SaturdaySkandiKrime/Horrar: Black Lake 2 episodes 7 & 8


Shedunnit

All I can say is, I really hope they don’t try coming up with a third series of this.

I’ve been billing Black Lake 2 as a horror series all along, when I should have known better and guessed it would turn out to be crime behind it all, and this time without the leavening of horror that did form a strand in series 1. Put simply, Isabell has been in love with Uno for years, got pregnant by him at 17, had an abortion and found she couldn’t have children thereafter. So, when she saw him getting off with Josefine, she went mad, killed Josefine, kidnapped her daughter and has been ‘protecting’ her in the old Lighthouse on the island ever since. When Minnie finds Elsa/Maja, Isabell stabs her and nearly kills her, and when Uno comes to take Minnie out, she stabs him in the back, killing him. The hero who saves the day is, guess who? Johan the prick, suffering a completely inexplicable and un-prick-like reversal of character and coming back after he’d got away (with Lippi and Elin from series 1).

You probaly guessed all this last week, didn’t you?

Actually, I have to give the programme credit for one very adept piece of misdirection. Episode 7 was long and slow, stretching minimal story out by making things last, but at least entertaining us with some spectacular shots of the island: cliff paths, seascapes, magnificnt sea-caves and the old lighthouse, a lovely old building completely different from the columns we’re used to in Britain.

But there was a moment when Agnes looks worried as Minnie heads out yet again, alone, untrusted, everyone thinks she’s hallucinating. And I think, as I am meant to think, it’s Agnes. She’s the one. Hearty, SkandiBlonde, jolly hockey sticks Agnes, total believer in Uno’s course, she’s the killer.

And the two episodes dropped in plenty of non-blatant supporting material. Minnie finds Amina’s remains (and those of many others) in the cholera hospital, under the guard of creepy, crazy Oscar, waiting for the killer, brains him (gently) with the blunt side of a crowbar, convinces Uno she’s not imagining it. Uno takes the sensible course: everything’s off, contact the Police, get out.

But everybody’s mobile phones have been stolen and the phone ripped out of the wall. In a locked office to which only two people have keys, Uno and… Agnes. And a bit of business with Agnes taking unto herself a fireaxe. Sent me properly down the wrong path, and I admire things that can do that.

There was even an attempt to direct us back to Gittan, owner of the island, writer of a family history detailing all the ‘disappearances’ down the years (that opening scene was of her grandfather burying the Baltic refugees he’d killed, and killing the lighthouse keeper) and raver about the island containing something evil that mmakes people go bad things. She turns up with a shotgun and a canister of petrol, determined to burn the cholera hospital down, to prevent the Police sniffinf round her family secrets.

Incidentally, Grandad got his comeuppance: he was a passionate Stalinist, fled to Russia and died of starvation in a labour camp. Just a hint of irony, there.

But, of course, we learned last week that Gittan was Isabell’s foster mother. It shouldn’t be a surprise then that Isabell’s ‘defence’ is that it wasn’t her, it was the island: something evil made her do it against her will.

Frankly, it pissed me off that Johan should be the one who saves the day. His blackmail works, he gets his laptop, phone and Certificate of Attendance, calls brother Lippi and the boat (Lippi brings then-girlfriend Elin, a too short cameo from the fair Anna Astrom, who in series 1 will suffocate Lippi and be in turn strangled by Johan) and rocks off to Daddy’s meeting without a backward glance, let alone a tear.

Only to find, in episode 8, that he’s got Maja’s locket in his pocket, which convinces him, in defiance of everything we know about Johan, heavily reinforced in episode 7, that he must go back (what is this? Lost?). So, just when Minnie collapses through blood loss and appears to be dead, Johan’s boat appears in the dark, he spots the little girl waving Minnie’s torch and gets everything wrapped up (offscreen) in time to get her the medical attention that will save her life. Ho hum.

There’s even time for an in-joke. Johan says let’s not go there again, Minnie suggests somewhere different: skiing? Tortuously inserted reference to series 1 ticked off, we close on Minnie’s daughter Luna running towards her and a weary but sweet smile from a sweet-faced actress I’d watch again, hopefully in  something better.

Overall, this was an improvement on series 1 by simply not being anything near as bad, and by not lapsing into total incoherence in its final episodes. Not being as bad is, however, the best I could say: it suffered from not having enough plot for eight episodes, though maybe just too much for six, and it had an awful case of creeping camera, those slow forward pans meant to trigger tension that ended up so overused that all they triggered was tedium.

