Monday, 28 November 2011

Ooh it's Saturday night! Hands up who fancies a bit of densely-plotted Danish crime drama with subtitles?

Everyone say welcome back to The Killing shall we, now called The Killing II, because a) it's the second series and b) it's a lot easier to say than it's original Danish name, Forbrydelsen.

Since the four-episode-a-week repeat of the first series over July and August on BBC Four - and oh what a cheery summer that was - it seems the world and his wife have all picked up on the fact that The Killing's main character, the quite mysterious and very focused indeed detective Sarah Lund, likes to wear a particularly type of sweater.

And so everything you've ever read about the programme, including here, and, erm, here, on tv-ooh, have been blethering on about it until the cows come home. But then, who doesn't like a bandwagon?

Well, guess what. Those cows? They've come home. Because series two is here, AND YES SHE'S IN THE JUMPER ONLY IT'S RED NOW ALRIGHT, but in episode four it turns into a black and white one similar to the one in series one. It's like the same but reversed? White patterns on a black knit rather than the other way around you see.

So if we can all just get over the sweater - or jumper, if you prefer - and remember that actually The Killing II is one of the best things on tv at the moment, despite the apparent un-attraction of watching two hours of subtitled and densely plotted crime drama on a Saturday night (because, as everyone knows, Saturday night is about entertainment and showbiz and The X Factor).

But that just shows how good it is.

Ulrik Strange (Mikael Birkkjaer) and Sarah Lund (Sofie Grabol) in The Killing episode 4,
not talking about her jumper
So, The Killing II is much like The Killing I except:

1. There are only ten episodes this time, rather than twenty. BBC Four are showing two a week so we'll be done for Christmas. Merry Christmas.

2. There are multiple murders this time. And some of them (well, all of them, so far) are horrific and not very pleasant, if murder is ever pleasant come to that, which of course it isn't - tv-ooh ain't some sort of sicko you know.

3. There's a military theme - a soldier escapes from an institution after his former colleagues are mysteriously killed, and all of them are connected in some way to something that happened while they were on duty in Afghanistan. The soldier's wife has a father who is also a soldier, so you see: military theme.

4. Sarah's mum is in it again. She's engaged to a man who has a nut allergy. She rings Sarah just as Sarah's thrown up after seeing the horrific charred remains of a murder victim, incinerated in his wheel chair. On this call, Sarah's mum tells her not to be late for coffee and asks her to bring cake, and to make sure there's no nuts in them. A quick, funny moment and, among all the nerve-jangling gloom, something tv-ooh is seizing upon to cheer tv-ooh up a bit. Oh that's not actually a difference is it.

Some similarities with The Killing and The Killing II

1. The characters still aren't bothering with umbrellas. As anyone who has ever watched The Killing will know, it rains in Copenhagen. It's Denmark, it's wet. But there are no umbrellas. What to do?

2. There's some politically-charged sub-plot or other which frequently oscillates (ooh! oscillates!) between fascinating and occasionally a bit 'can we get back to Sarah now please?', and makes tv-ooh think that if you take your eyes off the subtitles for one second or start thinking about what you're going to have for dinner tomorrow you face certain doom, or, at least, get a bit confused about what's going on.

3. In other words you have to concentrate a bit.

Update (contains spoilers for episode 10): The last episode? Some of the best tv this year without a doubt: but seeing the 'end of case' beers with 20 minutes still to go, tv-ooh knew something big was about to happen.

What an amazing climax. And what an amazingly effective bullet-proof vest.
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1 comment:

  1. Gripping... but also ultimately disappointing for anyone concerned with how TV entertainment treats the "big issues" (illegal wars, political and military intrigue and 'black ops', false-flag terrorism, artificially stoked Islamophobia etc. - all referenced in "The Killing").
    The story hinges around the murder of four Afghan civilians by a 'lone nut' special ops soldier and the subsequent cover-up by the military and government politicians. No-one - not even "Mr. Righteous" Justice Minister Buch - ever hinted at the illegality of the Afghan conflict (like the Iraq war based on lies) or at the real death toll of several millions.
    In practice the series reinforced the lie of the "war on terror" and (intentionally or not) made itself complicit in the cover-up of the war crimes and genocide committed in Afghanistan by coalition troops - including British soldiers, of course.