Just in case you thought you could relax for a moment... you can’t. The Arctic-set Sky Original Production is back for its second series, and, as we all know by now, ‘Fortitude’ is hardly the sleepy, stunningly picturesque town it first appears to be, with drama (and demons) lurking around every corner...
The first episode of the new series sees many of our favourite characters returning: Governor Hildur Odegard (Sofie Gråbøl) is putting out fires and holding down the fort after Sheriff Dan Anderssen (Richard Dormer) fled town nine weeks prior and is presumed dead.
Because surely no one can survive in those freezing temps and unpredictable weather conditions alone in the wild for weeks on end - or can they?
Unfortunately for Governor Odegard, a lack of seasoned police officers (her husband, Officer Eric Odegard, played by Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, is out looking for Dan on the glacier), isn’t preventing some serious crimes from happening.
When Officers Ingrid Witry (Mia Jexen) and Petra Bergen (Alexandra Moen) are called to the scene of an accidental snow plough accident, they soon realise something a lot more sinister is going on when they discover a body - that’s missing a head. Since the head has been cleanly sliced off, no snow plough could have done this. Which can only mean one thing: there’s a new murderer in town.
Other ominous forces are at work: a husky is found strung up with his spine removed and there is talk of “cannibals and demons” out in the wilderness. And let’s not forget the “mysterious stranger” in a hooded coat, who’s been spotted lurking around town...
No surprise, then, that new cast member Governor Munk (played by Ken Stott), an official from the mainland, has been called into Fortitude to advise Hilda and help rebuild the town.
To make matters worse for the inhabitants of Fortitude, they’re being forced to increasingly fend for themselves as Oslo starts to cut them off... to the point of refusing to give the fisherman any fuel for their boats.
Which brings us to some new storylines: we’re introduced to crab fisherman Michael Lennox (Dennis Quaid), who’s desperately hoping to haul in the biggest catch of his career to help his wife Freya (Michelle Fairley, aka Catelyn Stark), who is hiding her deteriorating health from the authorities so she can stay on the island. Their 16-year-old son also has his own agenda in the works.
Expect some more new faces to join the cast this season, including Parminder Nagra as scientist Dr. Surinder Khatri and Robert Sheehan, who will play Vladek, a newcomer from the town.
It’s not all bad news, though. Fans of scientist Vincent Rattrey (played by Luke Treadaway) will be pleased to see he’s made a full recovery since we last saw him. And that he and fellow scientist Natalie Yelburton (Sienna Guillory) continue to make a compelling on-screen duo - and we’re not just talking in the lab. All signs point to these two being the love story of the season.
Let’s not forget the other big star of the show: the mysterious, ominous and constantly riveting and haunting naturescape, with its hypnotising and all-too-rare bloody aurora in the sky, hinting at... well, something to come.
In the episode’s final scene, Governor Odegard and her husband are driving along the road, returning from the glacier, and are forced to brake hard to avoid running over a slouching figure: looking half-starved, half-frozen and half-dead, it’s Dan.
Now, what has he been through? And how on earth did he survive?