If episode seven was anything to go by, we’re very definitely into the home straight of this strange, ridiculous, brilliant and addictive Swedish thriller. If that episode had more big reveals than you could shake a bottle of Essence Of Forest at, episode eight reverted back to something slightly less manic – it was a nice mix of simmering tension and slight cliffhanger. Now Eva Thörnblad is part of The Parasite Club, there are still plenty of questions remain, principally: when are we going to meet Muns, the King Of The Forest, and is he a character we know already?
There was inevitable fall-out from that crazy previous episode, but what this episode did brilliantly was to provide more talking points and keep the tension bubbling away as relentless as the Ylva in her kitchen.
We got into things with Esmerelda’s story. The kinetic teen had done a runner from the school and her showdown with Harry Storm. Wass had visited a lady in the woods – a new character – who told him to bring Esme to her and that she would take care of her. OK then. Wass just had to find her.
As we progressed (and have progressed) it had become clear that her powers had lasting effects on those she had come into contact with. We’ve seen Tom Aronsson, who had been almost fatally attacked by Esme, have disturbing visions of the teen (some with a distinctly sexual edge), and now Harry Storm, out in the woods and about to put his wounded, beloved dog out of its misery, was having some Esme-based visions too. We’re still not sure who this character is, where she comes from and, more importantly, where her powers come from. What is her connection to the members of The Parasite Club? Is she a member herself? Does she have a connection to Muns or the forest?
By the end of the episode Wass had indeed found Esme, had an almighty confrontation with her where he managed to stave off one her orange-eyed attacks and placated her. He took her to the woman in the woods, to help her control her kinetic powers.
Meanwhile, Eva was getting used to her new parasite-enhanced senses. In between looking for Esme, Wass was now playing a kind of Obi Wan Kenobi character, tutoring Eva in the ways of The For.. sorry, parasite. He taught her, for instance, how to use her new-found, enhanced senses at the scene of a crime. He taught her to smell things, feel things… very Grimm-like powers.
Eva was also hatching a plan to save the abducted children, as well as build bridges with Muns. She had met with the parents of missing children Emma and Anton, told them what was going on and persuaded them to part with their shares in Thörnblad Cellulosa, which would mean she would become head honcho. With her newfound status within the company she strode into a board meeting and told – no, ordered – Gustaf to cease operations in the forest.
When Gustaf announced to the media the company “had listened to criticism” (very politician-like, that) and would stop blowing up the forest, there were cheers from the listening crowd. It seemed Eva had won this battle, and that Ylva and Wass and other members of The Parasite Club would be happy with this development. They might even crack open some forest-based nibbles and a few bottles of vintage Essence Of Forest to celebrate.
But if this was a repercussion of events in episode seven, there were repercussions to this act, too.
Gerda, Johan Thörnblad’s secretary and mother of Nicklas, had seen the news report featuring Gustaf telling everyone Thörnblad Cellulosa would be ceasing operations in the forest on the television and was incensed, telephoning Gustaf to admonish him. With all that silver beneath the forest sitting untapped, she told him, she could not secure her mentally handicapped son’s future without her share of the booty. There was only one thing for it, she barked – she was going to tell his wife everything. Gustaf, fearing the worst, decided to tell his wife about Nicklas before Gerda could get to her, which resulted in her storming out.
Gerda, meanwhile, had followed a distressed Nicklas to their barn and found not only Josefine deteriorating from lack of Essence Of Forest, but also the Thörnblad book. We saw a scene featuring Ylva taking Eva down into Muns’s lair intercut with shots of Gerda rifling through the book to find secret locations. She called Harry Storm, who soon got to work targeting new, specific areas of the forest gleaned from the ancient Thörnblad book.
Suddenly those who would do the forest harm were back in the game.
But that wasn’t all. We still had time for Tom Aronsson conducting a secret visit to the Thörnblad residence, where unearthed Emma’s coat in Eva’s bath. He now knew that Eva had something to do with the disappearance of the little girl.
Finally, Eva found a videotape made by her father, who admitted his wrong doing with the forest, but also told Eva that she had a brother: Nicklas.
It was all getting a bit Shakespearean: her brother’s mother, Gerda, was revealed as the chief villain, while her father had had a hand in and sort of indirectly been responsible for her daughter’s disappearance. And let’s not forget, her daughter is now in the mother of her brother’s hands.
I think I need a lie down. Or a glass or two of Essence Of Forest.
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