Fortitude (TV Series 2015–2018) Poster


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A beautiful, dark and unnerving series
ipinkelephant11 March 2015
Note: - I am writing this review after watching only episodes 1-6 out of 12.

When you first start watching Fortitude, or see the trailers for this series, you would be forgiven for thinking that this is simply a by-the-numbers Danish inspired thriller, which even stars Sofie Gråbøl from The Killing! However, as the episodes roll on, it soon becomes clear that Fortitude is an entirely different piece of television. It may be a bit of a cliché to say this, but there is a vibe of Twin Peaks around this series. I cannot say much without spoiling it, but let's say that as the show continues it is becoming more and more genre fluid. It is no longer simply a crime drama. Fortitude is evolving into something that is dark, weird and unnerving, and I mean that all in a good way.

The series is set in the Norwegian community of Fortitude, a place of so-called perfection where crime does not exist… until one of the local residents is found brutally murdered, and the secrets of this community start to unravel. The writing in this series is simply wonderful. It is intelligent, and seems to be deliberately paced slower than most modern crime dramas. This helps to give gravitas to the story, and build a heavy atmosphere, which is equally helped by a wonderful and dark soundtrack. Praise should be given to the fantastic location this series is filmed in. Fortitude and its barren, icy landscape are simply beautiful to watch and they hold an eerie charm.

The large list of characters serve the story well, with Stanley Tucci being a particular highlight as the kind, but manipulative DCI Eugene Morton, who is sent over from the UK to investigate the murder. Michael Gambon also puts in a joyful performance as the dying and mournful Henry Tyson, while Richard Dormer plays the emotional and rock headed Sheriff of Fortitude. Christopher Eccleston plays local biology researcher Professor Charlie Stoddart and as I mentioned above, Sofie Gråbøl plays the mayor of Fortitude, who trying to hang on as her vision of the town and its future crumble around her. There are many other character I would like to comment on (Such as Darren Boyd's creepy resident, and Phoebe Nicholls as the no-nonsense local Doctor) and my one complaint about the series, perhaps, is that the cast is so large that I fear some characters could be side-lined and even forgotten about. With six episodes still to go, I hope that is not the case.

A final note of warning though, episode 6 probably contained the goriest scene I have experienced on TV before. This will not be a series for the faint-hearted, but if you enjoy something that is smart, dark and a little weird, then Fortitude may just be perfect for you.
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IMDb promises Drama, Horror, Mystery, and Fortitude delivers
ToddWebb26 February 2016
The best summary I saw here said, "Superb show not for faint hearts or the lazy." That about sums it up. I'm shocked at all the negative reviews here.

I just finished Season 1. The story can be very hard to predict at times. When it's predictable I still wasn't *sure* I was predicting correctly.

Other reviewers' complaints: Character names aren't realistic - I don't care. Characters seem to act stupid or erratic - I agree, but that's part of the mystery of the story. Characters don't zip up their coats properly for the supposed temperature - really? Norway doesn't have sheriffs - this show is clearly intended to attract a global audience, not just Norwegians, so who cares if some aspects get watered down a bit for the general viewing public? Story is boring - I'm sure they didn't watch the same show I did.

There are a LOT of characters in Fortitude. It's the new style of TV, and it works here. There's a lot going on, including a lot of back-story explained along the way. And, most important to me, the characters are easily distinguishable. They look different, dress different, have unique faces (some are actors I recognize which helps). The casting here is superb and really helps one follow the twisting storyline.

Dark, moody, cold and somehow claustrophobic, Fortitude is a very fun show. Sort of like Northern Exposure but with the creepiness of X-Files.
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The best new TV show I have seen this year
mbangert195722 November 2015
From the first episode I found this show to be mesmerizing. The dark, cold atmosphere of the area is well depicted but doesn't depress. The characters are true to life and all seem to have their histories, loves and hates. The community is close knit although the inhabitants come from various parts of the world. The determined FBI agent sent to the town is viewed with suspicion.The woolly mammoth that was dug up early on in the series lies in a shed and one feels the menace emanating from its carcass. Is this the source of the horrors? The story unfolds slowly but dramatically, the build up is excellent. From the start it keeps the watcher thinking is this sci fi or is there another dark secret. Can't wait for the second season.
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A slowly unfolding ice bound drama
s327616913 March 2015
Fortitude is not your typical drama. It moves slowly, like the ice locked landscape in which it is set.

