Sky VOD TV review: Fortitude Episode 7
James R | On 14, Mar 2015
Warning: If you have not seen the first six episodes of Fortitude, this will contain spoilers. The show is available to catch up with on NOW.
“I’m tired of being messed about.” That’s DCI Morton in Episode 7 of Fortitude and he could easily be speaking on behalf of those viewers who want a little less conversation and a little more action from their Arctic drama. Episode 7 gives it to them… with a little more conversation to boot.
The conversation, this week, revolves around the police interrogation of suspects – chiefly, Markus, who was last seen forcing condensed milk down the throat of his wife, Shirley (Jessica Gunning), with a funnel, before she went crazy and attacked her mum with a fork. That’s the kind of thing that happens in Fortitude these days, as if a dark and nasty slasher movie from the wider world has infected the remote town.
Morton comes as a package deal with that intrusion: a character who’s no stranger to murder investigations. Stanley Tucci remains cool, calm, collected – and criminally amusing, with his little smirks and knowing stares. Compare his reaction to good old Frank, who takes the law into his own hands after deciding that Markus (husband to a cutlery-carrying wife, teacher to a peeler-wielding child) is the one behind all of the deaths so far. Or to local sheriff Dan, who assaulted Frank only a couple of weeks ago after thinking that he was the one responsible (and also finding out about the whole affair with Elena).
Dan’s cooled down since then and the now the pair have settled into a good cop/bad cop partnership that is every bit as wonderful to watch as you’d expect. After their earlier verbal sparring matches, Richard Dormer and Tucci are delightfully in sync with each other, quizzing Markus without even asking him questions. “That sounded like a filler,” muses Tucci, when Markus hesitates at the unveiling of a photo. “Yes, that was filler,” nods Dormer.
It’s a welcome display of familiar detective show mechanics – one that brings to mind, once more, the procedural routine of Broadchurch. Where Season 2 of the ITV drama threw out red herrings to drive up tension artificially, Fortitude’s script continues to measure out its discoveries, with any diversions along the way (see: the bathroom assault) driven by character rather than contrivance. An aside involving Governor Hildur and her unfaithful hubby, Eric, demonstrates how effective the series’ communal character-building has become. Powering it along here is a double act that rivals Broadchurch’s Miller and Hardy for chemistry – not least because we know that, deep down, our boys in proverbial blue still don’t trust each other.
“Ask me any question you want,” dares the possibly corrupt cop. “Don’t worry,” smiles Morton, fingering evidence in his pocket. “I will.”
While their bromance blossoms, though, the whole town is – quite understandably – freaked out. A local meeting sees them shout and harrumph for answers, with people trying everything from mob justice to shooting themselves in the foot (an unexpected moment of hilarity). Sofie Gråbøl’s governor therefore makes the journey to the mainland to beg for forensic resources, aware that her ice hotel – and the town’s economy – is at risk of falling apart.
“You must feel cut off,” says one inner-city secretary, all posh suit and nails. “Shops, bars…”
Hildur bristles. “It’s not places that make you feel cut off.”
It’s odd to show us part of the world outside of Fortitude, but rather than dispel the tension, it only emphasises just how secluded the community really is: what they consider to be a serial killer is, in the national government’s eyes, a trivial incident or two. Tell that to Ronnie and his daughter, Carrie, who find themselves face to face with violence, though, complete with a strikingly shot sequence involving a home movie projector. Or to Darren Boyd’s Markus, who only appears even creepier when we see him without those eerie glasses, trapped in a living room.
“It’s happened again,” Dan tells Hildur, as they find Shirley on the floor of a supermarket. The mainland may not consider this a serial killer yet – but with its ever-watchable cast, steadily building momentum and that scary choir music, Episode 7 of Fortitude suggests they might do soon. This much is clear: the show isn’t messing about anymore.
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