Borgen – 2.03 – 2.04: The Last Worker & Battle Ready

It’s the second week of Borgen, and the middle aged men are falling like dominoes.

The second weekend of Denmark’s political export Borgen, and the adult shit is hitting the fan. You thought last week’s scene of beardy mentor Bent (“Bentor”?) having a stroke was heavy material? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Sex! Death! More sex!

Oh, and another older chap with memorable facial hair gets into difficulties. Borgen seems to be hating the middle-aged this year. Let’s get into it, and yes, spoilers. Watch the episodes on iPlayer first if you don’t want to have the endings ruined to death.

Hox Against The Machine

After my vigorous complaints last week about the BBC showing this series in double bills, I must admit, the two episodes this week do merge together much better. It’s like watching a little movie, in which the bad guy rises to power via corrupt methods, and then gets a tragic yet karmic execution.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. A brief summary of this week’s Borgen double bill: after tricking himself to the top of the Labour party by ousting the last guy with malicious rumours, slimy Troels Hoxenhaven is undone when a tabloid threatens to expose his secret homosexuality. And then he kills himself, and we all have a sob, even though he was a bit of a dick.

Part of me feels they’ve squandered a good villain, but he was also a slightly obvious sneering baddie, so perhaps would’ve got a bit much if he’d loomed over the rest of the series. Still, his death was a genuinely sad moment, and the actor’s final performance as a broken man also well done.

The first episode in this double-bill, though, was perhaps a little slow – former leader Marrot’s fall from grace unfolded fairly inevitably, and the political issue of the week was never dealt with in enough depth to really engage me, unlike last week’s more emotive dead solider material. Marrot’s final speech to Birgitte was good though.

Fortunately, Hox’s brief reign of terror in the second half was much tenser, with the evil tabloid material supplementing it well. Also good to see Katrine and Hanne doing proper journalism that relates to the politics again, and their inevitable principled resignation from the Evil Express coming sooner rather than later.

The Loneliness Of People Who Used To Be In The Killing

Elsewhere… Birgitte struggles to get over her divorce, whilst Kasper and Katrine struggle to get over each other. Those two storylines are well acted, but also unfolding much like every other recent divorcee or starcrossed couple storyline on television. I’m curious to see how they end, but a little weary of watching the mid-section.

Oh, and Katrine’s former editor Torben Friis hangs around, yearning for the days when he was a characeter, rather than a method for delivering political exposition. Maybe newly unemployed Katrine will come crawling back to TV1 and he’ll get a proper role again, instead of sitting on little screens mumbling “Dammit, I was Lund’s partner in The Goddamn Killing[/], goddammit”.

But yes, that was our second Borgen session of 2013. Mostly decent, a little slow in places, but the acting makes up for the occasional plodding. (Yes, even though I can’t understand anything they say.) Next week: will another middle-aged character get removed by force? Should Hans Christian (the dad from The Killing series 1) start clearing out his desk?

Borgen airs on BBC Four at 9PM Saturdays. More details on the BBC official Borgen site, check out the episodes available on iPlayer here. Laugeson gets more evil by the damn week.

Nick Bryan

Updated: Jan 12, 2013

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