Review: 100 Code (S1 E2/13), Wednesday 13th January, Sky Atlantic

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jbGtVTbxFAEM8qhFmo4YUz5TchCSo after last week’s shaky start of this culture clash procedural – an American and a Swede hunt a demented serial killer in Stockholm – I’m back for more. Why? Well, it’s certainly not for the gratuity, the poor dialogue or the cookie-cutter characterisation. Nor for the serial killer’s ridiculously convoluted modus operandi (something to do with Greek mythology, two victims at a time, winter, breathing tubes… see I’ve forgotten already). No I’m back because however daft it was (and it was), I’m a sucker for finding out what happened. Especially if there’s even a hint – however forced – of Nordicness to it all.

Most of this episode saw Tommy Conley (Dominic Monaghan) and Mikael Eklund (Michael Nyqvist) on stake-out duty, which gave them ample opportunity to begin to build bridges in their relationship. They slowly began to reveal small pieces of personal information about their personal lives to each other – Conley told Mikael about the night he shot and killed his partner; Mikael told him about his wife and how she died. Conley was still getting used to Swedish life (there was a conversation about the differences between pizzas in the two countries and why cops don’t carry guns in Sweden), while Mikael, you felt, was still a bit exasperated at being lured back into the fray for one final case. But the case was gaining momentum and they had two suspects to observe: one of them was a professor, the other a dentist.

The professor ended up jumping to his death from his apartment window. He was into Greek mythology so the cap certainly fitted him but it wasn’t him. Upon further investigation, Conley and Mikael found all too convenient evidence in the apartment and CCTV footage that seemed to suggest that he was pushed from the window.

So it was onto the dentist, who by this time had travelled to student town Uppsala, 70km north of Stockholm. There Conley and Mikael found him schmoozing pretty young women, and when he had isolated his prey and thrust a needle into her neck to incapacitate her they were there to not only save his intended next victim but to capture him. The chase was on, and they had their man. Except, after Conley had apprehended him (a sequence that left both in hospital) The Dentist escaped in a scene that was very reminiscent of Silence Of The Lambs.

But this was all in episode two. Episode two. It’s a very bold move to reveal the killer so early in a 13-part series, but to have him escape like that felt a bit… here we go again. It was intended to be tantalising and let us know that the killer was not to be messed with, but this move was just a bit annoying. This whole case could have been wrapped up in two episodes, but the chase was back on.

It’s a very American thing to do. In fact, with scenes so short, the whole thing felt very American. Most Scandi series luxuriate in moody exterior landscape shots and longer scenes of dialogue, which help to reveal more about the characters and let them breathe. But not here. There’s no real sense of place in 100 Code, despite the obvious location. Everything looks familiarly and homogeneously Western, as opposed to a Bridge or a Killing or a Beck, where the locations play an integral part of the drama. And, despite the familiarity of the Swedish language being dropped in here and there (it’s always good to hear the word ‘tak’ liberally sprinkled in a TV series), it’s not long until we get back to American pace and perfunctory dialogue.

So we know who the killer is, so where do we go from here? I’m pretty sure Mikael’s teenage daughter Hanna will become involved (a victim perhaps?) and the battle between The Dentist and Conley to become even more personal. Are there more than one killer at work (after all who pushed the professor to his death)?

Let’s see what happens next week.

Paul Hirons
@Son_Of_Ray

For our episode one review, go here

 

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