Who is the female lead of The Legacy? The question came to a head last winter at the Danish Robert-awards, where The Legacy won every tv-prize, including all acting awards. Best Female Lead went to Trine Dyrholm for her role as Gro. But is Gro the main female character? Trine Dyrholm is probably giving the best performance out of anyone, and her Gro always put herself at the center of goings on with a natural authority, but still. It depends on how one looks at the show. Either way, it’s the story of the family Grønnegaard, and especially the four kids. Then Gro, as the oldest daughter and natural matriarch, becomes the obvious center. But from the start, another story has played out, a story of a single young woman, Signe, who has to define her self in relation to both her old family and her new. The very first scene of the very first episode of the first season shows Signe come out of her mascot-costume, a woman used to cheering on other peoples sidelines, and in a way, the rest of the show has shown what the first scene metaphorically alluded to. And rarely has it done so as obviously as in this middle stretch of season 2.
This was seen in the two big debate-scenes between Signe and the family. In the first one, the three old family-members, Gro, Thomas and Emil, stand lined up against Signe, pretty much keeping her in the small kitchen John has put up. In the other one Signe puts the entire family, now including Isa, Lone and Melody, down on a couch, while she herself stands on the floor, with a lot of room behind her, tall and dominating. The only one who doesn’t sit down is obviously Gro. The confrontation between the two is the central part of the episode. Gro is obviously unreasonable when she doesn’t want to give Signe the prototype, but we, the viewers, understand that it’s connected to her forgeries. This puts Gro in a situation where she can only defend herself by going on the offence, something she does with natural instincts:There’s been nothing but divisions since you showed up! This is technically true, except we know that there was plenty of division before. It was a divided family, before Signe showed up, even before Gro and Frederik and Emil started doing anything. There were divisions between Veronica and her three men, and they’ve never been solved. The conclusion in the episode was that Signe for the first time steps into character as herself: Puts up conditions for the loan from Gro, so that she doesn’t become indebted to her, but so that it makes up for the use of the basement. Then she banishes the rest of the family to the basement and the trailer, and shuts down the direct passage between the two realms. (Or at least I presume it’s the passage to the basement. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure about the layout of the house.) And so the debate has been settled, at least temporarily: There is Signe, and there is the family, and they have to function apart from each other.
But it is temporary, because the episode sees other divisions being put up. Before Signe takes control, she’s supported by first Isa and then Emil. The two other younger members of the family. And two who each has been away from the family for a while, and has found out what space they would like to occupy. Isa doesn’t want to be Thomas’ girlfriend, but would like to stay as friends – which should not have been surprising to him, as he’s together with Lone, but yet he still seems disappointed. And Emil had a strong confrontation with Frederik. Frederik can still only see their relation as one that he himself defines, he forgives him, and that is that. That perhaps Frederik himself needs to ask for forgiveness, that perhaps he should let Emil decide the relationship between them, that he still cannot handle. Emil’s story of the time he stole and did vandalism, it mirrors the story Emil told in jail, about how Frederik found him at Veronika and took him home. It seemed a sweet story at the time, but in that story as well, Frederik said that they shouldn’t tell anyone. Perhaps, Emil now says, Frederik was afraid not that something would happen to Emil, but that someone should draw the parrallel, that if something was wrong with Emil, then it might also be wrong with Frederik.
Perhaps the resourceful, helpful members of the family, Gro, Frederik, to some extent Thomas, who can organize a collective in no time, perhaps they aren’t what keeps this family together, but in their combination of strength and blindness towards the problems of others, perhaps they are what ensures, that the family would never be completely healthy. Perhaps Isa, Emil and Signe can only solve their problems on their own. Or perhaps those three can help each other. But those three unfortunately has pushed others away as well. Signe can’t go home to Lise, because John has moved in. And in the most tragic subplot of the episode, we see the conflicts of season one reverberate with the youngest family members, Villads and Hannah. The night scene where Frederik goes nuts is frightening, and it’s followed by short cuts of three of the women of the family: Gro taking care of Emil, Signe in her car at Svendborg Harbor, and Hannah wandering along the road. Three women, three generations, having to find their own place. At the end Hannah turns up the worst possible place: At Gro. She says she doesn’t know who else to ask, and that is true. Solveig and Emil burned bridges, and she doesn’t know Signe. But why should Gro, whom Frederik nearly killed, be the right one to help Frederik? It’s hard to see anything good come out of that.
More, More, More:
- Robert wants to buy an apartment with Gro, with room for his kids. But Gro doesn’t want that. Kinda revealing, that for all the things she does for her half-sister, she want nothing to do with her new step-children.
- When Emil and Gro fight about the prototype, Gro says that she helped Emil out of jail, which Emil says has nothing to do with it. But Gro only began forging art to get money for Thai bribes. So it 100% has something to do with it, but it was a mistake for Gro to mention it.
- More Gro: Henrik, Isa’s dad, might be an idiot, but I was 100% on his side in the talk with Gro. And he seems to have allowed Isa to return when she got better.
- Typical that the family knows nothing of Frederik’s marital problems. They talk a lot about keeping the family together in this episode, but they don’t do anything to make it work.
- Aksel still wants to help Signe, it’s apparently him who has gotten connections in Holland. Let’s hope this means less of Martin. Introducing the two love interests at the same time just made it that much more silly, that Signe would choose the old and slimy one, who would destroy her relation with her dad.
- I don’t get entirely the architecture of Grønnegården, and I’m not entirely sure how far away Frederik’s house is. A cycling trip away, apparently, but at one point a chainsaw could be heard at Grønnegården, which made me wonder if it was Frederik, and if he has bought a plot of land right nearby. It’s all a bit vague, understandably so, since the show never wants to specify exactly where we are at Funen, but the whole thing can be a bit confusing.
- For those wondering: The show takes place on southern Funen, the island between Jutland and Zealand. When the characters go to a local big city, they go to Svendborg. Gro lives and works in Copenhagen, though. It’s not known what the small local village is called, but the setup with small villages around Svendborg with a good handball team is known to most Danes as pointing to the team GOG, consisting of the three villages Gudme, Oure and Gudbjerg. That team is a lot more successful than the team in The Legacy, though.