Fortitude, Season One, “Episode Twelve”
Written by Simon Donald
Directed by Sam Miller
Airs Thursdays at 10 pm (ET) on Pivot
The end of last week’s episode brought about the final stage of the mystery illness in Fortitude, as Dr. Allerdyce showed surviving an attack by an infected individual is arguably worse than dying from it. Vincent’s understanding of the body being an incubator for the wasps came too late, as he trapped himself in with the insects. The show’s first season finale sees the townspeople finally get the upper hand against the infection, as hope begins to spring in Fortitude amidst people surviving brushes with death and relationships reconciling. The result is a strong finish to the season that leaves the door open for many possible stories for the show to explore in its just-announced second season.
The tragic turn in the story between Elena and Dan is somehow a fitting end for their relationship. The way the two related to each other through the course of the season was destructive, to say the least, not just to the two of them, but also others who entered that orbit, such as Billy Pettigrew and Frank Sutter. With Dan protecting Elena from numerous threats during her time in Fortitude, despite Elena’s protests, protecting her from herself would have been his most difficult task, and perhaps the one thing that would snap him out of his haze. While his bedside vigil at the hospital indicates his feelings for Elena have not fully evaporated, being forced to confront her while she’s under the influence of the larvae, and shoot her to protect Carrie, might mean that he can now begin walking down the path towards calibrating his affection for Elena, perhaps bringing it to a point where it is not as painful to the two of them, or to others. It will be worth seeing how the duo progress next season; Dan’s shooting of Elena, combined with his arrest of Pettigrew, would make it twice in his mind that he’s saved Elena, but the shooting may also be seen in his mind as him hurting her in a way nobody else in Fortitude has. For her part, Elena will have to come to terms with Dan shooting her, something that may be easier than his murder of Pettigrew. The dynamic between the two is ripe for change, and the events of this episode may just do it.
The reconciliation between Eric and Hilda is also a touching moment. Markus’ assertion at the beginning of the season that nothing decays in Fortitude has been proven somewhat correct, none more than in the case of the Odegards. The secret of Eric’s affair coming to light certainly proved, perhaps more effectively than anything else, that the minute something comes to the surface in Fortitude, it causes pain and destruction. However, the reconciliation between the two establishes something that previously hadn’t been seen; that things can be cured in Fortitude as well. With the larvae killing nearly everyone who came in contact with it, Liam being the only notable deviation and not escaping unscathed, Vincent and Elena both managing to come out of the situation less injured than they might have been shows that Fortitude is capable of dealing with difficult situations as they arise, if given some time, and the reconciliation between Eric and Hilda works wonderfully as a microcosm of that. While the story between the duo may be completed for now, it may stand as an example for other couples in Fortitude, and whether or not that ends up being the case will be worth seeing in the show’s second season. In particular, it will be intriguing to see, with Eric having nearly lost Hilda, how he reacts to taunts about being under his wife’s thumb, like the one Billy threw his way. If Eric has truly seen the error of his ways, he won’t be concerned with being associated with Hilda, even in a negative light. Whether or not he can move past that hangup will determine whether this reconciliation is a cure or a bandaid.
Overall, this episode serves as an effective end to a strong first season for the show. With all the death that preceded the finale, it’s good to see both Vincent and Elena survive. While both suffer grave injuries, they still end up better than most of the others who have gone through the illness, which is a step forward. The speech Jules gives to Frank by way of Liam proves that Frank has a long way to go before Jules trusts him again, and with good reason. Liam, however, is also clearly not fully recovered, and Jason’s actions this week do not bode well for Liam’s future. The Sutter family is not out of the woods yet, but Frank has his warning, which means he’ll have to work that much harder to ensure his family stays intact. Ronnie’s death is a sad one, and horrifying to think about, as he was either eaten alive by the wasps or burned alive in the extermination efforts. With Carrie injured and now without a parent, her fate is up in the air, and how the town of Fortitude deals with her will say a lot about how the illness and violence has affected the town. Yuri’s discovery and exposure of the infected mammoth graveyard, as well as Markus’ chilling talk about consequences for actions proves that, despite all the progress made in the finale, the residents of Fortitude still have a lot to worry about. There are a lot of potential directions the show can go in its second season, but no matter what route it takes, the writers and performers have done a remarkable job with the first season.
– Deepayan Sengupta