For some of the classic series, the reduction of the standard ten-episode format to eight is a disappointment, but for the average-at-best stuff like this, it’s a blessing to know I’ll have it all over and done with next weekend. Even at a taut eight episodes, this still feels like some things have been put in to pad it out.
To be honest, I can’t summon up much enthusiasm for finishing this, not even for the $64,000 question of whether Emma, the last hostage, will be found alive (I’m guessing yes but the programme is sufficiently infatuated with its own supposed ‘darkness’ that it might kill her just to prove it).
Both the short, black and white flashbacks this week helped us to understand the fair but homicidal Stine. In the one, she’s getting raped by her overly tall and nasty brother Mikkel, the one whose birthday party her mother is so insistent on her attending (she’s 16, he’s 19). Oh well, that explains it all. In the other, the slimeball has already ‘confessed’ to Ma and Pa to pushing her over and making her bump her head but denied her other accusation, and of course Mummy and Daddy don’t believe her and think she’s just wickedly passing off what some other of her endless shags has done to her. Oh well, that explains any leftover bits of it all that we didn’t take from the first one.
I know we’re not supposed to feel sympathy for psychopathic serial killers, especially ones that get their victims to write a beautiful, heartfelt, farewell letter to their parents then burn it in front of the girl, but I did thoroughly enjoy Stine attending Mikkel’s birthday party, tinkling a glass and standing up to tell the assembled guests her story about her brother. Yes, that one. She wasn’t a sixteen year old slut, he was her first.
The rest of it was the investigation progressing in fits and starts. Louise clears announcing Anders’ name publicly in the belief he and his accomplice will go dormant. Unfortunately, he reacts by trying to snatch someone off the street. The Police do get tip-offs that lead them to where Anders is sleeping when he’s not at Stine’s and, significantly, they retrieve the dress of Natasha, his first one.
This does not go down well with Anders, who is stupidly determined to get the dress back, which he attempts by kidnapping Louise (didn’t see that coming), smacking her about and demanding she tell the cops to bring the dress to her or he’ll kill her. He really is stupid. Fortunately, he’s interrupted by a security guard before this development gets to a point where he and it get out of control and he has to kill the second lead in episode 5.
The personality sink that is lead investigator Jan is not there for Louise because, in contradiction of my prediction he’s not getting his rocks off with our dark-haired psychologist, but rather with karate instructor and volunteer unofficial civilian decoy Sisse (Malene Beltoft Olsen, looking very nice). Don’t worry, he does get to sleep with Louise in episode 6, though I can’t claim that because it’s on her couch and he’s fast asleep when she curls up beside him.
Anyway, episode 6 is all about Louise recovering from her ordeal whilst the fuzz start to make real progress. Louise’s women’s group prompts her to ask if Anders’ accomplice is a woman, not a man, and Jan finds the missing link between the slurry tank victims that gives them the name of Stine Velin.
Who has told Anders they have to stop and get out, and he’d better get rid of his little blonde girl himself. And she’s just finished packing when the doorbell goes. No, not the Police, just an extremely pissed and pissed-off Mikkel, who’s still the victim in all this, who’s come round to tell Stine that he never wants to see her again (oh the ironic comic cliche of it!) and she’d better not contact their parents again (why on Earth would she want to). Then he blows it rather by snogging her, though if I were looming drunkenly over Signe Egholm Olsen, I would probably have done the same thing. Not that she would have enjoyed it any more than her oh-so-charming brother.
With doubled irony, the intrusion of Mikkel holds Stine up just long enough for the Police to arrive, bristling with riot gear and assault rifles. Mikkel gets arrested. Stine, quick-thinking, plays the victim card, Anders threatened to kill her. Everyone storms the basement, looking for Emma. But she’s gone. And so’s Anders…
If this were a British series, I wouldn’t have touched it with a bargepole. I’m only watching it because it’s Skandi, but not all Skandis are Skandi, if you know what I mean. End of the series next week. I can only hope that if there’s another Skandi lined up for two weeks hence, it’s one of the great ones. I’m not holding my breath.