‘Fortitude’ review: Season 2 Episode 9 delivers gory nightmare fuel

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Back on brilliant form, this week’s Fortitude episode recovers from last week’s missteps and delivers gory nightmare fuel at its finest.

Vladik nails Dan to a post in the mines whilst he explains the logic behind his elaborate ritual, as well his complicated world view. Vladik, like the writers of Fortitude, is interested in systems of thought intersect and often subsume one another. It says a lot about Episode 9 that this near crucifixion is one of the least gory sequences overall.

After being force-fed muscimol, Dan begins to hallucinate about the 1942 survivor and Elena. Whilst both Dan and Vladik are incapacitated, Freya sets the chamber alight to spite Vladik, who would not heal her terminal illness. Vladik takes Freya to hospital and leaves Dan to burn, who’s rescued by Michael and Ingrid as they search for Freya.

Between Freya’s illness and Hildur’s death, Michael and Ingrid find themselves paralysed by hopelessness. When searching the site where Hildur disappeared, they discover her hidden car but can’t find her phone.

The Lennoxes know enough to deduce that Munk killed Hildur, but lack the proof to put the bureaucrat behind bars. Michael takes matters into his own hands and threatens to shoot Munk, before Munk tells him about the research that could save Freya.

Natalie’s affliction worsens overnight, leaving her in such pain that she wants to claw out her eyes. Vincent approaches Dr. Khatri for help, unaware that she was the source of Natalie’s agony. Blindness, both literal and figurative, has overcome many of Fortitude’s residents, and it remains to be seen whether Natalie will survive her ordeal.

In the episode’s most disturbing sequence, Vladik finally completes the ceremony he began as a child and castrates himself in Tomak’s bathroom. It’s a visceral, gag-inducing scene that’s not for the faint of heart. Vladik seeks out Dan at the police station and is arrested by Petra, who naively allows herself to be disarmed and locked in a cell by the sheriff.

Dan locks himself in the interrogation room with Vladik, who vainly tries to engage him in a conversation about rebirth and faith. Fortitude is a romance in the medieval sense of the word, a classic battle of good and evil, and nowhere is it more evident than in this scene.

Dan hallucinates Elena once again, who tries and fails to bring him back to the light. The sheriff suffocates Vladik on the floor of the interrogation room, whilst Petra finds herself unable to shoot Dan, the leader she had blindly trusted.

Now fully transformed, Dan visits Hildur’s body in the mortuary and bites off her lips, barely recognisable as the man he once was. With a team from Shentel Biotech now looking for Dan, the future of Fortitude seems darker than ever.

Aired at 9pm on Thursday 23 March 2017 on Sky Atlantic.

Buy Season 1 on DVD on Amazon here.

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