I’ve been putting off writing this post but I can’t put it off any longer. I suspect the experience of writing it will be as unsatisfactory as the end itself but it has to be done. I think it’s partly less fun because of course this time there’s nothing to solve, it’s just a case of summarizing the main events. The killer is revealed, we get some answers in relation to Saga and Henrik. Not to mention a hint at the possibility of a fourth series and yet it all feels so unsatisfying. Not so much the case, that for me makes sense. Well as much sense as an emotionally disturbed madman can make anyway. It’s the resolution of Saga’s story which I am most unhappy with, but I’ll get to that later.
First the events of episode nine. Jeanette having been kidnapped by the killer gives birth and the baby is taken by the killer. She’s quickly found by Freddie who has a tracker implanted in her phone. Getting the baby back however is not so easy. Meanwhile Saga having been suspended from the case is replaced by Rasmus who wastes no time in rubbing Henrik up the wrong way and later jeopardizing the case.
At this point in time the police were focusing their attention on Annika and considering the possibility that Claes is involved. Not only that but the theory that they may be working together. A theory which could have been correct, it would have explained a lot of things. Like why Claes had a connection to only one of the victims and an alibi for several of the murders. The gun they find in his flat supports their theory. At this point it wasn’t clear if Annika was still alive or not and we were given good reason to suspect she wasn’t when Claes is seen in the middle of nowhere. As it turns out he was burying his fathers ashes which is a strange thing to do in the middle of all this but then he is rather strange.
Looking more closely into Annika’s background they find out that her father renounced his parental rights when she was five because he discovered she wasn’t his biological daughter. To make it worse when her mother died they’d already been divorced for a few years and he refused to take Annika in when she asked. His reason was that he saw no reason to take care of a child which wasn’t his. Apparently it didn’t matter to him that she would end up in foster care or that up until she was five he treated her and loved her like she was his own. The look Henrik gives him says it all. It must have been extra painful for Henrik. For him to be missing his daughters and be willing to do anything to get them back, and sat in front of him is a man who was lucky enough to have not one family but two. A man who was so lucky he had the opportunity to turn a child away. It’s one of the themes of this series, parents abandoning their children in one way or another. Of course it’s a theme which cropped up in series 1 and 2 as well. Point is Annika certainly has plenty of reasons to hold a grudge against him and against the world in general.
When Claes is caught in Malmö however he denies working with Annika of course but he does admit he’s afraid of her. Though obviously he can’t tell them the real reason. He insists that he doesn’t know where she is, saying that she went to Gothenburg and he hasn’t seen here since.
In between all of this there’s an amusing moment when Saga apologises to John about what happened to his daughter. Her apology was typical Saga, blunt and to the point. It’s the book she gave him which is the source of amusement, a book about the subject of dealing with trauma. When John points out that it may be a little heavy for her Saga points out he could always read it to her. At least she had the right idea, she knew she should do something and she made the effort, surely that counts for something?
Freddie gets lured to a meeting with the kidnapper. His wife lucky for him is a little more sensible than he is and calls the police. The kidnapper scarpers but not after tricking Freddie by setting a trap involving a pram. Later on he meets the kidnapper a second time and had Rasmus not screwed up they might have ended the whole thing there and then. But no, he had to charge in and ended up getting himself shot, though he was wearing a vest. A fact which doesn’t stop him complaining about how much it hurt.
Before that Saga and Henrik show Freddie and all his staff pictures of all the victims, a process which reveals a surprising twist. One of his security guys recognises Morten saying he was there a few months back and that he seemed to be high, he was babbling about wanting to see his real father and that the two of them were meant to be there. Put this together with him saying his brother shot him and one thing is obvious, if Annika’s involved, she’s not the only one. As it turns out part of my theory proved to be correct, Helle Anker’s former profession was important. She only conceived Morten after she started her clinic, Morten is not her husband’s son.
