Saturday SkandiCrime: The Bridge 3 – episodes 9 & 10


I’m not sure I have the words for this right now, but then I’m not sure I will have the words ever. What follows is an exploration of an experience that is I think unquantifiable.

The third series of The Bridge came to an end in a manner that verged upon the melodramatic, as opposed to the tragic inevitability that drew the second series to a close. There will be those who will criticise certain elements of the final half hour, and I suppose that if I were capable of objectivity at this point, I might join in such carping. In working its way to the still point that came to exist between Saga Noren and Henrik Sabroe there were things dismissable as cliches, and as unpardonable sentimentality.

But to paraphrase myself some thirty years ago, there are many things that are foolish and fallow in and off themselves that are given strength by context, and by the end I was as deep within The Bridge as was Emil Larsson in his painting that, at the last he attempted to recreate in the deaths of Freddie Holst, Jeanette’s baby and himself.

Yes, Emil Larsson was the murderer, leaving me exposed as right about it not being Creepy Annika and wrong about it being the miserable bastard Claes. Now was the time for the plot to be worked out, and the story burned with a clear light as all the red herrings, the misleading actions, the characters whose relevance to the story turned out to simply be that they were too near at the wrong time, were left by the wayside and episode 9 became a linear, focused story at last.

The opening scene relieved me of my worst fears: Jeanette gave birth, naturally, and the baby was taken. Yes, she was left to bleed out to death, and would have died but for Freddie having placed a controlling tracker in her mobile phone and found her just in time. But when you consider where they could have gone with the extraction of the baby – I am minded of issue 87 of 100 Bullets at this point – this was far less gruesome to watch.

So the hunt was on for the missing baby, and for Creepy Annika, and suspiciously missing Claes, whilst the Police tried to keep Freddie, in his monomania about his son, from throwing himself into the hands of the killer.

Police, in this instance, included Saga, whose suspension was almost laughably short. Speaking of laughably, Linn the Troll actually put the idiot Rasmus up as her replacement, which Henrik treated with the appropriate contempt and, as soon as it was ‘all resources’ had Saga back immediately.

As an aside, I had a hope that Rasmus would confound expectations and prove to be competent, but no, he was still crap. And Saga’s distrust of his combing of the scene of Jeanette’s discovery led to her and Henrik going back and finding a padlocked room, inside which a drugged Creepy Annika was held. This led to her and Claes being cleared in pretty short order and Annika being pretty swiftly punctured by the news that Claes had not reported her missing but seemed rather relieved that she’d gone! There are times when you really don’t want Saga to learn any social niceties, though she was sweet in her awkward apologies to John over his daughter being wounded, and even bought the girl a self-help manual to help her cope with crises!

With all leads cut off, Morton Anker came back into the picture, having tried to get into Fredie’s some months back with a friend who didn’t show. That re-directed suspicions back towards Freddie as an absentee father, which in turn led to investigations at an artificial examinations clinic. No, there were no records for Creepy Anna’s mother Renata, and without a name, the only way to get information was with a code. A code… Henrik’s got one of those and it opens the door. To donor Freddie Holst and mother Anna-Marie Larsson: mother of Emil, who, we rapidly realised, was so far out of sight of sanity that even Jodrell Bank couldn’t locate the echo of him.

Appropriately, a horribly drawn out situation leading to a seemingly inescapable last round of deaths was prevented by Saga and Henrik arriving in the nick of time, though Saga was none too quick to keep Emil, killer of Hans, from strangling to death. The final scenes took place on a small, flat, almost deserted island, Sandholm, adjacent to the Oresund Bridge (I now have the dream of one day driving across that Bridge): midway between Denmark and Sweden.

So the plot is done, but we all know there’s more to come. Linn the Troll complements Saga. Saga asks Henrik to come with her to Hans’ funeral tomorrow. Henrik has seen his girls around the house again but not Alice, his wife. Lilian arrives at his home with news Henrik tries to reject, with panicky intensity that sparked tears: a skeleton has been dug up, after being in the ground six years. For all he tries to void listening, Lilian is implacable. It has positively been identified as Alice. But, oh horror of horrors, she is alone. The girls are lost.

