Category Archives: Fortitude

REVIEW: Fortitude (S3 E2/4)

As the winter storms set in, and the predatory Elsa sets her sights on more victims, with Sheriff Dan now completely tonto, killing witnesses and cops to cover up the murder of Governor Munk, who is left to protect the town of Fortitude?

Certainly Dan’s story has ricocheted off at a new tangent; up until now, his killings were mainly justifiable and sane; but the deaths of Lars, Myklebust and Torsten are unjustifiable, and testify amply to Dan’s madness (as if cuddling up to Dr Khatri’s incinerated corpse weren’t enough evidence).

We speculated last week that Elsa must be in Fortitude with knowledge of Khatri’s work on regeneration, and now we see she and Boyd searching the wreck of the helicopter for Khatri’s files. Elsa has been directing Khatri’s work all along.

Boyd has Michael in mind as Elsa’s next donor/victim. As they dance to The Bill Evans Trio playing Stairway to the Stars, she reveals that she was in New York when it was recorded – that would be 1962. So that would make her about, what, 80 years old?

How would Elsa feel if she knew that Natalie has kept a sample parasitic wasp, and that Vincent was using it to try to restore her sight? In a cringe-making moment, Vincent induces the wasp to sting Natalie’s eyeball.

Meanwhile, Dan and Petra are indulging in dangerously stabby shamanic sex (don’t try this at home, kids), which demonstrates his seeming invulnerability.

Elsa (revivified and looking about 30) chats up Michael by the simple expedient of buying him booze and flattering him, then Boyd kidnaps him. Would Michael, though, be a very good candidate for spinal fluid donation, seeing as how his blood must be mostly alcohol?

Ingrid lectures the oblivious Eric on his failure to deal with Dan’s transformation and the way he has enthralled Petra; then the bodies of Lars, Myklebust and Torsten are discovered.

Eric, of course, summons Dan, who imagines a conversation with dead Hildur Odegard (so is this how come Sofie Grabol is in the credits? – or is there more to it than that?)

Dan’s set-up appears initially convincing – it looks as if Lars shot the cops, and was killed himself. But Torsten may still be alive. When new governor Markus turns up and tramples all over the crime scene, Petra sees a chance to finish him off.

Elsa returns to the bar to look for Dan, who is treating himself to the raw meat special; maybe he would be a better donor than Michael. But Dan knows perfectly well that Elsa is behind the Schenthal pharmaceutical company, bankrolled Khatri’s experiments, and tried to capture Dan himself. In fact, Elsa admits that she was infected by the wasps 73 years previously – only Elsa and Dan have survived, of the 19 people infected.

Elsa explains that Dan will need spinal fluid from live donors to avoid personality decay, madness, decrepitude and death; well, he’s half-way there already, so none of this should come as news to him. But how and why does Elsa propose to help him?

Michael is tied up ready to be drained, but Boyd foolishly fails to search him, and he cuts himself free with a Swiss army knife (is there a little continuity error here? – he seems to open a file, but finally cuts himself free with a blade).

After a bloody fight, Michael shoots Boyd and escapes – but is Boyd dead? (well, if Torsten could survive being shot point blank in the chest with a hunting rifle, which should have left a hole the size of a fist through his chest, maybe Boyd could also survive being blasted through a window with a shotgun).

So, will Elsa be exposed as the vampire she resembles? Will Dan be accused of the three murders in Lars’ shack? And can Natalie survive the wasp madness and make some sort of recovery? All this and more next week, along with the real possibility that we’ll see a bit more of Hildur – but in the real world or on the spirit plane, who knows?

Chris Jenkins



REVIEW: Fortitude (S3 E1/4)

Fortitude, one of the creepiest and least predictable series on TV, returns for a short final run – and the only thing we can say for sure, is that no-one will be able to say for sure what’s going to happen.

