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This is the official blog of Phoenix Roleplaying, a multi-genre simming site, created in August 2010.

Run by the players, we hope to achieve great things.

Where our journey takes us, who knows.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Saga Master System (Grand Review: 'The Bridge' Season 2)

BBC4's airing of foreign shows has been a huge success for them - although The Killing and Borgen have now both concluded their runs in Denmark, they've been able to find worthy successors both in the Nordic lands and elsewhere. After this series, they'll be airing VRT's Salamander; the first Belgian show I've seen - it will be getting a review - and also have the Israeli version of Hostages lined up.

So, having watched the not-quite-as good-but-still-good Anglo-French remake of this, it's now time to head back to the Øresund region to hang around with a woman who wears leather trousers and thinks it is appropriate to compare the size of her boyfriend's pleasure equipment to that of a dead gigolo.

Yep, Saga Norén (Länskrim Malmö) is back and being as unofficially Asperger's as ever.

This review contains some spoilers

It's been 13 months since the events of the first season; these had a particularly devastating impact on Martin, who has had his marriage break up as a result. He's now on a desk job, helping with security for an upcoming EU climate summit (yes, this is very relevant to the plot). Then a cargo ship carrying five people crashes into the bridge; they've been infected with pneumonic plague (the deadlier version of bubonic... but you can stop it with antibiotics as it's a bacterial disease) and he teams up with Saga as the Malmö police investigate a string of attacks by a group of eco-terrorists who wear animal masks in their videos. In answer to the question recently posed by some Norwegians... the fox says nothing, he just holds cue cards like the other three.

Martin, who seems to have attracted a bit of a female following, is visibly tense at the beginning of this - he pulls a gun on some teenagers who are demanding parking charges for an abandoned warehouse (I suppose he wouldn't be alone in doing that). A loveable character who is definitely softened by his interactions with Saga, he comes close to recovering his family situation... but in the end does something (possibly) very rash to the incarcerated Truth Terrorist. Possibly. I would personally not be surprised if Kim Bodnia ends up appearing, like a number of other actors from DR shows, in an English-language show before too long.

Saga (or as the Danes pronounce her name, Sega) is wonderful in this. She gets a boyfriend in this and her attempts to handle a relationship provide a considerable amount of occasionally cringeworthy humour. Yet, she is far more than a comedy character; we learn more about her background including the death of her sister and she is genuinely trying to fit in a world that she doesn't understand. Sofia Helin's confused look is one of the best things in this show and my comments about Kim Bodnia equally apply to her. Her relationship with Martin has strong chemistry without taking us into the "will they or won't they" area.

The plot of this is another typically Scandi one; full of twists and side plots that may or may not have some resemblance to the overall story. The big one involves a group of people connected with the climate conference and a big pharma company called Medisonus; this also allows Borgen-spotters to notch one up, as a character in this appeared as an Environment Minister. In fact, here he's caught in an embarrassing position with an environment minister... Saga's "Oh" as she realises why one guy is naked and the other is in boxers is a great moment made better by the fact we immediately cut to another scene. The writer makes the interesting and effective decision to kill off the animal mask wearers in episode four - they're merely henchman for a bigger (and creepier) bad guy. I will admit, however, to being frequently confused as to what country we were in.

The guest characters in this are certainly interesting - the Medisonus CEO is a terminally ill woman who is ticking off a few things on her bucket list, including killing her own food... by going into a farm and shooting a hen in a cage. I think that's called poaching. The Länskrim Malmö team (most of this is set in Malmö) are a mixed bunch and by no means paragons of virtue - one character ends up being kicked off the case for faking a report to hide his own incompetence. The last was a bit unconvincing - wouldn't he have been suspended?

The story seems to have wrapped up as we approach the the end of episode 9... until Saga realises there is another killer. What I thought initially was a bit of a padding move turned out to be a far better conclusion than what we would have otherwise got; the final scenes seem to cause a major problem for the Martin-Saga relationship... but I think it will be sorted out. Eventually.

Further thoughts; BBC4 seemed to be pretty inconsistent between a version of the credits in English and between those Danish/Swedish, the theme tune remains great and I see that ZDF (who have their fingers in a lot of foreign TV pie) part funded this. Also, Swedish police hats are awesome.


Another high quality series from Scandinavia that doesn't dip in its second run. I'd say roll The Bridge III, but it appears that we won't get this until later in 2015.

In the meantime, great work. Skol!


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