Henrik’s manic attempt to reinvestigate the whole thing overnight, whilst stuffing himself with uppers and downers till he passes out, ends with him in hospital. When Saga visits, he admits to using narcotics, non-stop since the disappearance. It’s a crime that will have to be reported… And in the echo Saga faces, she reminds Henrik of why she doesn’t let people get close to her.

But the spiral begins. At the station, Linn reports that Emil is dead, wrists slashed by a paperclip, stolen from the statement Saga wanted him to sign whilst she was distracted. Instead of reporting Henrik, Saga reports herself. Worse is to come: though Linn the Troll generously says she believes Saga didn’t touch her mother, the forensics mean an investigation will be made. Saga is cop enough to know that the evidence is bad for her, though she’s innocent, she’ll be convicted.

Henrik though discharges himself from the hospital. Lillian won’t allow him to work his daughters’ disappearance either officially or by giving him leave, so he resigns from the Denmark Police. Crossing the Bridge, he finds Saga’s desk cleared, is updated by John. He can’t find her anywhere, but she’s down at the train tracks, where her younger sister committed suicide. He finds her there, tries to talk her round, even starts towards her but she pulls a gun on him and, as the train races towards thrm, she moves, and it’s like Holy Mary, Mother of God, Jesus Christ, she hasn’t, they haven’t, no they couldn’t…

And I really feared, but instead Saga is on her knees, weeping uncontrollably, and I nearly was too, and hell’s bells, but she looked a completely different woman with her face that way, and Henrik puts his arms round her…

The very last scene is them reading the Missing Persons’ file. Henrik discovers a clue, a car stolen, not ten minutes from his house. It’s a lead. It’s also a six year old car theft that’s unlikely to lead anywhere. But they’ve neither of them anyhing better to do…

And yes, you can see for yourselves all the things that people will use to tear down this ending, but I can’t go there, I can never be that objective about it. The game has changed, and if there’s to be a The Bridge 4, which I sincerely hope there will, I haven’t a clue where it will go, but I will superglue myself to the screen if that’s what it takes to ensure I see it.

What did you think?

Saturday SkandiCrime: The Bridge 3 – episodes 7 & 8


                                                  Freddie and Asa

Time seems uncommonly elastic when it comes to watching The Bridge: the number of things that happened in tonight’s two episodes could not reasonably have been encompassed in a mere two hours.

And yet, despite those moments in each episode when the action kicked in, this was an night of evenness, of steadiness, of progression as a host of myriad details began to tie together and something approximating to a picture – vague, abstract – began to form.

I’ll begin with what, in the face of a lot of creepiness, was the most disturbing element of the night. Last week, we left Saga at Henrik’s place, privy to Henrik’s secret, that he is haunted by the ‘ghosts’ of his missing wife and children. It seems that the closing scene where he shut the bedroom door on Alice (he and Saga were only going to sleep, not screw) was more symbolic: in the morning, Henrik cannot see or hear his family. Later, he will begin to pack away, with carefulness and delicacy, all the children’s things.

To Saga, this is simply a decision he has made, not to see them. What she doesn’t know is that Henrik has also foresworn his pills for the day. It’s strange that Saga actually notices the change in him, as cold turkey gets colder: not only does Henrik understand her better than anyone since Hans, but Saga seems to be more aware of him, and as the episodes progress, more needful.

Mention of Hans leads me to the sad news given to Lilian that he is brain-dead. She will agree to the turning off of his life support, but brings Saga to pay her last respects first, a last respects that consisted of her angrily beating the unconscious Hans about the chest, for his desertion of her.

More and more, feelings, unwanted, beyond understanding, are forcing themselves upon Saga. She is clinical enough to diagnose herself as being between the first two stages, Shock and Denial, and therefore expecting it to get worse. What she needs to do is work, but by the end of episode 8, Linn the Troll has taken her off the case and ordered her to take days off.

It’s not just Hans, and not just the deaths of her parents but, as we could see coming, Mrs Noren’s ‘suicide’ has now been judged murder, and Internal Affairs are looking at Saga. And why not? All the evidence, including a nail-clipping, plus Saga’s lack of an alibi (drawn aside by an e-mail proven to have been sent, on a timer, from her own computer) points at Saga. Her explanation of why this is an elaborate revenge plot by her late Mum is completely plausible – if you’re a viewer of the series. If you’re the elderly Internal Affairs guy…

Saga is last seen down by the railway tracks, watching the trains go by. Her sister did that. Just before throwing herself under one.

