TV review: The Tunnel: Vengeance, Sky Atlantic (4 stars)

TV review: The Tunnel: Vengeance, Sky Atlantic

Third and final series for the French-English remake of Nordic noir The Bridge

The Killing and The Bridge changed the face of the TV detective drama. The influence of Nordic noir now permeates the entire genre – even Midsomer Murders had a crossover episode set in Copenhagen. The Tunnel is its most direct descendent, an Anglo-French remake of The Bridge substituting the Øresund Bridge for the Channel Tunnel. But though the first season was a cover version of its Danish-Swedish ancestor, the second – and now third – series has headed off in another direction entirely.

In this new season, refugees huddle in the belly of rusty fishing vessel before masked men set the ship alight; it's the perfect starting point for this cross continental thriller. It's also a believable excuse for British detective Karl (Games of Thrones' Stephen Dillane) to reach out to his contacts in the French police. Soon he's partnered with Elise (Clémence Poésy) again for another warped case featuring missing kids, swarms of rats and other allusions to fairy-tale child snatcher the Pied Piper.

The Tunnel slightly lost its way in season two. But judging by these first two episodes of this third and final endeavour, it seems back on track with a gripping, complex investigation trawling the underbelly of human trafficking and those who profit from the refugee crisis. Finnish director Anders Engström (Wallander, Jordskott, Taboo) helps capture an authentic Nordic noir atmosphere, with every scene bathed in deep shadows, greys and muted tones.

Yet The Tunnel's real strength will always be the interplay between Dillane and Poésy. Their strengths and flaws perfectly complement each other. You could easily accuse the series of being overly dour, but there's a warmth and a spark of humour in their relationship built on mutual respect and understanding. They both draw on and pay tribute to their forebears – The Bridge's Martin (Kim Bodnia) and Saga (Sofia Helin) – while also adding their own layers. Poésy's Elsie is awkward but brilliant, less quirky than Saga but perhaps more realistic and equally fascinating. It's sad to see the end of this detective double act but at least the last series sends them out with a suitably engrossing and politically charged storyline.

The Tunnel: Vengeance will screen on Sky Atlantic, Thu 14 Dec, 9pm.

Comments

1. JRjr31 Dec 2017, 12:04pm Report

I found the 3rd instalment of The Tunnel to be disappointing. At times it seemed as though it was being made up as it went along, and parts were added just for the shock value and didn't add anything to the storyline. It even felt as though Clémence Poésy was in a rush to get to another acting job, hardly appearing in the last two episodes and then blowing herself up as soon as possible in an almost cartoonish way, half expecting a pair of smouldering boots to be the only sign of her as the smoke clears after the explosion. Also to many questions about how Anton managed to execute his plans. Was he a genius hacker or an electronics expert? How did he mange to kidnap eleven people in such a short period of time without anybody noticing? And the use of the drug Scopolamine just seemed lazy and unimaginative. Which was probably the biggest disappointment when you compare it to the first two seasons, they just seemed to run out of ideas.

2. cyborg2715 Feb 2019, 6:23am Report

Season 3 is an absolute disappointment. If you liked s1 and s2, stop there and avoid the crappy last season. Lazy writing, villain with seeming superhero powers that was able to kidnap 11 people in one day. Crap ending. S3E1 opened interestingly with 1000 rats to start off a "pied piper" theme that never went anywhere and by S3E4 the writers had forgotten the thread entirely. I think the writers were snorting scopolamine. They were trying to imply that the main plot (insane mother that lost her child & had a young "criminal-genius" lover) and the sub-plot (pedophile ring) might be tied together but just let that peter out because the whole idea was ludicrous. Absolutely stupid season and finale.

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