This long-awaited Finnish noir thriller’s second season continues to feature the quirky and sullen detective Kari Sorjonen (Ville Virtanen) and his partner, Lena Jaakola (Anu Sinisalo), as they obsessively pursue a series of grizzly murders similar to the first season of 2016 (see my July 23, 2017 review of Season 1) . The format of Bordertown Season 2 is similar to the first season, namely five criminal cases, each two episodes in length.
This dark and moody crime series swept Finland’s top TV awards in its first season, winning Best Drama, Best Actor and Best Actress and was the most-watched series in Finland’s television history.
The two crimes which are the most gripping–“The Rite of Spring” and “Bloodmaid”– are both bloody and dramatic with themes of infanticide and pedophilia (“The Rite of Spring”) and predatory stalking (“Bloodmaid”). We burrow into the wormhole of the criminal mind and its darkest, most sickening secrets and lies.
Season 2 is a mere shadow of the first season with a lesser quality of writing and egregious plot holes. The lead detective, Kari Sorjonen, is reduced to a caricature of his earlier self. Often distracting, odd, and gratuitously annoying, Sorjonen now possesses a layer of over-the-top facial and body tics. Poking at his head, presumably to demonstrate to the viewer that he is a brilliant criminal analyst, and even stepping on documents to somehow inspire his investigative skills, this portrayal of Sorjonen is fraught with cliche and formula.
I will wait until Season 3 to see if Bordertown continues to cover the ground I loved in the first season, namely a complicated emotional family life that propels Sorjonen to solve crimes in order to keep his family and community safe. This season did not move the needle forward with sufficient speed, sagging sometimes painfully, when tighter structure of each crime would have made Session 2 taut and mesmerizing.
Note: Available on Netflix streaming