But these are peripheral things, the human aspects of our two investigators. What of the case? What of the great, churning, interweaving mass of stories by now deeply bound into what I would prefer not to call a spider’s web if I could think of any remotely comparable metaphor that hasn’t been cliched to death?

Episode 7 begins with the random burglary of an isolated cottage that uncovers the latest murders. There are two, an elderly couple who used to foster kids, using the welll-known fostering principles of cruelty, beatings and neglect.

The Body part daisy chain continues, with the eyes strung ickily on the Xmas tree but the late Filip’s head cut-off and his brain whipped out. Yeuch.

Suddenly, things start coming together with extreme rapidity. There’s a familiar name of the list of men sacked from Incurious Lars’ company at Freddie capitalist behest and the same name is also on the list of probably disgruntled fosterlings: Emil Larsson, museum guard and all-round smartarse who last week drew Saga and Henrik’s attention to the running theme of the murder sites reflecting artwork in Freddie Holst’s collection.

Rapidly, a chain of connections to nearly everyone places young Emil right in the frame.

Just before this, we get a brief diversion into frustrated activity. John’s bit-on-the-side, Paparazzi Tina is taking photos outside the Holsts, and captures Asa and her artificial baby bump. She ends up in the police station defending herself against her spying, at which point the connection is made between her contact’s e-mail address and the code.

Thanks to John, an e-mail is sent with a trojan horse, enabling them to track Mr (or Ms) Mystery’s iPad. Unfortunately, the Idiot Marc, who did indeed lost the cottage, has stolen it and fenced it. He’s trying to raise the cash to get it back although Freddie’s already bought it back for Babybump Jeanette (don’t worry, I’ll catch up with that strand as soon as I can).

However, Mystery also traces the iPad and blows away the fence just before the Police get there. S/he’s driving a yellow car (yes, Soder’s car) and they’ve previously been watching Asa Holst with presumably malicious intent. There’s a frantic chase but they lose him, principally because s/he bends the iPad into a V shape and chucks it in a pond.

I’m saying s/he because, no sooner is Emil identified as the big bad, he turns up on a lonely road, battered and bleeding, and pretty rapidly cleared. Why he’s been let go is incredibly off the pattern, until Henrik quotes another of Freddie’s collection: “The One That Got Away”.

By an amazing feat of deduction that puts the Swedish police points ahead of their Danish counterpart, Emil’s kidnapper is traced. She was a fosterling with him and her home has every but of evidence needed to connect her to every murder. And guess who she is? None other than Creepy Annika, Funeral Director and Stalker.

And she’s missing, last seen, by Claes, catching a train to Gothenburg. A number of clues are lightly scattered over the two episodes. Claes doesn’t turn up for his lunch with ex-wife Asa, claiming some feeble excuse about an urgent publisher’s phone call. Annika never checked in at the trade fair she was off to. She didn’t return at 9.30, when Claes went to collect her. And when the increasingly flustered Asa beards him at his flat, he’s jogging up the stairs carrying a spade.

Mark my words, we’re too close to the end for a red herring, Creepy Annika is no longer among the living. That’s what you get for threatening to expose your stalkee as a patricide.

So, if Annika’s dead, that means the murder trail is over, right? With two episodes left? Don’t be daft.

It’s time to hie ourselves over to that infernal triangle, Freddie, Asa and Jeanette, and things are getting fraughter and fraughter by the scene. Freddie kidnapping Jeanette into safety was one mother of a mistake: Asa has found herself forced to face the reality of ‘her’ baby being in another woman’s womb, which is interfering badly with her feelings of being able to bond with the little nipper.

Which is not helped by Freddie taking every possible opportunity to hang around with Jeanette, who is growing ever more sceptical of the wisdom of handing  over her baby to parents who argue all the time. More than just her hormones are making her doubt, even though with the Idiot Marc as her only support (and him urging her on to give it away, think of the money), trying to keep the baby is the worst worst solution to this problem.

Then all hell breaks loose. Asa, needing a friendly ear, confides in Claes that she’s been faking the pregnancy. And callous Claes, who’s been playing her all this time looking for an angle to get at Freddie, blows it to the press. All is anger and pandemonium, but what tips Jeanette over the edge is Freddie moving on from feeling the baby bump to nuzzling her neck. With suspicious ease, the Idiot Marc is able to spring her from her captivity at Freddie’s estate (under the noses oof the press vulture pack) and off to their cabin.

Which is the first place Freddie thinks of going. Only Jeanette’s not there. The Idiot Marc is, only his head is leaving a very red trace against the outside wall where he was standing when he was shot (call me callous, but Freddie’s right, she’s better off without him, she is).

Well, not in the short room. Jeanette wakes up, bound and gagged to a chair. Only it’s not a normal chair, it’s an obstetrics chair, with her feet already in the stirrups. It takes no leap of imagination to know what that means.

Have I left anything out? Loads and loads, but having mentioned two action sequences, I should just briefly attend to the other. Saga and Henrick bring in Creepy Annika’s jailbird ex-husband for questioning. Saga overlooks searching him – her performance has been affected by all this – and he’s carrying a gun which he shoots off. He’s surrounded by guns on all sides and backs down, but one of his wild shots has hit John’s daughter in the arm.

It’s the spur Linn the Troll needs to send Saga off the case.

So, having covered most of everything that happened to some degree or other – you’ve got to agree that that’s a helluva lot for two hours, surely the episodes must have been twice as long to get all that in – I will conclude with one predictive point. At the outset, Mr/Ms Mystery was following the heavily pregnant Asa but as soon as Tina sent through the artificial bump pictures, s/he turned round and drove off.

Now they’ve kidnapped the girl who’s really carrying Fat Freddie’s baby.

If it’s someone who’s got it in for him, the prime suspect is dear old patricidal cad, Claes. But if Creepy Annika was involved, and she only forced herself onto him after the sequence started, how and where did he come into the picture? But I’m pointing the finger at him. This time next week, we’ll know…

Saturday SkandiCrime: The Bridge 3 – episodes 5 & 6


Thure Lindhart

Ooof! Once again, it’s hard to believe that was only two episodes, only two hours of TV, when it turned through so many developments, so much intense content, and yet with a pace that was all but slow. There is more, or so it seems, in a night of The Bridge 3 than in an entire series of most regular shows, for all the action they might cram in.

Again, I hardly know where to begin or where to go. Episode 5 felt like a quiet zone, a period during which the main plot made no advances, with neither further deaths nor significant breakthroughs. Where this part of the story developed, it was in half-directions, in tiny clues, such as the accidental discovery that all of the victims to date – save Father Copycat – had a small burn mark in their mouth: a brand, using the ancient Babylonian numbering system (which Saga, naturally, knows), and Henrik’s realisation that the numbers are part of the code on Morten Anker’s refrigerator.

What progressed further in this section of the unfolding wavefront of tales was the increasing undermining of Saga by new boss Linn. Linn has been described by others as Hobbit-like, with her compact, dumpy form, and rubbery face, but she’s increasingly becoming a troll. Saga’s mother has been in, laying accusations, which Linn obviously believes implicitly, because she’s having the case that put Saga’s parents in prison, so long ago, re-investigated, and she’s only gone and brought in the arrogant fool, Rasmus, the idiot of series 2, who is of course completely unbiased when it comes to our Saga.

I mean, he’s only drinking in avidly Mrs Noren’s blatant lies about Saga threatening her last night, so when Linn the troll brings Saga the news, late in episode 6, that her mother has killed herself, carbon monoxide poisoning in a garage with the engine running, it’s not difficult to foresee where a considerable portion of next week’s two episodes will be leading.

No, episode 5 deliberately stalled its investigation, leaving Linn sighing heavily about Saga’s lack of progress, undermining her focus by directing her away from areas where empathy might matter, and generally raising doubts in Saga’s mind about herself and her abilities.

What we had instead was the intensifying of the subsidiary, seemingly unconnected trails started last week. There’s Anna, the future CEO and ex-Eurovision star, exposed as a teenager shagger and, with her oh-so-understanding family around her (what a mother, almost as bad as Saga’s) forced to deny her young lover, with whom she is truly besotted. He’s besotted too, enough to slit his wrists when he’s publicly denounced as a mistake.

But once we get into episode 6, and meet beautiful, sexy, blonde Tina, the photographer who took the saucy snaps, we learn that she was tipped off by young Binjamin himself. Sexy, responsbility-denying, sacked and blacklisted Tina, who happens to be shagging Saga’s computer whiz colleague John. Tina, who ends episode 6 by getting a text offering her a job: reply to a Russian e-mail address. That’s the code off Morten’s fridge.