Its not a series for the impatient. You have to be willing to invest time in this series and accept long periods where partial knowledge and confusion are the norm. If you can do this then you may "warm" to Fortitude.

Without giving too much away very little in this series is what it first appears to be. A police who dun-nit that ever so slowly reveals other secrets that have a lot to do with time, ice and the preservation of "seemingly" dead things.

The cast is top notch and includes the likes of the wonderful Michael Gambon, for those who remember exceptional series like The Singing Detective.

A well deserved eight out of ten from me.
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Interesting at first, got tiring and disturbing at the end
AngCha19 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Having completed the entire first season, I must admit I was disappointed. I don't know if I was falsely expecting a different kind of show or it was Fortitude producers' blame to having created totally different expectations to its viewers, but the show gradually ruined every positive characteristic it had when it started. Although there were all the necessary ingredients to make a dark, Hitchcock-styled crime & mystery series, the decision of the producers to turn Fortitude into a Supernatural-kind of show totally destroyed it. The amazing landscaping, the cold and intriguing ambiance of a closed, isolated society, the mysterious people living in the city, from so many different backgrounds, gave Fortitude a great beginning and made us believe it would keep the pace up until the end, offering us a modern, North-Pole alternative of Twin Peaks. Instead, we were given a disappointing metaphysical turn of the plot, some really disturbing and violent images and characters gradually becoming less and less interesting. By the end of the show, I caught myself looking forward to the finale, tired of the swallow plot. A total disappointment, unfortunately...
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A great show
silmarieni25 March 2015
Fortitude is a great show: exotic, thrilling, well played, with an outstanding story.

The photography as well as the music are perfectly in tune with the story, making it a must-watch thriller series in my opinion.

At about episode 7, I must say I fear for the worse as I'm not sure the story can develop and keep getting interesting and still realistic with no cheap trick, but I'm placing hope in the screenwriters that did a brilliant job so far.

TV seems to be the best format for actors to show their worth. I'm never been that impressed with Stanley Tucci.

I did not know the other actors that well, but many deliver super solid performances, among them Richard Dormer, Sofie Gråbøl and Darren Boyd.
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Don't believe the negative reviews
patbradley43512 February 2015
I don't believe IMDb anymore. This is a really interesting show, intriguing and enigmatic. It's probably too complicated for many on here who cannot connect the dots because of its complicated story-line. Brilliantly acted and beautifully filmed. I am totally hooked and cannot wait for the next episode. By no stretch can this be called boring. I am slowly learning that there are many on here who cannot discern good TV or movies. I was shocked to the core recently that most people liked 'I Saw the Devil,' A ridiculous South Korean movie and gave it high ratings, when it is the biggest pile of drivel ever committed to film. Watch it and see. My goodness, it is bad, but Fortitude has my backing for sure. I realise that we all have different tastes, but in a court of law, Fortitude would be vindicated as good but I Saw the Devil would be laughed out of court for the pile of dross that it is.
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Very Disappointing ending .
rainysnows22 December 2018
Season 1 was good .Season 2 was far fetched and Season 3 was ridiculous .I felt like I did when LOST ended - all that for nothing .Started off well and then seemed to lose direction .Nice shots of the snow though !
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Bonkers roller-coaster of a series that requires serious suspension of disbelief
stephen-lambe14 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I've just binge-watched Season 2 after - almost - not returning after season 1. Both seasons are a bit of a mess, to be honest, but the ride through both of them is not without a lot of fun.

On the plus side, the scenery is great and the acting excellent. Watch out, in particular, for Ken Stott's marvellously nervy bureaucrat in season 2. I also find Alexandra Moen's Norwegian accent totally adorable. However, one of the problems with the series - particularly in season 2 - is that almost every performance requires the adjective "deranged" from Denis Quaid to Richard Dormer - who has been like that for most of both series, to be honest.

The series also does that Game of Thrones trick of bumping off major characters without warning. This is fine in principle, but when (as happens in series 2) it's one of your your central characters, who you've just started to like after disliking them for most of season 1, getting their comeuppance, you are left for nobody to root for except a murderer who bites peoples throats out due to some mysterious - and not yet fully explained - genetic transformation.

The music - more noise really - does a good job in being unsettling and there are a couple of beautiful uses of John Taverner's The Lamb.

