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.