstin been getting close enough to Annie to find out that she was going to her daughter’s twelfth birthday party that night (insert domestic bliss, raise incipient horror), but Annie herself was spending so much time posing in front of uncurtained windows that I’d been expecting her to get shot since about twenty minutes in.

And when we finally did get to the belaboured point of it, such a meal was made of the threat to Annie that one member of the audience was urging somebody to shoot something for several minutes before the climactic moment when ol’Tommy and his six-foot-long shooter stepped out in a hotel room with the unguarded Annie only to have Kerstin shoot a soldier/mercenary/professional terrorist in the chest before he could react quickly enough to squeeze the trigger.

You know that bit about suspension of disbelief? The bungee cord snapped on mine.

There’s only one more to go, and as, to the best of my knowledge, that exhausts the supply of Arne Dahl ‘Intercrime’ novels (now isn’t that a much better name than A Group?), we shalln’t have to put up with this second-rate, trudging nonsense any more.

Now excuse me, but I have several mucus-soggy hankies to deal with.

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