One final warning - the gore is horrific and completely unnecessary given that at the point I'm thinking of I had no particular interest in whether that particular character mutilated himself or not.

That said - and here's where I justify - each episode had so much incident and was such an bonkers ride, that I found myself somewhat mesmerised. Don't expect a satisfying ending. Some people live and some people die, and I didn't care much for any of them, but by golly if a TV series with a story line like this can even get made (despite the gore), there's hope for the world, and even if Fortitude doesn't really work in itself, I applaud the ambition!
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Torn to shreds
martinlucas-469-2079684 January 2019
I'd love to know the story behind the debacle of series three. The first series was reasonably well constructed, lovely vistas. The second series tried to move the original themes forward and failed. The third series looked like somebody got the viewing figures and said, " right, that's enough, this has descended into melodramatic gory crap. Let's cut our losses now!".
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Not quite the state of Norway
druberwolf19 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I wish the producers had bothered to learn just a smidgeon about winters and Norway when making such a series. A) Even those who should be Norwegian rarely had Norwegian names B) The police had more weapons than the complete Norwegian police force (well, not quite, but you get the drift), but CHILDREN cycling around with hunting rifles in town? Did they think it was Texas, just colder? C) Reindeer and polar bears together? Not in Norway, not on Svalbard. D) When it is VERY cold (30 C below) the snow makes a certain sound, and it does not turn to slush. E) Except for a few instances the people mumbling in Norwegian did not sound very Norwegian, even the chef in the Muppets was better. F) Wasps do how well in the cold, hm? G) Norwegians do not wear their shoes indoors, especially when it is cold and wet outside. It makes everything dirty, you see, and we do not like dirt in our houses. H) When it is cold, seriously cold, people usually cover their ears and button up their jackets. And they seldom wear gloves, but mittens.

Next time pretty please ask a few natives, OK, and do spend some time on the plot! This could have been a classic....
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Fantastic, edgy new drama
Robin_clarke4129 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I've just seen the first episode and wow I'm hooked already! The beautiful scenery and landscape shots are as big a star as the amazing cast. Every character is mysterious and mesmerising and the plot is deep, dark and luscious. The director does a great job of setting the feel of the place. You really soak up the hostile environment and I even started to feel cold at points. Characters all behave realistically in the unforgiving environment and all have very believable interactions and traits. Believe me when I say this is not the usual dross churned out by the big production companies these days. Anyone who enjoys gritty, suspenseful and intelligent TV will enjoy this immensely.
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Superb show not for faint hearts or the lazy
Davinabaynes4 May 2015
This is a high class, high production value series. Well-written, well-acted with important and also unsettling themes. The start does make demands of the viewer but it is worth sticking with as all will, eventually, become clear. Far, far better than the dross that is so often served up on TV. Not everyone will have enjoyed this series because it is intricate, has a number of story lines running throughout and has a slow burning Scandinavian-style pace. There are surprises and real, genuine shocks combined with genuinely scary parts. The mirroring of characters' actions and movements is used a lot and works very well. Music is used to very good effect and is of high quality. There is humour and horror (some truly eye-shutting moments). I loved the development of characters and their links. The cinematography is wonderful, as is some of the visual imagery: favourites, apart from landscapes, were blood on snow and the 'Viking' burial. Themes of infatuation and obsession, love, protection, violence, greed and that all actions have consequences. We have just watched it a second time to pick up all the little things we missed the first time around e.g. The foreshadowing. Not a show that can be easily pigeon-holed as a specific genre. Very, very happy that there will be a second series. Unreservedly recommended.
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First season is great, second season is not so great
AmigaWolf11 March 2017
When i saw the first season it was great, it was a trill ride all the way, till up the end, great acting great story, a great thriller.

Then i saw the second season and it went downhill very fast, acting is not so great anymore, and the story is sh*t, and the people now in season 2 are morons, it was hard to see all 10 episodes of season 2.

How can it be that the first season was great even fantastic and season 2 is sh*t, what happened to the writers and director of the first season, were they sleeping through the entire season.

If you want to see this TV show stick with only season 1, season 2 is laughable, nobody listens to each other, and just do things normal people won't do, it's just stupid.
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A new who dunnit that is right at home in the cold.
phoenixivmark30 March 2018
Fortitude is intriguing and becomes more so. It moves slowly so you become complacent and then someone steps out from behind a door and they have a large sharp knife in hand and they are not cleaning fish.

The landscape is beautiful and cold. The pace of the series is an acquired taste and you may wish to think you have finally grasped what the hell is going on and then you find you're as cold as the frozen landscape.

Nothing seems to be as it first appears. The local police hero is well find out for yourself. The innocent, well on second thought not sure there are any in this series. Maybe I should say victims but I think they are all victims or will be. It would be nice if they solved something once in a while and could move on to a new twist.

I just found this series and don't even know how long it will last. The cast in this does a really frightening and fantastic job.....some real psychos.....
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UK show and finally something interesting...
mandic-sasa-bgd1 November 2015
For all the new is a very good show, story is good, characters are good, cinematography excellent...everything is very good...

I don't care what everybody thinks...I always liked British shows, comedies, crime series, movies, whatever...and they are very very good at it...

This is very slow show, it builds up and you can't wait to see...even if you do realize what is happening, you still want to see, at least I am...

The cast is great, many actors not known to us, especially those from Denmark, but they do excellent job...

Location, location, location...Iceland, a place to visit...

One problem I had with the show is that, and I am saying this even though I've never lived in such small community, everybody goes everywhere, you can waltz in hospital, sheriffs office, and sit behind his desk..a bit strange for me, but maybe it's just me.

Enjoy the show...
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An intense suspense series - with harsh nature in a supporting role
BeneCumb11 October 2015
/refers to Season 1/

At present, Brits and Scandinavians (Danes and Swedes in particular) are apparently the most versatile and distinct creator of thrilling crime series; even when clichés available, there are always new angles or approaches, plus competent choice of talented performers, many without global fame. All this also applies to Fortitude, where e.g. always great Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, Sofie Gråbøl do not stick out too much, so there is a nice team playing and level differences are conditioned by the "goodness" of a character, not by talent (in my opinion, Gråbøl's character was not too versatile and visible).

As the plot, there were moments when I feared that events would take a too sci-fi turn, but, with the help of flashbacks, mysterious and criminal events found their satisfactory solution (well, a certain scene with flies was too much though). And the Nordic nature, wow... I have had some opportunities to experience it with my own eyes, but it is still magnificent to watch - usually not outside, but inside - as snow is beautiful, but -20 and below C are not...

All in all, another strong brick in the wall of thrilling series. And yes, combining the best from Brits and from Scandinavians can provide a meaty result as well, with inclusion of some other good actors from outside of these areas.

PS Season 2 is even catchier, due to Squaid and Stott.
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Cold But Charismatic
stephen727220 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The first two scenes of Fortitude tells you where this is heading. A recollection of man's death whilst being attacked by a polar bear and the discovery of an ancient mammoth corpse. Fortitude is about unravelling what happened in the past from the current evidence. The truth hides itself behind the character's attempts to keep their own past a secret from one another. That's why they have all ended up in a town on the edge of the Arctic - to hide their pasts in the snow and ice.

Some viewers may not grasp the subtleties in the script and the behaviour of some of the characters. The script is designed to reveal the truth at the rate of a dripping tap. It's also designed to show the rules of life in the Arctic upon which daily life revolves.

Richard Dormer takes on the lead role of Norwegian sheriff Dan and plays him like a sharp but unsinkable iceberg. Jessica Raine as Jules Sutter proves again she is a formidable actress, just as she did in Wolf Hall, and we can look forward to much more of her on screen. Sofie Gråbøl plays her role as an edgy governor attempting to keep Fortitude attached to civilisation. Stanley Tucci is clearly comfortable playing the role of the charismatic and unphased DCI Morton. Spanish beauty Verónica Echegui seems a little out of place within the Arctic circle but she certainly takes on the challenge of pleasing an English speaking audience. Michael Gambon acts like an anchor to reality.

