Twin has developed across the past few weeks into a quietly sober family drama, with any aspects of crime largely left in the background. With the running time starting to build toward its inevitable conclusion, things naturally shifted up a few gears this week as we dug ever deeper into the brothers’ lives, with some revelations proving especially problematic – and not just for the characters, but us as viewers too.
In the aftermath of the previous night’s party, Frank calls Ingrid to come pick up a very hungover (e.g comatose, what is this girl drinking??) Karin. When Frank gently attempts to broach the subject of Karin’s mysterious bruises, a visibly spooked Ingrid goes off the deep end, accusing him of inappropriate behaviour towards her daughter. On the drive back home, Ingrid has something of a heart-to-heart with Karin, intimating she was just as wild in her own misspent youth – which interweaves neatly into her early pregnancy with Karin and her daughter’s overwhelming lack of self-esteem about being wanted (or even loved) by her parents as a result.
It feels like the pair have genuinely turned a corner – until Karin confesses she drunkenly told Frank that she witnessed Erik skulking about the harbour the night Adam died. Ingrid snaps back into survival mode and slaps her daughter, as she realises this information could fatally jeopardise her plan. In a particularly cold-blooded manoeuvre, she utilises the revelation that she was due to divorce Adam before the accident to coerce her daughter into agreeing to lie about the sighting if she is asked about it again. Not only this, but Ingrid compounds the pain she is clearly causing her daughter by admitting her ‘husband’ will now move away to Oslo – but when Karin asks to go with him, she intimates he doesn’t want her. Ouch.
It’s yet another example of Ingrid’s character being exceptionally oblivious toward the way her actions are destroying those around her, and I must say it’s beginning to erode my sympathy for her in this situation. Beyond the obvious desperation she might have initially felt in hiding a crime to protect her family, it feels like the larger narrative here is that Adam wasn’t really loved at all – certainly not by his wife, who seems so quick to tarnish his legacy as a father and husband with the absurd concoction of his escape, which we are to assume is evidently out of character to anyone that knows him. It might solve Ingrid’s one big problem in the first instance, but the irreparable damage it will cause her children seems a secondary thought to her – if that. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to like Ingrid – or even if we’re meant to.
We uncover a little further intrigue around the brothers shared history when Erik reluctantly meets the local vicar Jakob (Aslag Guttormsgaard) to discuss the funeral service. Jakob intimates Adam was in therapy for a long period, partly because he was processing the knowledge that Erik was actually Karin’s father. The revelation that his brother wrestled so heavily with this issue seems to rock Erik, which is a bit odd given that later in the episode we learn Adam beat him half to death on discovery of this fact – ample evidence, I would suggest, that his brother was not particularly comfortable about the situation (more on this later). It’s another strange disconnect in how the story puts its pieces together in retrospect as if the primary characters involved weren’t actually present – and as we go along, becomes more apparent in the clumsiness of it’s handling.
It’s also scant backstory for a character that has been conspicuously missing from this tale, who for the most part has merely been a device for the plot to coalesce around. By dispatching with his physical presence in the first episode (after very little screen time in the first place), I had hoped we’d get a richer understanding of his life post mortem so to speak. We don’t know Adam as we do Erik, and so it’s through these tiny morsels of information that we learn about his life in real-time, much as his brother does. But do they even matter? The issue for me is they seem constructed purely to drop in a disposable surprise here or there, rather than adding any true depth to his character – and in doing so, further our investment in his story.
This was keenly felt in the rather awkward handling of business partner Trond’s revelation that Adam was his lover. A neat twist to end an episode sure, but it felt like another overt attempt at diminishing Adam as a traditional masculine figure ‘worthy’ of being the patriarch in his family unit. First, it’s revealed he hasn’t fathered his own child, and now that he is gay. It might just be me, but it feels like the writers consciously used his homosexuality to enact a deliberate erasure of his legitimacy as a man within his own life, toward the end goal of replacing him in the story’s conclusion with the archetypal “alpha” Erik, the real Norwegian. Even if I’m vastly overthinking it, the fact that Trond – a man who has clearly loved and cared deeply for Adam – would be unable to distinguish from Erik’s behaviour that this was not his partner, even from their first encounter after the accident, seems ludicrous at best and is another dent in the story’s already straining credulity.
Elsewhere, Frank gets further into the truth of the situation – despite having been reprimanded by his boss to stay away from it, after Ingrid lodges a complaint about his behaviour around Karin (would she realllllly do this when trying to lay low, or even had the time to do so, but plot contrivance says otherwise I guess). After extracting the truth from cousin Thomas about the caravan chase, he mistakenly thinks bringing him in will open up the way to a deeper scrutiny on the case – but the opposite happens, with Thomas charged for reckless driving whilst Margrete goes on to inform Erik and Ingrid that the autopsy proved the cause of death was drowning, and as such the investigation is firmly closed. The fact that Adam could have therefore been saved prior to him falling off the boat that fateful night should not be lost on either of the conspirators, but it feels like there isn’t much love lost for Adam here in their curiously emotionless reactions.
With the closure of the case, Erik returns home to pack and finally escape this situation – Ingrid again playing the part of the ultimate Ice Queen by asking him to ring the kids “now and then” or “send a postcard” (top tier parenting there, Ingrid). But teenage super sleuth Karin has other ideas, and increasingly suspicious of her father’s behaviour (not least due to his supremely cringe-worthy speech against the perils of organised education at a parent and teachers meeting, stick it to the man surfer dude!), quizzes him on past family holidays to unpick the obvious fact he isn’t Adam. For reasons I’m sure we’ll find out in next week’s denouement (looks like another case of kids in peril, mark your bingo cards ladies and gentlemen if you are playing along at home), Karin scoops up her brother and absconds in a boat (everybody in Norway is apparently an expert sailor) to parts and plot lines unknown.
But the revelations weren’t finished with yet, as we get another cliffhanger flashback to the night we assume Karin was conceived – and the reason I’d wager why Adam beats his brother into a brutal stupor sometime later on. Your mileage may have varied on this scene, but I found it wholly problematic. Regardless of Ingrid’s status as the instigator here in having consensual sex with Erik, she assumes it to be her partner. I’m not sure about the legality of the situation in Norway, but the fact that Erik solicits sex by deception is a crime in many other countries, and to my mind, has an equivalence to rape. It’s obvious the writers wanted a large enough spark to justify igniting the brothers’ rift, but in their haste to create that tension they took a detour into somewhat dubious and unnecessary territory. It was a queasy, cheap way to wrap the episode and soured my overall enjoyment of what has been a solid thriller.
A large part of Twin‘s story should be about redemption – the chance to draw back goodwill through your actions against the darker deeds in your past. But that feels largely missing from Erik’s journey – who even this deep into the season, hasn’t really seemed to have learnt a great deal – and as such, our own investment in that journey feels poorly spent. Hopefully in its conclusion, the show can rectify this and bring us dividends.
Twin is currently showing on BBC4
READ MORE: OUR EPISODES THREE AND FOUR REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODES ONE AND TWO REVIEW