This would have been a pretty brave series finale. There was a sense of things falling into place over the final scenes, where the four siblings and Melody came together and took care of things. Whenever all four people had been in the frame this season, they have looked at each other, for they were always arguing. Now all of a sudden they were all four standing in the doorframe and looking the same way, at Kim, whom they’d just cheated. And the nighttime imagery in the final minutes is some of the most beautiful imagery the series has ever done. In the frontlight from the excavator Signe gives Melody to Gro, as Frederik puts his hand on Emil’s shoulder. And then the four siblings walk towards Grønnegården in a single line, backs turned to the camera. It feels so right, but we all know that it’s wrong. I’m almost disappointed that there will be a season three, for this was a strikingly cynical finale.
Halfway through the episode, nothing had happened that was big enough to tie the whole season together. The climax came as Gro’s forgeries came to light, but that was yet another thing to arise out of thin air this season. Kim needs a blueprint of sorts, a sketch used by Gro to put the work together, an element we’ve never heard of before. So Emil and Frederik searches for it, and all of a sudden the lie falls apart. This has happened a bit too often this season, where previously unmentioned stuff overturns the narrative. Often it’s more suspenseful if we know there’s a bomb ticking, and can fear for what will happen. The following argument seems slightly pro forma after so many arguments throughout the season, and it’s lack of importance is underlined once Solveig arrives with Hannah and Villads, and everything is put on pause to build a cabin. A very fine scene, where we once again see the creativity that characterizes this family, even as we know how way too creative Gro has been with the forgeries. Frederik is his usual awkward self, Emil is charming, and there’s an audible sense of excitement in Hannah’s voice at the idea of the whole family together at the castle. And in the periphery, so many secret conversations. But with half an hour left of the season, perhaps that was not the time to push the central plot to the periphery, while everyone tries to impress Frederik’s children?
But second half was great. There’s an exact point where it became good: The long shot of Frederik, after Solveig has told him about the apartment, and that she will contact him through Emil. Defeat was painted in Carsten Bjørlund’s body and face, even in his back as we follow him through the rain towards son and daughter. Frederik’s family disappears, and immediately Emil turns around, filled with anger: ‘What did you do in the basement?’ The scene in the basement was good as well, with Gro’s slight pause before she comes clean about the beak, and the end, where Gro says ‘Sorry’ to Frederik, and he doesn’t know how to answer was again a great image. Those two siblings, who has caused so much damage to the family, now alone in the basement. Then Emil fighting against signe, Emil, who earlier wanted to fight to stand on his own, but who know – temporarily – is in control of his life, is the only one who can’t see how much the family has fallen apart. But the best scene was the confrontation the next morning in the basement.
The two sons on the bed, each with a cup of tea in their hands. United. Gro’s anger boils over as she’s removed from Veronika’s art. And then Gro starts talking about the past, and suddenly everything is turned on it’s head. It’s always been about Signe. Veronika was so saddened by losing Signe, that she couldn’t take care of the boys. They’ve all lived in the shadow of Signe. Gro was the one who told John to come and collect Signe. Perhaps she should have taken better care of them after the loss of their dad. Perhaps she should have stopped Veronika from drinking so much. And the impossible happened: Gro turned her siblings back on her side – the two boys on the bed all of a sudden looked very small. Even I started liking her again, and I’ve hated her throughout the season. All of a sudden, it all made sense. The complex relationship with Veronika. The sense of being allowed to continue working on the art. Even the hatred towards Isa, another mother who couldn’t take care of her kids. Once Signe was Melody, and Veronika was Isa. After this, reconciliation seemed unavoidable. Exactly why Signe took Melody back from Henrik was left a bit vague, but perhaps his talk about how their upbringing has hurt them hit her. For Signe has never overcome the drama in the family either, even though she wasn’t aware of it. In the end, there is no turning back.
In a way, it all tied together. But I’m unsure if it makes sense. Everything has been in flux since episode 7 of season 1. Perhaps that’s the way to look at it? At the first 7 episodes as a unified story, and as the final 3 episodes in that season, along with these 7, as another, chaotic and weird, story? Perhaps the next part will make more sense. This has been an uneven season, that went from storm to calm to storm again, without totally making sense. The idea has been, that drama is simply unavoidable for this family, which seemed at times like a carte blanche to create surprising plot twists. But when it was good, it was great, especially episode 3, which wasn’t undermined by the rest of the story, it wasn’t forgotten, though both Gro and Frederik tried to act as if it never happened. First half of first season was probably the strongest stretch of the series, but I prefer the end of this season to the end of season 1. But season 3 needs a new hook, a new throughline, because the story of the drama in the family feels as if it’s been fully told.
A few final things:
- The episode was written by Maja Jul Larsen and directed by Heidi Maria Faisst
- The scenes where the family build stuff are always the best, and Emil and Frederik reconstructing the foregery was wonderful. Carsten Bjørnlund breaks down in laughter momentarily, just before a cut.
- I don’t think anyone has referred to Melody as ‘our’ sister before. This doesn’t just imply togetherness, it also implies Thomas as a common dad for the siblings, just as he’s in the hospital and seems broken.
- I think those bells that Emil brings Thomas, that Thomas brought those bells to Veronika back in the first episode, as she was dying. I even seem to remember Thomas playing on them just as she died. Which would make that scene much more foreboding.
- The idea of turning Signe, who was on the sideline, who didn’t know who she was, and who has had to fight for her place in the family against her three flamboyant siblings, into the one who has secretly dominated the entire familial history, is perfect. The kind of information which makes 100% sense once you think about it, and the kind of information which turns this episode into a satisfying season finale.