REVIEW: The Bridge (S4 E2/8)

Last week’s opener of series four of The Bridge had a bit of everything: a brutal murder full of socio-political context, Saga in prison, Henrik and new partner Jonas undertaking all the procedural work and a new raft of peripheral characters that will all soon make sense.

It was terrific stuff.

Saga’s stint in prison was, I thought, a very necessary diversion – she needed to be in a place that stripped away everything, and somewhere that precipitated a reboot. As intriguing and interesting as that little mini-story was, and it was, I was glad that it only lasted an episode. I needed to see Saga back to what she does best.

And we last saw Saga, of course, laying on her stomach, in a pool of her own blood. Thankfully, she survived the attack and was back on the job (thanks to Henrik, who had pushed Lillian to get her on the case). The sequence in which she pulled on her boots, her leather trousers and her long, heavy overcoat, and strode out to her Porsche – to full hero music – almost felt as if her stint in prison led up to that moment. As she sped off towards the police station, a slight smile creased her lips. Yes, a smile. Saga was back – she knew it and we knew it.

And, when Linn gave her her badge and her belongings, welcoming her back with that slightly stern, very-much-maternal way Linn has become famous for, she was thrilled. How do we know Saga was thrilled? She sprawled the case files on Linn’s desk getting to work straight away. Linn had to tell her to get her own desk.

We were told that this series’ overriding theme was to be identity, and in this episode, identity was writ large.

Passports, police badges and, later on, the tale of the twin brothers. This series, especially in this episode, is obviously examining its characters’ identity – what it means to be someone, what they need to be someone, and what happens when they are someone.

The opening scene saw two young teenage girls – Ida and Julia, – homeless scavengers – scam a crowd of people, feigning a seizure and stealing some belongings from the concerned people who had stopped to help. In this particular scam, they had managed to take a mobile and a wallet, and you just knew, as the camera lingered on the phone, that it would become significant. And indeed it did. The girls were rescued from an aggressive buyer of stolen goods by none other than Taariq – the man who last saw Margrethe Thormod alive, and the man who she had deported. The girls gave the mobile phone to Taariq to say thank you for helping them, but when Taariq was eventually picked up by Saga and Henrik they found that the phone had a GPS tracking device, locked onto Thormod’s phone.

Taariq was in big trouble.

I also have a sneaking suspicion about these two teenage thieves, but let’s park that for a while.

Hernik and Saga seemed to be getting into the swing of things again. Henrik asked Saga if she wanted to stay with him while she was in Copenhagen. She said no. “Why not stay with me?” Henrik asked. “Because you live there,” she answered in the way only Saga could answer. Saga’s intervention on the case had rubbed Jonas the wrong way, especially as he was now stuck behind a desk – I wonder if Jonas will do something to sabotage the investigation later on down the line.

There was a lot going on in the episode, but it was all so beautifully constructed and intertwined, seamless even.  The benefit of all these new peripheral characters is that you pay attention more, you want to know who they are and how they fit into the story.  As I mentioned last week that these peripheral characters’ storylines felt tighter in this series (so far), and their role in the whole story seemed a lot more focused. The benefit of having eight episodes instead of 10.

And, we said hello again to The Pathologist (revealed in our interview with actor Gabriel Flores Jair to called David), and John Lundqvist, who had been seconded to Copenhagen to help with the case… there had been another murder. This time it was Patrik, the twin brother of investigative journalist, Richard. Poor Patrick had been electrocuted while drinking a beer in the hot tub. What a way to go.

And yet there was more intrigue. Sofie and Christoffer had been taken to a remote village by Frank. There, they had met the village matriarch, Harriet, and you got the sense something big was going to happen here. Harriet was creepy and stern, although she insisted she wanted nothing in return for housing Sofie and her son except for them to be ‘good people’, whatever that may mean. And, while Christoffer was wandering around his new ‘hood, he met a young teenage girl called Astrid.

Every time I see a teenage girl in this series, I immediately think of Henrik and his daughters. We’ll see.

Saga, of course, apart from investigating Margrethe Thormod’s murder (look out for her husband, who’s up to something), having frenzied, intermittent and ultimately emotionless sex with Henrik, was also looking into the case of Henrik’s missing wife Alice and children. She was working on the assumption that she had left voluntarily – Henrik admitted they had been having problems – and talking to a female colleague of Alice’s, who revealed she was close to a male colleague. A tiny bit of progress.

But there was something else going on with Saga – she was having disturbing flashbacks involving a gruesome self-harmer in what looked like prison, zoning out in her car at traffic lights and succumbing to a terrifying panic attack at the wheel of her car.

She may have got her identity back, but you sense there’s a lot more to process for Saga to fully feel the benefit of a reboot.

Paul Hirons