Saturday SkandiHorrar: Black Lake 2 – episodes 5 & 6


Would you buy a used psychological course from this man?

I’m prepared to make one complimentary remrk about Black Lake 2, namely that it isn’t as egregiously stupid as Black Lake 1, and that it isn’t sliding inexorably into an horrendous mess, story-wise, or at least not yet. Other than that, it is a piece of crap, in a dull, leaden way as opposed to the sparkling, mad eye glitter of things like Follow the Money, Modus and, still the doyen of them all, Salamander.

Take episode 5. This was a long and slow affair, in which the course-mates, less the deceased Amina, were taken on a trek acoss the island to a semi-boarded up wooden building in which everyone was to wander around, take in the atmosphere lie down and contemplate (which not everybody did).

This took up practically the whole episode, especially Minnie, wandering around so slowly that it was tempting to suspect that the camera was running the digital equivalent of sixteen frames per second. We’re at episode 5, we’re into the back half, so structurally this is the glacial episode where we start getting a bit of connective tissue thrown at us so we are told that the island of Kallskar has always been an isolation ward, effectively, for Stockholm. The crumbling building was a cholera hospital, where victims of epidemics were shunted off to live or die. Later, during the Second World War, it was a camp for Baltic refugees, several of whom, no doubt, had been executed in that pre-credits scene in episode 1, visited by the little girl.

Episode 5 went heavy on the horror tropes, to the point where I got thoroughly sick of the slow forward pan towards a door or a room that creates tension in those who aren’t sick of the obvious manipulation. Vincent thinks creepy Oscar has something to do with Amina’s disappearance, Isabell takes it seriously, Johan doesn’t, and Minnie’s certain she’s getting psychic flashes from Maya (shades of Hanne in series 1, dead children ghosts, or maybe it’s just lack of creative originality).

Minnie’s getting close to connection in a creepy room whose doors open and close (creakily) all by themselves. Creepy Oscar asks what she’s doing, breaking the ‘connection’. She complain about it, as if he’s done it deliberately, to Johan, who tells her to forget it, get her certificate and get out, but she’s too far gone for that kind of rationality. Instead, she goes back on her own, sees a little golden-haired girl.

Incidentally, we learn that wheen Josefine disappeared last year, three weeks later, her daughter Elsa disappeared on her way home from school. Josefine was in a custody battle. Q.E.D., nothing to see here, move on.

Episode 5 ends with someone late at night digging. They uncover a human skull, shift it out the way. Then they start shovelling the dirt over the body of Amina.

Next up, it’s supposed to be the debriefing session, of digital videocamera, for everyone with Uno. There are differing outcomes. Vincent, who’s not afraid of his emotions, ends up sobbing his heart out. Isabell, who’s mentally and emotionally divorced her family, is a former drug addict with connections to Gittan, who straightened her out, that go back years: she’s very familiar with the island. Oscar believes himself to be beyond help, which Uno automatically, and banally, seizes upon as a perfect starting point for help, but he’s here to find out about Josefine. Minnie’s obsession and her statement that she’s seeing things leaves Uno veryworried about her, so she goes all sullen teenager, refusesto speak and walks out. Johan: Johan’s a prick who thinks he’s found the unanswerable blackmail material to get his own way.

But episode 6 is Minnie’s episode and it’s not healthy watching. The girl’s getting obsessed. She took a photo from the cholera hospital, of the Mannheim family, long-term owners of the island. There’s a little blonde-haired girl in the corner, who obviously has to be Maya, but she’s not: guess what, she’s Gittan.

So crazy Minnie decides Gittan knows more about Maja than she’s letting on and enlists Johan to stand guard whilst she maniacly searches Gittan’s place and finds nothing (Johan sees a photo of a younger Isabell inside, does a mini-search and nicks the ledger that he thinks gets him his own way).

Minnie’s starting to crack up, and no wonder. She pleads with Agnes to phone her daughter, Luna, she just needs to talk to her. It’s genuine, and Agnes leaves her to talkin private. Little Luna has a friendwith a pet name and wants one of her own. But Minnie’s brush with sanity doesn’t last long: she seizes the chance to phone Josefine’s ex-husband, posing as a journalist. A casual last question, did Elsa have a pet name? Yes, but only Josefine used it: it was (wait for it) Maja.

Last bit next week. Here’s hoping for something better in a fortnight.

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