It’s not often you get to write the sentence ‘after an exciting snowmobile chase, the cops recover the missing head of the murdered mustard addict’ – almost certainly the situation has never arisen in Midsomer Murders – but in Fortitude, this kind of thing is becoming routine.
The bafflement of the opening episodes has begun to resolve itself into some sort of order – it now looks as if the prophetic Hindemith was addled with reindeer juice, and his supplier Tavrani killed him – though why, remains a mystery. Also, why didn’t Tavrani kill Eric when he had him at his mercy?
For Hildur, though, things are barely getting less baffling – she seems stoical about losing her job, though her choice epithets in Russian illustrate exactly how she feels about Munk. Still, why isn’t she fighting harder over her sacking? She seems willing to sign the papers, and even to go along with Munk’s cover story.
It’s amusing that Hildur and Lennox drop straight into a comfortable relationship, even though we never met Lennox throughout Series One. We just have to assume that he was there in the background, fishing away, but playing no part in events.
Hildur, though, knowns him sufficiently well to want to help him out by taking a trip to the neighbouring Russian colony on Lennox’s boat – even though we know it’s a deathtrap. That sea-voyage looks like no-one’s idea of a joyride, and the reception she gets is suitably chilling, though there’s fun to be had teasing out the hidden meanings of her guarded exchange with the Russian, Dmitri.
It turns out that Hildur and Michael had a fling some years before – both claim to have had their heart broken by the other. Well, neither seem to bear any resentment, and with Hildur claiming to be out of love with Eric, could the flame be rekindled? Surely not, when Michael’s wife is dying?
The supposedly dead Dan has disappeared from the hospital, and the doctor’s baffled assessment – ‘He is arisen’ – is unambiguously religious in tone. Is Dan the Second Coming prophesied in episode one? Probably not, though he may turn out to be thsaviouror of Fortitude, and his awakening does seem to have brought Elena back from the dead. Also, he has no trouble seeing through the sinister Dr Khatri, who is operating on Elena in ways which don’t seem to be beneficial to her health.
Eric seems fairly unfazed by the apparition of Dan sitting in a surgical gown and a fur hat, spinning in his office chair. Is it so cold in Fortitude that living there actually freezes your emotional responses, along with your goolies? Surely someone should suggest to Dan that he put some trousers on?
Ingrid, surely the most nervous cop anywhere in the Arctic, manages to lose evidence linking her brother to the murder. Tavrani has confessed, but is unlikely to get away with it by pleading that he was protecting the township from a demonic force. Could this in fact be Rune? Ingrid locks her brother in one of Fortitude’s amazingly hi-tech cells, but he’s next to Tavrani, who we believe when he says he’s be dead by tomorrow.
Is the sinister Michael Myers-type figure standing in the snow responsible for a second beheading, and will Tavrani be next for the chop?
We know Vincent’s on to something when he finds a reindeer eating a dead polar bear – the inversion of natural processes suggests that chaotic forces are at work. He still manages a bunk-up with Natalie in what must be extremely challenging circumstances, but pays for it with what looks like a case of hysterical blindness.
Meanwhile the Russians – who seem to have the most unsuitable cars for the prevailing weather conditions – are burning stacks of corpses in firepits. The last time we saw that happening was in The Thing, and that did not end well.