A twisted cross between The X-Files, Lost and Twin Peaks, Fortitude has always been an emotionally draining viewing experience – what with the way it regularly disposes of central characters in horrific ways, features scenes of unspeakable violence, and casually spins off in bizarre new plot directions, with no warning, and occasionally no logic.

Almost every character has a secret reason for wanting to hide out in Fortitude and has eccentricities which explain why they can’t cope with ordinary society.

A major character of the series is the island itself, so isolated, frozen, wind-blasted and hostile that you can’t watch the series without wanting to turn up the heating and put on a thick jumper.

So congratulations if you’ve stuck it this far, and have survived the icy wastes of the 18 months since the end of Season two.

If you’re jumping on here, God help you; but let’s pretend that the events of the last two series can be summarised in a way which makes sense to sane human beings.

Fortitude is a small Norwegian settlement on an Arctic island, with an international population of fishermen, hunters and researchers. But it has more than its fair share of secrets and horrors; in series one, a series of horrific murders is caused by infection by parasitic wasps; in series two, the origin of the wasps is traced back to a Russian experiment, a shamanic figure is involved in a series of ritual murders, and the governor of Fortitude, Hildur Odegard (Sofie Gråbøl) is killed by a corrupt official working for a sinister science project.

But is all this actually going anywhere? There have been suggestions throughout the series that it’s leading up to some form of apocalyptic event – so is series three going to imminentise the Eschaton?

Evil Erling Munk (Ken Stott) is dead, lynched by the mob when his murder of beloved governor Hilda Odegard (Sofie Grabol) was exposed; also dead is Dr Khatri (Parminder Nagra), whose helicopter exploded as she fought for her life with Company killers.

Sheriff Dan Anderssen (Richard Dormer), transformed by his wasp infection, is now almost superhuman, capable of great feats of endurance and regeneration; but the Company is still after him to further its research.

As episode one opens, Dan is collecting evidence from the wrecked helicopter, while Oslo investigator DCI Ingemar Myklebust (Maria Schrader, Deutschland 86, The City and The City) and her sidekick/lover Torsten investigate Munk’s death. Eric (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson) mourns Hildur’s death and feels guilty for not revenging it.

Teacher Markus (Darren Boyd) is taunted by a man in a rabbit suit (actually it’s a pooka suit, a reference to the 1950 James Stewart comedy film, Harvey), but Harvey Day celebrations are interrupted by gunfire in the main street. Eric tackles the drunken gunman, Michael Lennox (Dennis Quaid), who claims he was shooting at a phantom bear.

In a new development, ageing heiress Elsa Schenthal (Aliette Opheim, working under layers of makeup which suggest a miraculous rejuvenation is on the cards) arrives in Fortitude with her husband Boyd (Abubakar Salim), and stoner Larry (Charley Palmer Rothwell).

Larry doesn’t know his fate is to be a donor of spinal fluid to aid the ailing Elsa’s regeneration. Once he’s drained and disposed of, Elsa pupates, emerging as a youthful sexbomb. Is her presence in Fortitude prompted by rumours of Dan’s regenerative powers?

Out on the ice, Vincent (Luke Treadaway) investigates the depletion of the polar bear herd (and manages to get in a Father Ted reference), while Natalie (Sienna Guillory), who was poisoned and blinded by Khatri, suffers back in the lab. She suspects that Dan’s experience is the key to her cure. Meanwhile Dan, off his head on reindeer piss, snuggles up to the charred corpse of Dr Khatri.

Myklebust offers Markus the position of governor in an attempt to get to the truth about Munk’s death, while cop Petra suggests to naïve snowplough driver Lars that he should get out of town to avoid questioning.

Myklebust and Torsten pursue Lars into the wastes in what looks like a Hägglunds Bandvagn 206 tracked articulated all-terrain carrier, a bit over the top as it could carry 17 people. Nonetheless they’re not very well prepared for the reception they get, as they are both callously murdered by Dan, who has also killed Lars, and sets it up to look like he’s the killer.

