It didn’t even take half the first episode this week to have it confirmed that this story is going to be stretched out way beyond its meagre ability to entertain, and it only took the self-same episode to establish that Those Who Kill is not going to offer us anything original in terms of developing its sordid little tale.
This latter moment was brought to us by Emma, the newly-taken of Anders Kjelvard’s two little-blonde-girl prisoners in the fortified basement of Avis lady Stine’s house. Julie, who has been prisoner six months, is broken, unable to fight or resist or hope, convinced that Emma’s arrival means her time is up. In this, she is correct.
But Emma still has spirit. She frees a length of piping from the supply to the washing machine and, when Anders comes to take Julie, she cracks him over the head with it and, when he goes down, does so a second time. He’s helpless, dazed, semi-conscious at best. My God, when will someone, anyone, take this as a cue to beat his fucking brains out? Smash his skull to pulp, make sure he doesn’t get up ever again. You know, incapacitate him.
Oh no, two whacks, just daze him and then run up the stairs to the locked door by which you are trapped and here he is. Emma gets her head punched, Julie gets her finger cut off and her body wrapped in plastic, though only the red smear on the plastic alerts you to the finger thing.
That’s arrived in the story courtesy of Louise, our lovely psychologist, suggesting the files be combed (in Sweden too) for connectable cases. So it’s off to the country of Saga Noren, Landskrim, Malmo (who is dearly needed to give this dull tosh some life) to a dead body with a missing finger and a wierd mix of matching and non-matching M.O. characteristics.
Throw in a rift between our lead investigator and our psychologist, because the latter thoughtlessly psychologises the former over his foul-mouthed and ignorant ill temper at learning his ex-, Annemarie, is not gravitating back to him but has, for the last four months, been gravitating towards the loins of Danny (who’s he, and does it matter?).
Throw it out, conveniently on the way to a lead that uncovers three bodies, all nine-fingered, dumped in a slurry tank by dear sweet Anders. Have Anders turn up with Julie’s body, realise his plans are up the slurry, add in a short car chase in which Jan the Man is too easily thrown off after reading only seven characters off Anders’ number-plate, and I’m left with nothing. It’s too feeble even to snark. Where are the Salamanders of this world?
But that still left episode 4. Might that have more meat on its bones, and might that meat be tasty, or at least stringy enough to go after heartily?
We began the second part with a micro-flashback to a girl walking along a deserted road, rejecting the offer of a lift on a bike then accepting it second time. He’s Anders, she’s Stine. Later on, the now isolated Emma gets Stine to talk to her, to admit she’s a victim of Anders too, taken into the woods a virgin, raped, afraid for her life, under his thumb. But Emma’s talk of God persuades Stine to release her, taken far away, blindfolded, in the trunk of her car. Hold that thought.
Jan, aka tall, dark, gloomy and a miserable shit on top of that, is driving around aimlessly, looking for the car he lost last night and being pretty bloody. When Louise suggests there are better ways of using their time, he throws her out at a bus stop (nothing due for hours) and tells her to fuck off. Then his colleagues report finding the car in a gravel pit. The dead Julie is in the trunk. The pathologist places time of death between five and seven. When Jan chased the car at three a.m., Julie was still alive.
That’s a pretty devastating blow, though with one-note Jan it’s hard to tell, except by his resigning from the Police, driving to the former marital home and starting work on the bathroom. Of course Annemarie will welcome him back and it’ll all go back to normal, like it was before. Clue: no it won’t.
It’s a dumb move, mere padding for the story as this whole subplot clearly is, and padding with a hole in it that an entire water tank could slide through, since the only person he tells he’s resigned to is Louise, you know, the useless psychologist he treats with utter contempt.
It needs to be Louise for the scene where she spots that Julie is wearing Emma’s other earring, thus drawing him back, but it’s still a spot of crappy scriptwriter’s convenience.
There’s another hole in the plot too, and that’s about Julie. We saw her being wrapped in plastic at the end of episode 3, ring finger removed, and Anders was taking her to be dumped in the slurry pit, where he’s already dropped three bodies. Bodies, not live people. Julie died after this.
And our intrepid police band wind up episode 4 by determining that Anders is not working alone. He’s a sexual predator, turned on by absolute power. His accomplice is the killer, and ring finger souvenir-taker. And guess what? It’s Stine. Only the timelines don’t work for the twin modus operandi.
Halfway through, the show’s trying to be dead clever and only revealing itself to be dead stupid. At least, the way things are going, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that Jan and Louise are going to shag next week. If we ask nicely, we may get away without it happening at all…