Category Archives: TV

The Bridge III – Episodes 7 & 8

A few weeks ago I was sure that I was glad should this turn out to be the final series of The Bridge. Now I’m not so sure. On one hand I like Henrik and he’s turning out to be quite a match for Saga. But on the other hand liking him and acknowledging that does not change how much I miss Martin. And if there were to be another series then Hans would not be in it either. For me that would be a step too far, accepting Martin’s absence is one thing but I’m not sure I could tolerate both him and Hans not being there.

It’s a good thing I think if you feel like this, if on one hand you don’t want to leave the characters but at the same time you can see the story is complete and that you wouldn’t change any of it. I feel much the same way about The Killing, that I’d love to see another series yet at the same time I’m glad there’s no more. Hans Rosenthal said that the body count of series 2 was absurd and that they corrected that in the third series. They have done so but I think they’ve made a similar mistake, instead of too many victims they have too many sub-plots. It’s not so much that it’s hard to keep up with them, it’s just annoying knowing that half the stuff you’ve been working on paying attention to ends up being completely unrelated. Not only that but time you waste on pointless subplots is time wasted away from developing the main plot.

So it seems they finally have a real suspect but I’m not convinced. Their suspect is Annika Melander. She was a foster child along with Emil, they were both fostered by the couple found dead at the beginning of episode seven. The scene was again staged, a Christmas tree put up with Hakan’s eyes used as one of the decorations and the man was wearing a Santa hat which hid the fact his brain was taken. The woman had an apple stuffed in her mouth, like a pig. That message is obvious, the man not so much. As Henrik put it, is he a mastermind or an idiot. Is it because of something he knew or didn’t know. Or is it because something he thought, evil thoughts which led to evil actions. The message behind both the brain and the eyes becomes clearer later on when it’s revealed that Hakan was the social worker who placed Emil there. It’s obvious, the eyes were placed there because Hakan should have seen what was going on. Curious, I can’t remember if they said Hakan was both their social worker or just Emil. If it’s the former then it would mean it’s him with the connection and not Annika.

Plus it’s him who worked at T&L Andersen, it’s him who has a connection with Freddie Holst and is interested in art. But Annika may be working with him, the workshop at her house suggests that, unless Emil is framing her of course. It’s possible that Annika has been murdered by Claes. He’s seen going back into his flat holding a shovel. He was with her earlier and was meant to pick her up from Malmö Central Station. If Annika were the killer and she was working alone it, and she is indeed dead then it makes no sense. If that’s so then who kidnapped Jeanette. I think it’s likely that Annika and Emil are working together, or that she at least knows what she’s up to. Annika is pretty focused on Claes, I’m not sure she’d care about getting involved in anything else. Yes she’s unbalanced but she’s also focused.

Getting back to Emil, he’s also the one who went to the police to tell them about the murder scenes resembling works of art. Now if he was the killer this may seem odd but actually it can be explained. It might have been part of his plan, or he wanted to know how much the police knew or more simply he was annoyed they hadn’t figured it out yet. He might have wanted to see first hand the results of his work, to enjoy taunting the police that way, going on a power trip like that is not unheard of in serial killers. It’s not uncommon for criminals to insert themselves into a investigation for various reasons.

Another thing to consider is that there was a bed and a painting in the basement, like someone had been living down there. The painting made me think of Emil and the fact that his own flat is bare and hardly looks lived in. Is that because he’s got another place where he spends all of his time or because it’s how he used to living having grown up as a foster child?

The two victims both have burn marks in their mouth but they are different to the others. The coroner thinks it looks like an A and a percent sign. Saga tells him it’s not, that it’s most likely a L and  a G but she doesn’t know what alphabet. Before they talk about the case he’s examining a body which has been burned beyond all recognition. He says she was of average height, with no visible fractures and that she was buried in clay. I’m thinking they wouldn’t be showing us this unless it was relevant, surely it can’t be her mother’s body? Or could be Annika’s body, we did see Claes with a shovel and this body was buried. Of course it could be red herring to make us think that. Seeing the body you would of course connect it with Claes and the shovel and jump to the conclusion it’s Annika’s body, unless that’s just what they wanted us to think.

Getting back to Emil once more, he has a connection with some of the victims but not all of them. Hakan was his social worker, Hans was the police officer who took him back when he ran away when he was eight and Abrahammson was a teacher at his secondary school.  He’s  also connected to Holst through his job at the gallery and he’s been to his house to pick up paintings.

Serious doubt is seemingly cast on to him being the killer by the events of episode eight, he’s seen stumbling into the road, half naked and covered in blood. But then this doesn’t rule him out as being the killer or at least being involved. It could be part of their plan or they could have had a disagreement. Question is why did the killer let him escape, a question which he’s able to answer himself. It’s one of the paintings on the list, it’s called “The One who got away.”

Except he claims he didn’t escape, that he was let go. He says that he thinks he was drugged and when he woke up he was in the field. Lets say Annika is the killer and she’s working alone, if Claes killed her then this would leave her work unfinished and would give Emil the chance to escape. Two major flaws to this theory, Emil says he didn’t escape and secondly if Annika was working alone then who shot Marc and kidnapped Jeanette at the end of the episode?

Alternate theory, Annika and Emil are working together. They both have the skill set required for this particular set of endeavors. With his interest and knowledge of art he stages the scenes and comes up with the ideas and Annika with her knowledge of the human body deals with this side of things. Maybe the reason there’s not a connection between Emil and all the victims is because he didn’t choose them all. They both would have reason to want their foster parents and Hakan dead. Equally they may both have reason to want revenge of some kind on the teacher. But where do Helle Anker and Morten fit into it?

Another theory is that maybe there’s not just two of them, perhaps another former foster child is part of this too. Like Gustav whom Saga and Henrik talked to. What he told them about Annika contradicted what Emil told them. Emil said that she was at the bottom of the pecking order and she had it worse than everyone else. Whereas Gustav said this was not true, he said that Filip their foster father treated them all equally. But then they aren’t really talking about the same thing, are they? Because Gustav is talking about how their foster parents treated them but I think Emil was talking about how the kids treated each other. He said she was at the bottom of the pecking order and that you took your anger out on those beneath you, add that with him saying he’s not proud of it, I think it’s not too far fetched to take it as him meaning he mistreated Annika himself. He also said Annika didn’t approve of him coming back, now he could mean because she would have taken his place in the pecking order were he to stay away or he could mean she was relieved her tormentor was gone.

It’s also possible that Emil is working alone, that staged the scene himself. One thing that wouldn’t fit is what they found at Annika’s house, they found photos of the murder scenes, the foster father’s brain and several lights like the ones used to stage some of the murder scenes. But what they don’t find is the models, we see this same model at the end of the episode with whoever it is that kidnapped Jeanette. This could be interpreted in a few different ways. Firstly the things have been planted there by Emil to cast suspicion away from himself, he didn’t leave the models because he wouldn’t be able to part with those and it would be too much evidence to leave behind. Or he’s been using that space with or without Annika’s knowledge, such a fact being true would explain why his own place looks so bare. Again I’m not sure she’s a part of this, she seems very focused on Claes and not at all interested in anything else.

I’m not sure I believe anything Emil says, there’s something off about him. Plus his information about what he heard whilst tied up is very specific. I’m not saying he couldn’t have heard all that, it’s certainly possible. It just feels like it’s too good to be true. He heard an ice-cream van, sirens and he was sure it was more than one and children singing and playing. It was this information which John used to locate Annika’s house. It just seems too perfect, too easy. Like Emil wanted to lead them there. Another fact in favour of him being the killer, the number six was found in his mouth, meaning he’s the last victim. It would make sense, killing all the people who didn’t do what they were supposed to do, he might feel that he didn’t either, that he didn’t stand up for himself. Plus every other victim had a body part missing, he has none. But what does the code mean?

As for whether she’s dead or not when they question Claes about Annika and her whereabouts he tells them very little. Obviously he can’t explain to them why he’s going along with her, he can’t do so without incriminating himself in the death of his father. He claims he was meant to pick her up at the station but that she didn’t show up. Now if he did kill her it would be better to say that then admit he did pick her up, because then he’d be admitting he was the last person to see her.

Then there’s the question of where the Holsts come into this, with the events of these two episodes it’s safe to say Freddie has nothing to do with what’s going on. The killer driving Kjell Söder’s car was following Asa and planned to kidnap her. We know this because of the bottle of chloroform on the seat. But they changed their plans upon getting the e-mail from Tina whom they’d hired to watch the Holst’s house. They changed their plans because they learnt she’s not really pregnant, obviously the baby is important to them in some way.

In a strange quirk of fate Marc who needs money to buy back the cottage (not knowing that Freddie has bought it) breaks into the yellow car and steals the iPad. This leads to the death of the person he sold it to. The police are tracking the iPad at the same time as the killer but they don’t get there in time. They do manage to follow the signal and find the car but it’s empty. The suspect escapes on a train, I wonder if that’s meant to make us think of Annika. If that’s why we saw her tell Claes to pick her up from Malmö Central Station, so we would make that connection. They manage to retrieve the iPad but it’s useless to them.

As for the Holsts and their  plan of keeping the surrogacy secret all of that goes to hell when Asa stupidly tells Claes, he then gives or sells the information to the tabloids. It’s so obvious he would have gotten his revenge in some way, I don’t know why she would think she could trust him. It’s obvious that it’s not the business he cares so much about losing but her and especially to Freddie. He can’t have her but he can humiliate them.

One thing the press don’t know is the identity of the surrogate. There’s one person who does know, who has pictures at least anyway. Tina does but for once she does the right thing and she gives them to John. There she tells them about the job and they see the e-mail address, which is the same code on Morten’s fridge. He knows that code so he must know something about this, that would be too big of a coincidence, for them to both to know the same code but for different reasons, wouldn’t it?

The code’s complete now which means there should be no more victims. So if the code is complete why did they take Jeanette? I got to thinking about the code, if the order of the victims is important, if each character was assigned to each victim for a particular reason or if it’s just random.

Towards the end of episode eight Saga and Henrik pay a visit to Annika’s ex husband. He runs from them but he doesn’t have anything to do with this, turns out he has a weapons cache and has some dealings with biker gangs. He’s irrelevant, almost anyway, he would be totally unimportant were it not for the fact Saga either failed to search him or didn’t so thoroughly enough. Either way it doesn’t matter, he had a gun and tried to escape, in the process shooting John’s daughter. This annoyed me, I don’t see what purpose it served in regards to the story. I guess it’s just meant to show that Saga is upset and does respond to things emotionally even if other people think she doesn’t. Part of her realising that even she can make mistakes and that her feelings can affect her actions and behaviour.

