Review: Ängelby (S1 E4/12), Wednesday 14th September, ITV ENcore


angelbySo far in this bonkers Swedish crime/supernatural mash-up, we’ve seen a young single mum, Vera, move to small town Ängelby to make a fresh start. Except the fresh start she found wasn’t quite what she was looking for. Instead, she has become embroiled in a murder mystery, with the death of a young hockey player at its heart. Add in a cast of eccentric locals, some sort of force that seemingly lives in the woods, and children that often appear and then disappear, and poor Vera doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. In this fourth episode it was definitely a case of more crying.

As we all know by now, Ängelby is a complete fruitloop of a series, but in this episode things took a turn for the sinister. It all centred around ultra-eccentric Torsten (the incomparable Göran Ragnerstam, who’s fast becoming one of my favourite Scandinavian crime actors), who seemingly committed suicide who by self-immolation. Before this, when Vera discovered his hideaway cottage in the woods, he took great pains to try and convince Vera to leave the town, get a job further up north or move back to the big city. This was an about-turn from the man with the daft hair and crazy eyes, who brought Vera to the town in the first place offering her hope after the loss of her job and the breakdown of her marriage. When Vera left the scene because Torsten was acting weird, his ex-wife Britt-Louise emerged from the shadows and said she was delighted she had visited and muttered in her reverie something like, “oh, now we can proceed.” Whatever plan they had concocted Torsten wanted out.

a9dfaf47-456a-4c39-ad0d-0a4fc37dda44The next night, Vera heard her car alarm go off. She rushed outside to turn it off, and while she was disabling the alarm, her and Torsten’s apartments exploded. There, on the balcony, surrounded by flames lapping at his beige suit, he told her to stay away from ‘the stone’ at all costs and search in his office’s archives – there was something there for her. With that he turned around and walked into the flames, letting them engulf him silently.

Poor Torsten. In the archives, Vera had found that he had led a life wracked with mental health problems, and papers and documents that detailed his history of delusions. She also found a wad of cash that he had left her, an accompanying note urging her to leave town. Police officer Amos later confirmed that there had been no ex-wife, no Britt-Louise, and he had bought the flat a year before under his steam. I wondered if Britt-Louise was one of his delusions, an imaginary tormentor who represented an aggressive part of a schizophrenic personality. But then we saw her later on, upset at Torsten’s death, and then I didn’t know what to think.

In fact, I don’t know what to think about this whole series. Vera’s still keeping me here, but I was disappointed there will be no more Torsten, the man who looked like the lead singer from a pub rock band in Ipswich from 1974. We do have Eva the witch teacher, and it was revealed that she has a son laying a mental hospital and, contrary to her earlier representation as a bad person, she’s ‘trying to put things right’.

What, we’re not quite sure what that means yet. We saw snatches of the Fors’ children in their new home in Brussels (something bad is going to happen to them, I’m sure of it), and Therese and her cocky and surly teen paramour Calle, who now seem to be investigating the death of their school friend, too. How Vera fits into all Twin Peaks crossed with Midsomer Murders is another question entirely.

Paul Hirons

For our episodes one and two reviews, go here

For our episode three review, go here


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