Much to the joy of TV crime drama fans, BBC 4 is currently airing the latest instalments of Icelandic Noir series Trapped. The episodes are going out two by two on Saturday evenings. Yesterday, episodes 3 and 4 were broadcast to keenly awaiting audiences.
Read on at your own discretion, what follows will be an up-to-date review of the second season so far and there are spoilers abound.
The series is set and mostly filmed in the town of Siglufjörður located in the North of Iceland. A lot of the first season was filmed in a different fjord, Seyðisfjörður, which is in the East of Iceland; an inconsistency that has bothered some, who are, as Icelanders would say, ‘kunnugir staðháttum’ (English: Familiar with the locality). Others like to think it’s plot over geography that counts though, especially since everywhere in Iceland is knock out gorgeous anyway!
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Speaking of the plot, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of episodes 3 and 4 after the first two instalments left us unsure of the fate of a man on the run.
The opening scenes centre around an ongoing manhunt to find Skúli, the suspected killer, who in the last episode escaped on horseback. The search and rescue team seem to be hot on his trail, quite literally so as they stumble upon some warm horseshit. The opening scene also has the second dead dog of the series, a detail that some dog lovers could call an unnecessary cruelty on the part of the screenwriters.
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We see Skúli on the heath, stopping to drink water. His father, Ketill, now released from police custody, joins the search on a four-wheeler. Skúli’s brother, Torfi, is in still custody after falsely admitting to Finnur’s murder.
Andri tries to talk to his daughter Þórhildur as he’s concerned about her relationship with Aron. She walks away, Andri says her name repeatedly; a reoccurring motif throughout the series.
Mayor Hafdís washes away the threatening message that had been spray-painted on her house. She tells her ‘friend’ Kolbrún from the city council that she doesn’t want to contact the police about it, to avoid the local press getting wind of the scandal.
Kolbrún, however, takes a picture of the damning evidence with intentions to share it with the press hoping that such scandal will disrupt Hafdís’ plans for the power plant and sabotage her designs to be elected Mayor.
Torfi, still in police custody, complains that he’s not allowed to smoke. Andri takes him out to smoke and uses the opportunity to ask him about The Hammer of Thor organisation. Torfi hints that something big is going to happen later that day.
Just as Torfi is about to spill the beans his lawyer shows up for the first time and puts a firm end to the unofficial interrogation. Poignantly, Torfi–a notoriously racist character–now must place his destiny into the hands of his lawyer who, quite ironically, happens to be a man of colour.
Ebo and Víkingur share with each other their stories of when they realized they were gay. Víkingur tells a cute innocent tale about a boy he liked when he was sixteen. Ebo tells a story about a boy he knew back home in Ghana (where same-sex sexual acts are illegal) who was beaten half to death and disowned when his family caught him with a boy. A ‘check your privilege’ moment for Víkingur and an emotional scene for the watcher.
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Hinrika questions two farmers who are helping with Ketill and his son’s sheep in their absence. One of the farmers is played by the second of at least five Icelandic rappers that appear in Trapped. Hinrika asks them what they know about The Hammer of Thor and finds out that the leader is ‘some’ woman that the brothers mention multiple times.
The police speak to Pawel, who is the foreman of the foreign workers at the power plant. As a foreign worker in Iceland, Pawel doesn’t have much to say to the police nor does he want their protection. He is understandably suspicious of Icelanders since the local people he’s experienced at his workplace are often xenophobic and treat the foreign workforce like dirt.
The Police have called out the Special Forces to help with the search, and they find Skúli’s horse. Skúli himself is very sick and wandering feverishly around the heath. He unsuccessfully tries to phone for help, vomits and passes out. When the search team finally find him, he’s close to death.
Andri, Hinrika and Ásgeir manage to log into an email on Torfi’s work computer under the name TheSonOfOdin88. There they find out that many people have access to the email account and log their schedules there, but there are no names visible.
Mayor Hafdís is at the hair salon when the news story about the message on her garage door comes on.
