The Bridge (Bron/Broen) s4 ep 8

It becomes clear fairly quickly that this final episode isn’t going to pull the wool over our eyes too much. Ida and Julie leave a message for Henrik identifying Susanne as the killer, and offering to wait for him at “the octopus”, which turns out to be a completely demented piece of Copenhagen street art. But the message doesn’t reach Henrik in time; and Susanne, who knows that she’s been rumbled, goes full-on dead-eyed psycho, catching up with the girls outside Henrik’s house, Tasering one, then throwing the two of them into her car boot.

But Saga is close behind. Susanne shoots her twice, but both bullets thud into her protective vest – probably as well neither hit her head, I suppose – and once Saga has recovered she takes Susanne down and rescues the girls. Susanne then confesses: she was Tommy’s sidepiece and was intent on taking revenge for way in which he was, as she saw it, effectively executed by all concerned with the decision to cut him loose.

Job done, then. Thing is, there are still 40 minutes or so to go, and seasoned TV watchers know that this means we need to wait for the other shoe to drop. Before then, though, there’s a welcome drop in pace, as a few character-related loose ends are tied up: Henrik and Astrid slowly start to bond (with Astrid, rather touchingly, calling Henrik her father in Danish rather than Swedish, suggesting that she’s starting to revert to seeing him rather than Frank as a paternal figure); Jonas… kind of escaping criticism for the leaks and the homophobia? Well, he was in charge when the case was solved, I suppose; Saga finding proof that her mother did indeed have Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

And, fittingly, it’s Saga who wraps the whole thing up. She visits her prison assailant Elsa, and finds out that the attempt to murder her had been directed by Susanne, who was working with at least one accomplice. Meantime, Henrik is being visited by his NA buddy, Kevin, who turns out to be not so wheelchair-bound after all: as Tommy’s son, he too has reasons to be looking for revenge. He ties up both Henrik and poor Astrid – hell of a week for her – and tells Henrik that he’s going to kill Astrid while Henrik watches. It’s actually a fairly gruelling scene, in part because we know that, at this stage in the game, the writers could very easily start killing people off. But Saga saves the day: Kevin is shot and killed, and Henrik and Astrid both spared.

I have no reason to doubt all concerned when they say that they’re done with The Bridge, but – somewhat to my relief – the ending wasn’t quite as unequivocal as we were promised. (If they really, really wanted to bring it back…) There are three moments of titanic symbolism: Saga kisses Henrik on the lips; she throws her police ID off the Øresund Bridge; she then drives off, and answers a phone call as “Saga Noren” without the usual “Malmo CID”.  After wondering how she could identify as anything other than a police officer she has become someone else; someone different. For now, anyway; who’s to say what she will want in the future? Which is where we, in all probability, leave her: it’s as satisfactory, and as hopeful, an ending as we could really hope for. What a show this has been.

Advertisements

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) s4 ep 7

Last week’s non-cliffhanger is dealt with briskly: Henrik just took a bullet to the leg, presumably because the killer wants to take out someone Henrik loves in order to make whatever the hell point s/he is intent on making. But the possibilities there have expanded a little with confirmation that, bizarre as it seems, Astrid – adopted daughter of insanely creepy Frank – is actually one of Henrik’s missing children. Frank half-heartedly holes up with Astrid and a shotgun, but before he can sorrowfully blow her head off, passive-aggressively blaming her for it all the while, the police smash their way in. 

Henrik and Astrid are then reunited, although given all the circumstances, and the time they’ve spent apart, it isn’t straightforward; and nor should it be. Given that there’s at least one death still to come, would the writers be so cruel as to bring Astrid back to Henrik then kill her? You know, I think they would. Or does Henrik calling Saga his best friend mean that she’s still the target? Next week, presumably, we’ll find out. For Christoffer, meantime, who escapes from captivity, that means the death of two appalling father-figures in two weeks, plus his GF Astrid moving away. Not good.