If they do think they’ve got a third series story, or even a viable common link character, I’ll probably watch it, because, you know, I do that and I blog it, so I’d do it to blog it. But I’d prefer not to, thank you very much.

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 MoneyModus 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.

Saturday SkandiHorrar: Black Lake 2 episodes 3 & 4


Attractive woman and total prick

I dunno, it’s just like the last one, a mixture of a down-to-earth criminal case and a horror-of-the-past supernatural backstory, with neither part fitting easily with the other. Just like last time, I’m already really only watching it for the attractive lead actress, whilst wanting something large and hairy, preferably with an axe, to drop out of a cupboard and chop Johan up into tiny little pieces.

He really is a prick, and he’s relentless about it to. I want my mobile and computer back, I want my mobile and computer back, I want my mobile and computer back, ad nauseam, and he’s constantly hunting for some dirty little edge that he thinks will get his own way. Minnie co-operates with him to some extent, but even she’s disgusted that he’s doing this for his computer, not because a woman went missing last year, presumed dead.

There’s a moment in episode 3 when Johan, and his got-you-this-time sneer, gets a public comeuppance from Uno. He can have his phone back on condition that he calls his father, tells him where he is and that he loves him. Uno even dials the number. Daddy answers peremptorily and Johan, in front of the rest of the course, can’t speak.

I’m almost sorry for him, but naturally he spends the rest of this week demonstrating exactly why he isn’t deserving of any kind of sympathy.

Last week’s key in the middle of nowhere is found by creepy Oscar. It’s the key to room 5, the room occupied by Josefine, the missing woman. Oscar searches the room, Johan searches the room, caretaker Gittan searches the room, Minnie searches the room, you’d think nobody has anything better to do. There’s a silver locket, unopenable, inscribed Maja. That’s Maja, not Josefine. Supernatural stuff involving bumps in the night (seriously) takes place around the lovely Minnie, who’s started shagging the robust Uno without removing a single item of clothing, except for the outdoor shower.

The thing is, last year, Josefina was also shagging Uno. Whose real name is Erik Larson, who’s ex-Foreign Legion and who was a murder suspect, all of which the monomaniacal Johan seizes on in his superior-but-stupid manner: of course he was a suspect, you self-centred moron, he ran the course.

(There’s a brief shot of flies gathering again that tells me there’s a body wedged somewhere between Minnie’s room 4 and the missing Josefine’s room 5, but I’m betting it’s Maja, and it’s something to do with the little girl in the prelude, that’s if that wasn’t the young Gittan).

Meanwhile, there are undercurrents spinning the story out so it doesn’t end too soon. Creepy Oscar’s hiding a gun. He’s here because of Josefine, that much is obvious. Isabella’s still cheerfully shagging Johan, who gets to clutch her tits a couple of times so we the audience don’t get to see them. Amina comes on to the Vincent, who has his wild streak, but Oscar spoils the deal for her, exposing her as not just back from last year but every year, fucking every man in sight because what she wants to do is fuck Uno and he isn’t interested.

Does this show really knowwhat it’s doing? No.

Having the scales ripped from her eyes in front of everybody kills it off for Amina. She runs away, packs hastily, tells the besimitten Vincent he means nothing to her, is about to take the motorboat and leave when, oh mother, she sees the body in the net, which we now presume is Josefine. Off she runs, in search of help. what she gets is a spade wellied to the back of the head. First one down. I’m going to go for two more next week, ok?

Saturday SkandiHorrar: Black Lake 2: episodes 1 & 2


So it’s back.

I’m not approaching the second series of Black Lake with any great enthusiasm, given that the first one descended into so horrendous a mess that this would have to be three times as good to be merely ordinary crap. Perhaps therefore I underrated the opening episode, and it is a better prospect than I’m immediately prepared to allow, but I wasn’t impressed except in one solitary and shallow aspect.

The show certainly isn’t prepared to go outside the parameters previously established. We open with a flashback scene in 1944, a little girl of age 6 or thereabouts, playing in the snowy woods. A shot rings out. She finds two men, one elderly, with a stick, one middle-aged, in naval uniform, digging a grave. There’s a rosy-cheeked wind-up toy which she sneaks out and pinches. As she’s running away, grandad swings a spade to the back of the navy man’s neck, killing him. Inside this old lodge, the girl plays with the toy, until she looks up at the old man.

