While last week’s episode did some good work in narrowing the focus and reducing some viewer confusion, this week Fortitude went the other way. Even the inhabitants of Fortitude are asking each other who people are or expressing their unsurety about the identity of their neighbours and their particular quirks.
And as the plot loses coherence, so too are the characters losing their grip on reality. Sheriff Dan is still pursuing the case in his dogged way, following one red herring after another, whilst continuing to spiral into his obsession with Elena. Meanwhile DCI Morten is steadfastly putting one step in front of the other, making no great waves, just steady progress in unearthing Fortitude’s secrets.
The problem is that he’s the only one making steady progress, all the other plot lines in this third episode seem to have been flung at the wall to see what sticks and what crazy patterns can be painted with them. Stanley Tucci and Richard Dormer still stand out as solid, rich characters, but in a sprawling cast they are in the minority, and diluted because of it. All the other plot lines of disease and mammoths, tourism and oil, bears and mutations, jealousy and infidelity all kind of blur together.
Time will tell if things start to move forward in a way that fulfils the promise of the show, and justifies the immense investment it demanded.