Despite its trappings of shamanism, Fortitude is in fact a good old Christian allegory – if you want any more proof than the regular references to a ‘second coming’and ‘miracles’ and Munk’s description of Dan’s actions as ‘a blessing’, you just have to look at Dan’s stigmata. Mind you, the nail-holes in his palms have healed up nicely under the influence of the wasps. But though he’s now in good standing, having brought in the body of Vladek, Dan’s clearly off his rocker, has confessed to Petra that he killed Elena, and was last seen nibbling bits of the dead Hildur. It seems he’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy.
NB: Spoilers inside
Appropriately, the mercs who are coming for Dan plan to transport him sedated in a padded coffin, as the last thing they want is ‘a ruckus in a helicopter’. Uh-oh – we reckon that’s just what they’re going to get.
While the immediate threat posed by Vladek seems to be over, no-one shows much surprise when yet another eyeless corpse turns up, this time that of a refugee from Vukobejina. Dan plans to bring the body in, as if there weren’t enough sources of infection in Fortitude already.
Michael is now convinced that Khatri and Dan can save Freya. No-one seems to be discussing the side-effects of the wasp juice – the bleeding from the eyes, the murderous rages, etc. Natalie’s recovered from being poisoned, but seems to have undergone a mystical transformation, or perhaps she’s just gone gaga. Munk, implausibly, has agreed to being injected so that he can fight off the townspeople who are coming for him like peasants after Frankenstein.
Khatri helicopters out, and goes up in flames when the mercs try to dispose of her – meanwhile the townspeople, spurred on by Dan, throw Munk out of his picture window. Not a dignified way to go, but we thought he was in for something worse.
Michael, who has spent the entire episode waving his Magnum at everyone to very little effect, eventually has to be saved from the last of the mercenaries by Eric, who appears in the nick of time. But where’s Dan? Wandering about in the wastes, presumably. By the time he returns to Fortitude, it’s too late to save Freya.
And there the season rather peters out. What happened to the apocalyptic ending we were hoping for?
While the first season established a multi-dimensional approach, combining suspense, soap and the supernatural, season two fails to vary the formula. The first couple of episodes concentrated on Michael’s problems and the threat of the killer, the next few on the investigation of the murders, and the last on the conspiracy elements. But none is given enough time to really develop, and what few plot twists there are, can arguably have been predicted – for instance the death of Hildur, though emotionally affecting, can’t have come as much of a shock in a series which bumps off its leading characters with such frequency.
Ironically, after our making the point a couple of weeks ago that Fortitude has a lot in common with Twin Peaks, it is now in danger of going the same way – after a gripping first season and an indifferent second, a third may be all but redundant.
If it returns in its present form, perhaps the best approach will be to make it less of a melange of elements. It will take indeed take fortitude, but perhaps the solution will be to cut away some of the dangly bits.
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