That’s all we’re getting for episode 1. Remember last time, the ski-lodge was haunted by a long dead child, or so the attractive female lead was convinced, and we have the same thing all over again. This attractive female lead is Minnie, played by Hedda Stiernstedt, who isn’t a Sara-Sofie Boussnina, but has dark hair and eyes, a delicately upturned nose and an overall air of sweet attraction that will have me grumbling every time they take the camera away from her.

Minnie is one of six ‘patients’ who have come to the island of Kallskar, off Stockholm, for an intense fortnight long course of therapy in isolation, run by Uno Lejmond and his sturdy blonde assistant (and former patient) Agnes (Ester Udden). The others are Oscar, Vincent, Johan, Amina and Isabell. Isabell is a former sturdy brunette assistant, Amina and Oscar patients in previous years, Vincent just out of prison. Minni is trying to get custody of her daughter, which has been denied her for reasons unexplained.

Johan (Filip Berg) is our holdover from series 1. It is comforting to discover that Johan didn’t turn into a prick specifically for series 1, Johan is foursquare in his prickdom already. He’s here because Uno’s therapy was a better bet than prison when the Police copped him doing coke at a party: he needs a passing grade from Uno to resume his business management course. But his Dad doesn’t know about any of this and is expecting Johan to take a business meeting for him very shortly, so Johan is being  particularly prickish over certain fizzy rules like no mobiles, no laptops and no leaving the island. Johan believes something can be sorted out if he pays enough money. He’s not here because of any sob-stories.

The kind of therapy in question is exemplified the first night. Minnie hears a cry for help, and for Mummy. The others race out to help. It’s in the well. Minnie’s so concerned, she goes down on the chain: of course they bollocks up holding her, dropping her into the water. She comes up with a bag wrapped around a walktie-talkie, talked and walked by… Agnes. Teamwork, cooperation, under pressure, all for a seeming stranger.

Mind you, Minnie appears to have an affinity for falling in the water. Early in the morning, just after solving the mystery of the amazing disappearing fly, and discovering a fly mausoleum behind the cabinet in her roon, she goes out down to the rocks. She sees some netting, floating nearby, very much human sized. This time, trying to snag it, she plunges in all by herself (no wet t-shirts, coises, coises). We’re only a minute or two from the end of episode 1 by now so you just knooow there’s going to be a body in it, and with true unpredictability… there is.

Funnily enough, from this angle it looks like Johan…

Except that episode 2, with equal unpredictability, sees the body disappear when Minnie leads everyone back to look at it. And we learn, first privately via Uno, then openly in therapy, that the lovely Minnie had/has drug problems, which caused her to have hallucinations. She protests she’s been clean over a year, though it’s doubtful how many of her coursemates believe (actually, in the case of the prick Johann, there’s no doubt whatsoever). The body at any rate was not a hallucination, which is confirmed by a brief night-scene of a rowing boat, rower unknown, towing it through the water…

Ah, Johan. Only two episodes in and you’re longing to see something shitty happen to him, only we know it won’t because he survives into series 1. He will not let this phone/laptop/boat thing go, even though Isabell (Alida Morberg), a workaholic nursery teacher, draws him into her bed for an apparently vigorous shag, albeit not so different that she doesn’t leave him fast asleep in her bed to pay a visit to Uno’s quarters.

But the episode does take a serious turn towards the psycholgical in the case of Johan. It’s obstacle course day, on ‘The Killer’. Bella sits it out for reasons ungiven, Minnie gets a thorn in her foot and retires but Johan won’t let it lie. He challenges Uno to The Killer. If he wins, he gets his phone and laptop back. If Uno wins, everybody has to do the forfeit. Which, when Uno wins by tripping Johan, turns out to be three laps of The Killer. Way to drive a wedge, turn everyone against the prick.

But there’s a serious point to be made by Uno. Making everyone pay that forfeit was seriously unfair. So why didn’t they speak up?  Why didn’t they protest something manifestly wrong? Because they were afraid to, from peer-group pressure, from the father-like role Uno has taken, from not wanting to look weak. This goes double for Johan, who was cheated by Uno and didn’t even protest that. Johan, whose efforts to buy out the rules are to satisfy his overwhelming father, who asked him to suggest a wine with their meal then overrode Johan’s choice.

