At the start of episode 9 Jeannette and the precious cargo in her uterus are missing, presumed kidnapped by Annika Melander, and the search is on. But Saga was sent home by Linn at the end of episode 8, and poor Henrik gets Rasmus and his irritating ponytail as a replacement. Henrik is Not. Impressed. Fortunately Saga gets brought back in before too long, and in any event Freddie and his thugs are ahead of the game – and not obliged to find a role for Rasmus – and are accordingly able to track down Jeannette fairly swiftly. They find her strapped to a bed, barely alive, and sans baby. Then Åsa suggests that Claes is vengeful enough towards Freddie to be involved, and the police are persuaded that he’s working with Annika. Which is more than the viewers are, unless there’s going to be some serious retconning.
Anyway, Freddie gets sent a photo of Little Freddie, together with instructions on where to go and the usual on-your-own-no-cops thing. Which he obeys, but the helpful Åsa – really getting in the way in this episode, it has to be said – tells the police anyway, which means that the abductor has to shift to plan B, involving a remote-controlled bomb in a pram, leading Freddie to think momentarily that Little F is dead. (As we have already seen, and indeed as we will see again, this degree of elaboration and planning is nothing remarkable for our killer.)
The police are stung by the fact that Freddie was attempting to try to get his child back without consulting them, so Rasmus is given the job of keeping tabs on him; but when the next photo comes in, Freddie is able to outwit Rasmus – not, we are given to believe, a massive undertaking in itself – by jumping into a helicopter and flying to a disused something-or-other, where he will come face to face with the killer. Who isn’t, after all, Annika: while this is all going on she’s found tied up.
The investigation has meantime led Saga and Henrik to a fertility clinic, where it’s confirmed that, many years ago, one of Freddie’s little soldiers fought his way through and made a baby with a woman called Anne-Marie Larsson. Which takes us back to Emil Larsson, who first emerged as a realistic suspect in episode 7. And, sure enough, it’s Emil who’s holding Little F.
It’s a very good episode, but the finale is better. The show, in fact, more or less wraps up the main plot in about 30 minutes. Emil has another baroque and imaginative murder planned, with Freddie and him being hanged simultaneously, while Freddie holds Little F, so he’ll dropping the baby when unconscious – possibly killing him, possibly not. But after a visit to a reclusive artist on the island of Saltholm – long story short – Saga and Henrik work out that Emil is holed up in a barn which, luckily, is also on Saltholm. So they get there in time to save the day, although Saga takes a lot of convincing to stop Emil from hanging himself, because Hans.
With that out of the way, the show can start to tie up the stuff we really care about, which is to say the stories of Saga and Henrik. It should be said that the Claes/dead father/Annika-the-stalker arc rather peters out at this stage, mind you. (It should also be said that Freddie – ruthless businessman and all – was given a degree of complexity and neediness which means that he actually comes out of the show quite well.)
Anyway, Lillian takes Henrik aside to tell him that the remains of his wife have been discovered, but there’s no sign of his daughters, which means that their bodies are still to be found – unless, of course, they’re still alive. A grief-stricken Henrik hits the drugs again, meaning that he’s unable to escort Saga to Hans’s funeral as he’d promised to do. Saga, meantime, discovers that the case against her for the murder of her mother is going to the prosecuting authorities for consideration. (In passing, it should perhaps be noted that this week alone she does at least two things which should have Internal Affairs on her back all over again: her delay in saving Emil’s life is the first, although that’s rendered moot when she – accidentally? – manages to let him have a paperclip while in custody, with which he inevitably kills himself.) Henrik overdoses and Saga finds him in time, although he then discharges himself from hospital.
So with well-matched not-so-Secret Pain, the two of them meet on either side of the railway where Saga’s sister killed herself. There’s a train coming and it looks as if Saga might be about to do the same as her sister, even though Henrik tells her that he needs her, but of course at the last moment she pulls back. And then breaks down in tears; as, I suspect, do one or two viewers. It’s possibly the most harrowing thing we’ve seen on the show in three seasons, as Saga’s mask of indifference – which has been wavering throughout the season – finally vanishes.
And we get an ending which isn’t happy, exactly, but is satisfying: Henrik resigns from the police in order to look for his daughters (although I found the suggestion that they wouldn’t allow him some leave for that purpose unlikely), and Saga doesn’t have anything else to do pending a decision on whether to prosecute her for matricide, so they can team up, both professionally and – I think – personally.
Which would also provide a springboard into a fourth season, should all concerned want to carry on. (My guess is that there will be one in due course – ratings were strong in Sweden and Denmark.) I’m happy to say that I was proved wrong about the absence of Martin: the show coped admirably, and Henrik was able to draw Saga out in ways we hadn’t seen before. I thought this season every bit as good as the second, and Sofia Helin keeps getting better and better.