Saga and Henrik’s relationship is as interesting as the case. The scene in e7 when he’s making breakfast was nice, it was a little strange, a normal domestic scene with Saga. But it was ruined somewhat when he freaked out upon realising his family aren’t there anymore. I like the way Saga handled it when he mentioned it to her. The matter of fact way she speaks and sees things I think is helpful to Henrik. Her way of handling it is brilliant, most people would probably be freaked out and maybe even a little scared by the conversation but she’s not even fazed. She just asks “Should you have seen them?” And when Henrik admits he doesn’t know her simple answer is “You probably decided not to.”

He’s not himself however, partly because he decides not take whatever drug it is he has in his car. This combined with his confused feelings leads Saga to think he’s off with her. Before I thought that maybe Henrik wanted Saga to find out what happened to his family because he may have hurt them and he badly wants someone to find out so that he doesn’t have to live with it anymore. Now I’m thinking the opposite, which admittedly could still be true if he did harm them. I’m thinking that he doesn’t want to know what happened to them because if he finds out then he’d have to face up to it, to admit they’re gone and to let go of them.

Meanwhile Saga has to contend with being questioned by internal affairs. A lot of the questions they ask are barely relevant, in the end she has no choice but to tell the truth about what happened with her parents. She admits that she made false allegations of sexual abuse against them in order to get her sister out of there. Naturally they don’t believe her explanations when they find a nail of her’s in her mother’s car, nor when they discover the e-mail was sent from her computer. Of course they wouldn’t, on the face of it you have to admit it sounds crazy. Unless you know what the person in question is capable of and the the lengths they would go to. Rasmus is annoyingly still around, internal affairs talked to him too and he continued spinning his web of lies. I was also annoyed to find out that not only is he the last two episodes but it seems he actually plays a part in the investigation.

Internal affairs is not the only thing Saga has to contend with, there’s also the issues of Hans’ death. I liked Henrik’s reaction to it, he really is starting to get Saga:

Henrik: You know it’s not lack of interest that I’m talking about the case and not Hans? That’s how you want it, right?”
Saga: Yes.

In all of this they still find time for a funny moment, or at least I though it was funny anyway. At the murder scene Henrik quips in English upon seeing the tree “Merry Christmas.” It wasn’t just his deadpan delivery which made it amusing. There’s also the fact that Thure Lindhart who plays Henrik has been in two Christmas films. A very funny film entitled The Christmas Party which has quite a few familiar faces in it, not least Søren Malling, aka Det. Jan Meyer from TK1. Also the actress who played the murder victim Nana Birk Larsen also from TK1, plus the actor who played Robert Zeuthen in TK3.

The other Christmas film he was in is the aptly titled “One Hell of a Christmas.” Aptly titled bearing in mind his quip and the scene in question, not only that but it’s a truly terrible film. When I watch a film I always try to find at least on redeeming feature in it, this was one of those films where the only redeeming feature is that it ends.

The Bridge III – Episodes 5 & 6

On one hand I’m more confused but on the other hand I’m not because I knew something without even realising I did. At first episodes 5 and 6 were no more helpful than the previous two in clearing things up, at least not anything related to the case. But that’s not true, going back over my notes for the first two episodes I found a very important note related to Henrik and the art gallery. The gist of it was that I was wondering whether or not art could be related to the murders somehow, because of what Emil said about the painting. It was there Henrik first met Emil and he told Henrik about a painting by an artist named MM Brandt who’s work mostly dealt with themes of universal truth. I left this out of my notes when I typed them up, rejecting it as somehow too pretentious perhaps, or too far fetched. Turns out it’s not so far fetched. Because Emil has figured out that a few of the murder scenes resemble works of art and he went to the police with this information. All the pieces in question have one thing in common, they all belong to Freddie Holst.

I also wonder if it’s relevant what Emil said about Brandt, that he’s “not only a sculptor but also a furniture designer, an architect, a set designer.”

It kind of fits the description of the killer in a way, assuming that one person is doing all this. They are somewhat multi-faceted. I was going to say talented then I realised that’s not such an appropriate word to use in this context. The point still stands though, that there are many aspects to their crimes.

Whilst the case is no less confusing a few other things were cleared up. Like what’s going on with Marc and his girlfriend. No wonder he doesn’t care about her being pregnant, she’s a surrogate for Freddie Holst and his wife.

With Claes however it just gets murkier and murkier, he is finding it difficult to disentangle himself from his stalker. Killing his father solved one problem for him but it’s created an even bigger one. He is a very slippery character indeed.

As for the case I had wondered whether or not Anna may be the next victim, turns out I wasn’t far off. It’s her husband Hakan who the killer targeted next, putting him in a barrel and I’m not sure what happened to him exactly. They didn’t show it. Henrik says it’s a game played in Denmark on Shrove Tuesday called “cat in a barrel.” A cat is placed in a barrel and kids hit it till it breaks. The killer removed the eyes. No doubt because his “crime” is to not see what he knows is there, to ignore his wife cheating on him, to knowingly live a lie and to present that lie to the public. Not only that but they use their family in the deceit, they use their daughter to promote their company as a family friendly brand whilst being the biggest hypocrites imaginable.

On a related note the police also think Holst may be a target. I think so too because he is also engaged in a falsehood of a kind, keeping up the lie that his wife is pregnant and hiding the fact they are using a surrogate. He may be a target of the killer but he’s not really a victim, in fact he may be an active perpetrator. He did after all set up the kidnapping of the woman who’s giving birth to his child. He said it was to keep her safe and that she can’t be around Marc because he’s stressing her out, yet is he not stressing her out and putting her in danger with the way he’s acting?

Well Hakan wasn’t technically the next victim, Lukas was shot before him but it’s not certain who shot him. If it’s the killer or if that’s something else, for one thing it could be Freddie Holst’s doing. It certainly doesn’t fit the pattern of the other crimes. Or it could be the killer taking him out because he knows something, just like Morten did.

One thing we know is where Lukas knows Henrik from, he sold drugs to him, nothing more sinister than that. Henrik has a reason to get rid of Lukas but he wouldn’t hire someone to kill him, would he? Surely that’s too far-fetched.

The third victim Lars-Ove Abrahamsson turns out to have plenty to hide, not only was he in possession of illegal images of children but his sister confirmed that there were allegations against him but none of them ever stuck or resulted in charges. It was a most interesting scene because his sister is deaf and communicates using sign language. It turns out that Saga can sign a little. I think this scene shows the best of Saga and of the ways in which her matter of fact manner can be refreshing. It was most pleasing to see her take control of a situation and handle it appropriately whilst Henrik, the so called normal one stands by awkward and helpless.

On a related note she handled the conversation about Henrik’s family rather well. Henrik doesn’t need pity or people patronizing him, he knows exactly what he’s doing. I liked the way she asked her questions and the fact that she agreed to stay even though they wouldn’t be having sex.

They also had a good scene earlier in the sixth episode when Henrik tries to find out more about here. I like the conversation so much I feel the need to reproduce it here:

Henrik: What were your reading?
Saga: When?
Henrik: Yesterday, when I arrived. You said you were reading something.
Saga: Why do you want to know?
Henrik: You and I are sleeping together but I know nothing about you.
Saga: That’s because I prefer it that way.
Henrik: Why?
Saga: Everyone I’ve ever got close to has left me and/or hurt me.
Henrik: Ok.
Saga: Psychology: The Science of Mind & Behaviour by Nigel Holt.

I like that Henrik doesn’t say anything, he just nods in acknowledgement. They really are coming to some sort of understanding. I wonder what it is that made her decide to answer. If it’s because she realised that Henrik must know how she feels, he knows what it feels like for someone close to him to leave. The way she answers his question is perfect, the fact that she gives no indication she’s about to do so. It sounded a bit like me if I’m honest, I do that to people a lot, answer without them expecting it. Of course I also have a tendency to answer questions that have been asked a long time ago without providing any context, but then that’s a different quirk altogether.

At the hospital Lillian inadvertently discovered a clue, a burn mark in Hans’ mouth. Checking the other victims they found out that they had one too. Saga works out that it’s the Babylonian Number System. It’s Henrik who provides the final clue, he recognises it as being the code that was on Morten Anker’s fridge. The code also appears in the e-mail used by whoever it is that’s contacting the photographer. One thing related to that, the word “russmail” is also in their e-mail address. Russia has been mentioned, Benjamin mentioned it to Anna in relation to workers not being able to unionize.

The coroner missed the burn marks which results in Saga questioning him and his competence. This is becoming a theme, people not being what she thought they were, people acting in a way other than what she expected, confronting the idea that people are not infallible. First with Martin, then with Hans and now with her friend the coroner. I wonder if all of this is building up to something bigger in this regard.

The fifth episode ends with Anna calling Benjamin to tell him that she loves him and wants to be with him. But it’s too late, after having talked to her husband on the phone he seems to see the truth of the situation, that they can never be together and he’s decided he can’t live without her. Assuming that he really did commit suicide that is.

Pursuing the art angle they interview and investigate Freddie Holst, in the process discovering a connection between him and Andersen. Holst invested money in his company, essentially stopping them from going bankrupt. Holst buys struggling companies and “rescues them.” That is he sells of parts of the business that still make money and makes a number of employees redundant. Hardly Mr Popular then and someone who a lot of people would have motive and reason to hurt. Whilst at Andersen’s office Henrik finds a catalog which has all the items from the first murder scene in it. The order slip was missing, tracking the order Henrik discovers it was delivered to the office. This clue leads them to a potentially disgruntled employee, one who was let go because of Holst. One Kjell Söder. But he doesn’t have a connection to the other victims, except one. He drives a yellow car and a car of that colour was seen at the cottage where Hakan was. I hope he’s not the killer, it’ll be a similar kind of mistake as series one. Back then Sebastian was introduced at such a point and in such a way that it was obvious he was the killer. It made it impossible to solve the case and it took all the fun out of it.

In a previous episode Saga was sure someone had been in her flat, obviously she would have suspected her mother. Only thing is nothing was taken, but her laptop had been moved. That proves to be significant here. Saga gets an e-mail from an unknown person related to the case. They claim to have information and Saga stupidly decides to deal with it herself, no doubt because of the pressure put on her by the boss. I read a good theory online that her mother had broken into her flat, used the laptop to send the e-mail to throw suspicion on Saga and more importantly so she won’t have an alibi for the time of her mother’s death. This is all kinds of wrong, Rasmus being allowed anywhere near this is wrong first of all, secondly what the hell is the boss doing getting out the file on Saga’s parents. Part of me wonders whether or not her mother is really dead at all.

Towards the end of the second episode Saga went to visit Hans, she tells him about her sister and about what happened. She wonders if she could have helped her sister had she been able to see she was unhappy. She tells Hans about what Claes and his attempts to define happiness, saying that she didn’t recognise his description of happiness therefore she must never have been happy. I can empathise with her confusion, making sense of other people’s feelings can be difficult but  making sense of your own even more so. Forget about being able to express them, just knowing how you are feeling is hard enough to work out. I used to think that too, that I’d never felt happy because I didn’t recognise other people’s descriptions of it. Turns out it’s something you have to work out for yourself, other people mean well but their words on the matter weren’t helpful. As it turns out what makes me happy is quite different from what makes the people around me happy and I’m not good at showing it, at least not in a way other people recognise. And when I am clearly happy about something they still aren’t satisfied, either because I’m being too strange or because they think what’s made me happy is weird.

The Bridge III – Episodes 3 & 4

Four episodes in and I’m no less confused. Two suspects down, well not that they were really suspects but I don’t know what else to call them. Anyhow both Aleks and Morten are dead, both shot to death in the same manner, both by an unknown assailant. Except Morten seems to think he knew who was there. That scene was very confusing, the killer had a recording of Morten’s phone call from a few minutes ago, or was it the message he left. I don’t know, either way Morten called him. His dying words were that his brother killed him. But not his literal brother because he doesn’t have one. He does have a half brother Elias but he’s an unlikely suspect, given that he’s only four years old. That was a very amusing conversation between Saga and Henrik. In fact that exchange was so amusing it’s worth putting here in full:

Saga: He doesn’t have a brother.

Henrik: He’s got Elias.

Saga: Elias is four.

Henrik: Yes, yes, I don’t think he did it. But Morten’s got a brother, that’s what I mean.

Saga: Elias is his half brother.

Henrik: Yes I know that Wiki, but…

Saga: Don’t call me that.

Henrik: Sometimes people call their half siblings their siblings. So maybe Morten had more half siblings, that’s what I meant.

Saga: Why didn’t you say so right away?

Henrik: I tried. Then I had to convince you I didn’t think a four year old had shot two men in two different countries in the last 24 hours.

Saga: It sounded like you thought that.

Henrik: No, it didn’t.

Saga: Yes

Henrik is very different to Martin but that’s not a bad thing. If it weren’t for the fact that he clearly has his own issues and may in fact be using Saga I’d say he was perfect for her. So his family is indeed at least missing and that was what he wanted Saga’s help with. If anyone can find out the truth Saga can. Question is does he really want to know the truth, and does it have anything to do with what’s going on? Lukas, the guy from the youth project is convinced he knows Henrik from somewhere, saying that he never forgets a face. But Henrik said he was mistaken. I wonder if Lukas had anything to do with what happened to Henrik’s family. When he’s looking over the case file at home he says “I can’t believe they only questioned him once.”

Questioned who, and what about? Is he referring to a witness or to a person of interest related to the disappearance of his family? Is it possible that Henrik has something to do with all of this? Could he be the brother Morten referred to? This is the best picture I could get, it’s the photos from the file on Henrik’s family. The first guy can’t be Lukas, but the photo underneath could be him. Question is, who’s the first photo of:

Henrik's case file photosI’ve been thinking that the killer may be police or military because of the way both victims were shot. But then a person good be a good shot for other reasons, such as being a criminal. Like the shady people that Lukas is involved with. I have no idea what’s going on there. The kid from the poker game owes him money so to pay it back he has to do him a favour. But it’s his girlfriend who ends up doing it. The task being to pick up a bag from a locker, a bag which gets stolen from her. Except all is not as it seems. It seems to be some kind of set-up, the same black car is following them after they leave. One theory online I read suggested that maybe the girlfriend was a decoy. That she took the decoy bag and the police or the gangsters would have been watching her and not the person who took the real one. The reason I don’t agree is because when she first picks up the bag it’s too heavy for her and she lets it drop to the floor, you can hear the sounds of the weapons in there hit the ground, hence not a decoy.

I don’t know what Lukas’ play is there and to be honest I really don’t care. I find him, his henchmen and Marc and his girlfriend insufferable. The latter especially, I don’t understand why you would stay with someone who not only gambles all your money away but steals your jewellery and anything that isn’t nailed down to feed his addiction, shows no interest in his unborn child and shows no concern for anyone but himself.

To get back to the topic of whether or not the killer is police or military, one of the reasons I had for thinking the former is that I was wondering how did he know where Hans was. How did he know he’d been kidnapped, unless of course he’d been following him, then he would know, it’s possible.

Marc is not the only new face, there’s also the woman from the real estate company Ekhdahl Housing, Anna who’s about to become their new CEO. Not only her but her friend’s son whom she’s sleeping with. He looks a bit like Marc, at first I thought they were the same person and from what I read online it seems I’m not the only one who made that mistake. The other new face is Claes Sandberg who’s introduced at the start of the fourth episode when he kills his dying father. Claes is quite strange and that’s putting it mildly. He’s an author and some kind of speaker. There’s a woman who’s quite obsessed with him and he doesn’t seem to be at all bothered by this fact.

Lukas’ connection to the case is that a van belonging to the youth organization he works for was captured on camera driving across the bridge at the right time. He gets a kid to lie for him, to say he used the van to go and visit his girlfriend. So he may turn out to be connected, or he may have just been running drugs or guns and have nothing to do with it.

Marc Lukas Lukas' henchman Anna Claes Sandberg Anna's boyfriendIt’s curious to think which of these subplots will turn out to actually be relevant to the case. Because series 1 had a couple of such stories which turned out to have no bearing whatsoever on the actual case but which fitted nicely in terms of the themes being explored. In particular I’m thinking about Stefan and his sister in series 1. They were only indirectly involved because of the homeless angle, because his sister drank the poisoned alcohol if I remember correctly. They were relevant in that it was related to the issues of family, of people having to take care of themselves, of not trusting the authorities to do the right thing. Which come to think of it may be relevant here. I can’t believe I only just figured that out. Martin was a little fixated on Stefan, he was convinced he was hiding something or had done something wrong. It was partly to Martin’s persistence they discovered he killed the husband of the woman he was helping to get away. Martin was so sure that handing out your kind of justice wasn’t the right thing to do. But that’s what he ended up doing. Because truth is unless you are in that situation, unless it’s happening to you, you don’t know how you’re going to react.

On a related note I think there may be something there with Henrik. When he was trying to talk Rikard down he asked him if he knew what it was like to lose a child. Not only that but the way he talked about it was most interesting, enough to quote in full:

Henrik: No matter what you’ve done and  to whom it doesn’t come near to killing a child. You’ve already crossed one line. Don’t cross another one. Rikard, it destroys something inside you, if you do this nothing will ever be the same again. Do you understand what I’m saying? If she dies now some of you goes too. Losing a child, life will never be whole again.

Does Henrik know not only what it’s like to lose a child but to kill one too?

Saga’s mother shows up again and is as manipulative as ever. Her father has died and she wants Saga to come to the memorial service which of course Saga refuses to do. Her temporary boss has other ideas however, getting involved when she has no business to do so. Unbelievable, that she thinks it was ok to try and trick Saga that way. It’s none of her business whether Saga goes to her father’s funeral or not. She’s not handling Saga well at all. The board situation was funny, her not being used to the process she doesn’t know that Saga normally runs through the case that way. Her talking to Saga about the performance reviews was not so amusing, and people say Saga lacks empathy. It was a little cruel almost, to tell of the things Hans had been keeping from her. Whether or not Hans possesses any other secrets, that will bother Saga, that he lied to her.

On the subject of Hans, they found him at the Ghost Train. But they only found him because it’s what the killer wanted. He led them to Hans, the ticket for the ghost train was in Helle Anker’s car along with her heart. It’s interesting that he kidnapped him but didn’t kill him, he did however take his right hand which he uses later to guide them to the next victim.

The third victim is Lars-Ove Abrahamsson, a 72 year old retired PE teacher. The scene is set up in a similar way as the other two were, but this one is a little more disturbing. I have no idea what it’s meant to mean. Helle Anker was missing her heart and it was used to lead them to Hans. He was missing his right hand which was used to lead them to Abrahmasson who was missing his penis, which one can only assume will play a part in leading them to the next victim.

Lars-Ove Abrahamsson - murder scene 1 Lars-Ove Abrahamsson - murder scene 2The scene at the end of the fourth episode was very touching. I don’t imagine Saga would have talked like that with anyone before. I just hope that Hans really doesn’t have any major secrets to hide, that Saga won’t end up having any reason to be angry with him.

She told Hans about her mother and what happened. What I find interesting is that she said her mother made her and her sister ill. So Saga already knows for definite then but she still wants proof. She knows she’s right but she needs evidence, it’s the way she thinks, the way she works. Knowing or believing something isn’t enough, she needs to be able to prove something is true.

One thing is for sure Rikard is not the killer. He did kill Fabian Christensen but not the others. That’s why they found his fingerprints on the car but nowhere else. Plus the fact they found prints at all is a clue. The killer was seen wearing gloves at the beginning of the first episode, he wouldn’t be leaving prints anywhere. Also whilst he may be mentally unbalanced he’s probably not physically capable of carrying out all of this, of drugging Hans and then transporting him. Another reason proving he wasn’t the killer is the photo he included of Christensen with his letter to Andersen, there weren’t photos of the other victims, he didn’t claim responsibility for the others. The police tried to use his obsession with Andersen to trap him, providing him with his next target. A Danish army commander named Bente Knudsen. It didn’t work, he went after Helle Anker’s wife instead. He got away from that one but was caught at Andersen’s flat when he held her daughter hostage.

So taking away Christensen the victims are Helle Anker, Hans and Lars-Ove Abrahamsson. Two Swedes and a Dane. Two men and one woman. A gender rights activist, a retired PE teacher and a police officer. When Christensen was still considered one of the victims Andersen’s vlog connected them all but the third victim has no connection it. At least none that Andersen was willing to share, it’s possible she was holding something back. After all she didn’t want to tell the police about the letter.

To work out an possible reason why someone would want to hurt Hans they called in his ex-wife. I read a theory online that has her as the mastermind of all this, theorising that they wouldn’t introduce a character without a specific purpose for them. But that’s not always true with The Bridge, they’ve done that before and besides she did serve a purpose. That rather amusing conversation in which she asked if Hans seemed at all different since he’d gotten married to Lillian. To which Saga told her, yes he’s late in the mornings sometimes and he wasn’t before. It’s not easy to work out if Saga realises the implications of what she’s just said, let alone how it may not the kind of answer she was looking for.

So to sum up, they’ve got Rikard in custody, Hans is safe and they know have a third victim who so far has no connection to Andersen’s vlog.

Question is how many more victims are there going to be and is it going to be one of the new characters introduced,  I wonder if Anna may not be a target. The posed photo with her family got me thinking this. Also there’s a parallel of sorts between her and Saga, a controlling mother.

Random things to mention:

When Henrik introduces Saga he says her name but not where she’s from. Saga adds “Lanskrim Malmo” herself. It’s one of those little moments that I really appreciate, it just gets better every time you see it.

Anna’s affair with that teenage boy is potentially about to become a very public affair. It’s on the front of a newspaper, question is, does this have anything to do with the case.

Henrik is oddly suited to Saga, they suit each other. I didn’t see that coming, them ending up at the singles club or them sleeping together. I think they could be a good couple, I think that would be nice.

I’ve been reading online people’s thoughts and theories, including thoughts on Saga and how well they portray her autism. What’s interesting to me is the autistic people who insist it’s not a good or realistic portrayal of autism because Saga is nothing like them. Well why would she be. For one thing she’s a fictional character and for another she’s an individual, no two people with autism are alike just like no two NTs are alike. I was surprised to read people saying that because she’s so intelligent she should be able to work out how to act around other people. If a NT said that I wouldn’t be too surprised but I would be and was very surprised to read an autistic person writing such a thing. Because they should know better, it’s not about intelligence. She can study these things, learn about them and even maybe sometimes use what she’s learnt in the appropriate situation. But it’ll never come naturally to her and it would be exhausting to do that all the time. In fact if she did commit to that she wouldn’t be able to do her job, she would spend all her time and energy on maintaining that facade. Of course that assumes she’s even interested in doing so. If one doesn’t care about being different then they won’t be motivated to learn to act in the way other people think they should.

And as for her not being a good portrayal of autism because they can’t identify with her or because they don’t think she’s anything like them consider this, I hadn’t thought about myself having anything in common with her, not until someone told me Saga reminded them of me. What’s most interesting about this fact is that they said we sounded alike. It’s interesting because of the language difference, Saga speaks Swedish, I speak English with the person in question yet still they say we sound alike. That we both have the same blunt and matter of fact manner of speaking. My point is I didn’t see that or just never thought about it, maybe those people do have something in common with Saga but they just can’t or don’t want to see it.

The Bridge III – Episode 2

The second episode opens with Lise Friis Andersen on TV expressing some quite extreme views about a priest who performs same sex marriage ceremonies, including the view that things were better in the past when people like the priest would have been stoned to death. It seems someone is paying very close attention to her words because said priest is murdered, strangled to death in his car. He’s posed in a similar manner to the others, the same joker smile but there’s no body parts missing. That may not matter of course, the MO can change, it’s the signature that always stays the same. But seeing as how it was released to the media, who knows. The priest also got a typed letter but he didn’t get to read it.

At the scene Saga and Henrik have another amusing conversation in which she answers his question about what the smiley faces are about very comprehensively, leading him to call her “Wiki.” I don’t think he says it in a mean way, it doesn’t sound like that at least.

So, two victims now, both with a connection to Lise, but the police are focusing on Morten. He served three tours in Afghanistan and the last one ended badly. He and two other men were captured and tortured after being accused of raping a woman. He keeps saying “I didn’t touch her.” Is that what he’s talking about? Does he because of the PTSD think it’s the people who tortured him that are after him?

In his trailer they find a typewriter and the heart of what turns out to be a deer in the fridge. Saga also finds a note on his fridge door, which reads “L369G4Z.” John doesn’t find anything when he tries to work out what they are. So it’s not a registration number for a vehicle. At least not a Danish or a Swedish one anyway. It may be related to Afghanistan. Perhaps a license plate, or grid co-ordinates or something like that. Or it could be as John suggested a kind of personal code. Or I guess it could be  a password for something. Whatever is going on with Morten I don’t think he has anything to do with the case, he seems too disorganised to pull all of this off. Question is, does he know anything about what’s going on.

Having found the crime scene now, they have another lead to track, the cameras from the most likely route the killer took. There’s also a few more related details they know now thanks to Henrik. The first man arrived at the site at 5:20am and the gate wasn’t locked. Which of course we already know because we saw the killer break the lock. The cameras were turned off at 5:10am. Security were last there at 3:47am. So it’s reasonable to think that perhaps the killer was familiar with the pattern of their patrols, that there’s not very many of them. Either because he has a connection with the company or from simply studying them.

From what medication he’s taking and his visit to the doctor it seems Morten does indeed have PTSD. Having left his medication behind he goes to his doctor to get more, but encounters Saga and Henrik on the way out. He does however get away from them.

In the car Saga and Henrik have a most interesting conversation related to his constant texting and relationships. It is very different to how it would have gone with Martin, he could not hide his amusement at how blunt Saga is and her lack of boundaries. But Henrik handles it a lot more coolly and barely comments on it. There’s a bigger surprise in store with the re-appearance of Saga’s mother. She appeared at Saga’s apartment at the end of the first episode and Saga freaked out. That scene was well done, the way she reacted to it. I like how they showed the way in which she calmed herself down, by taking the books out of line and then lining them back up again. I don’t know where they got that little detail from but it’s very accurate in terms of portraying an autistic character. Her mother’s presence is no more welcome this time, nor is the file she has about Saga’s sister. I do hope we get some answers about this and it’s not left unresolved.

One thing I know for sure, I do not like her mother at all. The way she tries to manipulate her, whether Saga is right or not about her having Munchhausens, she’s right that she’s not a good person to have around. It’s disturbing, the way she says she’s proud of her and then straight away asks Saga if she can look at her. She only does that because she knows she finds it difficult, she’s trying to make her feel insecure, to doubt herself.

On the subject of mothers and not handling things well, Lise’s daughter Karen did exactly what her mother told her to, she attacked the bully and understandably the school aren’t pleased about it. Any sympathy I once felt is now gone, the bully didn’t attack her, she wasn’t defending herself, she just went up to her and hit her. She really is her mother’s daughter it seems.

Meanwhile Aleks talks once more to his friend and agrees to meet up with him. A meeting which unsurprisingly ends in him discovering he’s being set up. Confirming that the man at the flat was most likely there to do him harm.

On the subject of Henrik I’m sure now that he’s talking to himself, I wonder if it’s related to what he wants Saga’s help with, if he had a family but lost them somehow.

Whilst Henrik is at home having dinner by himself (since Saga rejected his dinner invitation) Saga is meanwhile visiting her old friend the coroner and finding out what the cause of death was. She also has a personal project for him to look at, her sister’s medical records. Saga’s not her usual self, she doesn’t want to run through their usual routine of her telling him what the cause of death was and if there’s anything distinctive about the body. All of this must really be bothering her for her to not want to do that.

The first victim was drugged with chloroform and the heart was removed most likely with an angle grinder. She was alive when the killer removed her heart, unconscious due to the chloroform.  The second victim is a different story. Strangulation is obviously the cause of death and just as they thought there’s no body parts missing. The difference in MO might be significant, it may not. If there’s  more than one killer, a group of them like the eco-terrorists then it may not be relevant.

The kidnapping of Hans, does it fit into the bigger picture or is it just Aleks’ own plan? Either way through that happening it’s confirmed that he never showed up at the halfway house he was assigned. Now I’m thinking about the man waiting for him differently. It looked suspicious, but that doesn’t mean it was. It could have been the landlord waiting for him and the reason Aleks didn’t go up there is because he was paranoid about someone being out to get him or because he has no intention of starting over and going straight.

Saga and Henrik visit a place that has been linked to Aleks in two previous investigations and sure enough he turns out to be there, and Hans in there too. But they don’t find him and after they leave Aleks makes his plans for sending a ransom demand.

Aleks is also in for a surprise of his own, he finds out that his former partner in crime is now in a relationship with his wife. So he has plenty of motive to want Aleks out the way. Aleks had it seems gone there to kill him but stops when he sees his ex-wife and their two children.

When the police receive the ransom demand Henrik recognises the newspaper, saying he saw it at Aleks’s place. But when they get there they don’t find Hans, he’s been moved. And it’s not the police that Aleks thinks he hears but someone else, someone who judging from their use of chloroform on Hans is the real killer. Question is, what does he want with Hans. He obviously didn’t use Aleks to kidnap Hans, that really was his own plan. It just seems odd, that two people would want to get Hans at the same time. And that the killer would be able to find him at Aleks. How did he know that Aleks had him? Somehow who’s privy to the details of the investigation, or at least aware of it?

Funniest moment of the episode has to be Lise Friis Andersen asking her husband if he thinks she could wear leather trousers and saying that Saga looked hot. Funny mostly just because of it’s randomness and because she’s the last person you would expect such a comment from. Henrik and him calling Saga Wiki I also like a lot. Speaking of Lise, she has three connections to the case now, her husband’s business is where the first victim was killed.

The Bridge III – Episode 1

Series 3 of The Bridge sees the return of Saga but there are a few changes this time around. For one thing the case whilst spanning the two countries does not have an actual physical connection with the Øresund bridge this time. In series 1 it was a body placed in the middle of the bridge which brought Saga and her Danish counterpart Martin together. Series 2 it was a boat which crashed into the bridge which reunited them. This however is not the only change, not only does the bridge not resume it’s literal role in the proceedings but neither does Martin. After having murdered Jens at the end of the previous series he is serving a ten year prison sentence for that crime. With that in mind I think it’s kind of fitting that the bridge has a less direct role in the case. It no longer needs to for one thing, the link between the two countries is already well established. For it’s not just Saga who has made a friend on the opposite side of the bridge but her boss Hans has too, he’s gotten together with his Danish counterpart Lillian.

As well as dealing with the change of Martin not being around Saga also has some other issues to contend with, namely the appearance of her mother which raises some interesting questions. Seems we might finally get to find out the full story about her childhood and what happened to her sister.

I thought it would be fun to put all my thoughts and theories in one place, not just to make it easier to keep track of it all but also to see how much I get right this time around. I haven’t really worked out how to structure it yet. For this first post I’ve just written it from my notes which means most of it is in chronological order but then my notes aren’t exactly very organized. Sometimes I just write wherever there’s space, which means some of it may be a little random.

Whilst Hans is enjoying his newly-wed status with Lillian, Saga is not having nearly as much fun with her in the end temporary partner Hanne. Saga’s real partner for the series is not introduced until the end of the episode. That is we meet him long before than but we don’t know who he is, well anyone who doesn’t read a TV guide anyway. Henrik is quite intriguing almost as much as the case itself in fact. I have a feeling he has quite the backstory. Something is most definitely off with him. I think his family are not really there, I think they are only there in his mind. When he gets back from his date he talks to who we assume is his wife about it. But it’s a very odd conversation for him to have with his wife, with that and other clues such as the way his daughters seemed to not notice him, one can only come to the conclusion they are a figment of his imagination. There’s also the question of the sleeping pills he’s taking and the mysterious powder he keeps in his car to wake himself up. I wonder if he’s getting any sleep at all.

But enough about Henrik, to the main story, the case. The opening scene of the first episode is in some ways reminiscent of the first ever episode, a mysterious man driving a car wearing black leather gloves on his way to dump a body. And just like Jens he takes care of the cameras though in a less skilled way than Jens did, there’s no hacking involved this time, a simple laser pointer sufficed for the job at hand. Before you even find out anything about what’s going on the first question is obvious, is this a continuation of the story from the previous series, does this have anything to do with the eco-terrorists. In an interview with Hans Rosenfeldt the writer he said that the body count last series was absurd and that this season was going to be more focused. I don’t know if that’s a hint that this case has nothing to do with the events of the previous series, or it could be an attempt to make you think that’s the case.

Whichever it is in many ways this series feels like it is in the words of the opening credits going “back to the beginning.” Saga is having to deal with the problems of dealing with a new person, the case is related to the themes of identity and social issues, in addition the role of family seems to be key. Both with the case and with personal matters. Hans is newly married, Saga is dealing with issues from her past and Henrik seems to have his own family related problems, though his issues are of a somewhat different nature to Martin’s issues from the first and second series.

I don’t know if this is the final series but if it was, then it would all fit well together. The show started with a female victim posed in particular way and if this is the end, then it would be ending that way too. Back then the killer’s interest in social issues turned out to be a smoke screen for his own personal agenda. I wonder if that’s the case here too, and if in fact it wasn’t the case with the eco-terrorists. Because when people  claim that they are doing something for other reasons, for reasons bigger than themselves, in actuality it comes back to themselves in some way. People don’t often care about issues unless they are directly affected in some way.

The victim is a woman named Helle Anker, a Danish citizen who is some kind of campaigner for LGBT issues and was opening a “gender-neutral” pre-school which seems to have angered a few people. She was found dead at a construction site, a block of apartments but she wasn’t killed there. The scene is posed, quite grotesquely so, the body is seated a table with there mannequins, a man and two children. All their faces are painted, a scary kind of joker smile.

The Bridge - mannequin 1 The Bridge - mannequin 2 The Bridge - mannequin 3 Helle Anker - murder scene Helle AnkerAs well as being a campaigner she was the founder of a fertility clinic which was established in 1988. She has two sons, a grown up one named Morten and a child with her current partner, her wife who reported her missing after she didn’t return from a meeting in Malmo.

In addition to the case there’s also three other story-lines, a woman who’s dealing with her daughter being bullied at school. An issue which the school don’t seem to be particularly interested in. The conversation between the teacher and the girl’s mother is most interesting. They seem to know who the culprit is but the teacher is adamant they can’t jump to conclusions. Additionally she makes an odd comment how the bullied girl should be grateful she has a strong family who care for her and are dedicated. I guess she’s implying that the bully doesn’t have this, perhaps she has disinterested parents or none at all, or a single parent family perhaps. Either way the teacher seems to be implying some sort of allowance should be made for the girl on this account. At first you naturally feel sympathetic for the victim, but afterwards when we learnt what her mother does for a living my views toward her changed a little. I’m not sure it’s right, but the thought was there, I started to wonder just why she seems to be unpopular at school. When her mother taught her to use violence to solve the situation I was even less sympathetic. Particularly as she wasn’t defending herself, she went straight up to her and attacked the girl. The girl’s mother is Lise Friis Andersen and seems to be a most unpleasant person who devotes most of her time to campaigning against people whom she thinks are destroying the nuclear family and it’s traditions. Her hate filled rants may prove to be central to the case in fact. People she criticizes have a nasty habit of turning up dead as will soon become clear.

Lise Friis AndersenThe other story-line is that of Aleksandr who we meet when he’s being dropped off outside a block of apartments. He however does not reach his intended destination, he ends up running away. It’s a curious situation, there appears to be someone waiting for him in one of the apartments, they seem to be somewhat suspicious. In fact as soon as I saw them I started to think about Jens and about him lurking in such a place whilst he was I think on the phone.

AleksandrThere is also more to the story of Lise Friis Andersen, not only is she involved through her hate filled words on the internet but there is the question of the young man Rikkard who works for her. He took a necklace of hers and later left it on her pillow. Also he keeps snakes and other exotic creatures as pets. I don’t know if that’s relevant somehow, his fascination with predators of a kind.

RIkardI especially wonder about him when it comes to Andersen’s words about “we are what we are born to be.” Her words on the subject of not focusing on gender as being central to one’s identity are equally interesting, she thinks without doing so kids would be “indefinable non-biological nothings.”

Most curious why she feels gender is so central to one’s identity. It is after all not the only thing which defines a person. People can have their own sense of identity without fitting into pre-defined boxes that society designates for them. It’s ok for people to go their own way. I wonder what is it about something different that scares them so much, why is it that people like her can’t stand being different. And how can she not see the contradiction in her views, she thinks she’s being brave and standing up for something, well that’s what the people she’s criticizing are doing, they are standing up for what they believe in. Except they aren’t trying to deny anyone their rights. It makes no sense, if gay people can in Andersen’s words live and work among everyone else, if she has no problem with them having the same rights as anyone else then why should it be a problem where they get married?

Things in society do change, things evolve over time, mostly for the better. How can a society which is more tolerant towards people who are different in some way be a bad thing? Surely a society in which people feel free and safe to be themselves is a good thing?

Enough about that, back to the case. Anker was kidnapped in Sweden, she didn’t go back over the bridge. She wasn’t killed where she was found, she was murdered inside a lorry trailer at a logistics company. Random fact, the CEO of the company is the actor who played the prime minister in series 3 of The Killing.

The main suspect so far is her grown up son Morten who is a veteran who spent time in Afghanistan. He maintains he had nothing to do with mother’s murder. He’s obviously paranoid and at first it seems like he may have something to do with this. Especially when he visits his mother’s wife, he tells her “I didn’t touch her.” But later events show he may not be talking about his mother. And his strange behaviour, including the wiring of his trailer with explosives which almost kills Saga’s temporary partner Hanne is most likely completely unrelated.

Morten AnkerIt’s also not immediately clear what Aleks has to do with all of this. He is digging something up, which you assume to be money. A supposition confirmed when he visits his friend who he accuses of taking the money. As it turns out him and his friend are most likely bank robbers. He just got out of prison, meaning that place earlier was most likely some kind of halfway house. The guy waiting for him seemed suspicious, a fact made clear by what he tells his ex-wife whom he visits next. The person who dropped him off told him it was the “one with the white curtains.” His friend’s house is all white, I wonder if that’s relevant.

From what he tells his ex-wife it seems likely that the person waiting in the flat was there to kill him. He accuses Hans of having made him give him information about who he worked for, of having threatened his family. More specifically of his wife losing custody of their daughters. I don’t think he has anything to do with what’s going on, at least not directly. Neither does Morten it seems, from what happened at the end of the episode it’s obvious he has PTSD.

Another interesting point is the letter the victim received. It was written on a typewriter and is markedly different from the other threats the victim received. It’s eloquent, there are no swear words and no threats about rape or sexual assault. Indicating that it’s a different kind of person who’s written this in comparison to the kind of people who usually send her hate mail, or that they have a very different agenda. Hans and Saga both find the wording of two particular sentences curious but don’t explain why. Saga begins to say “she was found” but Hans interrupts her saying “I know.” The victim was found in a construction site, a block of apartments, how is that relevant to the following is what I can’t work out:

“You don’t know what family is or what it should be. I can only guide you, if you carry on you must face the consequences.”

One final thing about Henrik when he wakes up he’s alone, the other side of the bed is made, as if no-one has slept there. He slept but he still takes some of whatever drug he keeps in the car. I wonder if he’s slept at all, he got into bed and wakes up the next morning, but who knows what happened between then, maybe even he doesn’t know. The only thing we know for certain at the end of the episode is that he’s Saga’s new partner and that he already knows who she is. Unlike Hanne not  only does he have no qualms about working with her but he actively wants to, in fact he volunteered but he gives no real reason why.

So to sum things up, one victim so far. As far as it would seem only one perpetrator, at least there are no indications of other people being involved. At least not directly. Aleks seems to have his own agenda, Morten doesn’t seem a likely suspect, Rikkard on the other hand is interesting. It’s a little early to be forming theories but my initial one revolves around him and his obsession with his employer Lise. Partly because of what Saga said when her and Hanne were discussing the removal of the victim’s heart. Saga said that it could be about becoming one with the victim or about control issues, or it could have been taken as a keepsake. Perhaps by the kind of person who likes to exert control over other people by taking their jewellery and then returning it without their knowledge.  Also, becoming one with the victim, is that the same kind of thing he’s doing by wearing Lise’s necklace?

I also have another idea about Rikkard, and this may be completely off the mark but then maybe it’s not. Besides that’s the fun of it. Anyhow, what if the key to the victim being targeted isn’t just what she does now but what she used to do. What if her fertility clinic is relevant to this. Because the work she did there could also be considered as messing with nature, with allowing people who shouldn’t have children to have them. And what if Rikkard is one of those people. What if he sees his family as not his real family because of how he was conceived, that he doesn’t consider his family to be a real one and he blames the victim for this. I also think his obsession with his employer may be key, that maybe he’s some kind of disciple of hers. That he takes her words a little bit too seriously. That’s the only kind of theory I have so far anyway. I just hope they don’t make the same mistake as series 1, back then they introduced Sebastian so late and in such a way that it was blatantly obvious he was the killer.

Two final things I have to mention, I wish they would stop describing Saga as having a “special personality.” I just hope special is not used as in insult in Swedish like it is in English. Either way it really grates. I also have to say that I’m happy Thure Lindhart is playing Saga’s new partner. One of the things that worried me the most about this series was who was going to replace Martin, I think they’ve made a good choice. It’s also very amusing because Lindhart once played  a character called Franz in a film called The Christmas Party, and in that Franz was quite unique, he certainly had more than a few autistic traits anyway. He was also unbelievably sweet in said film. Random fact the film also featured Søren Malling who is best known for playing Det. Jan Meyer in series 1 of The Killing.


Unsent Letters

Literate for a Day

Someone or something you can’t communicate with through writing (a baby, a pet, an object) can understand every single word you write today, for one day only. What do you tell them?

