Episode Ten, Series Two, BBC Four, 11pm

TV Review: Borgen, An Extraordinary Remark

Tom Leece is Film and TV editor at Fourth & Main

It’s no holds barred for the Borgen season finale, as we open with Hamlet’s most famous rumination and dive into the very same gender debate that the drama has given rise to since its inception. Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen) has now been absent from frontline politics for a month tending to her daughter. In her wake she has left a swirling power vacuum filled by sexists masquerading as social commentators.

“We often say that women lend an air of humanity to the corporate world”, Expres editor Michael Laugesen (Peter Mygind) declares, explaining that “women are more in touch with their feelings” before going on to question Birgitte’s maternal concerns. Before Birgitte can say “retrograde”, the gender debate has kicked off, with arch-rival Lars Hesselboe (Søren Spanning) poised to swoop in as the voice of reason in advance of next year’s election. “Danes aren’t called to vote for the best human being”, the ex-premier intones. “Elect the person who’ll make the best Prime Minister.”

But as Birgitte and Borgen are keen to point out, she has largely realised her reformist agenda, and Laura’s (Freja Riemann) incapacitation is an extraordinary circumstance that any parent should be allowed to deal with. Birgitte can and should, it seems, “have it all”, and now she knows it. With ex-husband Phillip (Mikael Birkkjær) helping out at home more and more, she takes the opportunity to call him out on his abandonment of the marriage in a showdown that has been ten episodes in the offing. “You were weak,” she says, “and you left. You let me down.”

As Borgen delivers its final verdict on the ideal work/life balance, Katrine (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen) encourages Kasper (Pilou Asbæk) to embrace the idea that life isn’t the “pile of shit” he thinks it is. The media maestros are looking for a new flat in the capital, bidding a long overdue farewell to Katrine’s cramped student digs. It’s more than just an insight into the Copenhagen property market (a 2,700-sqft flat with original stucco goes for £665,000); Kasper flies off the handle as only Kasper can when the estate agent starts pressuring him to have kids of his own.

“I’d rather do the responsible thing than feel I’m entitled to everything”, he tells Katrine. The spin doctor is fearful of passing on the genes of the father who abused him and the mother who stood by and did nothing. Borgen won’t let the pessimist off the hook so easily; the message is that it’s better to try and make things work than never attempt them, even if TV1 editor Torben Friis (Søren Malling) is cutting informal (and illegal) deals to prevent Katrine suddenly setting off on maternity leave.

Borgen’s first season ended on a grim note, with Birgitte in anguish, Phillip out the door, Katrine out of a job and Kasper left bereft. It looked at the start of this season like further tragedy would befall the programme’s main players but, midway through, after one minister took an overdose and another was hounded out of office, the writers seemed to grant their remaining creations a reprieve. Divides have been healing, cerebral embolisms overcome and old traumas accepted. It may not be the dour Danish drama we’ve come to expect, but you can’t knock the warm, fuzzy glow of optimism on which the season deservedly ends.

Best scene:

Nothing beats the great orator Birgitte Nyborg invoking the names of Denmark’s first female members of parliament, elected in 1918. Fun fact: that same year Constance Georgine Markievicz was the first woman elected to parliament in Britain, though she never took her seat.

Best line:

“I know you don’t want children but keep the estate agent out of it.” (Katrine, to Kasper). To be fair to Kasper, the over-familiar realtor would have probably welcomed a chance to stick her oar in.

Handy Danish vocab:

As it is the season’s last episode, best to end with a simple “hej hej” (“goodbye”).

Magnus Watch:

An arsenal of toy weapons, a new best friend, and steps taken towards reconciling his parents; Magnus (Emil Poulsen) ends the year on a high note.

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people
News
people
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes