Fortitude episode 6 review

Is DCI Morton out of his depth? He wouldn't be the only one at this stage. Here's Michael's review of Fortitude's latest episode...

This review contains spoilers.

Detective Chief Inspector Eugene Morton is clearly an investigator of long experience. He is clearly a man who is not easily dissuaded from pursuing his goals. He is clearly the most competent, calm and capable individual currently dwelling in the town of Fortitude. He is clearly a police officer who gets results.

Detective Chief Inspector Eugene Morton is clearly way out of his depth.

We’ll start at the end and work backwards this week. The most comforting thing about Shirley Allerdyce’s brutal assault on her hapless mother was simultaneously the most threatening, namely that it was pretty obviously not her doing the unpleasant deed. Yes, it was Shirley’s hands that swung the cosh, her hand that opened a cavity in her mother’s belly and her mouth that ejected the clear slime but she was not the agent of the actions. Like young Liam Sutter, Shirley was turned into a violent automaton by some unseen force that appeared to inhabit her and control her movements for some bizarre unknown purpose. The implication for the viewer is that, having now occurred on screen twice, this terrible entity may even have been somehow involved in the messy death of Billy Pettigrew (itself with several possible assailants) and god knows what else that has been going on in the town and kept hidden by its secretive inhabitants. Your move, Detective Morton. Your move.

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If it wasn’t actually Shirley who intended the attack, was Margaret still a deliberate target? She had been threatening Hildur’s cosy little arrangement and gave the impression that, like Morton, she’s the sort to make good on her promises. Her relationship with her daughter, although startling unconcerned, given the obvious horridness of Markus, nevertheless had the potential to undermine the connection between the creepy feeder and his beloved. He’d also been pouring liquids into her body. Too obvious? I’d say so. What about a comparison with the other known victims? Pettigrew and Stoddart were scientists, the type to ask searching questions. Margaret has that in common with them, as does Morton. She still appeared to be breathing when Shirley completed her bloody ministrations. Perhaps he can ask her personally.

Of course, the other explanation is that it is all strangely viral. It all seems to emanate from the mammoth corpse. Liam and Shirley had both had contact prior to their turns and so, perhaps had Billy Pettigrew. I’ve been considering the theory that Billy had been handcuffed and shot after turning into a hacker-zombie but there are so many variables that it is difficult to say at this stage. Both Liam and Shirley experienced several hours of unconsciousness prior to their awakening, which doesn’t fit with the flashback sequence of Billy at the start of this episode, and as Dan reported, Billy was making ‘inhuman screams’ as he was being attacked, which is inconsistent with the detached silent peacefulness exhibited by the two confirmed autonomous attackers. All we can say is that the mammoth remains are a contaminating presence at the heart of everything with an as yet unknown purpose. This, of course does not bode well for Ronnie and Carrie, who have been dragging the tusks across the ice in pursuit of a massive payday, and in Ronnie’s case, of some unknowable comfort from his obvious torment. The theft of their dread cargo by the boatman was a double-cross, straight from a heist movie but does he know what he’s stealing? It would be bad if he didn’t and worse if he did.

Even if he had no idea, he has no monopoly on ignorance. Tavrani is indulging Tyson’s request for the tupilaq in a manner that suggests that he’s making it all up as he goes along. The bloodletting was a tiny foretaste of the fork-powered phlebotomy that was to come, but the import of the scene was even more important. The cavalier manner with which the pair are interfering with the supernatural is harmless enough when played as a mere parlour game but we know that something darker and genuinely powerful is out there. Tyson’s intentions may be good, but the last thing that the Sutters need is for some old fool to start summoning things on their behalf.

Not that mundane interventions are any more welcome this week. The bedhopping saga continued along firmly-established soap opera lines, with Trish’s bitter admission to Hildur of her relationship with Erik. This, and the still-spinning antagonism between Elena, Frank and Dan erupted into action with Hildur throwing Erik out (of her car, and possibly her life)  and Frank’s angry confrontation of Elena prompting an intervention by Dan. It was a reminder that, for all the supernatural goings-on, there is still a broken community at the centre of things and a lot of bad blood (to continue another theme) to go around. The two strands of the show seem unrelated but the day-to-day stuff does give the characters and awful lot of reasons to lie, especially to people who ask too many questions. There’s a reason why Morton has to be so dogged, everyone has just got so much to hide. He may have found Yuri and have gathered some useful information from him, but there’s so much more that he has yet to uncover and, as we now know, he may have found himself in a place where it is better not to know.

Read Michael’s review of the previous episode, here.