Sky VOD TV review: Fortitude Episode 6
James R | On 06, Mar 2015
Warning: If you have not seen the first five episodes of Fortitude, this will contain spoilers. Both are available to catch up with on NOW.
“What’s happened in the past few days is inexplicable.”
When the sheriff of the town stands up in front of a pub to say that, you know the polar bear droppings have really hit the fan. But six episodes into Fortitude and that’s exactly what is happening. Or, to put it another way: things are actually happening.
Fortitude has up until now moved at a glacial pace, stopping every few minutes to look at the pretty icicles. Things were inexplicable – and that was ok. After last week’s reveal that it was Frank’s little boy who butchered Christopher Eccleston in the kitchen, though, the show is past the point where it can rely on a spooky atmosphere and unanswered questions to keep people tuning in. Not that the unanswered questions and spooky atmosphere are going anywhere. They’re still present and correct – but the introduction of possession into the mix has opened up a drip-feed of reveals that, you sense, is slowly turning into a gushing cascade of facts.
Take DCI Morton’s mysterious arrival in the town, which required him to have left London before the murder he was supposedly investigating even took place. This week, we find out what – or, more specifically, who – brought him to Fortitude to begin with. Where he was once in the dark, Stanley Tucci’s detective now appears to be the one who knows more than everyone else: a conversation with a friend of Pettigrew’s suggests that they are the ones who can’t interpret the scanner readings his death was linked to.
“You don’t know what you’ve got,” grins Tucci, whose cool, abrupt confidence remains one of Fortitude’s greatest assets. It’s a subtle, but significant, shift in knowledge – and, in whodunnit land, knowledge is power.
Hildur Odegard finds that out herself when she discovers her husband’s infidelity; a piece of knowledge that knocks her status for six, reducing the governor to a hurt wife. Just when you thought she would only get to play sinister, Sofie Grabol seizes the chance to display more emotion, as we peel back the personal life behind her professional ambition.
For Johnnie Harris’ worker and his poor daughter, meanwhile, their mammoth(?) tusks are the key to power – but, inevitably, things continue to go wrong for the pair, as he haplessly digs them deeper and deeper into trouble.
Back in town, Harry continues his quest to summon up another kind of power altogether through a mandrake-like talisman. Michael Gambon spends the entire time looking wonderfully bewildered, occasionally snapping back into reality with an angry flare or a spark of guilt. With his photos of the sheriff shooting Pettigrew mid-polar bear attack and his knowing phone calls, does he really know what’s going on? Or is he just crazy?
After last week’s twist, what might have been written off as Harry going senile takes on a much more plausible air: something supernatural is certainly lurking beneath the surface. And if you were shocked by what it could with a potato peeler, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Adding to that creepy vibe is Shirley, the poor wife of our science teacher, who has been fed all manner of things by funnel and tube. Played with an eerie absence by Jessica Gunning, she seems to become less and less herself with every morsel pumped into her system. Is she going to turn into a zombie? Transform into a butterfly? Throw up that tin of condensed milk and hit some sense into her husband? Create the Arctic’s first reality TV series, Woman Vs. Food?
Six episodes in and Fortitude has reached a fork in the road: to explain or not explain? Judging by what the gruelling finale unearths, things are only going to get more inexplicable. The answers we now have, though, are promising an intriguingly dark direction for the series. It’s more than enough to keep us tuning in, if only to find out what Sheriff Anderssen makes of it all.
You can watch Fortitude online in the UK without Sky on NOW for £6.99 a month. The monthly subscription gives you live and on-demand access to Sky pay TV channels, including Sky Atlantic (Mad Men and Togetherness), Sky 1 (Arrow and The Flash) and FOX TV (The Walking Dead) – with no contract.
Sky customers can watch Fortitude online live through Sky Go, or catch up on Sky On Demand.
Photos: ©2015 Sky/ Tiger Aspect Productions