[Contains cunningly deployed pastries and SPOILERS!!!]
I was absolutely loving the second series of The Bridge (aka “Bron / Broen“), right up until the finale, where everything unravelled, and the nail-biting (but totally ludicrous) house of cards they’d been building over the previous nine episodes came tumbling down.
On the plus side, the adorable-but-exasperating ‘Saga Norén’ remained consistently hilarious, heart-breaking, and huggable throughout, so top marks to Sofia Helin for her impressive performance here. Aside from anything else, it’s comforting to have such a sympathetic (and heroic) “Aspy” character on TV to relate to… although I recognise how off-putting her blunt approach to “breaking the ice” can be, where innocent family members and friends are concerned. For example, “Did your dead daughter ever do porn?” is not a great way to start a dialogue with a still-grieving father… even though the outrage did prompt him to investigate further, and uncover some useful leads in the process of exonerating her.
This time around, the writers decided to taunt and mock me by having Saga hook up with a beardy comic book geek (just like me!), who inspires her to read lots of helpful books on how to be a “Good Girlfriend”, and then act on their advice. Unfortunately he was a selfish, needy dick who didn’t deserve her, and didn’t appreciate how lucky he was to be allowed into her life. I mean, if she’d been asking to have a totally private room in the apartment (her apartment!) where she could just do kitty jigsaws or drawn mean cartoons of him, then I could understand how he might feel hurt or rejected… but what she wanted was a quiet space where she could study evidence and solve crimes that would save tens/hundreds/thousands of lives!!! And he’d still get to have great sex with her, between breaks in the case! What’s so horrible and break-up-worthy about that? Gah! Idiot! What kind of comic book fan doesn’t understand the concept of a “Batcave” or “Fortress of Solitude”!? Clearly she needs to find a more compatible guy to live with… someone who also spends a lot of time in his own head, and appreciates how unique and wonderful she is, and recognises how important her work is. In other words: Call me, Saga! Manifest in this reality, and call me!
I also greatly enjoyed her domestic feud with Martin’s nanny, ‘Anna-Dea’ (Julie Wright), which began as an amusing running gag and slowly, subtly morphed into a disturbing crime-story, that revealed important clues about Saga’s own family trauma. The untimely death of ‘Pernille’ (Vickie Bak Laursen), a junior detective on the team, was also quite unexpected and moving… although I did think it was rather silly of them to go chasing after a known “Typhoid Mary” virus-carrier without so much as a face-mask to protect them! But still, if someone had to die, why couldn’t it have been Rasmus… the stupid, stupid, cocky little d-bag? Why couldn’t he redeem himself by finally doing something right, dammit! Oh, and a shout-out to Özlem Saglanmak, who played a helpful Desi office assistant named ‘Dharma’.
On the downside, I was very, very disappointed by the way they resolved Martin’s storyline. I thought it was very brave and interesting for them to keep Jens (the evil mastermind from the first series) around as a recurring character, confined to prison and agreeing to meet Martin for supervised visits, so the detective could work through his PST. I wasn’t necessarily expecting a super-happy ending to that thread, but to just have him give up and poison the guy off-screen in the last episode was total bullshit. It also torpedoes the whole premise of the show, and suggests that this series is the end of Saga’s story… unless they’re planning to carry on without Martin, in which case they’d need to find someone equally warm and sociable to balance her out, and alternately scowl, marvel and chuckle at her! Seeing the two of them join forces again in the first episode was a truly joyful experience, and watching them work through their issues and grow closer together was incredibly involving… until the writers pissed all that down the drain, for the sake of a cheap, desperate “shock” ending! FEH!!!
And I’m still not sure I really understand who was ultimately responsible for which specific acts of terrorism, or how the separate (?) schemes of the brother and his wife overlapped… it just seemed like the writers were pulling plot-twists for the sake of it, and muddying the narrative water too much. And then to have a previously unseen, shadowy mastermind turn up at the end to shoot the wife was just a twist too far for me.
All that being said, I’ll still be adding the DVD of this series to my “wish list”, because the majority of the episodes were so enjoyable, and despite all the nonsense around her, Saga endured as an awesome, ass-kicking heroine.