I compose a lot of angry letters in my mind to various people but I rarely actually write them down and if I do I never actually send them. This time I think I may have to, I don’t think I can let this particular issue go. But before I get to that I have to get my first point out of the way. Last year for this prompt I wrote to the internet and to Joachim Löw. This time around I’m going to do something a little different, though I do have a Löw related point to make. As it turns out I don’t need to repeat my plea from last year for Jogi to never cut his hair that way again, because I know something I didn’t back then. Now I know that it wasn’t of his own doing, that it was the work of the nefarious Herr Schneider.

Now I wouldn’t be writing a letter to him under any circumstances, regardless of whether he speaks English or not (I have no idea) or if my German were good enough to compose such a letter. It’s not merely a question of language issues but a question of loyalty (which despite what a certain TV article says I am not short of as a result of autism) which would prevent me from writing such a letter. That and the fact that the topic of said letter is patently ridiculous. Ridiculous it may be but it is extremely important. The point of the letter would be Herr Schneider I don’t trust you anyway but knowing what you did to the Bundestrainer’s hair means now I will never ever trust you. So if Germany are given any reason to celebrate next summer don’t get any ideas as to how to celebrate, do not repeat this:

Jogis Haar-Schneider wird Co-Trainer

And if I were to write to Jogi once more I would thank him for being so awesome, for providing so much video footage. But more importantly, please bring Hansi back. Sometimes time really does help, you really do get over someone leaving, it really does hurt less. For example I no longer miss Roman Bürki, Admir Mehmedi or Vladimir Darida. Of course the difference there is I like the replacements even more. I like Alexander Schwolow, Amir Abrashi and Vincenzo Grifo just fine. I guess in a way it’s a good thing that I don’t like the replacement because if I did I would just feel guilty about it.

My second unsent letter is somewhat different in the sense that this one may actually end up being sent and is much more serious. Yes, really, there is a matter more serious than protecting Jogi and his ever perfect hair. Though admittedly there aren’t many more issues that I would deem more important than that.

The issue in question is the character of Saga Noren from the Swedish/Danish TV show The Bridge and the actress who plays the aforementioned character, Sofia Helin.

In an interview a few years back you posited that Saga most be lonely, that people in autism in general must be lonely, because of the way they are always on the outside looking in. In making this assumption you are projecting your own feelings and your own point of view onto the situation. You are doing what autistic people are often accused of doing, you are lacking theory of mind. That is you lack the ability to imagine what it is Saga or any other autistic person may be thinking or feeling. It works both ways, just like autistic people may have trouble understanding things from a neurotypical perspective, so NTs may have trouble with the reverse.

Since then you’ve committed an even greater infraction, one that cannot be let go. First things first people with autism and Saga in particular are not lacking in empathy or loyalty. She has trouble making sense of such things, that’s true. But not understanding your feelings and not being able to show them in a conventional way or indeed in anyway at all, does not mean you don’t have them. As for lacking in loyalty, her partner Martin killed a man in cold blood. Now even if she wasn’t a police officer, what did you expect her to do? You can’t cover for someone when they’ve done something like that, I don’t care that Jens killed Martin’s son. That or nothing else would give Martin the right to murder him. Doing so was an extension of  Jens’ logic, getting back on people, settling scores by killing people or hurting the ones they love. In fighting the enemy you can’t let yourself become him.

Saga neither lacks empathy nor loyalty, after all she let her sister live with her to escape their parents. If what you say were true she would not have done that. Though it seems you are not the only person to think this way. When discussing it in real life I was accused of lacking loyalty because I not only said that Saga did the right thing but because when asked what I would do in such a situation I refused to confirm that  I would lie or cover for a friend in such a scenario. Loyalty to your friends is important, but if that loyalty involves compromising not only the law but your own moral code then you have to question what kind of a friendship it is.

The person I had that conversation with said that me and Saga have a lot in common in terms of mannerisms and non-verbal cues and that we both stop dead in the same way. Even that we sound alike which is interesting when you consider the language difference. Point is I took it as a compliment, now I don’t. Now I don’t want to have in anything in common with Saga, my appreciation of her is tainted by all of this.

With that in mind it pains me to note that in the second episode they actually got something right and they did it very well. I’m even more annoyed to note that I do a similar thing. Saga got stressed out over the appearance of her mother and to calm herself she took to aligning the books on the shelf. To taking them out of place so she could put them back again, making sure they were all perfectly lined up. I do that when I’m stressed out, though not with books. I do it with DVDs or games, and sometimes I do a similar thing with trading cards and stickers.

My next point relates to the fact you’ve decided not to mention the fact she has Aspergers in the show because Hans Rosenfeldt has decided that it means you’re free to do what you want with the character. I don’t agree, as long as you don’t mention it there will be people online who will make the argument that she doesn’t have AS, that she’s just emotionally damaged from what happened with her parents. And that people with autism just want to claim her as one of theirs, that she’s just the latest addition to a long line of quirky slightly autistic detectives but who don’t actually have autism. If there’s nothing wrong with having autism, if it’s not something to be ashamed of then name it. Like you say it’s not such a bad thing for her, it’s part of what makes her so good at her job. Just one damn line, just allude to it. That would be enough. And no what Thure Lindhardt’s character said does not count. “I think she has some type of medical condition” is not the right way. And whilst we’re on the subject, stop saying she has a “special kind of personality.” I just hope special is not an insult in Sweden the same way it is in English.

It’s obvious that a lot of research went into Saga, both by the writers and by you yourself. Which is great, it’s good to see someone take this seriously. Someone who doesn’t read an article on Wikipedia, read a book like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and decide you’ve done enough research. Apparently you met some people with AS too, as well as spending some time in character in the real world. All of that is great, especially the latter. But please don’t make the assumption that because you see how other people react to her, because you’ve spent some time playing her that because of this you know what it’s like to be autistic. That you can get into an autistic person’s head. Because I don’t think that’s something you can replicate.

I remember online someone once said in a discussion that they could understand a little what it was like to be autistic, that in fact most people could, because everyone knows what it’s like at one point or another to not get the joke or to be a little confused in a social situation. Because that’s all autism is, misunderstanding social situations. It was pointed out to them that it’s the equivalent of saying we all know what it’s like to be in a wheelchair because everyone has sat in a chair at some point.

You say that when you are Saga that you are less emotionally present, that you have to force yourself to think that way. Did you ever think about why she is such a creature of logic, about why she appears to have no feelings?

Because for some people, it’s not a question of not having any feelings but of having too many. Of them being too powerful to deal with, to understand and to express. It’s easier instead to shut them out, to act like you don’t have any, to rationalize everything and reduce it all to pure logic.

My final point relates to something that infuriates me so much I feel the need to quote the offending comments here: “I love her, I care for her and I can’t stand her at the same time. She would be annoying in real life, but as the viewer you love her. I don’t get a good feeling being her. She’s tense in her body, she moves fast. She exhausts me. I think of her a lot when I am not playing her. She’s like a relative, a close cousin you are forced to hang out with all summer even if you don’t like her. Because I wouldn’t want to hang out with her, who would?”

Wow, just wow, and I get accused of lacking empathy. Did you not consider how an autistic person may feel reading this? I get that you like and can’t stand her at the same time, I know people find her annoying. I know all this because people in real life feel the same way about me. But saying that you wouldn’t want to hang out with her, essentially saying why would anyone want to do that. That is something else entirely. Thanks for essentially saying there’s no reason for the few friends I do have to spend time with me, or to even like me at all.

And no, I don’t have so few friends because most people don’t like me. Although for the sake of honesty I’ll admit that is true, a lot of people don’t like me, not at first. But it’s not the reason why, the reason is that I find most people exhausting. In particular people like you. Because you talk so much and often about nothing at all. You’re so chatty and sociable it’s infuriatingly exhausting. You should keep in mind what the great Detective Fitch once said “it’s ok to have an unexpressed thought once in a while.”

I understand why a lot of people don’t like me, I know I’m too intense sometimes, a little too strange and random. I know that I make people nervous because they can’t read me, that is they can’t tell how I’m feeling or whatever from any non-verbal cues. But then I find lots of things about NTs frustrating, so I guess we’re kind of even.

To answer your question who’d want to hang out with Saga, I would. I would choose to work with her over you any day of the week. In fact I would choose her over you in any scenario. And one final thing, happiness is not a rare commodity in Saga’s world. Just because she doesn’t show any visible signs of happiness and just because you don’t understand the things that may make her happy, does mean she does not experience such things. I know even the people who know me well don’t always understand the things that make me happy. They don’t understand why something like an extra five seconds of Jogi footage can make my day, or why I collect football tickets or why I like stickers so much. Nor can they make sense of why I’d rather spend an evening with any of my characters than anyone in real life. Which makes my point really about you not being able to truly know what it’s like to be Saga. Because of all the people in question know about my quirks, they are well acquainted with many of them but they still don’t really understand them. They know but they don’t understand.

The First Friday

It’s the first match-day after the international break, what should have been the first truly normal day since the events of last week. Of course it’s not quite that simple. Friday night saw Dortmund visiting Hamburg and what should have been on paper a straight forward three points for them turned out to be anything but. Based on their form this season the victory should have been theirs, but HSV are it seems continuing their streak of good luck against BVB. Their 3-1 defeat has done nothing to improve my mood. I’m always rooting for Dortmund anyway (except when they’re playing Freiburg of course) but I was doubly rooting for them tonight. I have not one bone to pick with HSV but several, not least that it was a 1-1 draw with SC Freiburg and a goal that should not have been a goal which contributed to Freiburg getting relegated. I may have made my peace with the whole situation but I can’t let that particular aspect of it go.

In goal for Dortmund is former Freiburger Roman Bürki, he had no luck whatsoever tonight, mostly in the form of a penalty decision which went against him, a decision which in truth could have gone either way. Also in the starting 11 was Matthias Ginter. A win for Dortmund tonight would not just have been a win for them, it would have been a win for me too. A sort of revenge victory on Freiburg’s behalf. But it was not to be. Some last minute excitement but it wasn’t enough. A painful kind of symmetry there because it was in the last few minutes of Freiburg’s game that HSV equalised last season.

It’s not the only thing that didn’t go as it should have tonight. I’m meant to be getting my schedule back in order but it’s not happening so far. There’s something from a book I like to quote on this subject. The gist of it is, I know not to do something twice because it will become routine, but how do I stop it from happening when I do things once. The author was talking about her autistic son, about how difficult it is to prevent him from creating routines and rituals out of every little thing. It’s a problem I’m very familiar with, do something once and it becomes routine, even when you don’t want it to. I am very invested in breaking this current pattern, not just because it’s a great inconvenience but because it’s a reminder of what happened. It makes no sense why I’m having so much trouble breaking the pattern, it’s not like I want it to continue but it’s proven impossible to fall asleep whilst it’s still dark.

