Fortitude, Season One, “Episode Eleven”
Written by Simon Donald
Directed by Sam Miller
Airs Thursdays at 10 pm (ET) on Pivot
DCI Morton’s investigation into two murders brought him into Fortitude; that of Professor Stoddart’s, and that of Billy Pettigrew’s. With the resolution of the former, Morton turned his attention to the latter with full energy, ultimately ending up shot by Henry on an isolated glacier for his efforts. This week’s episode sees the truth surrounding Pettigrew’s death come to light, while Vincent and Natalie make a breakthrough in their scientific investigation and Yuri and Max make a play for the mammoth graveyard, in a compelling episode.
Watching the circumstances surrounding Billy Pettigrew’s death puts Sheriff Anderssen’s actions over the past few episodes in a new light. While his actions against Frank seemed excessive at the time when he arrested Sutter for Stoddart’s murder, his mindset becomes much clearer this episode. While the case can certainly be made that the Sheriff’s judgement is clouded in situations where Elena is involved, the prior near-rape of hers by Billy and Sheriff Anderssen’s desire to prevent a repeat of that situation does lend some understanding to why he sprinted to the hotel on the night of Sutter’s arrest. However, the brutality the Sheriff showed towards Frank does seem to indicate that Pettigrew’s assessment of him may have had some merit. Elena seems to have understood this as well, as her speech to Dan indicates. With the full context of Elena and Anderssen’s relationship now laid out, it will be intriguing to see how things develop. With Elena emphatically denying any culpability in Pettigrew’s death, Dan will have to live with the consequences of his actions himself. While the death of both Henry and Morton ensures that nobody other than Elena is now aware of his secret, as Morton points out, Dan will still have to live with what he’s done even if there are no legal consequences. Whether finally getting the burden of his actions off his chest affects his actions will thus be worth keeping an eye on.
The discovery of the larvae and the parasites by Vincent and Natalie also adds some interest back to a storyline that was theatening to become a weak point for the season. The idea of survivors becoming a host site for parasitic insects is a horrific one that is wonderfully visualised, and it adds a new dimension to the attacks, proving that the threat is far from over. This also serves to add further suspense not only to the plight of Vincent, but also Carrie and Elena, who are also trapped with a victim of an attack who’s still alive and thus an incubator for the insects. With the townspeople now having an awareness of how the disease develops, what actions they take promise to make for a compelling watch. Hilda in particular will be worth keeping an eye on. With the Ice Hotel now gone, she has no reason to hide this growing infection in the town, as it’s clear that Fortitude is woefully under-equipped to deal with this kind of situation. On the other hand, bringing people in from the mainland may very well be the vessel by which this infection gets to the mainland, something the Governor is surely aware of. How Hilda handles this situation will be very telling, both in terms of how she currently feels about the mainland after they rebuffed her request for help, and how well she performs under pressure, as this is an unprecedented situation in Fortitude.
Overall, this episode continues the strong streak the season has been on. Morton’s death is a touching moment, particularly due to his decision to choose to die out there alongside Henry. It’s sad to see Stanley Tucci exit the show, as he was a strong part of what made the series work, and unlike Henry Tyson, Morton’s death was unforseeable. The events surrounding Pettigrew’s murder, despite reducing the latter to nothing more than a snarling villain, are still compelling to watch, and do a nice job of looping back to the series premiere. Elena’s staunch refusal to be blamed for Sheriff Anderssen’s actions with regards to Pettigrew’s death is a strong moment, made stronger by the performances of both Richard Dormer and Verónica Echegui, and it will be intriguing to see how both individuals behave now that the truth is out. The theft of the drill by Max and Yuri, coupled with the reveal last week that what Pettigrew found was a mammoth graveyard, opens a disturbing idea. Given the possibility that the mammoth carcass was the likely transporter of the parasitic virus that’s affecting the town, it’s likely that the mammoths in the graveyard may have also been struck down by the same affliction. With one mammoth carcass alone causing so much destruction, the mammoth graveyard could prove to thus be particularly dangerous. How Yuri, Max, and Eric Odegard deal with this situation, as well as how Frank and Liam continue to cope with the latter’s illnesses and how those exposed to the parasitic flies react, will be worth tuning in for over the subsequent episodes.
– Deepayan Sengupta