This review contains spoilers.
After last week’s bombshell, the dust settles on a relationship that has mutated overnight into something distant, cold, and unrecognisable. Henrik’s profound anger on learning that Saga’s terminated her pregnancy has only deepened after a sleepless night spent trying to distract himself with the case. He’s using drugs again to deal with the stress, and is heading back into the morass of grief and guilt that he’d made such great strides towards escaping from. It’s excruciating to watch him rail at Saga; everything he once found endearing in her – her pedantry, her precision, her straightforwardness – now grates on his last nerve. Saga still can’t quite fathom what she’s done to hurt her lover, but her face registers her pain with those minute, yet meaningful, flickers in expression over which Sofia Helin has such mastery. The situation’s so bad that Lillian has to call them in for a talking-to. She manages to extract awkward promises that they will, at least, maintain a veneer of professionalism while at work.
That’s one of the nagging questions from last week dealt with, then, if to nobody’s satisfaction. So what about the poser we were tormented by at the episode’s end: who the hell is Tommy? This particular mystery is solved in painstaking, gruelling detail now, as we travel back in time four years to witness the sorry tale of Tommy’s betrayal by Copenhagen’s police. It’s a grim story, and the revelation that Tommy was not, in fact, some kind of criminal mastermind at the centre of the whole tangled web, as we might have assumed, but a broken, terrified man who met a brutal end at the hands of William Ramberg’s gang is a sobering one. It doesn’t reflect particularly well on anybody: a pre-Saga Henrik was distracted, Lillian caved in too quickly under pressure from her superiors, and the public prosecutor, Vibeke (Stine Prætorius), was airily dismissive of Tommy’s potential fate if the cops didn’t come through for him.
Tommy was working as a supergrass, an inside man labouring to bring down the nasty criminal cartel we’ve already met a few times so far in this series. Paw Henriksen does a fine job of portraying this tragic character’s fear and desperate attempts to escape the violent death he knew was awaiting him if William were to learn of his treachery. Henrik promised Tommy that the police would swoop when he, as part of a team of Ramberg’s goons, besieges a rival’s base, but – under pressure from those higher up the chain to delay as long as possible – the promised back-up never came. Things got nasty, and Tommy shot a man dead in self-defence, to his obvious horror. Gradually, we learn how he was connected to the real ‘victims’ of the present-day serial killer: not those actually murdered, but those to whom their deaths would cause the greatest mental anguish. Niels Thormod was the psychologist who wouldn’t declare him unfit to carry on with the subterfuge; Richard Dahlqvist the journalist who printed a scoop, but never followed through; Ramberg, judge, jury, and executioner; Vibeke, the unfeeling prosecutor. Margrethe, Patrik, Leonora, and that poor horse paid the ultimate price for their loved ones’ crimes.
The flashback structure is a novel one for The Bridge, and proves entertaining on a number of levels. We get to see Hans again, reminding us of just what Lillian’s lost. It’s also interesting to see Henrik at this stage; his cool reserve is that of the man we encountered at the beginning of series three, still self-medicating heavily and keeping himself to himself. By the way, for those of you who were wondering about that Martin cameo, this is the point at which he would have popped up again. It’s understandable that Kim Bodnia didn’t wish to return to the show after such a long time away and for such a fleeting cameo, but it would undoubtedly have been fantastic to see two of the most important people in Saga’s life finally cross paths, even – perhaps especially – at this stage, when she’s not yet on Henrik’s radar. We also meet several figures from Tommy’s life: wife Nicole and son Brian. Or should that be Kevin? Henrik’s stunned to learn, in the present day, that his friend from Narcotics Anonymous has such a close connection to the man whose miserable fate he feels responsible for. They have an angry altercation at Brian’s workplace, but he manages to convince Henrik that he’s not involved.
There’s much sexual drama this week, none of it exactly pleasant, but some of it surprisingly hilarious. Saga’s ill-timed comment to Tobias that the newborn can’t actually be his son thanks to his eye colour goes down about as well as you’d expect, and ends the Sonnings marriage rather abruptly. Malene’s surprisingly grateful to the forthright police officer, which is handy, as the current theory is that her globetrotting daughter Stephanie may be the girlfriend, Steph, that Tommy wrote of so fondly in letters to his mother, Solveig, who’s currently in custody for being deeply unhelpful. Morgan Sonning isn’t the only one to be having rather more sex than his romantic partner, either. Saga’s sleeping in the office for now, but gets a shock when she calls Henrik late at night to impart some new information about his missing daughters, only to hear him enjoying a one-night stand. He’s back on the dating scene, only his tastes appear to have shifted to blondes now. I don’t think it’s quite over for these two, do you?
As for the ongoing mystery of Henrik’s family, there’s a major development. Frank’s gradually emerging as a shifty character beneath his outwardly passive, solicitous demeanour. Christoffer, meanwhile, is getting closer to the troubled Astrid. In a touching scene well played by the two young actors, he finds her at her sister’s grave, quietly talking to her lost relative in Danish. It’s starting to look like at least one of Henrik’s vanished children might still be found. After a bleak few episodes, hope is beginning to steal back in through the gloom. That is, unless a bullet has just cut short the life of one of our heroes for good…
Read Gem’s review of the previous episode here.