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19th January 2013 23:00:00
Posted by Nick Bryan

Borgen: 2.05 - 2.06 - Plant A Tree & Them And Us

Review of Borgen: Plant A Tree and Them & Us, from the BBC and DR.
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With this third week, we flew past the halfway mark on series two of Borgen, and if it feels like it hasn't been that long, that'll be the double-bills again. Seriously, reviewing two hours of dense television in a single blog post without bloating to an unreadable length is difficult. But it is my path, so here we go: this week, Birgitte gets pissed off with two of her ministers, one in each episode, and tries to solve her issues with varying degrees of success.

At least they thematically link again, I suppose. So, were they both good? Bad? Repetitive? Check them out on iPlayer, then we'll find out together.

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Birgitte Turns Evil, Right-Wingers Remain More Evil

At the end of last series, we saw Birgitte growing increasingly cruel, as she fired her old chum Bent. This week, having learnt nothing from his stroke, she prowls further down the road of evil, spreading lies about poor environment minister Amir. She only wanted to "teach him a lesson", which I'm pretty sure is how Lex Luthor got started. Soon enough, his entire life is ruined. Her rampage continues as she turns on BNP-a-like right-winger Svend Age. She tells Kasper to cut loose on him, but fortunately he is too distracted by his personal issues, so fails to destroy the poor old guy totally.

And those are our two episodes, in this week's discipline-themed double bill. Both of them are really, really good. The first one ticks along at a brisker pace and works a more interesting conclusion, with Amir's resignation. The second explores a political issue better, but the resolution boils down to: "Fortunately, Birgitte was able to pull something out of her arse". Obviously, we're meant to be too interested by the Kasper storyline to notice.

The thread about daughter Laura's depression is an odd duck - I think it's meant to tie in to the second episode's issue regarding child sentencing, but the connection seems superficial. It is creating tension in the family though, and I genuinely have no idea where they're going with the relationship between Birgitte and her ex-husband, which is a fun way to feel.

The Circle Of Borgen

Less romantically unpredictable are Kasper and Katrine, who gravitate back together after his sham relationship finally implodes. Saw this coming a mile off, glad they didn't drag it out all series, but the revelations about his personal secrets give it more meat. I'd love to see more exploration of this, rather than it just being used as a tool to wedge the golden couple into place. Yes, these back-story abuse discoveries have become a tad clichéd, but I suppose it's a cliché for a reason.

Oh, and Katrine is back at TV1, clashing with Friis as if nothing happened. And yes, I know what you're thinking, I did totally call it in last week's review. That was also kinda inevitable, but I really enjoyed her foray into politics in this week's first episode. Good to see Katrine getting a workout, hopefully she'll display some of her newfound life experience going forward.

Last but not least, former receptionist Sanne returns, to give us all hope that incompetent yet lovable is better than efficient yet heartless! I know I felt the warm glow of first-series nostalgia when she shambled back, but it would be nice to feel Borgen is an ongoing story with a plot, rather than one of these shows where the status quo is eternal and all change is temporary. It starts to feel like everyone except Birgitte exists in a holding pattern. Rumour had it that the third series will be the last, and I kinda hope this is true: a good ending would push this into classic territory.

Anyway. Only two weeks (and four episodes) to go, let's see if they can bring all hell to Denmark.

Borgen airs at 9PM Saturdays on BBC Four. Check out the BBC Borgen official site here, see episodes on iPlayer here, nothing to see here.

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