We start in the house of the Johanssons, Inger and Filip, a retired couple who – plot device alert – used to be foster parents. But now they have Håkan Ekdahl’s eyeballs on their Christmas tree, Inger’s dead, and Filip’s had his head sawn in half and his brain removed. So we can, after a quick oral check, chalk them up to the elaborate and details-orientated murderer who brands symbols inside the mouths of his/her victims. The good news for the people of the Öresund area, though, is that Henrik is no longer being distracted by visions of his presumably dead family. Does this mean he’s, y’know, started to move on? If so I’m not sure that Saga can be expected to bear that emotional weight.
Henrik’s one of the few people for whom life is getting better, though. Claes is still being stalked by Annika, who of course now is emboldened by the knowledge that he killed his father. Freddie is coming under pressure to hand over more money to that appalling idiot Marc, who managed to gamble away his and Jeannette’s cottage. But Freddie chases him away, and buys Jeannette the cottage anyway. It’s come to something when I like the rapacious businessman more than the penurious twentysomething, even if – not that I know anything about Scandinavian property law – I’d be surprised if it’s that easy to transfer ownership of a house so frequently and rapidly. Asa is unsurprisingly becoming more and more resentful of the young and fertile Jeannette, and of her husband’s growing affection for her.
And, meantime, a fresh indignity is being visited on Saga: an avuncular but chillingly persistent member of Internal Affairs is interviewing her about her mother’s death, now reclassified as a murder. So where was Saga at the time of her mother’s death? Well, she was on her own, as a result of the tip-off at the end of episode 6; a tip-off which, it now seems, came from her own laptop. There’s other evidence as well, plus the general feeling that Saga isn’t quite right at the best of times, and has been destabilised by everything else which is going on. So it might well be that Saga’s horrendous mother’s last act was to frame her daughter.
I was left with the uneasy feeling, though, that this might just – rather like the cancer arc in season 3 of Borgen – be a plot too far. Saga’s investigating a serial killer. Her boss is after her blood. Her old partner’s in jail. Her new partner/fuckbuddy hasn’t got over the disappearance of his wife and children. Her mentor is gravely ill in hospital. Her father’s dead. And she grapples every day with what we might euphemistically call social awkwardness. Do we really need something on top of that? There’s a limit, even with fictional characters, to how much grief I want to see someone being put through.
But she’s still doing her job, just about, and by the end of episode 7 suspicion is focussing strongly on Emil Larsson, one of the floppy-haired young men from previous episodes: he knows about Freddie’s art collection, he was fostered by the Johanssons, and he’s connected to Hans, Håkan, Lars-Ove, and Andersen T. But, even though the Scandis have form for revealing the killer quite early, I wasn’t convinced that the show would kick for home with fully three episodes left. Sure enough, at the start of episode 8 Emil turns up badly wounded. A bit of tech later, and our next suspect is – and really I should have seen this coming – Annika, the mad stalker. She was also fostered by the Johanssons, and her house is full of, well, the sorts of things you’d need if you’re going to kill people in elaborate ways.
Mind you, there’s still a ways to go, and I don’t expect her to have been responsible for all the deaths; not on her own, anyway. Fortunately, episode 8 is full of people who might or might not be up to no good: Åsa’s pregnancy ruse is photographed by Tina, but by then Åsa has visited ex-husband Claes and told him about it as well. Claes – who until this point I thought was more or less dedicated to getting back into Åsa’s good books and, in due course, bed – leaks it to the media, and is remarkably sanguine and unrepentant when confronted about it. Might there be more to him?
Freddie’s increasing affection for Jeannette reaches its inevitable conclusion, admittedly an episode later than I thought it would, when he tries to kiss her and is rebuffed, whereupon Jeannette and Marc run off, with Freddie and his thug in pursuit. But when they reach the cottage Marc is dead – if it was Annika, she’s redeemed herself in my eyes just a little by bumping the little creep off – and Jeannette and the contents of her womb are nowhere to be seen. Ruh-roh.
And, to add to Saga’s woes, Hans’s life support machine is (I think) turned off, and she forgets to search a suspect, who when they get him back to the police station turns out to be armed. He shoots John the Tech Guy’s daughter, fortunately not fatally, but Linn has had enough, and sends Saga home for a few days. Much as we love Saga, and much as Linn is the pantomime villain of the workplace drama in this season, she kind of has a point. Henrik’s concern for, and loyalty to, Saga is rather sweet, mind you. Two excellent episodes.