But not as bad as what happens to Lillian: she’s at home when flowers are delivered. Flowers with a little surprise, that being the severed head of long-dead husband Hans. I mean, “ew” doesn’t really cover that sort of thing. Could you ever sleep again? Anyway, with Lillian needing like a lifetime to recover, and Henrik hors de combat, it’s time for Jonas to take charge of the investigation. If we can overlook the homophobia and the fact that he might be leaking details of the investigation this might not be the worst thing, as he at least seems to be halfway competent. And the first major development is that Silas, the club owner who I think we last saw in episode 2 (although I may be wrong), has leapt to the top of the list of suspects: he and his van are seen in the vicinity of Hans’s grave, and he had a brother who was killed while involved with Tommy.

It must be Silas, then? Well, maybe not: Ida and Julia (now confirmed as definitely not Henrik’s daughters) are still looking for either affection or someone else whose house they can ransack, depending on your view of them, and Niels and Susanne take them to the cinema. On the way, though, they recognise a keyring – fittingly, a skeleton – on Susanne’s bag as belonging to the person whose phone they stole in episode 2: the phone which had a Margrethe-tracking app, although I guess that might turn out to be connected to Susanne’s romantic life rather than to her being a serial killer. Or maybe not? One more episode to go, and if anything the show is accelerating towards the finish line.

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) s4 ep 6

So. Tommy, then. Who is he? Well, he was (is? I’ll come back to that) a minor gangster who, four years ago, was working for William Ramberg while doubling as Henrik’s snitch. But he ended up dead after being let down by a string of people, most of whom have now lost someone or something they love, apparently as revenge: Niels (dead wife) declined his request to tell the police that he was too stressed to continue as a grass; Vibeke (dead horse) ordered Lillian not to provide support during an operation; Richard (dead twin) ran a story in a newspaper which provided enough detail to identify him, and so on.

Who’s next? The obvious targets are Lillian, who tragically can’t think of anyone who she loves; Tommy’s friend Moyo; and Henrik himself, meaning that Saga is now in the crosshairs, although if the killer knew how Henrik currently feels about her maybe she wouldn’t be. As for suspects? There’s Henrik’s NA bud Kevin, who is in fact Tommy’s son. Tommy’s first wife Nicole, now married to Father John Misty, is also in the frame. Saga, given no more than a couple of minutes, manages to detonate the paternity landmine under the two of them by observing that Sonny can’t be Misty’s. And – unless I missed something – Tommy himself? Yes,  I know everyone’s been saying that he’s dead; but, frankly, I’ve seen enough TV over the years to know that unless you’ve seen the body – and sometimes not even then – these aren’t things you should take on trust.

Meantime the relevance of Jønestown to the plot is starting to become clear. Saga has – unusually, for someone normally so clear-eyed and logical – convinced herself that if she finds Henrik’s daughters he’ll forgive her. Her enquiries, though, turn up the fact that Henrik’s wife, before her disappearance, was being counselled by Frank, who smoothly moves from passive-aggression to actual aggression this week. After trying to use blackmail, of the moral and actual kinds, to get Sofie and Christoffer to stay in the village,  he then knocks Christoffer unconscious, after he sees Astrid and Christoffer together at what seems to be the grave of Astrid’s sister. Hmm. That would make two sisters, if anything Astrid says can be believed, that is. As for poor Sofie, by getting involved with Frank she seems to have stumbled into the path of someone even worse than her now dead husband.

But we end with a death. Maybe two. Henrik, on his own, heads round to Moyo’s house, to find that Moyo’s partner Sandra has been killed. Then someone – presumably the killer? – appears, and a shot is fired, although we don’t see by whom, or what happens. I guess we’re meant to think Henrik might have been killed. I’ll be surprised if that happens. Before the final episode, at least. 

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) s4 ep 5

Finally, some good news: after turning up uninvited at the commune, raping his wife, and shoving Frank, the appalling Dan is – accidentally, but let’s not haggle – shot and killed by his son Christoffer, which has to go down as a win for humanity. Frank and Christoffer roll the corpse into a river and agree to keep the whole messy business a secret, but this turns out to be impractical: Sofie understandably wants to move again, because she’s terrified that Dan will come back, and Christoffer’s repeated assurances that that isn’t going to happen aren’t convincing until he explains why. However, by the end of the episode Sofie has agreed to move in with Frank, who is – at the very least – unlikeably passive-aggressive and controlling. It might be a better situation than life with Dan, but still not ideal.