It still all feels so strange, it doesn’t feel like a week has passed and it doesn’t feel like the second game that didn’t get played was only three days ago. I imagine next week it will feel a little more normal, that’s usually the case. It’ll help that next week there is no free time, every night is taken. Champions League on Tuesday with Bayern hosting Olympiakos, Gladbach hosting Sevilla on Wednesday night. Thursday night is Europa League with Dortmund playing Krasnodar. And then back to the Bundesliga on Friday night.

I know tonight didn’t go particularly well, I only got up an hour before the game started but the weekend has to go better. Things have to start going better at some point. I’m hoping that keeping busy will help, that not being given the option of spending the day in bed will fix all of this. Just four weeks to go now until the Christmas break.

Four more weeks of this madness. I can’t wait to have some time without being tied to a schedule, more importantly to have a week in which I don’t have to get up early on a Sunday. Right now nothing else matters than keeping my promise, I haven’t missed one game so far this season and I intend to keep that streak going. I may be spending more time asleep than awake right now, I may be getting close to nothing done and getting dressed may be a challenge beyond my capabilities at the moment, but the least I can do is not miss any of the five games that are left between now and Christmas. And just in case I need a little incentive to do so the one but last game should provide plenty of that. 1.FC Nürnberg vs. SC Freiburg. The reverse of the fixture on opening night, that incredible 6-3 game. Conceding three goals this time is not an option, regardless of how many they may score. The top of the table is so tight that every goal counts.

Since the game didn’t go ahead Tuesday night I ended up watching the final episode of River. Whilst the end of the international break was a huge disappointment at least the end of River was not. I thought it would be if I’m honest. That a show that good could not end well. More than anything I was worried River would die, I’m very happy to say that he didn’t. Not only that but I actually liked the ending. I don’t even have any criticisms about the way the case was solved. To think the answer was right there in front of us all along. I can’t remember which episode it was, the second or the third but Frankie said they were protecting him and he was right. They were all protecting him, including the person he killed. Stevie was protecting him too. She could never have imagined that he would hurt her, that she would need protecting from him of all people. You can try and protect the people you love from every last thing but in the end you can’t protect them from themselves.

It ended where it all began, in the place the story all started, with River and Stevie. We finally got to see him tell her how he felt, to see him and sing and dance with her. But he has to let her go, he knows that. He found out the truth and now she’s gone. Accepting what happened means accepting she isn’t there anymore. He has to stop living in his head, to face reality. His new partner Ira is taking good care of him, he’s proving to be quite apt at keeping him rooted. Which is exactly what Stevie did for him, she kept him rooted in the real world.

Why we do the things we do

I only went to see Burnt because Daniel Brühl was in it. In fact if it weren’t for this fact I wouldn’t have gone out at all. Daniel was his usual excellent self but the film was as I expected terrible, the sticker album I’m so looking forward to getting isn’t in stock yet and to make it worse I didn’t even get to have Bratwurst from the Christmas market.

Halfway through the film I started to get bored and wondered why I’d bothered going out at all. I could have waited for the DVD, if I’d done so I could have fast-forwarded through the scenes I found to be annoying. Maybe if I weren’t so tired I would have been in a better mood. I probably just should have stayed in bed. I started thinking similar thoughts on the way home, about why I bother to do anything, especially anything that involves going outside and being around other people. I try my best to remember social rules and what I should and shouldn’t do, but apparently it’s ok for other people not to make the same kind of effort. I certainly don’t appreciate being stared at. You bought a train ticket, not a ticket to a freak show. You think I’m strange, fine, whatever, I certainly find other people strange a lot of the time but I’m not allowed to (and I don’t) sit there staring at those people. It’s somehow worse when they do this but don’t say anything, at least when they call you names you know what their problem is or just what it is you’ve done for them to consider you strange. What makes it worse is the more they stare, the more nervous I get and the more nervous I get, the harder it is to keep still. Though I have to admit I was on edge anyway so it probably wouldn’t have made much difference.

Back to my main point, I knew how the film was going to go, you have an idea of how most films are going to go, so what’s the point? Why bother watching them. In fact why bother doing anything. I got to thinking about the upcoming week, about the press conferences and the videos and the pictures I like to collect and upload. Why do I do any of it, because it’s fun and because I really like doing it or because it’s familiar and safe. How many other things does that apply to, where you do it because it’s the safe option and not necessarily what you really want to be doing? I remember reading in a book once that the difficulty with the author’s autistic son wasn’t that doing something twice would create a routine that he would want to stick to, but that doing it once would be enough to have that effect. I’m not exactly certain what my point was, I just felt like that belong here somehow. I guess what I was trying to say was do I do the things I do because it’s what I want to be doing or because they’re safe and familiar and I don’t know what else to do?

I’m not especially enthusiastic about this international break and yet I’m doing it anyway. Why, because I couldn’t bear not to, it would be unthinkable, it’s an international break. I have to do what I always do, it’s been almost a year now and it’s become routine. Therefore it has to happen because I expected it to. One thing was cleared up today anyway, I was reminded of a reason why I might not have been looking forward to this week. It’s not that I’d forgotten about the reason in question, more that I didn’t want to remember. Today is six years since Robert Enke died. Birthday’s are always tricky anyway, all the more so because mine is so close to Christmas and it’s generally an unsettled and difficult time anyway. But what happened to Enke makes it all the stranger and all the more difficult. Ever since I read that book last year I haven’t been able to let go of it, of what he did.

I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time, what the point of it is, or what anything means. When everything seems like such hard work it’s tempting to think that it’s easier not to do anything at all. But not doing anything at all just makes it worse. I don’t know what I’m doing or why. I just know that I have to keep doing it, to keep doing something. Whatever gets you out of bed everyday. Forget about other people, forget about whether they think what you do is a waste of time or not. It’s not important. You have to do what you need to do. Other people’s expectations and standards aren’t important here. That quote from the book about Enke is still worth remembering: “in the morning you don’t feel like you can do anything and so don’t try to do anything, then in the evening you beat yourself up for not having achieved anything.”

Maybe none of it never will make any sense. Regardless you still have to keep moving. Maybe accepting that little of it makes sense is what you need to do.

On the subject of making sense and accepting things, the penultimate episode of River was on tonight. One step closer to getting some answers, one step closer to letting go of River. I don’t want to, he’s a fascinating character and I’d happily spend more time watching him. But I don’t think it’s the kind of show they’ll make a second series of.

In tonight’s episode his partner Ira points out to River that he could talk to him instead of Stevie, that he’s right there in front of him. River admits he knows he could, but then he’d have to come up something interesting to say.

It made me remember something in real life, a conversation where a friend told me they wished I would talk to them a little more, that I would share more of what I’m thinking. There’s one obvious difference here, my friends are imaginary, I know that, they aren’t delusions or anything like that. But the point is the same. I should talk to the person who’s actually there in front of me. But I can’t and in truth they wouldn’t really want me to. I can’t because I can’t talk out loud that much. And as for why they wouldn’t want me to, well because they’d be bored.

Back to the topic of River I’m still not that interested in the case, I mean obviously I want to know what happened to Stevie and who killed her but the real fascination is River and him dealing with her death. This is what makes it worth watching and Stellan Skarsgard certainly makes for compelling viewing.

He’s starting to accept that Stevie isn’t there anymore. At the beginning of the episode in the car he doesn’t talk back to Stevie like he usually does. He looks back at her but says nothing. Then she’s outside of the car, it’s the first time we’ve seen her when she’s not actually with River. She’s outside of the car and he hears the shot again. He knows she’s starting to slip away and he can’t accept it. He’s not ready to let her go yet. But the blood on his hands, what’s that about. I get the symbolism but whose blood is it, Stevie’s or the guy who fell to his death?

Whatever it means I liked Ira’s reaction to it, the way he didn’t make a big deal out of it. He didn’t get freaked out or get mad at him. He didn’t call him names or make a big deal out of it at all. He just calmly asks if he’s ok and then offers to drive. Him and Ira are good together, I just hope nothing happens to either of them in the final episode.

One final thing I have to mention, I know what the shirts look like now. I don’t have to wait until it gets here to find out. There was a presentation and a whole big show in Berlin today with some of the players. The home one is still white and I guess it looks ok, it has kind of a retro 90’s feeling to it, the away one not so much. I don’t like the grey and green. The goalkeeper one is a dark navy blue, it’s nice but I liked the green. I was right about one thing, not expecting it to be here in time for Friday, that is almost certainly not going to happen. So it’s a good thing I prepared myself for the possibility. Some pictures of the shirt and some from the presentation:

Heimtrikot EM 2016 Torwarttrikot EM 2016 csm_84429-GettyImages-496423798_0ea66fdb1a csm_84430-GettyImages-496423808_ba887b1f13 csm_84427-GettyImages-496423500_056aa28350csm_84426-GettyImages-496421354_d568cc633b


A Label or a Signpost – The Diagnosis Question

In theory it sounds like a great idea, a show that looks at how developmental disorders such as autism are diagnosed. Debunking myths that seem to be annoyingly persistent, to name one the idea that some people believe that diagnoses and medication are given out like candy and that any parent can get one for their child just by being persistent enough. Over the course of the four episodes, the show does do some of that, highlighting the difficulties parents have with health and education services and how difficult it can be to get them to take you seriously. But the title of the show “Born Naughty” and the way it’s set up is most troublesome. Right from the start it made me feel uncomfortable. I disliked the opening line: “diagnosis or discipline.” It’s not one or the other, kids with special needs get disciplined too, just in a way that is more appropriate to their needs and to their level of understanding. What makes me uncomfortable is filming these kids at their worst moments. It doesn’t seem right somehow.

What’s also bothersome is the fact that because they were on the show they got fast tracked into getting help, which is great for them but what about the other kids? The kids who schools say are fine, the ones whose parents go ignored and unheard by professionals when they clearly need help. What can be done about that, it’s not just about raising awareness and understanding about how difficult it is to get a diagnosis. It’s about the way the whole system is set up, it’s set up to hinder parents at every possible turn and it certainly doesn’t have the best interests of the kids at heart. I don’t know how to solve that, how to get the whole system to change the way they view disability and special needs.

Because at the moment it makes no sense, society is obsessed with disabled people working and being “contributing” members of society. I put that in inverted commas because they seem to have the attitude that being in paid employment is the only way to do that. It makes no sense because the system expects so little of kids with special needs, it sets them up for failure, and it only expects the bare minimum of them. Despite what the law says, they don’t have the same rights or access as their non-disabled peers because of how their progress is defined. They don’t have to make the progress they should be making, they have to be making only adequate progress and that is enough.
Schools and authorities are happy to accept that, are happy to provide as little as possible because as long as a child with special needs is making “adequate” progress, they are deemed to be meeting their targets and to be receiving a satisfactory education.
If they want as many disabled people as possible to be able to work and live independently then they are going to need sort out that disconnect.

