FORTITUDE: Episode 7 Review

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Mammoth Not Even Vaguely Mentioned Shocker, says Tony Fyler.


If you watch the credits of Fortitude, which to be honest, I haven’t done very often because I’m on medication that says I’m only allowed a certain amount of hideous atonal dross in my cultural diet every week and I’m waiting for Bjork to be revealed as the town pharmacist, they do seem to give a clue as to the what-the-hell’s-behind-people-hacking-each-other-to-death mystery that is, for want of a more accurate term, the ‘point’ of the whole thing. Ice crystals forming, dark liquid staining, jagged icicles looking like piranha-teeth, the whole thing seems to scream ‘There’s something creepy in the water and it’s coming to turn you mad and kill you all, have a good evening.’

I just felt this was worth mentioning, because to be fair, they’re starting to drop like mammoth-fleas in Fortitude. Last week we saw Shirley Allerdyce hack the bejeesus out of her mother with a common kitchen fork, then vomit some viscous goo into her abdominal cavity.

Y’know…as ya do.

In episode seven, we open the show with shots of bloody footprints leading to Shirley’s body in the supermarket (at the far end of another patch of slippery goo). She’d dead as a dodo (or indeed, possibly a mammoth). The twist is that her mother isn’t – not yet. She’s had better days, granted, but she’s still vaguely alive on a machine in the hospital – you have to wonder what that vomited goo is doing to her body chemistry, but hey, good on the town doctor for not quite giving up in this episode.

Carrie Morgan, the ten year old whose dad absconded with her leaves the old man gasping in the snow, gets on the skidoo and guns it back to Fortitude amazingly fast given it’s taken them three episodes to get as far away they did – just in time to see the body of Shirley discovered (or is she? Apparently, Shirley had self-defence wounds when she died of what’s being prophecied to be a heart attack, when last week, she had very little to defend herself against, so who knows?).

Markus Creepazoid Huseklepp, Shirley’s ‘feeding her to death’ boyfriend is brought in for questioning – turns out he may well have had an equally icky relationship with his own mother. Because after all, incest was seriously lacking in the storyline so far. And Search and Rescue guy Frank Sutter goes a bit off the rails, breaking into Huseklepp’s house to procure photos of his creepiness. All very well but inadmissible and not technically proof of anything. Ronnie Morgan finally, and with a likelihood about as high as creepy mammoth possession-juice, makes it home, and is then cudgeled by a figure we only vaguely see, while Huseklepp is assaulted in his home by Sutter going more notably psycho.

Meanwhile the Governor appeals to the mainland for extra forensic help (logically enough, when her chief doctor is lying in the hospital, ripped to shreds and with a gutful of vomit-goo), only to be told to essentially go pound ice. The town starts to lose its grip on its social sanity, with a group of miners beginning to take the law into their own hands, randomly targeting the Russians on Fortitude because… they’re Russian. There’s a sense that the drama of Fortitude is starting to shift from creepy, isolationist, episode-by-episode what-the-hellitude to a more general panicky ‘feeding frenzy, breakdown of society’ funfest. Perversely, it actually is becoming more watchable as this happens because above all, it increases the sense of motion in the town, the idea that things are actually happening.

The slightly weird thing as each episode goes by is the degree to which no-one gives a toss about the focal point of each previous episode. Remember Professor Stoddart, as played by Christopher Eccleston? No mention here at all. Billy Pettigrew does get a name-check in this episode, because Stanley Tucci’s DCI Morton is a tenacious terrier. The ground penetrating radar research that was supposedly so important? No-one gives a toss about that this week. The Russian guy on whom all eyes were fixed in episode six? Again, the briefest of name-checks this week, and again by DCI Morton. It’s all building to something, though quite what remains, as the Production Team clearly intend, anyone’s guess. Hell, perhaps it’s a deep-frozen zombie apocalypse – maybe the person who attacked Ronnie Morgan was actually the re-awakened Stoddart, filled with mammoth parasites of death. Which probably means the end of the world, because let’s not forget, Trish Stoddart his wife has left the island and gone to the rest of the world, potentially taking mammoth-goo infection with her.

Certainly, Fortitude is becoming a Wheel of Misfortune show – place your bets on who doesn’t make it through each episode. For episode eight, I’m guessing Elena the Spanish woman with the prison-for-murder history that again has been entirely ignored for a couple of episodes now winds up bludgeoned to death by Carrie Morgan, Huseklepp is tortured by the guilt-riddled Frank Sutter, and absolutely nothing gets revealed about that disturbingly wired-up pig from episode one.

Police remain baffled. Enigmatic as all get out, but basically baffled.

Tony Fyler lives in a cave of wall-to-wall DVDs and Blu-Rays somewhere fairly nondescript in Wales, and never goes out to meet the "Real People". Who, Torchwood, Sherlock, Blake, Treks, Star Wars, obscure stuff from the 70s and 80s and comedy from the dawn of time mean he never has to. By day, he runs an editing house, largely as an excuse not to have to work for a living. He's currently writing a Book. With Pages and everything. Follow his progress at FylerWrites.co.uk
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