The episode is dedicated to Richard Hopkins, producer of Fortitude as well as Poirot and The Bletchley Circle, who died earlier this year aged 66.

So what do we have here? Well, in typical Fortitude fashion, while everyone and his cousin Bjorn seems to know all about Dan and his miraculous powers of regeneration, no-one seems to be able to stop him wandering around slaughtering people at leisure. With the killing of Myklebust, Torsten and Lars, Dan has finally lost all sense of reason, proportion and justice, so we don’t see a way back for his character. The death of Myklebust certainly came as a surprise when the series now lacks a strong female lead, Elsa being obviously evil and doomed (a sort of Countess Dracula figure, bound to end up shrivelling away).

But is it mad to think that Hildur might somehow return? She’s so thoroughly dead and mourned for that it would be an impossibility, wouldn’t it? Or would it…? Well, this is Fortitude, and anything could happen. Next week, Michael might even sober up.

Chris Jenkins



Review: Fortitude (S2 E10/10), Thursday 30th March, Sky Atlantic

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 Continue reading Review: Fortitude (S2 E10/10), Thursday 30th March, Sky Atlantic

Review: Fortitude (S1 E9/10), Thursday 23rd March, Sky Atlantic

Surrounded by the dead and dying, hopped up on reindeer juice and nailed to a pit-prop, Dan still makes more sense than the crazed Vladek – but with Michael in pursuit, will Vladek have time to complete his demon-killing ritual?    

NB: Spoilers inside Continue reading Review: Fortitude (S1 E9/10), Thursday 23rd March, Sky Atlantic

Review: Fortitude (S2 E8/10), Thursday 16th March, Sky Atlantic

If there’s an unstated theme to this season of Fortitude, it’s communication – or rather the lack of it. Everyone is keeping secrets or avoiding the truth in some way, and no good ever comes of it – only when the full picture is revealed can the evil be halted.    Continue reading Review: Fortitude (S2 E8/10), Thursday 16th March, Sky Atlantic

Review: Fortitude (S2 E7/10), Thursday 9th March, Sky Atlantic

We’re still reeling from the apparent death of Hildur, but perhaps the saddest part of the tragedy is that no-one has yet realised that she’s gone – having argued with Eric, she had effectively cut herself off from the community, and now if Fortitude can survive, it will have to do so without her.

NB: Spoilers inside Continue reading Review: Fortitude (S2 E7/10), Thursday 9th March, Sky Atlantic

Review: Fortitude (S2 E6/10), Thursday 2nd March, Sky Atlantic

Dennis_Quaid__Michelle_Fairley_and_Ken_Stott_join_cast_of_Fortitude_series_2Now that Munk has been unveiled as a dyed-in-the-wool villain, we can’t help thinking he’s next for the chop – but who will get to him first? The blind hunter, the barmy shaman, or his mysterious (and presumably Russian) masters?

NB: There be spoilers in the ice Continue reading Review: Fortitude (S2 E6/10), Thursday 2nd March, Sky Atlantic

Review: Fortitude (S2 E5/10), Thursday 23rd February, Sky Atlantic

1000There’s a common sci-fi trope whereby the protagonists are somehow trapped in a limited area with something trying to get them – think Alien, or Village of the Damned, or Under the Dome. Fortitude is a perfect example of the genre – or is it?

NB: Spoilers Continue reading Review: Fortitude (S2 E5/10), Thursday 23rd February, Sky Atlantic

Review: Fortitude (S2 E4/10), Thursday 16th February, Sky Atlantic

1000Fortitude is a pretty grim place to live. The work is hard, the cold could kill you in minutes, and if the forces of nature aren’t enough, the local inhabitants seem to be determined to bump each other off. What Fortitude emphatically does not need is someone called The Man With No Face who goes around beheading people. Continue reading Review: Fortitude (S2 E4/10), Thursday 16th February, Sky Atlantic