REVIEW: Trapped (S2 E3&4/10)

We left episodes one and two – a strong start to this excellent Icelandic series – with both Ketill and Torfi under arrest, the latter suspected of killing Finnur, in the little police station. Skúli, meanwhile, was on the run in the mountains with all that the police could muster on his tail and surely closing in on him. After he kills one of the rescue dogs, the SWAT team arrives from Reykjavik to boost the search efforts. Ketill too, after he is released, starts off on his own search by quad bike. Here we see a slightly different man to the vitriolic protestor dumping dead sheep on the square. Now he is just someone who knows the dangers of the land and the exposure to the elements; a father desperate to find his son before it’s too late.

Elsewhere, Hafdís, the mayor, had been threatened by (presumably) the extremist group Hammer of Thor at the end of episode two. Not wanting to jeopardise the plant deal due to be signed, she didn’t alert the police, but painted over the graffiti that was daubed onto her house and garage. Instead, word gets out to the media by way of Kolbrún (via journalist Fréttakona (played by The Flatey Enigma’s Lára Jóhanna Jónsdóttir)), the former mayor’s widow and possibly contender for the post herself. (Nice to see this interesting character and her scheming ways return to be part of the mix again. If you can stomach standing by while you’re albeit abusive husband burns alive, what else are you capable of?)

Andri and Ásgeir pay a visit to Hjörtur at the powerplant to have a look at some security footage of the protestors. When asked why there is no security cameras covering the foreign workers’ barracks, Hjörtur despondently offers the simplest reason: nobody cares about them. He suggests they talk to Pawel, the unofficial leader of the foreign workers. Pawel, however, is not forthcoming with the police, simply stating they can take care of ourselves. Certainly, as easily replaceable workers who are forced to accept very poor wages and conditions, you are not about to talk to the police more than necessary, but are there other reasons too? What has been going on at the plant and what was Finnur, who was the overseer of the foreign workers, involved in? As they are leaving Andri introduces himself to Ebo for the second time, in order not to reveal that he met him before at Víkingur’s place.

Torfi recants his confession but lets slip in an unguarded moment with Andri that something is about to happen.

Talking to Aron in a café, Andri finds a computer that Torfi has used in the past. Now it’s time for Ásgeir to do his thing. And while cracking a password in two attempts is a bit exaggerated, it’s great to see that he is no longer side-lined or treated like a junior colleague, but someone who just has other qualities.

Skúli is found sick and weak on the mountain and is rushed to Reykjavik for specialist care. Hínrika, who has had an embarrassing and tense visit from Barður reeking of weed, at the unusually full and busy police station, is presumably happy enough to postpone any further confrontation with her husband and instead accompanies Ketill on the journey to Reykjavik.

Realising that the mayor is the target for Hammer of Thor, Andri contacts her immediately on the phone but Hafdís dismisses him without really listening and gets off the phone when she sees an apparent accident. Rather unlikely, one would think. If you’re on the phone with the police and come across someone who is seemingly in need of help, you tell the police what’s going on and get them to come or at least to send an ambulance if you believe that someone is hurt. You don’t hang up without saying anything at all. The result? She is abducted.

The police arrive too late and it’s back to procedure to try to find out who has taken Hafdís. Next day CCTV tapes from a supermarket shows a car following Hafdís from her appointment at the hairdresser. Ásgeir recognises the car and now they have a name to go on.

Trausti has arrived in town, greeting Andri with a handshake but without any real eye contact. No one is particularly happy with having to work with the other once again, but they get on with it at least. The balance they strike with how these characters relate to each other is quite good. Accepting of each other on the surface, but lots of things left unspoken that manifest in the way they interact.

A video of the mayor, bound and forced to read a statement from Hammer of Thor, is spread online and adds to the sense of urgency with the police. Soon Trausti and his team go barging in, rifles raised, to the kindergarten at the address linked to the new suspect. Andri smirks at Trausti; You’re sure it’s safe to go in now?

From there the trail leads to Hanna Stína the hairdresser and this time Andri takes charge deciding to simply talk to her himself. He coaxes her slowly to go from denying any knowledge about the abduction to show her real character, finally ranting aggressively about her land, industry and culture being sold out. The fact that she does this but is still evidently afraid of Andri, who has the upper hand, makes for a powerful scene between the two of them.

In Reykjavik, Hínrika and Ketill have somehow developed something of a connection over the situation. He understands that to help his boys he needs to help Hínrika get the information she needs. With Ketill finally drawing the location where Hafdis is held from Skúli. The SWAT team is dispatched and in the ensuing encounter out in the countryside Trausti is forced to shoot one of the abductors. Later, Andri will defend his actions to the press. Maybe they can let go of past conflicts now? No, what’s the fun in that for us viewers. This contrast in characters highlights everything we like about Andri. His confident but unassuming demeanour only rising his voice when it’s absolutely necessary. Andri certainly wouldn’t be caught dead wearing sunglasses on a shady day like a city boy.

The mayor is freed, and all the members of Hammer of Thor are being dealt with. So, at this point, things seem to have been solved and there is only the aftermath to deal with. However, it’s never that simple and we are only at episode four after all. And sure enough, here comes the raven flying against a mountain background. As we learnt from the first series, that means the worst is yet to come.

Right enough, Guðrún finds evidence to show that no one from the Hammer of Thor could have killed Finnur meaning the bolt gun with their fingerprints had been used to try and frame the brothers. The team must start again in the search for Finnur’s murderer. It’s a crime drama staple, of course, that you are meant to suspect at least one or two red herrings before finding the right trail, but it’s also the interesting part. The solution mustn’t be too obvious, and we must look around at all the other possible perpetrators who might have hidden means and motives.

Meanwhile, Þórhildur has been skipping school to spend time bonding with Aron over broken relationships with their fathers. Back at his house which has still not been released by the police, she is asking for drink before having sex with him, leading them to discover a bag full of rolls of Euros. Finders, keepers, says Aron who is rather too unconcerned where the money comes from. We had a feeling it was coming, putting the kids in danger and thus increasing the suspense until the next episode. Þórhildur deciding to send a text to a phone she found in the same bag as the money isn’t very convincing and that makes two episodes in a row where there have been very counterintuitive actions taken by the women in this series. Yes, Þórhildur is only 15-years-old and she’s not in a happy place, but she’s not that dumb. What is she trying to do here? Is this meant to be a part of her rebellion? Keeping and using some of the money, yes tempting. Texting someone who clearly made plans to meet Finnur where later he turned up dead? Sorry, that one isn’t quite covered by the suspension of disbelief. Having said that, this is a quality series, so we’ll let this one slide and move on.

And, with six episodes left, there’s a murder to still be solved.

Charlotte Carling