The mystery of just where Annika has been all this time is solved when Saga and Henrik find her at the crime scene, the place where Jeanette was held. The clue that leads them there is tire tracks and a new padlock on one of the buildings. The room is almost a replica of the basement from the foster parent’s house. What’s interesting about this is that when they ask Emil and another foster kid they both say no-one lived there and that they weren’t allowed in there. A fact which later is proved to be untrue because Emil admits he was made to live down there after he ran away, after Hans brought him back. I wonder why they still lie about it, could their foster father and their fear of that room still have some kind of a hold over them? Or is it some kind of self preservation, if they don’t admit to knowing about it then it doesn’t exist?
The end of episode nine ends with the information we’d all been waiting for, the revelation of what the code meant and just who Morten’s father is. The code however doesn’t seem to be for his file but for another one. The donor was one Freddie Holst and the mother Anna-Maria Larsson. At the same time we find out Emil is Freddie’s son he himself finds out the news, coming face to face with Emil who has a gun to the baby’s head.
Not that there was any doubt at this point but Emil’s identity as the killer is confirmed when Annika admits she met with him for coffee and that’s the last thing she remembered before waking up in that room. The interaction between her and Saga is interesting, she asks if anyone reported her missing, like Claes for example. Saga in her usual blunt fashion replies honestly that he seemed glad to be rid of her and that no-one reported her missing. No doubt some people will feel that was rather cruel and that Saga should not have answered so truthfully. I disagree, I think her answer was fine. Annika doesn’t need to be shielded from the truth. Facing the reality of the situation can’t be a bad thing for her, she needed to be put straight, for her delusional thinking to be challenged.
At the place where Jeanette was found the police discovered the model house which had one of a as yet uncompleted scene. A murder which Emil is in the process of acting out with Freddie. It’s ironic that when he tells Freddie about the painting in the basement that he can’t see the parallels between Freddie and himself. Art is important to both of them and for similar reasons. Because both of them did not have much growing up and both of them used art to deal with it. I guess the difference is that Freddie had his parents whereas Emil had no-one. Love and attention really does make the difference. One can’t help but wonder if that’s the only factor, if it’s really that simple. Is there something innate in Emil that made him commit murder and not the other foster kids?
An interesting point to note is the visit to Linn by Saga’s friend the coroner, he tells her that he needs to talk to her immediately but it’s not about the case. At first I thought he was there to talk about Saga, to somehow stand up for her. But later events show that he’s there for a very different reason.
Back to the case, Saga and Henrik visit the man who painted the picture which was in Emil’s room. The picture entitled “A Very Nice Day.” I wonder if the title was meant to be ironic. At any rate the location of the painting turns out to be on the island where he lives, meaning they are in exactly the right place. After trying and failing to escape Freddie is lead back to the warehouse at gunpoint. Turns out Emil is not content with just getting revenge on Freddie, he seems intent on killing his son too. He makes Freddie put the noose around his neck and then puts the baby in his arms. When Freddie says the baby won’t survive the fall Emil replies “No. Not everybody survives the fall.”
I’m not sure if Emil means to kill the baby or not. Maybe he’s testing some kind of warped theory, that if Freddie loves his son enough he’ll be able to hold on to him and protect him. Or going by what he says earlier maybe he wants him to drop him, maybe in his eyes dropping him and letting him die is protecting him. He wishes he never existed, maybe he thinks he’s somehow saving this kid from suffering. There is a more obvious explanation, if he can’t be Freddie’s son, if he can’t have a family and be loved then this kid can’t either. Whatever the truth is I don’t buy a word of what Emil claims, that he’s not interested in revenge, that he’s just righting wrongs. Truth Terrorist, aka Jens in series 1 said similar things. He tried to make out it wasn’t all about him but it was, it usually is. Given how Emil claims to be righting wrongs however it was completely logical for him to hang himself next to Freddie, because he thinks he never should have existed.