There is something more going on there than a snarky mind is allowing for. And someone went missing on last year’s course. A woman, never found, who had room 5, the one next door to Minnie, from which all the spooky noises, jarrings and… hallucinations are coming. Something supernatural is stirring. The wind-up toy turns up outside Minnie’s door. She goes off into the night, seeing a subterranean access to room 5. A discarded key lies in the moonlight… Oh look, it’s end of episode 2.

I still think it’s going to turn out as hokum again, but I am reserving a little bit of judgement. In case.

 

Saturday SkandiCrime: Trapped – parts 7 & 8


So the seige of Seydisfordur has ended and Detective Trausti and his trusty team (including the press-leaking Thor) are on the scene, just in time to have a suspect handed to thm on a plate by Andri and Co. It’s an easy win, an open-and-shut case, a quick score: less than a single episode and Andri’s ex-partner in the Reykjavik Police is heading back home with a signed confession in his back pocket and said suspect, the poor, put-upon, cuckolded Sigurdur in the back seat of his helicopter. There’s only one minor problem…

Except that there are several. Trausti arrives with not only an over-inflated opinion of his own value but with a contempt for and hatred towards Andri that leads him to instantly dismiss any idea or opinion held by the man who has led this investigation for the last five days. Sigurdur is clearly undergoing some form of mental stress: he looks and acts like the victim of extreme shock, his expression that of someone who has no idea what e’s seeing, his mouth perpetually open. He can’t speak, only breathe, loudly.

To Trausti, it’s a con, theatrics, a put-on. When Andri suggests a doctor, Trausti dismisses not just the idea but the Seydisfjordur trio: the case is his and his men’s alone.

As a stopgap, Andri and Hinrika start to pursue the issue of the trafficking of the Nigerian girls, tracing the snowman-breaking to the African chef on the ferry, and getting, through him, a lead on Captain Carlsson and his ‘friend’, who is revealed as being the Engineer.

Trausti goes off to search Sigurdur’s home, dismissing the alibi his wife Aldis provided for him, seemingly with good reason, for the search turns up a chainsaw, that has not entirely been cleaned of blood. Trausti heads back to the Police Station to resume browbeating Sigurdur, who is still not speaking. There’s smething about his face though, as Trausti lead through an imagined scenario creating a motive for killing Mayor Hrafn, as if he’s listening with polite interest to something that doesn’t really concern him, whilst working something out in his head, and it’s a brilliant performance by Thorstein Bachman.

By the time Andri and Hinrika get back, Siggy has confessed, in writing and Trausti is triumphant. It’s bullshit, and we know that instantly because the confession – to two murders – is about eight straggly lines of handwriting long. Andri is bemused and contemptuous. It lacks everything, especially when it comes to Hrafn. Evidence is overlooked or ignored, motive is absent, it’s the work of an amateur, but Trausti doesn’t care: it’s a confession. He’s cracked the case in half a day, where Andri didn’t in five. One press conference in the open air and it’s helicopter back to Reykjavik with the prisoner.

Who, under the eyes of the television cameras, once the copter reaches an adequate height, springs his cuffs, yanks open the door and throws himself out of the helicopter to his death. Just one little problem…

Trausti has fucked it up completely, but he still holds himself out as being superior to Andri. After all, Andri fucked up a case in Reykjavik that resulted in a dead girl never being found, and her killer getting away with it. Trausti still thinks he’s better than Andri. After all, he got his cushy Reykjavik job through shopping his senior partner to the bosses for strongarming the wrong suspect…

Andri is seriously pissed off, enough so that the genial, loadbearer briefly takes it out on those around him, contemptuous of Hinrika for not knowing what ‘real’ police work is, dismissive of the estranged Agnes who tries to help him set up a temporary bed on the couch: the roads are clear, why hasn’t she pissed off back to Reykjavik with her new boyfriend and his kids?

