Episode Two, Series Two, BBC Four, 10pm

TV review: Borgen, In Brussels, No One Can Hear You Scream

Tom Leece is Film and TV editor at Fourth & Main 

"How brilliant to have a Prime Minister who speaks fluent French." Minister Jacob Kruse (Jens Jacob Tychsen) may be a sycophantic bore but he does have a point. In the season’s second episode, polyglot Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen) is on the hunt for a politician to serve as Denmark’s new EU commissioner. Naturally she takes the opportunity to flaunt her Francophone stylings, chalking up another mastered language next to that flawless English. Is there anything she can’t do?

Deputy party leader Bent Sejrø (Lars Knutzon) seems to think so, laying into Birgitte for surrounding herself with yes-men. Ever since Bent warned his protégé in season one that she should be ready to sacrifice friendships if they jeopardised her government, the party grandee has been marked out for his own eventual downfall.

Moving on from the weighty politics of the season premiere, Borgen focuses here on the failing relationship between Birgitte and her former mentor, with the appointment of an EU commissioner a dramatic sideshow. The question it poses is whether the Prime Minister can admit her guilt and reconnect with the man she was forced to cast out.

It all makes for an emotional episode, as Bent stumbles around all (forgive the pun) bent out of shape, trying to rebuild burnt bridges. Knutzon and Knudsen (now there’s a Danish law firm just waiting to happen) have great chemistry, and the clashes between them are the episode’s high points.

New arrival Jacob Kruse, on the other hand, is that little bit too repulsive to convince. “He’s young and full of initiative,” Birgitte tells Kasper. “He’s a fan and a follower,” her spin doctor retorts. Borgen does enjoy a good foreshadowing, and when Kruse slopes in moments later oozing more slime than a sweaty mollusc Birgitte’s judgement is called immediately into question.

That’s sort of the point though, and whenever Birgitte can’t work out the right thing to do Katrine Fønsmark (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen) is there to personify moral rectitude. When senior journalist Hanne Holm’s (Benedikte Hansen) alcohol abuse worsens, her plight mirrors Bent’s as the senior professional into whom it’d be easier to stick the boot.

"Drink yourself to death for all I care," snarls Ekspres editor Michael Laugesen (Peter Mygind), "but don’t embarrass my paper." Katrine, even if she feels like a failure at 31 (after all, she's only been an anchor for a major news channel and a war correspondent...), is having none of it. Her loyalty to Hanne breathes some warmth into the chilly Nordic air.

Of course Kasper (Pilou Asbæk) contributes to this litany of personal struggles. Carting his unresolved feelings for Katrine around with the rest of his extensive baggage, the spin doctor is keen to duck out of commitments to Lotte (Rikke Lylloff). It seemed a shame to miss what looked to be his storyline’s big moment but then again Borgen is often happy to pass over certain events, and this episode was no different.

One moment Bent is in Birgitte’s kitchen about to have a heart-to-heart, and then cut: she’s sitting alone, deep in thought. In the end the clockwork precision made the slower paced sequences involving the older politician all the more powerful. It reminds us just how adept the writers are at switching between the professional and the personal, even if their characters can’t always do the same.

Best scene:

A whole host of Birgitte/Bent moments to choose from, but the point at which the prime minister is rehearsing hollow rhetoric about their close friendship while he watches in shocked silence managed to be both poignant and bleakly comic.

Best line:

“No one wants to read about the EU. It’s too complicated and unsexy.” (Michael Laugesen). He may be a heartless demagogue but at least he’s got an eye for the elephant in every newspaper’s editor room.

Handy Danish vocab:

Whatever Kasper was singing didn’t sound much like the Danish for happy birthday (“tillykke til dig”), so we’ll stick with the equally relevant “flersprogethed” (“multilingualism”).

Magnus Watch:

Despite breaking his mother’s heart it was a bonanza for Magnus (Emil Poulsen) if we’re honest; stern lessons in coaster etiquette, the mother lode of Donald Duck comics, and an angelic request to bring comfort to the sick. As if that wasn’t enough, he got his ears syringed – an off-screen event not greatly missed.

Tom Leece is Film and TV editor at Fourth & Main

Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey


Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower