The Bridge (Bron/Broen) s3 ep 3; s3 ep 4

No let-up in the pace this week – lots more new characters, lots more new storylines, and I’m not going to pretend that I always found it easy to follow. Also, two hours is still far too much. So I offer absolutely no guarantee that I’ve got any of this right.

Enough complaining. We start with another death – Morten Anker, the estranged son of last week’s first victim – killed, according to someone who heard his last words, by his “brother.” This leads Saga and Henrik to one of Morten’s army comrades, Lukas Stenstrup. Now, Lukas is ostensibly a community worker, but is clearly a bad guy, although just how bad remains to be determined. He lays down any number of markers this week, though: forcing Marc, an idiotic young gambler in debt to him, to play Russian roulette to “win” extra days to pay back the money; getting Marc’s pregnant partner to pick up a bag for him, which is then snatched off her before she can take it to Lukas; and lying just about every time he opens his mouth. And, since he ends up with the bag anyway, although we don’t get to see the McGuffiny contents, it’s very clear that he’s up to no good.

Another new character: Claes, who euthanises his sick father in the first few minutes – I’m not sure whether the show expects us to disapprove of him for that, or whether we’re supposed to regard him as humane and merciful. Anyway, he’s an inspirational speaker/writer, who despite looking a little uneasy when approached by Annika, a stalkerish fan at a book signing, nonetheless beds her later on. Although when she then offers to sort out his father’s funeral – she’s totally a funeral director, she says – the uneasiness quite properly returns.

And another new character, Anna, a good-looking woman in her late 30s (?) is installed as CEO of the family building business. But she’s having an affair with the 17 year old son of a friend, yet another of the blond young men who make their first appearance this week. They take the opportunity, while out of town, to do it in one of her showhouses, but photos of the assignation turn up on a newspaper website, and poor Anna has to take a disapproving call from her mother, which might almost be worse than her husband finding out. (Anna, incidentally, is played by Melinda Kinnaman, who as well as being Joel’s sister was in the utterly wonderful My Life As A Dog [1985].)

It’s a bad couple of episodes for Saga as well. The Scandi-variant on the mom-who-turns-up causes as much trouble as the American kind: her father is dead, but Saga doesn’t want to go to the funeral. Hans is still in hospital, minus a hand but just about alive, and temporary (?) boss Linn isn’t quite as indulgent of Saga’s idiosyncrasies: she suggests that Saga might profitably have some coaching on her manner, as she’s “insensitive” and “unpleasant”. Then, in what struck me as way over the line, she drags Saga to her father’s funeral, which at best isn’t her business, and at worst is remarkably cruel. Linn also goes toe-to-toe with Hans’s wife Lillian.

On the bright side, Saga and Henrik pick each other up at a singles’ night, and have presumably satisfactory sex. It looks as if Henrik is being serially unfaithful to his wife, but towards the end of the second of these two episodes he gives Saga a cold case file to review, which seems to be about missing persons. One of whom is the woman we’ve seen as his wife. So either she’s hiding in their shared house – seems unlikely – or she’s a Henrik hallucination. Oh great. I see dead people.

And they manage to stop last week’s creepy cleaner Rikard, who escapes after trying to kill Natalie Anker, then takes as a hostage the daughter of bigoted blogger – sorry, vlogger – Lise. Saga, gun in hand, manages to get into Lise’s apartment and rescue the girl while not shooting Rikard, in what struck me as a remarkable piece of police work. I thought it very Scandinavian of everyone to worry about the fact that Saga smacked Rikard once or twice with the gun, rather than thank the Lord that everyone was alive.

But the corpses continue to pile up: Hans’s severed hand is found at another staged murder scene, this time that of a retired PE teacher. It happens while Rikard is in police custody, so it isn’t him; and as far as we know the deceased wasn’t in favour of marriage equality, so Lise hasn’t called him out on her vlog, meaning there’s no apparent connection to some of the other victims. But, to be honest, I’m really not sure what’s connected to anything at the moment. It would be difficult to fault the pace, ambition, and indeed humour of The Bridge, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an easy watch. Sofia Helin may never have been better than she was in these episodes, though.

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