His wish is not granted because Henrik and Saga get there though Saga hesitates when it comes to saving Emil, at first she freezes and doesn’t take hold of him to prop him up. She’s put in a similar position to the one Martin was in. Though it’s not exactly the same and I think if she had let Emil die people would look on it differently than what Martin did. Because if she had let Emil die it would have been in the heat of the moment whereas what Martin did was planned and calculated. Though personally I would judge Saga more because in letting Emil die she would have not only been compromising the standards of her profession and maybe the law but her own personal standards. She did in the end grab hold of him and Emil along with Freddie lives. Though I have to say I’m not sure Freddie has learnt much from the whole experience. When he visits Jeanette at the hospital he tells her he’s giving her some extra money because of what happened. As if money can change what happened or really be of any help at all. I think when someone has that much money they forget that it cant’ fix everything. He probably thought that as a child. That if only he had money he could fix everything, and it doesn’t seem to be a way of thinking he’s grown out of. One thing which deserves a mention, was the baby’s name a deliberate reference to The Killing? I wonder, little baby Jan.
Emil tells them everything, he admits to having shot Morten, Aleks and Marc. Morten’s mother gave him the code, she wanted him to know where he came from. Part of her reason for doing so was the guilt she felt at what happened to Morten in Afghanistan apparently. So Helle Anker unwittingly set the whole chain of events in motion. In more way then one. Because without knowing it she created the whole situation when she opened her clinic and played a part not only in Morten’s creation but in Emil’s. How ironic that she played a part in the creation of her downfall. She can’t be blamed for Emil, not really though he doesn’t see it that way. But with Morten she most definitely can, lying about something as important as where your children come from cannot be excused. After having kept it secret for so long and bearing in mind Morten’s fragile mental state you have to question her decision to tell him. I think she did it more for her own sake than for his, there was nothing for him to gain from it. He was already messed up, she just made him even more so.
My theory was at least partly right anyway, I had the right idea but the wrong suspect. I had Rikard in mind when I came up with that idea. As for how much sense it makes, Emil righting the wrongs he thinks have been done. Of course it’s not going to make much sense, why would it? He’s an emotionally disturbed madman, one who knows the difference between right and wrong but no less a madman for it. You could drive a truck through the flaws in his thinking. Take for example the fact he places no blame on his mother in all of this. When she’s the one who created him, the one who actively created him. Freddie and Helle Anker played their part but that’s all it was. It’s his mother who chose to have him that way, who chose to lie to him about who his father was. And yet he places no blame on her, he claims she loved him but we only have his word for that. Also note the fact he said she loved him, not that she took good care of him but that she loved him. Loving him and taking good care of him are not the same thing at all. I can’t remember who asked it, I think it may have been Henrik. Whoever it was asked if his mother hadn’t died then by his logic he wouldn’t have done all this. But that’s not necessarily true. His mother is only free of blame because she died, it tends to happen that way. When a parent leaves or dies a kid tends to either hate them and blame them for everything or the opposite happens, in their eyes they can do no wrong. I think Emil is angry at his mother, he just can’t bring himself to admit it.
But he can allow himself to blame Freddie and Helle Anker. He needs to take his anger out on someone. His mother is dead, so he needed someone to focus his anger on. I don’t believe a word of what he said, about handing out justice instead of punishing anyone. It was all about punishment whatever he says. He wants other people to feel the pain he felt. I don’t buy what he said either that all of this could have been avoided by him being born. If that’s the wrong to be righted then why not do just that? Why hurt all the other people? And why kill people when he didn’t need to? Like Marc and Aleks, he could have just shot them. But he chose to kill them. He made choices. He’s a hypocrite, he talks about the people in his life not having taken responsibility. Well neither is he. Expecting any of it to make sense is madness. People rarely do make sense, especially when they let anger and hate guide them. And especially when part of the person doing all of this is really a scared and lost little boy. Emil may not want to admit it but he is. Or at least he was anyway. He finally succeeded in his aim, committing suicide in his cell using a paperclip he took from his statement that Saga took to him in order for him to sign. Question is, did she do that deliberately? Did she look away knowing what he was going to do?
