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?