But Andri being Andri, he’s soon apologising. Hinrika isn’t bothered about apologies, just about the true story. Andri admits that the last five days, genuine investigating, is the real him, not the small town Police chief. Spurred by Hinrika’s support, Andri decides to arrest Captain Carlsson, even though the idiot Trausti, in complete ignorance of what’s going on, has eleased the ferry to leave…

Still, Andri gets there first and he and Hinrika start questioning Carlsson at the station, until the fool Trausti throws his weight about, ordering Andri to a more important task: stopping Sigurdur’s widow, Aldis, from talking live to the Press and criticising the Police. The idiot even shuts down Hinrika’s questioning even as Carlsson is beinning to admit something dodgy’s going on, and that he’s only part of it out of fear.

Andri has no intention of shutting Aldis up. In fact he agrees with her: the investigation’s been a complete bodge-up and he doesn’t believe Siggy was guilty. Aldis now admits to him that, on the night of Geirmundur’s murder, Siggy did go out late on, summoned by Hrafn, and that she didn’t see him until morning, when she found him in a state of shock, refusing to tell her what’s going on.

Armed with this and some info from his friend the coroner in Reykjavik that confirms Trausti has even got the murder weapon wrong, Andri writes a report to the Police Chief in the capital. Siggy’s suicide is headline news, and the idiot is the ideal candidate for a scapegoat. And if you weren’t enjoying that enough, we are to find out that Asgeir has leaked Andri’s secret report to the Press. As a favour to Andri, our favourite TV producer will keep it quiet for a while, but now she’s twisting the knife in Trausti’s back even further, by asking whether Sigurdur fell – or was he pushed?

Suddenly, the invesrigation is not only open again, but it has a new leader: Andri.

And things are developing rapidly on the trafficking side. Carlsson, in return for protection for his family, starts to cough to the Police. His ‘friend’ is no friend, nor is he an engineer. He’s a vicious bastard, a frightener, and he hasn’t left the boat in years, either in Iceland or Denmark. And there are things going on in Seydisfjordur that the Police don’t begin to suspect.

With Reykjavik’s assistance, the ‘engineer’ is identified as a very dangerous criminal named Dvalinn (it’s pronounced Dwalin, as in The Hobbit). And now he’s left the boat and gone to the hotel to contact Gudni – who, like his friend Leifur of the fish factory, is thankful Siggy’s not going to be talking). Slightly surprisingly in a man so all-fired dangerous, he gets captured by Andri and Asgeir.

Slowly does it. Andri’s back in charge, with a lot to do, but with at least a breathing space. Agnes fills some of that breathing space by coming to apologise for how she’s treated Andri. He’s philosophical about the breakdown of their elationship, the fact that they both hurt each other, albeit unintentionally. He’s even begrudgingly admiring of boyfriend Sigvaldi, who isn’t a total dickhead and who’s behaving better than Andri could have done.

But Agnes is a mass of quivering sexual tension, which she’s not directing at Sigvaldi, although the philosophical Andri seems oblivious of it. Until she snogs him, that is, at which point Icelandic bears of men do what Icelandic bears of men do, and very whole-heartedly.

There are going to be consequences of this. I mean, Sifvaldi’s already suspicious when Agnes and Andri come home together…

In the morning, the sun’s out, everything’s thawing, it’s peaceful and quiet. Andri has his washing to do. His mother-in-law adds some things, but tells him not to wash father-in-law Eoirikur’s pants: they’re ‘reeking’ and she’s going to wash them separately, tomorrow. But as Andri is refolding them, somehing falls out of the pocket. It’s a key. A padlock key.

And it unlocks the padlock that was used to lock the door of the shed in which Mayor Hrafn burned to death…

Saturday ScandiCrime: Trapped episodes 5 & 6


Hinrika

Coming your way rather later than usual, on account of this having been a particularly shitty week and my having been too exhausted to focus when the latest two instalments of Trapped were first broadcast.

Perhaps it was just that I was watching in daylight for once, but the first of this week’s two episodes was surprisingly slow, nor did it do much to advance the story. Not that I’m complaining in the slightest, since it was also superb from start to finish. We left Andri, Sigurdur and his elderly Dad, Godmundur, being overwhelmed by a CGI avalanche that was not, frankly, of the best CGI. Not that this mattered either, not in the context of the aftermath, which was that the fall knocked out the powerlines, and the entire town of Siglufjordur got switched off in an instant: no light, no heat, no mobile phone signals.

This was a game-changer, and I’m only sorry that the power came back on late in episode 6, because the sense of claustrophobia, and the underlying notion that everyone in town was trapped with the murderer, was there to be ramped up.

