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Saturday, 23 February 2019

Trapped continues to thrill and confuse.

Welcome to this week's episodes of Trapped aka racist Lord of the Rings, well sort of.  The Hammer of Thor group are in the ascendency, racing around in the north with various criminal enterprises, large and small. The director must have heard my complaints about the first episodes; they've saved the greatest landscape shots for these episodes as we see Skuli evade the search and rescue team and murder a dog. Two dog deaths now in just 3 episodes. My top tip: never be a dog in a Scandi noir series.


The Case
Incarcerated Torfi reveals a vague threat about "what happens today" which gives a real sense of pressure on the whole episode. Could the Hammer of Thor group have set a bomb at the location the Mayor will use to sign the deal with American Aluminium? Could it be another attack on the plant? Rabble-rouser Ketill is delighted to be in front of the TV news cameras on his release from custody but desperate for his son to be found safe. On reflection, Skuli's white horse was a poor choice in a muddy green landscape. When Skuli is finally found he's given up hiding as he is as sick as a dog (although not quite as sick as the one he stabbed previously). Could this be exposure as he's been on the mountainside for days, or something more sinister? I immediately thought poison, but I've been conditioned by detective dramas. Aha! I was right, and we've seen him drinking from a stream. Is this the ecological disaster the angry farmers were predicting?

The Mayor's scheming political rival is quite happy to make public her misfortune and the traitor graffiti is soon hot news. This is just the beginning for her as she goes on to have easily the worst day of her life. The police uncover a neo-Nazi email account with a copy of the Mayor's diary in it. Her kidnappers swoop after she's finished at the hairdressers and almost immediately give her a very unwanted dye job Carrie style. Hanna Stina is the plump and pleasant hairdresser who looks extremely sinister as she's framed in her window watching Mayor Hafdis drive away. How on earth could a hairdresser be anything but lovely?  So her involvement is a nice twist that I certainly wasn't expecting. Terrific acting from Iris Holm playing the innocent and then suddenly seething with anger at "bloody foreigners" coming to Iceland and buying her nation. Although her comment about one day having to speak English in her own home is absolutely fine by me, a person with zero Icelandic language skills trying to read subtitles at speed and take notes. She's like a ruthless racist version of Nessa in Gavin and Stacey and she has balls inviting Andri into her house after swiftly hiding all her racist propaganda.

In fact, she's without a doubt the brains behind the operation. Tomas and Markus are dumb and dumber, panicking about having to kill the Mayor because she can identify Hanna Stina. Frankly, she should have left the chickens on the farm in charge, they would have done a much better job. From the Mayor being trapped and scared for her life, reading out Hammer of Thor's demands to the watching public we swiftly flip to the kidnappers being trapped with the net closing in. Having been shot in the leg, the Mayor is rescued by Trausti's SWAT team and a kidnapper is killed. The police congratulate themselves about having "fully uprooted" the Hammer of Thor group. Don't pat yourselves on the back prematurely guys - this is only the mid-point of the series.
The action in these episodes comes in bursts, with time for reflection and sadness. Ketill is particularly poignant in hospital waiting with Hinrika for news of his son and realising the only way to help him now is to cooperate with the police.

Brightest moments
A few moments to cheer in amongst all the gloom. Andri is fantastic with Vikingur as he asks the horrified young man about a skulking Ebo "Is your friend coming out?" And there's a thoroughly impertinent smile that creeps across his face at the expense of Trausti and his team as they raid a nursery full of tiny children looking for Tomas "Are you sure it's safe?" he says.

And I immediately love the adorable grocery store owner, a man who unashamedly loves knitting and has kitten pictures on his desktop at work. I hope he's more tolerant of foreigners and in the market for an English wife.


Family Values
Thorhildur is basically ignoring her Dad and her still useless and totally naive Aunt. Her name (as you'll remember from last week crowned Winner of Best Name in Series 1) is really starting to grate as she ignores Andri every time he tries to talk to her, about anything. And she's compromising the case all over the place, as Aron's accomplice, but her silliest move is having found thousands of Euros in her boyfriend's house then picking up the phone and contacting whoever Finnur was mixed up with. She'll be lucky to escape this series alive.
Hinrika and her hippie husband Badur are at odds too. They've always been one of the strangest, most mismatched relationship of this series.  His support of the farmers in their mucky sheep protest last week and his pro-environmental politics are embarrassing her as local police chief. I'm dealing with a bit of a delicate situation at the moment darling! As is his habit of turning up at the police station stinking of weed. Oh dear.

And a real surprise this week from lovely Ebo who relates a tragic tale from his childhood in Ghana where being gay is a crime. He's keeping his relationship with Vikingur a secret and begging him to be discreet. Ebo's suspicious brother in law is on staff at the plant too, and he has a wife and child back home who are expecting his return. His life in Iceland with Vikingur is just a fantasy that can never be. It's utterly heartbreaking.

So where to next week? Surely there's more of a neo-Nazi threat that just the Hammer of Thor and their chicken accomplices. Any of the locals could have been indoctrinated with this poisonous politics. Just keep the grocery store owner out of it, ok?

On a personal note, I'd like to say a big takk to an Icelandic follower setting me straight on Ebo's name and a nephew I'd mistakenly called a son. Let's keep the new characters to a minimum for the rest of the series?!

Contributed by Sarah Kennedy

Trapped Continues Saturday at 9.00pm on BBC Four

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