Fortitude, Series 1 Episode 5

For a few weeks now, Fortitude has been the viewing highlight of Sunday nights. Life on The Reef is now over (there’s a review of the fantastic docu-series coming sometime this week), and Broadchurch has pretty much become a soap. The reason Fortitude is working for me is because even though it’s a murder-mystery, the Arctic setting and the downright strange people who live in Fortitude makes it not only fun to watch, but its quirkiness sets it apart from other small town murder mystery shows. It took me a while to figure out who all the people were and their competing interests (I still can’t remember the name of Ronny’s partner who tried to sell the mammoth’s tooth to Charlie), but I’m nearly there.

Last week (or this afternoon for me, I had to catch up on iview) ended with Dan assaulting Frank in the shower for no other reason than that Frank is sleeping with Elena. What we learned at the beginning of tonight’s episode is that Frank was actually arrested, but according to DCI Morton (Stanley Tucci), because Dan assaulted him, any evidence given by Frank would be inadmissable if it was given in the presence of Dan. Frank was arrested because the Governor’s husband who is also a policeman found a shirt with dried blood on it. Frank maintains his innocence, because according to him, the blood was on Liam’s pyjamas. It’s at this point that Dan starts believing Frank’s testimony, basically because he just wants to prove Elena’s innocence. His actions may not be consistent, but his motives are. So, Dan finds Liam’s pyjamas, also with dried blood – by this point, the forensics lab (which doesn’t have a licence to perform these sorts of tests for criminal investigations) had matched the blood on Frank’s shirt to Charlie. I was so confused when I was watching the first episode that I didn’t get many of the details straight, but what this means is that when Liam snuck out, he saw Charlie’s murder.

Phew. Over in the rest of Fortitude and its surrounds, there is some weird stuff going on. The town doctor is the mother of the woman who runs the hotel and her son-in-law is not her favourite person in the world, which is understandable because it seems he’s force-feeding his wife ice cream so that she’ll put on weight. At this stage I don’t know why this particular detail is relevant, but it turns out that Liam witnessed Charlie’s murder. The husband is also the one who suggested to Elena that they should arrest Frank because he got into some sort of fight with Frank at some point. I have no idea what it was about. One of the reasons I find this show enjoyable is because I can’t necessarily follow everything that’s going on all the time, so it’s impossible to predict.

Two weeks ago Ronny ran away with his daugther (they abandoned the rabbit), and last week he went to steal a mammoth tusk so he could sell it. The police did suspect Ronny because he ran away, and also because there were anti-psychotics at his house, but once they found the Frank lead, they ran with it. Ronny is planning to sell the tusk (ivory is quite expensive) so that he can get tickets to Norway maybe? I can’t remember the destination. He tells Carrie that his partner was the one who murdered Charlie. Does he know that, just believe it without knowing for certain, or is he the guilty party? I have no idea. Anyway, Ronny and Carrie are off camping in the tundra, and Carrie is understandably terrified of polar bears. I also have no idea where this storyline is going, but the police are going to catch up with Ronny at some point. I have no idea how any of this ties together, but the setting is beautiful and the characters compelling enough that I’m going to keep watching.

Fortitude airs Sunday nights at 9:30 on ABC.

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