Ok I am not going to beat around the bush here but last night Borgen was some of the best TV I have watched in a long time, the final scene with Kasper Juul (Pilou Asbæk) was a tour de force, an award-winning portrayal of a man with a deeply scarred soul.
In season One a secret was shared with the viewers about Kasper Juul, a deep dark secret of his sexual abuse by his father. A vile abuse in a lonely home somewhere deep in Denmark. We came to learn that what seemed to be the arrogant swagger of a workaholic Lothario who prowled the corridors of power at the Borgen was a cover to hide a deeply ingrained emotional trauma.
This week more was revealed about the nature of that trauma, we learnt that it wasn’t just his father who had raped him, but he was shared like some weekly prize amongst his father’s peadophiliac poker buddies. We saw the emotional blackmail used by his father to hide his vile crimes from Kasper’s mum. We were however still the only ones who have shared these horrific memories with Kasper. Katrine, Lotte and Birgitte, all the women in his life had no idea till this episode.
Katrine was the closest to the truth but still so far till tonight. In an emotional scene Kasper retrieved the only possession he seemed to have, a collection of bits and pieces from his parents house including a VHS video and newspaper clippings. After a heated argument with Lotte his current girlfriend, as once again Kasper failure to commit unravels a relationship, he storms out of her flat.
It seems at this point he comes to some sort of epiphany, that he needs to share the burden he has carried all his life with some one else. He hands the collection of his memories to Katrine at her flat and walks away. Reading through the clips and watching the video she suddenly begins to understand all the layers Kasper had been hiding behind, the lies about his family in the South of France, the fear of commitment. She sees the pain, loneliness and despair Kasper had lived with.
The moment Kasper and Katrine meet again no words need to be spoken. We now all knew.
While Kasper was unburdening his soul Birgitte burdens were getting heavier and the idealism of season one was being replaced a much darker cynicism. A cynicism which she is quick to embrace but whose outcomes she struggles to control. We see how quickly she throws her long term ally Amir Dwian, the Green Party Leader, to the baying Press hounds when she leaks his love of a petrol guzzling vintage car to press, sparking a frenzy to expose the hypocrisy of his position.
She does this to force his hand into agreeing to some government legislation, but in doing so precipitated the end of Amir’s political career, the Green Party leaving the coalition and transforming her government into a minority one.
One the home front we see that being single mother and Prime Minister of a medium sized western European nation is not a recommended career progression. Her children, especially her daughter Laura are feeling the strain but Birgitte can’t see it.
She believes she is on a mission borne out of idealism but is this still the case or is it as the opening quote suggests “Much that passes as idealism is a disguised love of power. “
One a side not the deliciously odious Svend Åge Saltum is given a lot of airtime and he rises admirably to his role as the pantomime villain of the piece (at least for now).
- BBC4…Borgen hits Season 2 and is still brilliant. (didyouwatchit.com)
- BBC4…Nordic Noir TV Fans..Borgen is back for Season 2 (didyouwatchit.com)
- BBC4…Borgen gets seriously Machiavellian. (didyouwatchit.com)