Bordertown, Season 2–Borderline Thriller

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

Comments (7)

  • We just didn’t understand what was going on when Lena went to Russia. Was she supposed to be the woman that the sons were looking for? We just couldn’t figure it out.

  • Could someone..(anyone) tell me who the woman actually was that got murdered with her son In season 2 episode one. She Was the first killing and she is recognized by Lena early on but WHO is she and WHY was She killed? Was she a Russian agent in the past? Why was she singled out by the mercenary? What did she do that needed revenge? NONE of that was answered or I and my husband missed it completely. So frustrating.

  • I would have agreed with your assessment of the second season, but a funny thing happened after watching the first two episodes. I decided that something had changed between the first season and the second season. I decided we watched the first season in Finnish. So we switched back to watching in Finnish with the English subtitles. We watched the third and four episodes in Finnish. The change gave us back the feel of the original.

    Watching in English was horrible. In other words the dubbing was horrible.

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