Their short conversation was most intriguing. He asks why she saved him to which she answers “because I’m police.” When she asks him if he wanted to die he says no, I never wanted to have been born. He says it’s not the same thing and that she doesn’t understand the difference because she had a friend who needed her. It really gets to her and potentially leads to her not noticing him taking the paperclip. I wonder if what Emil said had any effect on how she acts later on, in realising that now Hans is not there no-one needs her and she has no-one.
A most important fact regarding Henrik’s family comes to light, the body of his wife was found during roadworks in Sweden. This must have been the body Saga saw when she was at the coroner’s office. But they only found his wife, not the girls. Is it possible that Henrik killed them and doesn’t remember?
Henrik gets back to work on the case, well not really work, he doesn’t really know what he was doing. In the end he overdoses on the stimulants he’s been taking and Saga finds him. He hadn’t told her about the discovery of his wife’s body. She finds out from Lillian at Hans’ funeral. Interestingly enough Saga asked Henrik if he would go with her, but she went even though he didn’t show up. When Saga visits Henrik at the hospital she finds out about the drugs he’s been taking and the fact he’s been taking them the entire time they were working together. He seems to assume she’s going to report him in. If she really didn’t it’s most interesting. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not. In one way you could argue it signals some sort of growth, that she is realising that rules don’t have to be so rigidly applied and that they aren’t in the real world. On the other hand it’s like she’s compromising who she is and what she believes in. I’m not sure. Their conversation is enlightening anyway:
“Do you remember us talking about why I never let people get close to me? Do you remember why?”
“Because in one way or another everyone has either left you or hurt you.”
Saga doesn’t answer, just walks out. She gives no indication as to what if anything she’s going to do about Henrik. I wonder if she’s counting Hans in that, if she’s angry at him for leaving her. And if she’s angry at Martin too.
Linn no longer seems to dislike Saga so much but it makes no difference, her little agenda has it’s desired effect. The file on her mother has gone to the prosecutor’s office and they want to investigate. Whilst they do so Saga is to be suspended from active duty. So at the same time she’s dealing with the loss of her only real friend she now loses the center of her universe as well. Henrik for his part seems intent on resigning from his job in order to search for his daughters.
The end is troubling to me, not that Saga and Henrik are teaming up to find his daughters. I get that part, he needs help and she needs something to focus on. It’s what came before it, her visiting the spot her sister committed suicide at. It seemed like she was about to do the same, or at least that’s what Henrik thought. He talked her down from whatever that was, telling her that he needed her which seemed to be exactly what she needed to hear. It also bothers me that she let him hug her, though I like the fact she didn’t hug him back. That would have been too much out of character. I don’t know why it bothers me so much, it’s part of the reason I put off writing this post. I thought more time might help me make sense of it but not so.
Call it character progression or whatever you want but Saga no longer feels like Saga to me, and not in a good way. There’s something different in this series that I can’t quite put my finger on. From what Sofia Helin said in an interview about how much it takes out of her to play Saga, I think she may be done with the character. It wouldn’t be a bad thing were it to end here. I for one feel like I’m done with the show. It’s interesting what stands up to a rewatch, what shows endure in your affections and which ones don’t. I’ve been rewatching series 1 of The Killing and all over again I’m rediscovering the little details that made it so great the first time around. It helps that it’s been at least a year and a half since I saw it last. I’d forgotten how funny Meyer was and how good he and Lund were together. It’s strange, The Killing killed off one of my favourite characters and yet I’m realising that I like it more than The Bridge. Before I would have said The Bridge over The Killing, that I liked Saga more than Lund and Meyer more than Martin. Now I’m coming to realise I like The Killing more all round, including Lund.