The Tunnel–Seasons 2 and 3

 

The Tunnel Seasons 2 and 3 continue the tension from the first season, with a British and French detective partnership (Karl Roebuck and Elise Wasserman respectively) again working to solve a heinous series of crimes. (See my August 7, 2016 review of season 1: The Tunnel–Turf War or Building Bridges”.) Both season 2 and 3 seamlessly continue the tension, though by different writers and directors.

In Season 2 (“Sabotage”) the main plot is trying to figure out why a commercial airliner was hacked to override the autopilot, crashing in the ocean, killing everyone on board. The crash might be connected to other strange incidents including the abduction of the parents of a five-year-old girl while in the Chunnel.

The Tunnel Season 3

There are many plot twists  and subplots: connecting all the dots and understanding the motivation of each character, including the detective team. The narrative becomes quite convoluted. The sexual lives of Karl Roebuck (the excellent Stephen Dillane from “Game of Thrones) and Elise Wasserman (Fleur Delacour in “Harry Potter”) are revealed to be more complicated than in season 1. A sinister and mysterious mastermind, as well as a chemist who could rival the Nazi Mingele in his experiments, will keep the viewer on edge. No spoiler alerts here, but be prepared for nail-biting terror. Twisted ideologies, revenge, spies, terrorism, “marriage for sale”, sex trafficking, the vulnerability of love and loss, and the insidious nature of high-tech equipment in the hands of malevolent actors all make this second season of “The Tunnel” just as spellbinding as the previous season.

The Tunnel Season 3

Season 3 (“Vengeance”) stands on its own from the previous seasons with again, a new director and writer. In the anti-refugee hysteria of our times, we see the desperation of a mother looking for the  child she gave up decades ago during the war in Croatia.   An escalating refugee crisis and the exiled souls who experienced unspeakable tragedy seek relief from a society which mostly has turned its back.

Playing on the “Pied Piper” who purportedly promised a better life for the children who followed, we see the two intrepid investigators try to make sense of grisly sexualized murders, cyberstalking, a plague of rats echoing the Pied Piper,  and a macabre medieval enactment of murder. There is a subplot of a past cold case that still haunts Elise, also involving a child: missing children, children found, abandoned, troubled, and redeemed overlay the subplots and involve deceit, corruption, and trauma.

All of the disparate strands of this drama come to a tightly woven, shocking climax in the final episode ending this phenomenal three-season thriller. Few hints of what is to come in the finale prepare the viewer for the resolution, part satisfactory and part disconnected.

Highly recommended! And worthy of a repeat viewing, because the plots are so difficult to follow at times.

 

Note: Available on Amazon Prime (first two seasons) and Netflix (all three).

 

 

“The Tunnel” — Turf War or Building Bridges?

The Tunnel .
The Tunnel

This British-French bilingual thriller is a PBS television series, adapted from the 2011 Danish/Swedish crime series “The Bridge” [also remade as a 2013 American Fox series with a Mexican/American police team]. Hans Rosenfeldt, the original creator, develops this British-French version, renamed “The Tunnel”,  as well.

“The Tunnel” stars Stephen Dillane (of “Game of Thrones” fame) as British policeman Karl Roebuck and Clémence Poésy (from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”) as French policewoman Elise Wassermann. The mismatched detectives must work together to find a killer who has left the upper-half of a woman politician’s  body on the French side of the Channel Tunnel and the lower-half of another woman’s body on the UK side.

The murderer soon is revealed as a serial killer –nicknamed “TT” for “Truth Terrorist”– who is on a moral crusade. TT’s mission is to wreak vengeance for social injustices: particularly, the abolition of rights for immigrants and the poor, institutional mistreatment of the elderly, warehousing the mentally ill, jailing protesters rioting against government policies, and exploiting children. The “Truth Terrorist” revels maniacally in his own moral superiority. Forcing Roebuck and Wasserman into an uneasy partnership, the series of crimes involves ever more ingenious and horrific methods to underscore the moral bankruptcy of modern society.

“The Tunnel”, however, is more than a dramatic police thriller about fighting crime. The dualities of culture and personality, people divided by politics and history, are fascinating to watch for their layers of complexity. The uneasy chemistry between Roebuck and Wasserman are a metaphor for the cultural gap and ideological boundaries separating all of us: the powerful from the powerless, and the self-interest and turf-war conflicts between nations. “The Tunnel” is novelistic storytelling at its best!