At the start of episode 9, Birgitte gets the all-clear from her doctor, and I exhaled in relief; because that, I thought, brought to an end one of the two worst storylines in the three seasons of Borgen. (The other worst storyline, Jeremy the Handsome English Architect, has also featured in this season, of course, which is perhaps why it hasn’t been as good as the first two. Anyway, Jeremy’s no doubt rubbish bridge is being built in like Finland or somewhere. Well done, Jeremy, and watch out for those antibiotics.)
With that out of the way, Birgitte is free to resume full-on campaigning, starting with the priority issue – how to distinguish the Birgitte Party from the Moderates. The obvious answer is to try some negative campaigning, which translates into Danish as “negative campaigning”, unless my ears were playing tricks on me. So Kruse – identified as having a short temper – comes under attack, and there’s an effective bit of political theatre at a centre-ground debate, when Birgitte rips pages out of the Moderates’ manifesto, illustrating which of their promises they can no longer be trusted to keep.
But there’s a bigger secret lurking in Kruse’s past – not dealbreaking, but enough to raise a question about his character. There’s a bit of debate – it-would-help vs we-don’t-do-this-sort-of-thing – but after Birgitte’s daughter is doorstepped by a journalist she’s pissed off enough to tell Katrine to release the Kruse story to the media. Katrine, though, decides not to, although if we’re being honest her motivation isn’t particularly high-minded: she wants to stay in the good books (and trousers) of the Leninist love machine himself, Professor Søren Ravn, still providing services to both the party and to Katrine.
Armed with Søren’s economic data, then, Birgitte turns up for the eve-of-election leaders’ debate, which Torben has managed to turn back into an actual debate, rather than the gameshow Alex wanted (“democracy for the proletariat”), at least sparing Birgitte an ordeal similar to that endured earlier in the episode by Jon in front of TV2’s cheerleaders. And she cleans up: she goads Kruse beyond endurance by asking him a question about his economic policy, which frankly I couldn’t understand. So, if you cut taxes by 10 billion kroner, increase welfare spending by 12 billion kroner, but that’s based on a projected 0.9% growth in treasury spending… anyway, Kruse snaps. (If I can be forgiven an irrelevant interjection at this point – sorry though I was to see the back of Nete, I’m prepared to accept Anne Sophie Lindenkrone, the leader of Solidarity, as a substitute.)
Which takes us to the last ever Borgen, set on election day. But first there’s a grievous miscalculation, as Birgitte discovers a lump. This, of course, after reassuring Magnus that she had made a full recovery. Enough. I suspect it’s partly there to give Sidse Babett Knudsen a Great Acting Moment, her meltdown in the taxi on the way to the hospital, but actually the scene where the doctor again confirms that she’s clear is much, much better: internalised, silent trauma and relief, rather than shouting platitudes in a second language. I don’t mind being manipulated, but this whole arc has been cheap manipulation of a sort which I thought Borgen was above.
And so to the election, and Borgen comes full circle: as at the start of season 1 Birgitte does better than expected and is offered the post of Prime Minister as part of the coalition negotiations. (Which, curiously, seem to take place mostly in public.) Inevitably Benedikte Nedergaard has manoeuvred herself into a position as the more acceptable face of the Freedom Party, leaving poor old Svend Åge to råge against the dying of the light in an oddly touching conversation with Kasper.
And we finish with Birgitte once again rocking up at Borgen, sadly with Jeremy rather than Phillip in tow, this time to become foreign secretary rather than prime minister. As for everyone else: Katrine might be with Søren for now, but I’m prepared to believe that in due course she and Kasper will reunite – I need at least one happy ending, dudes – and Torben, having faced Alex down and shaken Pia off, is, presumably, back with his wife and still filling the TV1 schedules with underperforming political shows, which is a happy ending of sorts for him, I suppose.
With that, we’re done with Borgen. It was a more or less unqualified triumph in its first two seasons and, while this season wasn’t as good, it was better than I was anticipating. For Sidse fans, BBC4 has bought the rights to some Danish historical drama which stars her, and Kasper, and Torben (and Barbara Flynn off of The Beiderbecke Affair and A Very Peculiar Practice) and as it’s slated to show in late 2014 in Denmark, that gives the producers plenty of time to get Katrine and Svend Åge on board as well.
And for Scandi-drama fans, next up is season 2 of The Bridge (Bron/Broen), the first season of which I liked, just not quite as much as everyone else. But we’ll be reviewing.