Episode seven opens with the fairytale of Gutti the goat boy, his personal tragedy and how he gets trapped in a lost future. If it’s meant to evoke any sympathy or understanding in steely Halla it falls flat. “Gutti was an idiot” she says. There are more myths and legends butting up against the every day in these episodes as the villagers start to feel they’re cursed.
The man competing for unluckiest villager is Vikingur, stood awaiting his fate against a very suitable blood-red backdrop locked in a room in the plant to keep him safe from the angry mob. His white shirt is splattered in blood, the backdrop is a once-white sheet covered in red spray paint. Pawel was hit in the head with a nasty-looking pointed hammer and Vikingur looks extremely guilty. Pawel the Pole was running jobs with various foreign workers at the plant. Was he a mini-mob boss? If so, I bet he had plenty of enemies.
Stefan, the clean-cut pal of Vikingur, rescues Ebo from yet another mob and puts him up with Hjortor and his girlfriend Soffia. Stefan can’t help but look guilty to seasoned fans of the genre – he’s so clean-cut he must be hiding something. Ebo speaks to the police to provide some context for Vikingur’s rage at Pawel and the homophobes they worked with. Lovely Asgeir’s English is beautifully spoken in this scene; he’s so kind to this terrified man.
The plant bosses are by now completely freaking out. A manager called David appears in a company fleece, such an insincere item of clothing. It’s the equivalent of a politician rolling up shirt sleeves in the company of working men only to reveal baby-soft hands. Gesturing at Pawel’s bloody body he asks the police “Can you clean this up by 2pm?”. Jamal is coming. Hinrika is incredulous at his attitude. Andri responds with one solitary raised eyebrow.
Vikingur’s Mum Steinunn is full of guilt and regret thanks to his laying into her at the funeral. She dreams that he drowned and she couldn’t save him. Not exactly the right moment for Aron to announce he’s in custody and suspected of two murders. The circumstantial evidence looks bad for Vikingur on both counts but he manages a no comment interview; good for his legal defence and good for the writers to keep this mystery going for a bit longer. Evidence soon reveals that in the blackout when Pawel was killed two CCTV cameras outside remained operational, and we see the power was cut well before Vikingur made it inside. Is he being set up?
Halla’s barricades are back up. She says Elin’s memories are false but we saw that moment of real emotion and guilt when Elin said ‘I know what you did last summer’. And someone has got to her already, as we see her handing money to a woman in her car. Who is she paying off? Is she being blackmailed? “I knew I couldn’t hide it forever” – so is this political or is this about the dark family secret?
Thorhildur’s emo affectations gets too dark for Aron. Furious at Andri’s treatment of her she loudly wishes a violent death on her father. That’s too close to home for Aron and really she needs to learn to think before she speaks. Aron and his family are back to being the subject of nasty supermarket gossip, which really must happen to them regularly. In a totally out-of-character move Thorhildur’s Aunty Laufey finally steps up and defies Andri, trying to provide some stability for the wayward girl.
Gudrun, the nosey forensic team leader, is poking around in the office and finds ultrasound photos. She and Asgeir assume she’s pregnant and they want to get Hinrika and Bardur back together. Turns out Bardur is a great baker but I’d avoid the special brownies while on duty. Bardur lights up a joint and Asgeir is worried about his “lazy sperm”. Later Hinrika tells off Gudrun for nosing in her drawers and jumping to conclusions. The truth is much sadder and seeing Hinrika getting tearful is heartbreaking as she’s normally so strong.
Asgeir and Bardir are set to investigate the lake. Good – I’ve got much more faith in them than the local politicians. When they arrive there are dead fish as far as the eye can see which is not a good look for the area but corroborates the dead ducks and Ketill’s sick son. Soon the water is turned off for safety. Stock up on wet wipes for a festival wash! Ebo thinks he and his brother-in-law should go to the police about the pollution. Was their side job dumping waste the plant couldn’t be bothered to correctly dispose of? He is told to shut up and remember they’re leaving for Ghana in a week. He needs to stay quietly out of trouble. Well that’s not going to happen.
David from the plant is at Finnur’s funeral offering a large wodge of cash to Finnurs widow Elin. He’s worried Finnur has spoken to her about him and relieved when she said he hadn’t. Is this where all the dirty money at the plant is coming from?
Ancient pagan mysticism seems to have been invited to the town hall meeting. Thorir is named as the man who disappeared 35 years ago, who must be the missing patriarch. The cursed land theory might sound wacky but is extremely popular with the locals. Shit-flinging youngsters turn up at Steinunn’s house yelling about the curse and Vikingur being a ‘fairy’ which for a moment didn’t translate well. A fairy? Oh you mean he’s gay, not a magical mystical creature.
Jamal (who finally I’ve recognised as actor Dar Salim with an excellent Scandi Noir CV, including Borgen and Dicte) is busy sneering at the place he’s likely helped to destroy. He’s watching the chaos and saying useful things like “I thought your country was supposed to be so peaceful”. Shut up Jamal. Then at the airport on his was home Jamal says the expansion is done. I’m reading between the lines here but a delay in what Halla thought was already agreed doesn’t look good. He doesn’t want his company to be any more involved in these high-profile murders than they are already.
The knot tied in the string around Elin’s cash is the same as Finnur noose. David the fleecy executive is investigated but has an alibi. He says the money is poker debts. This poker game at the plant has been mentioned a few times now – were the stakes high enough to murder for?
“Promise not to get angry”, says Thorhildur as she confesses to the existence of the illicit mobile phone. Aron is quite the responsible young man, realising they’ve messed up and they need help from the police. The phone is turned in to Asgeir who chases a lead to the nursery, the place that was connected (albeit loosely) to the Hammer of Thor group. Classic Asgeir here, biting off more than he can chew instead of going on date night with Gundrun. Surely he should have told at least one person where he was going. Entering the playground I think it’s 50-50 as to whether he solves the case single handedly or gets shot. I’m hoping for redemption for our bumbling officer, but no, again conforming to type Asgeir gets mugged for the phone, the essential piece of evidence, stabbed and left for dead.
Andri and Hinrika’s miscommunication with Asgeir is dealt with head-on in a very healthy way for the team. Asgeir complains he’s been left out of the loop because he’s just “a country cop”. Hinrika slaps down his martyr nonsense immediately, and won’t let bad feeling fester in her team.
And I loved Badur and Asgeir as environmental detectives. As long as he gets out of this alive I demand a spin-off series.
Contributed by Sarah Kennedy