REVIEW: Trapped (S2 E1&2/10)

Finally. Three years after Trapped proved to be a huge hit with viewers of the Saturday-night, foreign-drama slot on BBC4, we are returning to Iceland for the long-awaited follow-up series, having already been assured by director Baltasar Kormákur that the third will arrive with less of a gap.

Plot-wise only two years have passed since we left Andri (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) and his family in the wake of the terrible events that took place in the small northern town. It’s reasonable that they should have relocated to Reykjavík and reasonable that clearing up the case meant Andri redeemed himself from messing up that missing person case, alluded to by former colleague Trausti (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson) when we last saw them. And so he’s back with the Reykjavík police. The family is still fragmented and rebellious teen Þórhildur (Elva María Birgisdóttir) has returned north to live with her aunt Laufey and is refusing to talk to her parents.

Again, we start off with fire but this time it’s not unintentional death by arson that has unforeseen consequences years down the line. Instead, we have a brother doused in petrol setting himself alight in front of the parliament while clinging on to his twin sister, and Industry Minister, who he has not seen for years. Gísli dies and Halla (Sólveig Arnarsdóttir) suffers serious burns. It’s a spectacular statement crime, common enough in the genre but absent from Trapped thus far. This is different, but was the motive political or personal? Flyers found in his car link the perpetrator to both protests of the expansion of the geothermal power plant and the addition of a new aluminium smelting plant in the countryside near the town, as well as right extremist group Hammer of Thor. Andri is sent north to investigate further.

After reuniting with Hínrika (Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir), who is the local Police Chief, and Ásgeir (Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson), they check out Gísli’s farm and then talk to his siblings, one of which is married to his ex-wife, obviously creating tonnes of tension between her and her son Víkingur. He works at the power plant under his uncle Finnur, who happens to be something of a homophobe and has threatened Víkingur’s closeted Ghanaian boyfriend for reasons that don’t quite seem to add up yet. What is it Finnur thinks that Ebo knows? There is more to discover here.

Meanwhile, Ásgeir has been unable to stop an aggressive mob of locals in knitted jumpers and beards, from taking Gíslis dead sheep and staging a protest outside of the town hall. Though he is clearly outnumbered and there was effectively nothing he could do, his disappointment at this inadequacy is palpable. The protestors are led by farmer Ketill who claims that the work on the new plant will release poisonous gases and kill all the sheep. Finnur and Ólafur arrive and start a fight with Ketill. When he is interviewed by Andri and Hínrika, he starts spouting comparisons between his dead friend and his heroic namesake of Gísla Saga.

What with Hínrika being annoyed with Barður for taking part in the protest and him resenting the implication that he’s not allowed his own opinion, it’s a tense time for a house guest. However, Hínrika had insisted and Andri is once again staying on someone else’s sofa temporarily with somewhat awkward evening chats. Still, he accepts the situation and has his glass of milk before bed. The British half of the screenwriting duo, Clive Bradley, originally had Andri ending the day with a glass of whisky, in these situations. Luckily, he was made to see that wasn’t the right way for this Icelandic bear of a detective.

When Finnur is found hanged, there is an obvious murder and a crime scene to process but Ásgeir is left on his own again with the boring task of waiting for forensics, while Andri and Hínrika go off searching houses and looking for likely suspects Torfi and Skúli. Aron (Stormur Jón Kormákur Baltasarsson), Finnur’s son and Þórhildur’s new boyfriend, takes the opportunity to cut down his father who until then has been left hanging. Difficult to blame him really but Guðrún arrives and isn’t pleased. But it doesn’t seem to bother her for long. On with police work and recovering evidence from rubbish bags.

Back at the cosy little police station, with its sofa straight from the 70s, Torfi is being interviewed and decides to confess to the murder of Finnur, a traitor to the country. Andri is unconvinced and sets an easy trap for him. The calm effortless interview style of both Andri and Hínrika, show that they are both in their element.

In the first series, we had a white wall of snow encapsulating the community. It was imposing and ominous. This time the landscape is different and explored a bit further. It’s beautifully shot to give a sense of the mountains stretching far with different hues of black, brown and green. It can be a dangerous place. Skúli who has evaded the police and rescue team settles on a cave for the night.

During a press conference Andri and Hínrika find out that the mayor, who doesn’t want to upset the upcoming deal with the Americans, hasn’t been upfront about protestors at the plant, but a subsequent chat with Hjörtur, who is working with security at the plant gives them the evidence they need to link the two cases. There are plenty of new characters in these two episodes and one has to pay attention to keep track of them. Therefore, it’s very pleasing when other familiar faces turn up outside of the ones we might have expected. Things seem to be looking up for Hjörtur with a little one on the way. He’s had his fair share of misfortune already, surely.

For the mayor, though, it might just be starting. She comes home to find threats and a dead chicken nailed to her garage door. A message from Skúli and Hammer of Thor.

Þórhildur is holding firm in talking to her father as little as possible. It’s not the first time Kormákur shows us troubled relationships between fathers and their rebelling daughters. The Oath, Jar City and even the first series of Trapped had Dagný and Eirikur. How far will things be pushed with Andri and Þórhildur and will she be safe? Noir detectives’ daughters frequently end up in very dangerous situations.

It seems the situation with his daughter is weighing on Andri, but he shares his concerns with Hínrika as there is a good level of trust between them. Hínrika seems quite content to work as many hours as she can and in the process avoid her strained situation at home with Barður. Though not intended, the closeness between Hínrika and Andri, appears to make Ásgeir feel a little left out. I found Ingvar E. Sigurðsson’s performance very impressive. In fact, the entire cast was impressive. Somehow, that felt like a given after the first series.

We have just started but already, accompanying the crime plot, are several important and highly relevant issues; nationalism and right extremism, the situation for immigrants and migrant workers, discrimination and homophobia, human effect on the environment. Add to those, because what is a drama without it, a dysfunctional family with many dark secrets to uncover. We’re off to a great start.

Charlotte Carling

FOR ALL OUR NEWS AND REVIEW OF TRAPPED CLICK HERE

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24 Comments Add yours

  1. Andy D says:

    Great review Charlotte! I was a bit worried that this second series would not match the first but I needn’t have fretted. Instead of snowstorms we have earthquakes which I’m sure will play a bigger part toward the end of the show. As always the real star is the landscapes which are simply stunning. The plot is a little familiar so far but it was such a pleasure to see everyone back I didn’t care, especially Hínrika who is easily the star of the show for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seija says:

      And don’t forget the fog, Andy!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Andy D says:

        Oh yes, very pretty (and very deadly)!

        Like

    2. Charlotte Carling says:

      Ta, Andy :) Hínrika is marvellous! (I really like this version of her: https://twitter.com/redfacts/status/1096866306060664832)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Andy D says:

        Ha! I love that even in that format they capture that wonderful forehead wrinkle that does much of the acting for her!

        Like

      2. Seija says:

        Hinrika is gold! Loved the scene where Hinrika told Andri she’d throw him in the jail, as well, if he said that the age of having sex for the first time as a teenager is different for boys when they were discussing the possible courtship of Andri’s daughter and Aron :D

        P.s. You can get that pic on a mug from redbubble!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Charlotte Carling says:

        That was a snappy line from her. And he knows she’s right but doesn’t quite want to admit it :)

        Ah yes, I’ve considered getting one of those mugs before.

        Clearly we’re not the only ones in need of a family tree. Nice of the scriptwriter to oblige.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Seija says:

    Nice, CC. You’re right, they were laying out the pieces of the puzzle for the series in the first two eps, and now we can just sit back, relax, let the story unfold, and enjoy.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Charlotte Carling says:

      There’s always a set up phase. I have to admit, I needed to write down all the names of the new people as I was watching just to keep track.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Seija says:

        I was just wondering yesterday whether I’d start drawing a family tree so I could keep track of all the characters and their relations, because that’s what bothered me in s1. If you lost concentration for five minutes during an episode, you’d be asking “who’s that” and “what happened” till the end of the season!
        But then I decided, naah, I’ll look for one on the net. Haven’t started looking for one, yet. Might do. But luckily, your review helps a lot with the names and all so thanks a bunch for that :)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Tom says:

    Ásgeir may be feeling a little left out but surely love is in the air for him and Guðrún. Did you notice how quickly he was out the door to the pub with her and the gang when Hínrika agreed to spend the night at the police station? I’ll be shipping them for the rest of the series. Like Hjörtur, he deserves some happiness.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Charlotte Carling says:

      Yes, I hope you’re right. It’s nice that the newcomers from the city are a little more pleasant this time round.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tom says:

        Not to worry, Trausti Einarsson will be on the scene soon to make Andri’s life a misery.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Seija says:

      What is it with Ásgeir anyway? He’s looking even more spaced out, anxious and worried than in s1? Admittedly, he wasn’t very assertive in s1 either (got locked up in one of the jails by a criminal), but this time he was run over several times during the first two eps?!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Andy D says:

        I think that will come to a head this series, he was emasculated by the protestors taking his radio and stick in E1 and with Andri continually putting him on securing crime scenes rather than the exciting stuff, it’s only so long before he does something reckless in a bid to be heroic!

        Like

      2. Seija says:

        Yes, why is Andri doing that, btw? I sense a slight shift in the balance of power as police officers between Hínrika and Ásgeir in s2, compared to s1. Is it only because Hínrika has been promoted after Andri left or is there something else, as well? They all were more equal as colleagues in s1, if my memory serves me right, or am I mistaken?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Andy D says:

        I think they were balanced in S1 but it looks like since Andri left the balance of power has shifted. Ásgeir never came across as the ambitious one, quite happy to play chess on his computer rather than doing police work!

        Like

  4. Keith says:

    Good review. I find the Icelandic names tricky to follow so these reviews may be my saviour!

    Just a small technical correction. There is no such person as Gisla Saga. The correct name is Gisli Sursson and it is HIS saga to which Ketill refers:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%ADsla_saga

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Charlotte Carling says:

      Sorry about that. I meant to say “from Gísla saga” as I mistakenly thought the shortened Icelandic name for it was used in English as well. Unfortunately I appear to have steared away from clarity.

      Anyway, lots of murders and such in the sagas. Quite noir!

      Like

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