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…