But that’s not where the show went. True, it had Andri delivering a message to the community, in the Church, admitting that he, Hinrika and Asgeir have no answers, but promising that they will do everything to bring the culprit in, and in the meantime almost demanding that the town does not turn in upon itself in suspicion.

Instead, the majority of episode 5 concentrated on the three men in the snow. All three survived, but Godmundur had suffered a spinal injury. Whilst Sigurdur guarded him, Andri stumbled into the night, looking at the end of his tether, to seek help. In the end, this came in the form of the Ferry Doctor and a team of orange-suited helpers on jet-skis.

The conditions were hell, if hell can be constructed from snow, ice and wind. It was imperative that Godmundur not be moved, but with no form of aerial rescue remotely possible in the treacherous conditions, Andri took responsibility for getting Godmundur down. All it achieved was the old man’s death. But even in this taut, near-episode long diversion, the overall plot was served: Godmundur’s land, the vital parcel he was refusing to sell to the Chinese Conglomerate, passed into the hands of poor, pliable Sigurdur, he who is under that thumb of evil-plotting Mayor Hrafn.

What made episode 5 shine even more was that so much of its dangers and strictures was contrasted, in alternating scenes, with the local teenagers breaking into the swimming pool and having a candlelight pool party. Scarred Hjortur was dragged in by a couple of girls and, by implication, got his end away with the blonde one, though his attention remained fixed on young Johanna, niece to the unfortunate Dagny and wielder of a pretty mean bikini. Johanna even slipped off into the showers for some Icelandic snogging with one lad who, assuming she was into the kinky stuff, tied one of her hands. For a moment, it looked like sinister stuff might occur but some stern repetitions of ‘Untie me’ was all that was needed to quell the lad’s progress.

And meanwhile, little Hinrika – who is becoming a more formidable character by the episode, the more so for the deliberate choice of a non-beauty actress in a leading role – sat out events, cut off by the avalanche at Ragnvoldur’s cabin, keeping him company in the dark and learning several interesting things from his accounts of his telescopic voyeurism, including news of a public argument between Mayor Hrafn and Geirmundur, he of the purloined torso.

Yes, the compass needle of crime is swinging definitely in the direction of the ex-Chief of Police. Which is why it came as a bit of a shock when, in the closing minutes of the episode, someone known to our wife-beating Mayor but not to us fetched him a couple of hefty ones with a spade, sloshed good liquor all over the place, set it alight and then padlocked the suspect in his shed, to burn to death under the watchful eyes of the widow Kolbrun.

So episode 6 saw things back on track. Andri, despite no apparent sleep in at least 48 hours, soldiers on manfully, lumbering towards the truth. Little pieces of plot bubbled to the surface in his slow wake. Marie, unmarried mother of fatherless Maggi, seems particularly upset at Hrafn’s death: is she mourning a father figure, or is there a baser reason why Maggi’s father doesn’t come to visit him?

Agnes’ concern for her ex-husband grows to the point of a hug in the churchyard, witnessed by elder daughter Thorhildur, who accuses her of still loving Daddy. Even her elder sister, Laufey, is critical of her for running out on her marriage. Just what lies behind that?

Asgeir clears the pool of miscreants. He finds the Swiss Bruno Weisman, the missing passenger who was originally thought to be torso-boy but of more importance he finds the German tourists’ missing camera, and on it an accidental shot of Geirmundur arguing with someone else: Sigurdur.

Whilst the power is being restored, the winds ease sufficiently to enable the Reykjavik Forensics Squad fly in by helicopter, under the command of Andri’s antagonist, Detective Tressi. They land in the square, just as a chase comes to an end.

For Andri and Hinrika, visiting Sigurdur, have found Lrifur and Gudni just leaving, a pair who seemed concerned about Sigurdur’s reliability after his Dad’s death. And right they are too: no sooner is Siggi confronted with the film of his quarrel with Geirmundur than he throws a wobbler, leaps into his car and shoots off.

The chase is on. Thanks to Rognvaldur, our Police trio discover that Sigurdur has headed off into the fjord, with a rifle. Using the little police jet-boat, they shoot off into the middle of that magnificent scenery, board his boat and overpower him. Siggi’s been messing with the hold hatch. When Andri and Asgeir lift it, there is incriminating evidence within: a headless and limbless torso with multiple stab wounds…

Oh dear. Oh very very dear.