Saga and Henrik’s investigations will bring them to, uh, Jønestown in due course. Before then, though, they’re chasing the source of the toxin used to kill Leonora – snail-derived, maybe from Hamburg, where the Sonnings were recently on holiday – and interviewing Leonora’s father William Ramburg, who readily admits to gunrunning, murder, both Kennedys, pretty much anything they want if it’ll help track down his daughter’s killer. Well, not his daughter’s actual killer, because that was him.

Meantime, The Girls are back – and being interviewed by Niels, widower of victim number 1, now revealed to be a child psychiatrist (?). But they don’t want to talk to him: they only want to talk to Henrik, who is understandably reluctant to have any more to do with them after the whole ransacking-the-apartment thing. One of the girls claims to have seen the person whose phone they stole and gives an obviously hooky description of him, leading to a photofit which could be Morgan Sonning if you tried hard, or just about anyone. This produces a farcical ID parade at which she admits she made it all up. Henrik is furious, and claims to be done with them.

I’m really not sure that I’m getting everything that I should from the storyline involving Sonning’s extended family. It may be that my Bridge brain has reached its capacity. But as far as I can tell his sister-in-law has been “borrowing” cars from the garage owned by his brother, the one who looks a bit like Father John Misty, which might provide one reason why Sonning’s car and GoPro seem to be involved. Henrik’s NA sponsor Kevin is also part of this family, as is the newly-named Sonny, who might or might not be Father John Misty’s progeny. And there’s an elderly woman, the mother of Sonning’s first wife (?), who turned up at Sonny’s naming ceremony purely to diss Sonning’s second wife.

Too much, I was thinking at this point. Too many “conicidental” connections. Which might be why I found the last part of this episode more to my taste: less overwhelming detail, more impact. Having traced Dan’s taxi to the commune, Saga and Henrik are interested in where Dan might now be. Face down in a river, no-one tells them. However, Saga then lets Henrik know that she’s had an abortion. As Henrik wanted the baby, this comes as a considerable shock to him. Saga’s attempt to rationalise her decision – she wanted to be with Henrik, because an analysis of her physical symptoms suggests that she’s in love with him, and she can’t live with a baby – doesn’t actually help, although for all its detachment it’s remarkably moving. Henrik nonetheless kicks her out.

But there is some movement in the murder case. A horse belonging to a prosecutor is gassed to death, which is once again recorded on GoPro. This fits the MO, and allows Saga to conclude that the intended victims are, in fact, the grieving people left behind rather than the human/equine dead. And Henrik, unable to sleep after Saga has told him about her termination, works out that the connection between the four survivors is Tommy, whoever that is. Or do we already know? I don’t think we do. It’s another excellent episode, even if I was exhausted by the end of it.

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) s4 ep 4

This is not a show on which the pace lets up. The mysterious name being thrown about at the end of last week’s episode, Morgan Sonning, is revealed to belong to the man who picked Margrethe up at the club on the night of her death. As well as Morgan himself, we’re introduced to his wife (Malene), his brother, his sister-in-law, and his niece, suspected by Malene – as a result of some dodgy-sounding speculation about genetics –  not to be the natural child of his brother. Which presumably means that… Morgan’s been banging his sister-in-law? Or something. So that’s five more characters to worry about. Fortunately Taariq takes steps to redresses the balance a little: he attempts to blackmail Morgan, then takes a border guard hostage, then shoots himself.  Bye, Taariq. Guess you weren’t such a nice guy after all. And Morgan, who has the look of a Scandi David Walliams about him, is interviewed by the police about the murders and admits nothing in an assured, almost smug, way.

The Go-Pro Clown, meantime, is party to an act of quite staggering cruelty: terrifying a hospitalised child last week was just the warm-up. The girl has gone into a coma, and her gangster-ish father, now named as William Ramberg, is sent a video which shows Brer Clown injecting something into her. There is, he is told, an antidote, but you’ll only get it in return for a ransom, and your daughter has four hours to live, so get on with it. He pays up and the antidote is totally delivered via a DRONE! (See Unpopcult passim: I love drones in TV procedurals.) Ramberg then dashes to the hospital and injects his daughter with the antidote… while, at the same time, his wife is being told that the girl only has a low dosage of opiates in her system, not a deadly amount of poison at all. The antidote is, in fact, a lethal toxin, which kills the girl almost immediately. So Ramberg was duped into killing his daughter. You’d really need to hate someone to do that to them.

Fun and games, meantime, in the Norén/Sabroe relationship, if you can call it that. Saga doesn’t want to go to term with her pregnancy, but Henrik would like to have the child, as part of his ongoing attempt to replace his dead daughters. Saga eventually offers to have the baby and hand it over to him. “And we can have sex sometimes”, she continues, which sweetens the deal. There are problems with the present daughter replacements, though; Ida and Julia, left on their own, appear to have ransacked Henrik’s apartment and disappeared. Unless it wasn’t them, of course. But they’ve definitely disappeared. Lillian goes on a date, which is her first – to Saga’s bewilderment, because what’s she been doing about sex? – since the death of Hans. And in the commune, Christoffer is having a lovely time hanging out with Frank and Astrid, while his father Dan has once again tracked them down and is moving menacingly towards Sofia.

None of which really advances the main plot. But we do get thrown a crumb or two towards the end. Saga works out that the three victims so far have been killed using a variety of methods of state execution: stoning, electrocution, poisoning. There are, she avers, a total of seven methods still in worldwide use, which means we have four victims to go. Doesn’t look like the pace is going to slacken, then.

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) s4 ep 3

After her panic attack, Saga is entirely willing to accept that she needs therapy, and – in an amusingly meta moment – in order to explain why she might have PTSD, she briskly summarises the first three-and-a-bit seasons of The Bridge. The therapist is unperturbed: “We have a lot to work with…”. Indeed we do: this is another incredibly busy episode, and once again I’ll admit that I might have got some of this wrong. At least we can remove Red October from the plot: Saga very quickly establishes that Richard – the living twin – simply made them up, in the manner of Lord Pigmot and the Nibblepiblies in Blackadder’s Christmas Carol. (There’s one for the kids.) 

But that just makes room – barely – for everyone else. One of the sisters-in-pickpocketing is hit by a bike when they’re about to run their scam, and the resultant hospital trip gives the police a chance to lift them. Saga is told to go easy on them, because they’re kids; unsurprisingly, her questioning technique doesn’t change in the slightest. They’re able to confirm that they gave the phone to Taariq, although not who they got it from. Then something strange happens: Henrik sees them being dragged into the cells to spend the night, and instead allows them to sleep at his house. I mean, is that… allowed? Well, it happens; which means that Henrik, for the first time in years, gets to play father to two girls. It’s sweet and creepy at the same time, and when it happens for a second night Saga bails, although not before telling Henrik that she’s pregnant. A quick search of the warehouse where the girls have been sleeping turns up the purse of Susanne, Niels’s assistant, but she too denies ownership of the phone.

Taariq, meantime, has been sort-of vindicated, but is unwilling to provide any more information while the threat of deportation hangs over him. Henrik is eventually given the job of taking him to a detention centre from where he will be deported, and on the way there – seemingly overcome by a sudden crisis of conscience – allows him to abscond. It’s a trick, though: a tracker has been planted in Taariq’s watch, which means that he can be followed to a hairdresser: specifically, the sort of crimper who’ll also sell you a gun. But Taariq, without knowing about the tracker, throws his watch in as part of the deal, meaning that he gets away. He’s looking for Morgan Sonning, whoever he or she might be.

Dan, the domestic abuser/taxi driver, turns out to be even more of a wrong ‘un than we thought: he and his vehicle are robbed by a gang wearing masks, which gets him into trouble with the father of the girl we saw being frightened by Patrik the Hospital Clown last week. This surprised me: I was expecting them to be no more than incidental characters. (We’ll see the girl later.) But the father seems to be something of a gangster, and Dan was transporting something for him, which information was leaked by someone. I wonder if Dan’s wife and son had anything to do with that? They’re now living in that weirdo commune, where Christoffer is suspected, probably wrongly, of being a housebreaker; his new crush, though, seems to be morally dubious.

Which leaves us with That Ending. Now, I should probably say that I get annoyed by… well, not people who actually have a genuine phobia about clowns, just the people who say that they do because they think it makes them sound both wacky and interesting, rather than just admit that they don’t like spiders or heights or whatever. Having said that, the final scene is enough to induce coulrophobia in just about anyone: a terrifying clown, WITH AN EFFING GO-PRO STRAPPED TO HIS HEAD, enters the hospital room of the daughter of the presumed gangster; the same girl we saw being scared by the comparatively anodyne Patrik last week. She’s frantic with fear. I was somewhat unsettled myself.

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) s4 ep 2

At the start of an episode in which all might not be quite as it seems, we’re introduced to a couple of new characters: two teenage girls, maybe sisters, definitely homeless, and making a living from crime. Their immediate impact on the story is to steal a mobile phone and pass it on to number one suspect Taariq after a chance meeting with him. But given that Henrik is still having visions of his missing-presumed-dead daughters, it’s impossible to ignore the symbolism.

Saga has survived the attack at the end of last week’s episode, of course; and is keen to get back to work, of course: it’s what she does and what she is. Later in the episode she will correct Henrik when he tells her that she can’t be a detective 24/7. For now, though, there’s a significant, almost moving, moment when she dons her leather trousers and big-pocketed coat before jumping into her Porsche: the superhero is putting her costume on, and she looks as close to happy as she ever gets. 

Her discovery that hot-desking is now de rigueur at the Copenhagen nick throws her off-balance, mind you, but she and Henrik manage to lift Taariq and discover that the phone given to him by the girls has an app on it which tracks the phone of murder victim Margrethe. This is… one hell of a coincidence, if coincidence it is. But Taariq’s claim that he wouldn’t have wanted to kill Margrethe, because she was helping him, has already been corroborated, sort of, by club owner Silas (who confirmed that Margrethe met Taariq) and by Margrethe’s husband Niels (who claimed that Margrethe sometimes helped people she felt had been wronged by the immigration rules, that being how she slept at night).

However, Saga still hasn’t quite recovered from the trauma of being accused of her mother’s death, imprisoned, then stabbed. Some of her behaviour is typically Saga-esque: immediately after apparently satisfactory sex with Henrik she re-opens the investigation into the disappearance of his wife and daughters, discovering that the marriage wasn’t great and that Mrs Henrik had a male confidant at work. But she’s having panic attacks, which is most unlike her.

Around the core storyline, there’s plenty going on. Sofie and Christoffer have now moved in to the house offered to them by their protection officer (?) Frank. It looks as if I called it wrong by invoking the spirit of The League of Gentlemen in relation to Frank and his landlady (?), but it’s still creepy enough: a sort of commune, I think, in which there’s a vacancy because the last tenants broke an agreement. Uh, what agreement, wonders Sofie? “It’s no big deal”, soothes Frank. “I’ll explain later”. The sinister landlady puts some flesh on those bones in due course: “Be the best you can be, and pray that’s enough to be allowed to stay”. Yikes.

And the body count has started to rise: Patrik, the twin who works as a hospital clown – presumably that’s a thing – is murdered, perhaps by someone who mistook him for Richard the journalist. Unless, of course, someone was pretending to be someone else, a possibility I can’t rule out because they look exactly alike – unsurprising given that they’re played by the same actor – and because, as yet, I’m not sufficiently interested in The Twins to try to keep tabs on which one is which. Niels, meantime, the husband of the first victim, has had someone deliver to him photos of the crime scene, which – together with a mysterious phone call we only hear his end of – starts to mark him out as a wrong ‘un. It’s maybe not quite as good an episode as last week’s opener, but it’s more than good enough.