That was kind of a rant there, and only slightly on topic, still important though. Back to the show, what I don’t like is the basic format of it. How it worked is that each episode there were two kids, one of them would turn out to be diagnosed with something and the other wouldn’t. It’s almost as if it’s a reality show, pitting (indirectly anyhow) the two kids against each other, keeping people guessing about which one has something “wrong” with them and which one is just a brat with bad parents.

It wasn’t until the second episode that I figured out what exactly was so bothersome about the title. There’s two kids every week, one whose problems are a result of how their parents are dealing with them and a second whose issues are a result of a condition or some kind of medical problem or a disability of some kind. So the title refers to the kids who have a disability and it’s referring to them as being “born naughty.” But they aren’t just misbehaving; they can’t help how they are acting. And the title is not accurate in regards to the kids who don’t have any specific or definable medical issues either because they weren’t born naughty, for some of them their issues were caused by how their parents were dealing with them. Or maybe I’m just being too pedantic again, who knows.

The ethics of it are questionable as well, I know the families signed up for the show but it still doesn’t seem right. Using these people and their children’s problems as a source of entertainment, it’s not just what they did but how they did it. For one thing telling someone that their child has autism whilst filming them for a TV show is pretty questionable anyway, but the sad music they used like it was special of the week TV movie, that was not cool.

The show is both naive and exploitative and whilst showing how hard it can be for parents to get their concerns taken seriously by medical professionals, it also hugely over simplifies what happens afterwards. It sends the misleading message that getting a diagnosis is the Holy Grail, that it’ll open all the required doors, that everything will be fine afterwards. To quote Sheldon “in what space sir, in what space?”
Most importantly it gives the misleading impression that a diagnosis is required to access help and support at school. That is simply not true, such things are in theory needs based and not on diagnosis. Note I said, in theory, truth is a diagnosis can help hugely with getting support. However it’s the answer to everything, for schools and authorities sometimes ignore certain diagnoses, deny their existence or just flat out refuse to provide anything.

The parents seem to be very naive on this count too, they seem to share this view and I think the professionals involved in the show are doing the parents a disservice by not telling them how difficult things are going to be for them in terms of having to fight for what their child needs.

This applies in particular to the girl who was diagnosed with Pathological Demand Avoidance, something which most annoyingly I’ve seen described as “mild autism” when reading articles about the series.“To unlock all sorts of help for her” – what a lie that is, getting a diagnosis often doesn’t mean that at all, actually in some places you’ll find that getting the diagnosis is the only thing that is on offer. Dealing with it and how best to proceed is more often than not left up to the parents, not a professional in sight. It’s sad, the girl’s mother thinks their battle is over, that now they will get help. Think again, it’s just beginning. Especially give that it’s PDA they diagnosed, that’s still not recognised by a lot of schools, authorities and professionals.

In the second episode about the girl who was eventually diagnosed with PDA there were two things that I didn’t like about the speech and language therapist, first of all they said she was assessing the girl for autism. They didn’t make it clear that a speech and language therapist alone does not do that (if you want to educate people you have to be clear and careful not to spread misinformation) but they do so as part of a multi-disciplinary assessment team. It may seem like a small thing, but you have to bear in mind the majority of people watching won’t have any idea about who does what and how it all works. You don’t get many chances to educate people about such things, not whilst having such a wide audience at least. It’s important to make everything as clear as possible.
The other thing I didn’t like was when she was explaining the reasons for the girl’s anxiety. It’s fine for professionals to give potential explanations or theories but they should be careful not to talk as if what they are saying as fact. They don’t know what is going on in someone’s head; they don’t know what specifically it is that makes a person anxious or afraid.

The third episode was just unbelievable, how did no-one spot that Thomas was autistic? He’s a walking talking textbook example of someone with Aspergers. I didn’t appreciate the way they spoon-fed the audience or they way they seemed to be building up suspense towards the moment when they said that he was most likely on the autistic spectrum. I can’t help but be a little critical of his parents. It’s personal to me because I could identify with him and the problems he was having, the chaotic way his parents ran their household, the way his mother kept screaming at him, the fact that he had no space of his own. I liked Thomas a lot, plus we’re in agreement in regards to what the best piece of Lego is. I’ve never encountered anyone before that has a favourite piece of Lego, let alone someone who will admit they do.

Reading the comments online about the show has given me some interesting insights into what it’s like to be on the other side of dealing with autism, in this case from the parental perspective. The topic being discussed was his mother and her lack of response to him talking about Lego, someone pointed out that she’d probably heard him talk about a thousand times before and that it’s hard to show enthusiasm or to engage with it in that case, especially when it’s something they find tedious. It certainly gave me something to think about. I talk at people a lot, I know I do this but I’m rarely aware of it whilst I’m doing it. I’m usually so focused on what I’m talking about that anything I do know about the rules of social interaction are completely forgotten, likewise when I’m anxious or worried about something. Equally I know that I don’t listen to other people enough, it’s not that what they are talking about is boring, sometimes I really do want to know what they are talking about. Regardless I still can’t keep quiet or I can’t focus on what they are saying. It’s not that the subject is boring, it’s just that it seems like if something isn’t about one of my special interests then my mind completely switches off.

The boy in the final episode of the series was diagnosed with PDA too, and once again instead of explaining things the show chooses to perpetuate certain untruths. I feel sorry for Charlie’s mother, she thinks getting the diagnosis will mean that people will understand him and that it’ll mean he’ll get the correct support. People won’t understand him, not unless they want to make the effort. And especially with his type of autism, with the elements of pathological demand avoidance. She’s going to have difficulty getting professionals in recognizing that, let alone getting ordinary people to be understanding about it. As for the right support, don’t hold your breath. Because he’s so “high functioning” she can expect to have to fight for every little thing and to still be dealing with most of this on her own. The best way to deal with him is going to get her a lot of judgement from other people, they are going to look at her and think she is letting him get away with stuff and all that nonsense. It’ll matter less to here now because she knows what works and what doesn’t, but she needs to know that his diagnosis will not bring understanding from other people.

One thing that really annoyed me is the way they skipped over the poor way in which the local education authorities had dealt with him. With or without a diagnosis, the local authorities have been failing him. They have an obligation to find and provide a suitable full time school place for a child. A diagnosis is not necessary for a statement or for other such help, they’ll tell you it is but it isn’t. Such help is needs based, nothing else, at least that’s how it’s supposed to work. Point is they are breaking the law by not providing him with an appropriate education.

I can’t get past their use of the word “label” either. How they say that the parents are “desperate for a label like ADHD or autism.”
To quote a very wise and oft repeated phrase from online, labels are for luggage, people have a diagnosis. An additional wise point to compliment that, if a child had an illness or a physical disability, would it be a label then? Wouldn’t you want their needs to be properly diagnosed so you can know how best to proceed? I really don’t like how they use the word label; it really gets to me in a way I can’t quite explain. Another good quote in relation to this is “it’s a diagnosis, not a prognosis.”

Also it bothers me when they say what a cute kid one of them is, or how smart they are or something like that. People with autism can be all of those things. Plus they are perpetuating certain stereotypes, like the eye contact thing. Yes some people with autism cannot or will not make eye contact, but then there are other autistic people who will stare at you because they don’t when to look away. My point is, poor eye contact is not in the diagnostic criteria for autism and the possibility of autism should not be ruled out because a child seems to have good eye contact. For a show that is meant to be challenging stereotypes and false perceptions of disorders like autism, they sure are perpetuating a lot of them. For example, the false but very common perception that people with autism are disinterested in other people and don’t want to interact with them. When they talk about Aspergers they talk about wanting to interact but not being able to, but when they talk about autism they talk about a lack of interest in interacting with others. A line can’t be neatly drawn between the two like that, it’s a lot more complex than that.

Another thing to tie in with all of this, the idea that some parents don’t want their kid to be “labelled” as the Aspergers one, or the autistic one. They actually think they shouldn’t get them diagnosed or should keep their diagnosis a secret. By doing that they are telling them that it’s something to be ashamed of, a secret to be kept hidden. Is it not sending them the message that the world and they do not accept them for who they are and that they need to be someone or something else in order to fit in?
Just what is it their worried about, is it their kid’s feelings or their own?
Ignoring it or keeping it a secret will just end up in them getting a whole host of other “labels.” Trust me, there is an excellent chance of them being labelled the weird one, or strange, crazy, retarded or whatever other insult their peers can muster.


Summer brain melt/A Jogi minion

It’s too warm to think at all right now, let alone thinking about doing anything. It’s funny then that today’s daily prompt is related to just that, asking the nearest person to you what they’re thinking and then writing about it. I didn’t write anything for it, it’s too much work in this heat. Going to find someone, asking them a question and then sticking around to hear the answer. Way too much work.

Right now it seems a very tempting proposition to sleep through the day and be awake at night, except it’s not much cooler at night. Earlier in the week I was thinking of zombies and now it’s vampires. Earlier I got the random idea of digging up the s1 box-set of True Blood. I’ve not even finished watching the final series and I don’t think I will after what I’ve read online, but it seems I want to see the beginning again. I think I miss Eric.

It’s strange, I’ve been reading books set in the dead of winter and now I want to watch a TV show set in the south, in other words not cool at all. Lying around watching TV seems to be the only thing to do right now. I started watching The Wire again as planned and ended up watching all of series 2 in one day. The irony of that is not lost on me, that a show partly about drug addiction is so very addicting. True Blood is up next, and maybe series 1 of Sleepy Hollow after that. I know I have a stack of new shows to get started on or catch up with, like Extant, House of Cards and American Horror Story but I don’t feel like watching anything new. Watching stuff you’ve already seen is less work, knowing what happens means you don’t have to follow what’s going on so closely.

I may be too tired to think too much, but there’s one idea I can spare some energy for, a most amusing phrase that’s on my list of search engine terms. Someone actually typed this phrase into google or some other search engine “Jogi Löw als minion.” Whatever would make someone think of that, let alone type into google? Thanks to them now I’m thinking about it, not just Jogi but Hansi too. Jogi & Hansi minions. And why stop there, how about all of the team as minions. And the all important question, what would a Jogi minion sound like.

Monday 27th July, that’s the day Freiburg’s season will begin. It’s a whole new thing to be getting used to, games on a weekday. I’m kind of glad in a way, that they aren’t playing on Saturday. I know at some point they will be, but I’m just glad the first game isn’t on a Saturday. Three weeks and one day to go now.