Oh, and it should be mentioned, if only in passing, that Anna’s husband Hakan becomes victim no 4 in episode 6, in the usual bizarre circumstances, with one (1) additional penis and two (2) eyes missing, awaiting victim no 5.

There’s nothing this week of the young boy obsessed with Lisa (nor of the lovely Lisa, sad to say), but a replacement attractive blonde of a certain age pops up. She is Asa (played by Anna Bjork). Where does she fit in?  Hang onto your hats, I’m going to see if it can all be made to fit.

Asa is married to Freddie Holst (played by Nicholas Bro of Killing 2 and 1864), an asset stripper and art lover, whose art collection contains works that echo certain recent bizarre crimes scenes. Asa is as heavily pregnant as young Jeanette, except that when she strips off her dress we see that she has maintained her trim figure and is wearing a plastic bulge. That’s because Jeanette is a surrogate, carrying Freddie’s baby, which is why Freddie, to whom Lukas’s bag was taken last week when it was nicked off Jeanette, has her kidnapped and separated from the idiot gambler Marc, so she can come to term in peace and quiet, despite Asa loathing the very sight of her. Marc, meanwhile, accepts 30,000 kroner to take his little self off, which he promptly bets on a hand of cards, with the keys to his and Jeanette’s house thrown in.

Still with me? Asa’s first husband was positive thinking guru Claes, who was also Freddie’s business partner before Freddie got him dried out (and promptly sold Claes’ company for a profit that Claes never saw). Asa’s sniffing around Claes again, much to the consternation of stalker Annika, who makes the mistake of getting too overtly stalkery with Claes, who chucks her out of his car in Denmark, except that he leaves Daddy’s body in her funeral parlour just in time for the post-death bruises that prove Claes suffocated dear old Daddy to come up. Annika promptly snaps them and blackmails herself back into Claes’ life (and presumably his bed, but we won’t go there, which is pretty much what you can see rushing through Claes’ mind every time he looks at Annika.

There may be no lovely Lisa this weeks but laconic Lars, her incurious husband, turned out to barely be hanging on to his company whilst Fat Freddie downsizes it. All the toys and stuff from Helle Anker’s death scene were bought out of a catalogue in Lars’ offices, ordered by and delivered to the workman who was first in and found Helle, and who just happened to quit to travel the world the next day.

Except that a car matching the colour of his came for the unlucky Hakan.

What else? I mentioned Lukas, didn’t I? Episode 5 started with someone setting him up for a rifle-shot through the shoulder, and ended with him being blown to buggery with bullets just as Henrik was about to drive him to the German border and wave him through. Why would a fine, upstanding policeman like Henrik do that? Because a fine upstanding policeman like Henrik is, as we already know, something of a druggie, and guess which dealer was blackmailing him with photos of Henrik getting his fix?

Henrik lies, big-time: Lukas wanted to confess to his drug-selling, clear himself of the murder, and no Saga, his wasn’t the text message that dragged him out of your bed at four in the morning. A mess of lies there that our determined detective  would already be penetrating if it weren’t for Linn the troll constantly cutting away at her focus.

I’ve found Henrik creepy thus far, but as episode 6 moved towards an end, the programme turned him on his head for me. Saga, not knowing how to feel about her mother’s death, unable to talk to the still-in-a-coma Hans because it’s after visiting hours, turns up at Henrik’s home and sanctuary. Unable to find a logical reason otherwise, he lets her in.

And in a quiet scene, he admitted to Saga not only his loss of wife and children, but that he sees them and hears them. That Alice is sat at the table, listening to them, visible to him, invisible to Saga, even as they speak. It’s a confession of madness, madness accepted and absorbed so deeply that it has become normal and real, and the helpless ruefulness Thure Lindhardt brought to this scene, underlit by a wilfulness that emphasised his determination to cling to it, had tears forming in the corners of my eyes. Quite the very best moment in the evening.

Only four more episodes to go, and I’m buggered if I can even see a line of dots yet, let alone how anybody’s going to join them, but I’m dreading the Saturday after next, because then it’ll all be over and how bloody long is it going to be until we get The Bridge 4?