Well, what did you make of the first episode of Fortitude, then? The opening episode of season 2 wasn’t exactly what I was expecting – not that I knew what to expect anyway, but a baby-eating zombie-type who won’t drop even with four bullets from a high-powered rifle in him. That’s quite a way to open proceedings in Svalbard’s least enticing postcode.
Fortitude is actually filmed in Iceland but it does a pretty good job of convincing otherwise. The locations are impossibly bleak and chillingly well shot, the indoor camera work is similarly composed – as it was throughout season one – with nicely framed interior scenes that, while intimate, never let you forget the harshness of the environment beyond the four walls.
So, what’s happened up there, since the mayhem, murder and greed of season one? Well, there’s a blood red aurora over Fortitude and the omens that come with it don’t bode well – the last time the phenomenon occurred, back in 1942, the area was plagued by a mysterious child-eating-character and all sorts of other nastiness. Fast forward 70-odd years and the aurora is back and so too is the man with a taste for children.
A hapless drunk crosses paths with the stranger on the highway outside town and is next seen minus his head half buried in the snow – but given the precision of the decapitation, the cops (Ingrid and Petra) concur that his head was removed beforehand and not by a snowplough.
Vincent (Luke Treadaway) and Natalie (Sienna Guillory) take explosives to the seat of the outbreak and seal the site in ice. So we’re unlikely to be seeing anymore treasure hunters fighting over the carcasses of the mammoths or those pesky wasps.
Michael Lennox (Dennis Quaid) joins the cast (to give appeal to US audiences) as a roguish fisherman who’ll do anything to help his cancer-stricken wife (Michelle Fairley). He wears the slings and arrows of life well and has the makings of a good addition to the story.
Hilde, meanwhile, draws a line under Dan Andersen (last seen as a broken man wracked with guilt and the enormity of the revelations uncovered) who is now accepted – by everyone other than Eric who is wandering the glacier looking for him – as having found a similar resting place to the herd of mammoth and the waspy pests having wandered out into the polar wilderness.
With the discovery of the headless man and a husky with its spine removed, Hilde hauls ass up to the glacier to bring back her ex. And to close out the episode, Dan wanders in from the wasteland, alive and well. Plenty to digest and consider but where this series is going is anyone’s guess.
Fortitude continues on Sky Atlantic on Thursday at 9.00pm. Also available on NowTV and as a Sky box set.
Pictures: ©Sky Atlantic 2016 | ©Steffan Hill 2016 | ©Robert Viglasky Photography