Watching the end of the latest SkandiKrime series, I was prey to mixed emotions. Though Follow the Money 2 has been, overall, a much superior experience to the first series, with a stronger story, with more serious implications and much less utter dickery, even from Maverick Mess, I’ve sometimes found it unengaging and, dare I say it, ordinary.
The ending of the story, which spread as much justice around as it could, turned out to be flat and disappointing. It was confused and hurried, as if the show realised, too late in the proceedings, that it actually needed eleven episodes to tie up its loose ends, and that it was going to have to skimp on all of them.
And, not least with Maverick Mess’s resignation from a job he had never been suited for, it gave the strongest impression that the door was being shut to the almost-mandatory third series.
The last couple of episodes covered a lot of ground, and put a few characters in it as well. We started in predictable, and predictably dumb fashion, with a direct continuation of last weekend’s cliffhanger. P/Bo Peterson, the lifelong efficient troubleshooter, the expert, the ever-prepared, the man who keeps a silenced pistol in his bathroom cupboard, shoots Inscrutable Alf twice through the stomach at jig range and Alf not only survives (one flesh wound, one ruptured spleen, and spleen’s are just so 2016) but he’s back on his feet in Fraud Squad headquarters before episode 9 is over.
And, in contradiction to my gloomy assumption-of-cliche last week, Nicky breaks into Mess’s house to retrieve Claudia’s file (which Big Bad Knud burns), gives poor Kristina a wallop across the chops that knocks her to the ground and breaks her waters prematurely but doesn’t even leave a mark on her still-pretty face, but though it’s eleven weeks early, one Caesarean later, the baby’s in an incubator, and the little tyke is going to live.
Of course, Mess is going round telling all and sundry that everything’s going to be perfectly fine, he’s strong, she’s strong, nothing bad can possibly happen because I say it won’t, call me Pollyanna, and it all is.
But after that, the stupidity was over and the rest of it was all serious down the line.
By now, all three stories were tangled together, so I’m not going to try to split them up. The rapidly recovering Alf quickly identifies Big Bad Knud’s cunning scheme, which is to bankrupt Denmark. Not just Absolen Bank, and Nova Bank, come to that, but the entire country, send it into economic freefall (are you sure he isn’t a member of the Tory Party?). That’s been the plan all along, and when he’s trapped into confessing by a cunning and utterly immoral move by Claudia and Amanda, he even seems proud of it, since the krone was artificially high and needed taking down and peg or two (the billions of it pouring into the coffers of an obscure holding company in the name of his senile wife were just an unfortunate side-effect).
After a night of desperate selling to no avail, Absolen goes down, dragging Nova after it. Simon gets taken in to custody, on the basis that he can’t have been so all-fired stupid as he looks and been completely oblivious, even though we know he was. This leaves Claudia floundering to find a way, any way, to get Christensen. Both Amanda and her ex-husband, Steen, correctly point out that she’s only cared about that and revenge, not about the Bank that’s been the now-bankrupt Absolen siblings’ lives, nor her financially-straitened father-of-my-child, who she shops to the Police, guaranteeing him the same jail-experience she’s had, and provoking him to an unsuccessful suicide bid.
No, Claudia manages to keep Amanda onside by going to senile Grethe and getting her to sign a Power of Attorney in Claudia’s name that cannot in any world be remotely legal for an atosecond, but which gets her full access to Grethe’s company and passwords (thanks to a Bank Manager? Financial Adviser? Complete-and-utter no-mark who’s totally unaware that Grethe Christensen is, as Uncle Mort would put it, pots-for-bloody-rags: plothole of convenience of major proportions here).
Still, it’s not like Claudia and Amanda want this access for any legal purpose. No, they find a cool 450M krone accumulated since this time last night, break it into five equal parts, and shuffle it into five of Big Bad Knud’s Official Accounts and tip off Mess. Knud spots the difference, realises he’s been blindsided and comes in with his lawyer.
Knud’s willing to confess to massive currency speculation and economy-shafting because he knows two things. One is that, thanks to Nicky, he’s insulated from all the deaths and mayhem, and the other is that he’s going to negotiate a deal because he’s really only small fry: he can give them the Englishman, Henson.
You’d expect all this to infuriate Mess, but it doesn’t. Still, we’ve arrived at Nicky, let’s deal with his part in all things final.
P turns up at the garage, seeking sanctuary from Bozo Bimse, only to be spotted by a passing customer. P wants to be driven to Frankfurt, where he’ll disappear. Nicky retrieves P’s pills from his summer home, which the Police are pulling apart, but receives orders from Christensen to tie up the loose end in a more permanent way, by offing P. The Swede is still a bit too canny and has Bimse drive him off at gun-point. Bimse’s a bit clever though, contriving a stop during which he hides P’s pills as a lever against being let go. So P sticks a screwdriver through Bimse’s heart, for which Nicky puts a bullet through P’s head.
Nicky plans to disappear and send for Lina (who really is lovely: it would have been nice if Julie Gruntvig Wester could have had more screen-time) but when she gets pulled in by the Police, and is questioned as to whether Micky has had anything to do with the death of Benjamin Jepson – the now-deceased Bozo – it’s the final straw. Lina cuts all ties with Nicky, for both herself and little Milas.
But Nicky has a final mission: Christensen’s patience has evaporated and he wants Claudia to vanish. So, with everything lying in financial ruins, the Absolen siblings leaving their home, Steen suicidal and refusing to speak to her, Claudia comes home, strips off all her clothing and gets into the shower. Which is when Nicky levels an extremely phallic silenced gun at her.
Luckily, she’s put the television on in another room for the news she’s not listening to but which Nicky can hear. All about how the crisis is over, the Henson Group have saved the day, and about the tragic death of Knud Christensen, shot outside Police HQ today by Helge Larsen, grandfather of the dead teenager, Olga. Nicky steals away into the bright early evening, Claudia gives us a flash of tit, and Lina comes home to a shoulderbag full of 5,000,000 in bills, currency undefined, which Nicky had attempted to bribe Steen with. She cries, Nicky slides off into the night.
Wait a minute. The financial crisis is over? Henson has bailed Denmark out? Are we missing something here? No, it’s Maverick Mess, reversing all his characterisation. Mess has got the goods on Henson. He can put him away. He can break the biggest financial crime in Danish history. And he offers to shred the file. If Henson props up the economy.
So Mess goes back to HQ and, under the disbelieving eyes of Inscrutable Alf, shreds all the evidence. Because Mess has stopped caring. Because it doesn’t matter. Because before he was allowed to arrest Big Ban Knud, the Danish Finance Minister wanted him first, to bale out the country. Because for every Christensen there’s always someone bigger, richer and more distant behind him. Because Mess can’t do this any more. Because Mess is resigning.
It’s the Blake’s Seven ending again. The bad guys are too powerful for the good guys. It’s defeatism and gloomery and we-really-don’t-want-to-do-another-series-of-this.
And just like that, Follow the Money 2 ends, having thrown all its balls into the air and run away before they start coming down and someone might have to catch them. It’s a non-ending, really, a scorched-earth stop. You can’t say that there won’t be a third series, but on the evidence of the way this one was run into the ground, you can’t say that there’s obvious enthusiasm for doing this again.
It’s not just Blake’s Seven, it’s Douglas Adams/Mostly Harmless as well.
And it’s not at all satisfying.
Maybe we can have a Disappearance 2 next? I’m in the mood for something a bit not-Skandi…