In the news story, the Mayor is interviewed and asks people not to make a big deal about her residence being targeted. She drives away from the salon and gets a phone call from detective Andri, who is worried since it seems that the ‘something big’ Torfi alluded could happen to her.
After a quick chit chat, she hangs up on Andri because there is a car blocking her path. This is, of course, an ambush, she stupidly gets out of the car and is kidnapped. End of episode.
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Skúli has been airlifted to a hospital in Reykjavík. His condition is too bad for him to be interrogated. Andri tries to use this as leverage to get Tofi to tell him where The Hammer of Thor group took the Mayor, it doesn’t work.
The police search for Hafdís and are pretty useless at it. They go to the hair salon, which is closed. Visit the shop next door to ask for the security footage. They see that the hairstylist stood by the window watching as the Mayor left; suspicious?
The teenagers, Aron and Þórhildur, skip school. They talk about how she stole a bunch of computers and he used to steal cars and they bond over being delinquents whose parents are ashamed of them. They then go to his house even though it is a crime scene which is sealed with police tape.
The police may be a bit slow but the kidnappers are completely useless. The woman – who is clearly the hairstylist from earlier – stays back to keep the Mayor from recognizing her. The two thugs who are with her are complete goons who don’t do much besides argue. They cover the Mayor in blood and make her read a statement declaring she will be killed if their demands are not met.
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Ebo asks Víkingur to stop being so obvious about their secret relationship as Ebo’s brother in law who also works at the power plant is getting dangerously suspicious. Víkingur wants Ebo to stay in Iceland after his contract runs out but Ebo has a wife and child in Ghana.
The reporter who Kolbrún gave the photo of the Mayor’s house to meets with Andri. She shows him a suspicious car in the back of a shot. He recognizes it as the car from the shop’s security footage and dutifully looks up the licence plate.
The car is owned by a man named Tómas and the police go to his registered address. The Special Forces sweep the premises, where they find a group four-year-old children in day-care. The woman taking care of them is Tómas’ ex who says she threw him out because he was seeing ‘that whore from the hair salon’.
When the episode aired in Iceland, Trapped viewers live-tweeting the episode had a field day! The actress playing Tomas’ ex-girlfriend, Dóra Jóhannsdóttir, had recently been in TV ads warning about stress caused by too much work; a funny detail since her character on Trapped is clearly taking care of too many children at once. Not to mention having the police break her door down!
Back at the kidnapper’s hideout, the Mayor recognizes her hairdresser’s voice. The kidnappers start panicking a bit and argue some more. Tómas’ ex-girlfriend calls him and alerts him that the police are looking for him at the hairdresser’s house.
The hairdresser beats the cops to her house and hides her right-wing extremist books and Nazi paraphernalia. Andri goes in alone while the Special Forces team waits outside. He tries to cox information from her by pretending to emphasise with the principles behind The Hammer of Thor organisation.
Before he manages to crack her, Andri gets a phone call reporting that Skúli has been interrogated at the hospital and told the police everything. They now know where The Hammer of Thor is keeping the Mayor.
The third kidnapper is panicking and wants to kill Mayor Hafdís, Tómas disagrees with him. The panicking kidnapper points a gun at her but Tómas whacks him with a chair, the shot still hits Hafdís in the leg. The police burst in and Trausti, the leader of the Special Forces, shoots the gunman in the face.
This marks end of The Hammer of Thor since all of the members are either dead, in prison or hospitalized. It is fully confirmed that The Hammer of Thor didn’t kill Finnur because there is a recording of them having a party the night he was killed.
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The teenagers find a bag full of Euros at Aron’s house when they’re looking for liquor to steal. The bag also contains an old mobile phone. The episode ends with Þórhildur sending a text to the only number in the phone and getting the reply “Shouldn’t you be dead?”
So, The Hammer of Thor has been eradicated and the brothers were not the killers. The murder investigation is now back at square one. We’re less than halfway through the series and it’s clear that there are many twists and turns to come. The next two episodes air on BBC4 next Saturday and our next installment of the recaps will be awaiting you here next Sunday. Stay tuned!