TV REVIEW – FORTITUDE: SERIES 1, EPISODE 5

Fortitude

Katie Young uncovers some shocks in Fortitude as things get more and more complicated…

While this week’s episode opened with a shocking revelation, we know there’s still a lot more to Stoddart’s death than meets the eye, not least because we’re only halfway through the series! Five weeks in, I’m still loving the beautiful, icy opening title sequence and song, but I’m afraid the clunky dialogue and ever more convoluted plot twists are leaving me cold…

We started with a flashback to night of Stoddart’s death and witnessed Liam leaving his bedroom via the window with a possessed, animistic look on his face. Stoddard, meanwhile, was in his kitchen, preparing dinner, and demonstrating the notion of nominative determinism by snorting a line of Charlie in between chopping his onions. Although his dog was acting very strangely, he continued watching Harvey and drinking wine as he cooked until he saw Liam standing outside in nought but his PJ bottoms. It’s worth noting that Charlie Stoddart didn’t seem to know or recognise Liam, so it probably came as a surprise to him as well as us when the lad clouted him over the head with a hefty chopping board. With Stoddart bleeding on the floor, Liam seemed to switch his focus to the dog, but the ominous sounds and shadows in the room suggest there was someone, or something else there with them.We rewound to Frank meeting Markus – Liam’s creepy feeder teacher – before returning home to find Liam covered in blood. Frank showered his son off but couldn’t find the source of the blood. This explains why Frank had Charlie’s blood on him, and seems to back up Frank’s story to the police. The first time we saw elements of what happened in the Sutter household that night, the implication was the blood Frank found on himself was his own, and that he’d been bitten or scratched during his illicit knee-trembler in the shed with Elena. I’m not sure how the blood covering Liam managed to make its way inside Frank’s pale-coloured shirt without being all over the outside though…

Petra assisted Morton and Dan with examining Stoddard’s body again. Her eagle eyes found a broken fingernail stuck to a rib, and it was concluded that it was a child’s fingernail. Cut to a close-up of Liam’s hand, and guess who’s due a manicure? Morton wanted to wake Liam from his frostbite rejuvenation coma, despite Doctor Allerdyce’s warnings. Jules was reluctant but agreed when Dan asked nicely, as she seems to be carrying a bit of a torch for the sheriff. Liam woke and groggily told Morton he walked alone across town to Stoddart’s house. He then started mumbling about onions, and doggies, and I wondered if he’d been at the scientist’s cocaine stash. Liam then dropped his bombshell – “I put my hands inside a man!”

Well, that doesn’t sound inappropriate at all…

Everyone in Fortitude seemed incredibly ready to assume that a ten year old boy had murdered a fully grown man, especially Hildur. Given that the place is basically one giant scientific research centre, no one is overly concerned with waiting for forensic test results or any of that nonsense. It was left to Frank to give a voice to reason: “You know this is all shit!” Elsewhere, Carrie and Ronnie were still in self-imposed exile for reasons unknown. Ronnie wanted his daughter’s help hot wiring a snowmobile, but Carrie threw a tantrum, telling her father that she was only ten and wanted to go home. The golden ‘show don’t tell’ rule is often flouted, and Carrie shouting “I’m only ten!” is a jarring example. Her crying that she wanted her dead mother would have been enough to remind us of her tender years.

Jules dealt with the news that her son was Fortitude’s answer to Norman Bates by getting drunk on Henry Tyson’s bargain vodka and staggering around town in a flimsy jumper. Frank was finally released from the glass holding cell of injustice and returned home to find her passed out. Shirley appeared to be the latest victim of the weird rage virus, falling sick and feverish after coming into contact with the rotting mammoth remains last week. In even worse news, the prehistoric beastie seemed to be leaking putrification into the water supply. Could we be about to find ourselves in 40 Days of Night meets 28 Days Later? Henry certainly thought so. He visited Ramon Tikaram’s taxidermist, believing him to be a shaman. He asked him to create a tupilaq to protect the Sutters, even offering half a pint of his own ‘murderer’s blood’ to do it.

Morton and Dan indulged in another of their reluctantly pally drinking sessions, and Morton told Dan about attending the Lockerbie air disaster, bagging body parts. Dan saw through Morton’s ‘war stories’ psychology, but confessed to shooting Pettigrew as an act of mercy, given that he was being disemboweled by a bear. Morton played Dan the recording of Henry’s phone call claiming the governor was responsible for murdering Pettigrew and Stoddart, and that Dan was the instrument of death. Morton made it clear he didn’t believe a world of Dan’s tale before retiring to puke up his whiskey and lutefisk. Morton noticed something wrong with his hotel room carpet, and decided to rip it up, discovered new floorboards which he surmised must have been replaced because they were drenched in Pettigrew’s blood. Either Morton is slightly obsessed, or his flagrant disregard for things like actual evidence should probably give Scotland Yard cause for concern…

So it looks like the supernatural is making a return with a vengeance and no one in Fortitude is a reliable narrator. But we knew that. This episode was enjoyable enough if you could get passed the ludicrous, contrived plot devices, but the writing is odd in places, and I still cannot connect with any of the characters. This episode also loses a mark for the absence of Luke Treadaway.

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