This past weekend, the first two episodes of the second season of the Icelandic crime drama Trapped aired on BBC4. We’ve recapped the episodes for those who need to refresh their memory or gain a clearer understanding of how the characters are related.
Beware, the following text is riddled with spoilers, read on at your own risk!
The Icelandic crime drama first appeared in 2016 and the world was charmed by the troubled yet lovable detective Andri Ólafsson. The first series was well received in the UK – four stars in the Telegraph – and now the second instalment hopes to impress the Brits. This season, Andri returns along with his grumpy sidekick Hinrika, who is now a police chief, and the fan favourite cop Ásgeir.
Fans all around the world celebrated the return of Trapped. Even Ben Stiller was excited.
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) December 26, 2018
Nine out of ten episodes have already aired in Iceland and have broken viewing records. The show’s creators say that instead of being literally trapped by bad weather, like they were in the first season, the characters are trapped mentally this season. Luckily, the cinematography still offers shots of the breathtaking landscapes in northern Iceland.
Some Icelanders have complained that it’s hard to understand the actors, but that’s not a problem when watching with subtitles. Others find the continuity errors in filming locations annoying. But those of us who are less literate in the geography of Iceland can happily enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Let’s dive into the plot of the episodes that aired in the UK last Saturday.
The episode starts with a harrowing murder. A man attacks the Minister for Industries, Halla, outside the Parliament building in downtown Reykjavík. He clasps her in his arms and sets fire to the both of them. The man burns to death but the MP survives, barely.
At first, it seems that the man is an environmentalist protesting the Ministers involvement with heavy industry. We quickly find out that the man wasn’t just any environmentalist, he was her twin brother Gísli. This is only the start of the complicated family ties in the series.
Andri, now working in Reykjavík city, travels to a town in the north of Iceland. The dead man and the twins’ two other siblings live there on neighbouring farms. Andri has ties to the town as it’s where the first season was set.
Their brother, Ólafur, is married to his late brother’s ex-wife, Steinunn. Steinunn and Gísli have a son named Víkingur. The family ties are already confusing.
The fourth sibling, Elín, is married to a man named Finnur who is a manager at the powerplant. We see Finnur threatening one of the foreign workers at the plant, Ebo. Finnur wants Ebo to keep his mouth shut about something, it’s clear that Finnur is trying to cover something up.
Ebo has an amorous connection with Víkingur. Ebo and Víkingur’s relationship is a badly kept secret and many characters are both racist and homophobic towards them.
It just so happens that Andri the detective’s delinquent brat of a daughter, Þórhildur, has been sent to live in the town with her aunt. Þórhildur hangs out with Aron, who is the son of Elín and Finnur.
It is revealed that the dead man, Gísli, might have been a member of ‘The Hammer of Thor’, a right-wing extremist organisation. They are against the addition of an aluminium plant near the town. Not only because of the environmental impact but also because it is owned by a foreign company. Racist environmentalists.
There is a protest, the protestors dump the carcasses of Gísli’s sheep in front of the town hall. The protestors blame the aluminium plant’s drilling for the earthquakes that have been happening. The mayor, Hafdís, fails to diffuse the situation.
We meet another family, single father and farmer Ketill, who leads the protest, and his two sons Torfi and Skúli. Skúli is played by rapper Sturla Atlas, one of at least five Icelandic rappers who appear in this season of Trapped. Which says more about how big the Icelandic hip hop scene is than the casting director’s love for rap.
See also: Hip Hop & Rap in Iceland
The episode ends on a shocker. Finnur, the character who seemed most likely to be the season’s bad guy, is found dead, hanging upside down in his barn. He was the foreman at the power plant so it’s possible that his murder is a political act. The big question remains whether the murders are personal or political.
Things in this episode which viewers found noteworthy enough to tweet about include; The amount of beards that appeared on screen (especially on actors known for more comedic roles), the fact that no-one zips their coats up, and the glass of milk Andri drinks before laying his large self to rest on Hinrika’s tiny, tiny sofa.
The episode starts with the two teenagers, Aron and Þórdís, burying a dead dog in the middle of nowhere late at night. The freshly widowed Elín is beside herself with worry that her son is missing so soon after her husband’s murder.
We meet the boss man of American Aluminium, who is understandably worried about the fate of the aluminium plant now that murders have started happening, seemingly in protest of the plant.
The detectives look for the brothers Skúli and Torfi to question them in relation to the murder. The brothers are out gathering sheep, which gives us some gorgeous shots of a flock of sheep on a mountainside. Andri and Hinrika arrest Torfi, Skúli escapes on horseback.
See also: Horse Riding Tours in Iceland
Ásgeir was left to guard the barn. He leaves his post and the teenagers slip into the barn and Aron cuts his father down. Guðrún, the no-nonsense forensic technician from Reykjavík, is furious that the scene of the crime has been tampered with.
Torfi is interrogated and admits to the murder. He says he murdered Finnur because he was a treasonous instrument of the Muslims who own the aluminium plant. He also says he cut Finnur’s throat but Finnur died from a blow to the head.
Guðrún the forensic technician thinks to check the rubbish from all the farms to see if they find the murder weapon. Her and Ásgeir go through the bins and flirt a little while they’re at it. They find a gun used to kill sheep.
See also: Wildlife and Animals in Iceland
The episode ends with Mayor Hafdís finding an ominous message spray-painted on her garage door. The spray paint is red, like the can the detectives found in the rubbish at Torfi and Skúli’s home.
If the first two episodes are any indication we have eight episodes of excitement ahead of us. Hopefully, by the end, the family connections will make some sort of sense. The next episode airs on BBC4 next Saturday 23rd of February. You can catch up online and check back in with us on Sunday morning for a recap of episodes 3 and 4.
Read next: Trapped episodes 3 & 4