I recall reviewing season 1 of Ride Upon The Storm (Herrens Veje in its native Danish) back in January 2019 and remarking that this isn’t a crime show at all. At the time, it was unusual for Walter Presents to offer us anything that didn’t involve a gruesome murder or twenty; but these days, WP have widened their net to incorporate more and more drama of all types and genres; including family dramas like this.
If you want to avoid spoilers for Ride Upon the Storm, stop reading now.
For Season 2 of RUTS, there are still no murders – not yet, at least – but there is more family intrigue for Johannes Krogh (the masterful Lars Mikkelsen) and his dysfunctional clan.
It’s 18 months since the death of August (Johannes’ son), who walked in front of a lorry in the Danish countryside at the end of Season 1. Christian (Johannes’ other son), who was with August that fateful day, is immersing himself in his new self-help book, trying to cope with the guilt of being unable to prevent August’s death. Johannes is coping with troubles of his own, as August’s church is on the verge of being sold to the Muslim community, causing discord and anger from some parishioners in Brovang – a view Johannes is not unsympathetic with and one which the tabloids are quick to promote and exploit for a good storyline. As he admits to colleagues, that church is all that he has left of his son and he doesn’t want it sold to anyone – be it Aldi or Allah.
Johannes’ wife, Elisabeth – played sublimely by Eleonora Jørgensen, winner of two best actress awards at the Danish Film Awards – is undergoing therapy as a result of the breakdown of her marriage to Johannes. They’re still living together, but they’re no longer intimate; and she struggles to cope with his moods and temper, whilst still mourning the loss of her son.
Elsewhere, Emilie – August’s widow – has decided that their young child will not be baptised in church, but instead has chosen to have a non-religious naming ceremony; something that further distances her from her father-in-law.
This is rousing stuff. It’s exquisitely acted throughout, particularly by Jørgensen and Mikkelsen. In addition, the characterisation is so beautifully rounded, it’s an absolute joy to watch. Take Johannes as an example – he’s a violent, dinosaur of a man, and yet when his daughter-in-law stops him from seeing his grandson, you cannot help but feel sorry for the man. The scriptwriting is top-drawer; and everything from the musical score to the camerawork are faultless too. It is proof that you don’t need flash and crash to create quality drama.
Walter Presents: Ride Upon the Storm launches on Channel 4 at 11pm on 5th April and the boxset is available via All4 immediately after the transmission of first episode.