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Friday, 18 May 2018

The Bridge: Saga back where she belongs.

We may be only two episodes in, but The Bridge is already proving why it's one of the giants of the crime drama genre. Yes, Saga recovers a bit too quickly from the nasty stabbing that we saw at the of the opener, but no one really expected the show to kill off its main character with seven episodes to go.


This week we learn more about suspect number one Taariq and his amazing fluffy yet angular hairdo. Turns out he's a hero; saving two girls from violence and giving them a hot meal. These young thieves won't win any acting prizes but they seem to make a living from scamming people and pickpocketing wallets and passports. But this is The Bridge, so no good deed goes unpunished. Taariq's desperate situation is getting worse - he's grassed up to the cops by his horrible boss, and worse still it seems he's been set up with a phone that tracked the victim's whereabouts. Poor Taariq has got to be the unluckiest man in all of Scandinavia, and despite my still being convinced he's not the killer he is not out of the woods yet.

He tells us that he met Margarethe secretly in the gay club because she wanted to make amends for the cruel decisions of the state. By day she's the immigration department's Bruce Wayne; all above-board, all business, but by night she's Batman; out to right the wrongs and offer help to the helpless. Was she really this strange split personality, riddled with guilt? At the moment we know so little about her. Her husband Niels looks dodgier than ever "They have nothing" he says in a secret phone call, "stick to the plan".

The abused Sofie and son Christoffer's benefactor is Frank, a recruiter for the Chernobyl-style hideaway village. Sofie is excited to get a new house but wants to check the small print - she's told: "the last tenants broke our agreement". The old woman (Frank's mother?) reminds me of Saga. She's direct and uncompromising. Nothing is explained, and politeness is a waste of time. The key clause of the agreement is to be the "best version of yourself" and hope that's enough to keep you with a roof over your head. Is this group Red October as people on the internet suggest? This cult sounds less religious and more Hollywood. It's very Gwyneth Paltrow. Don't touch the jade eggs Sofie - you don't know where they've been!

As for twins Richard and Patrik. One is a hard-hitting journalist and one is a hospital clown. I wonder which twin Mum boasts about to her friends? Anyway, Patrik as Patch Adams meets a girl in hospital. Leonora Ramberg is terrified of clowns. Sensible child. Her very well-dressed father seems rather threatening. We've had a random meeting and a full name to add to our list. Keep her in mind. I bet you all the meatballs in Sweden she'll be important. It's an odd sequence but this being The Bridge we know it'll be crucial down the line. Though Patrick's life as a clown seems a surprising career looked to be sending us down an interesting avenue, it's not to be as he's as brutally killed off:
the victim of an ingenious and extremely brazen jacuzzi tasering. The cops are positive a nasty end like that was meant for his brother Richard.


Now Saga is acquitted and recovering from her prison shanking Lillian is easily convinced she should come back to work. This is great for us and great for the story but shows poor people skills. Jonas, a man not exactly known for being reasonable is increasingly sidelined from his own case.

So Saga is back in her uniform - leather trousers, greatcoat and in her iconic vintage Porsche. Putting all these familiar elements together is like an action hero's origin story. And Saga isn't giving up on Henrik's case, not because of any sense of duty or warm feelings towards him but because she needs to be constantly occupied. So will the murder of Henrick's wife Alice and the disappearance of his daughters eventually link up to the current case? Saga is looking for a creepy male colleague of Alice's who may have helped her and her kids disappear. It's not a clear MO but could this man be Frank?

Henrik wants a 'real' relationship with Saga but confides to his over-friendly NA buddy (jostling with Neils for the top spot as the dodgiest character so far) "I need her more than she needs me". I'm not sure that's quite true. Saga's bloody flashbacks are horrific, and her struggling to breathe during a panic attack feels so real. She might be released and acquitted, but her time in prison lingers long in the memory.

As predicted BBC Four fans are sad we don't get the episodes in packs of two any more but BBC Two must be pretty happy with 1.4 million people watching the first episode live. That's pretty much double the average overnight for BBC Four. My top tip is not to watch to the end of the credits - extremely annoying that the trailer followed immediately and contained major spoilers. Hopefully, the Beeb will try harder! Having set up the chess pieces in episode 1 this is where the game really begins. It feels like the start of a story we can really get our teeth into. I can't wait to find out what happens next.

                                                              Contributed by Sarah Kennedy

The Bridge Continues Friday at 9.00pm on BBC Two.

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