If you don't appreciate Fortitude, it's probably because you are constantly waiting for more violent action or you just don't do British and European accents. Personally I find it a treat to watch.
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Well acted, beautifully shot, miserably written
bokismoki27 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This series had so much potential, and I really gave it a chance and held back from reviewing after the first few episodes, hoping it would improve. Well, now we're at episode 10. The storyline is intriguing, but at this stage I really just want to find out what happens and forget about it. The dialogue and everything is so badly written that it's cringe-worthy at times. Unless, of course, the show creators' intention was to suggest that EVERYONE on the island - not just the known victims so far - is infected by some rare virus that makes them behave in strange, stupid, and at times absurdly melodramatic ways. Well acted, beautifully shot, miserably written. I find it hard to sympathise much with any of the characters, for the simple reason that they all seem a bit daft and behave/react in ways that human beings ordinarily don't. And not only that - the people definitely don't interact the way small town folk in the frozen north would do. I can't help thinking that this show is trying way too hard to be something it has miserably failed to be. People mention Twin Peaks, but I don't know, it's so far off the mark it's not even funny. If one of the hallmarks of great drama is a deep understanding of human nature and the human condition, then this is miserably failed drama. It may as well have been written by aliens from outer space whose only knowledge of human behaviour is from scientific research - clearly useful, but on its own far short of the mark if you want to really entertain other humans.
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Disappointed with season 3
winniepooh202829 December 2018
First and second season were fantastic and really enjoyed watching, I was so looking forward to the final season but was very disappointied. I agree with other comments writers did not put much effort into tying up the whole story or characters stories.
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Had some good moments, but also many negatives
mike_brunton27 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Fortitude was a mixed bag for me. I did finish watching the whole of Season One, but frankly found it a bit of an effort. I won't really say, what the whole storyline was, but I guess it was interesting enough a premise for me to continue to the end. I honestly found it, a hard slog at times. I don't know if it was the editing, acting, directing, or writing but Fortitude just didn't gel for me. There were frequent moments when I thought ' what is going on?' Someone described this as a psychological thriller. I didn't see any real psychology, I didn't see any thriller elements. Ultimately I just didn't get it. I can see from other reviews, that some people loved this. And they must be keenly awaiting Season Two. I felt Season One was dragged out to the hilt. And honestly, what other big interesting secrets can be waiting in Season Two? Ultimately the location was one of the best things about this series. Acting, writing, editing ,and directing were I felt very average.
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I want a refund of my life
djwilson-861-79202015 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I rarely invest hours of my life in watching series as they seldom deliver anything more than viewing stats for the networks/advertisers.

... but having watched the best TV I have seen in almost 50 years, House of Cards, I thought maybe I was missing out.

Fortitude came along with stunning views of one of my favourite countries, Iceland - If nothing else at least I would enjoy the scenery.

Well after putting up with 5 tedious, dull, uninteresting and pretentious episodes I want a refund of my life.

You know those games where everyone writes a sentence and then the group have to make them into a story ? It usually results in lots of laughter - it seems the people behind Fortitude had the same idea but forgot the laughter.

I have decided to wait until the end of series one and someone writes the plot on the back of cigarette packet, no a stamp. It will mean that I can at least recover a little from the wasted hours watching this nonsense.

Having great scenery, cinematography and actors ( they maybe able to act but you'd never know it from this ) is not enough.

Creating a pool of 1000 strange things just to get the response, "That's strange" is not a substitute for a plot, a narrative and a good twist.

This is TV by checklist:

1) Location - tick 2) Scenery - tick 3) Actors - tick 4) Odd things - tick 5) Story - ?

Someone wrote a review here saying ignore the negative reviews on Fortitude as it might be too clever for them - I expect they are the clever ones.

The line in Fortitude that says "no one can die here" doesn't relate to the viewers.

I'm out. Very poor Sky thought you could do better than this.
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Neither Tasty Fish Nor Interesting Fowl
Narce2 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I started watching this series with interest, as it looked like a Murder Mystery along the lines of an Agatha Christie "Murder on the remote estate" genre, with an isolated island subbing for the remote estate, and a modern home standing in for the "locked room" murder site.

But... they kept introducing the mammoth mystery as a factor, skewing things towards the Science-Fiction/Horror realm. Then they would go back to the "who knew what and why did they do such-and-such" themes of a murder mystery, then back again to the bizarre behaviour of the mammoth victims.

Comparisons (both positive and negative) have been made to Twin Peaks, but I suggest that this is a little more along the lines of Blade Runner, with the Arctic substituted for the futuristic cityscape and the mammoth victims subbing for the replicants. But this ain't no Blade Runner, folks, it's just a little confused about what it wants to be.
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A good murder mystery turned into a bad horror film
kingdaddy-379205 April 2016
Yes, there are spoilers in this review. I'm reviewing the series, not an episode, since I watched all 12.

When I started watching Fortitude, I had no preconceptions. Not having seen any of the marketing, the only information I had was what the Amazon streaming service provided. I'm glad I didn't know more, because my ignorance allowed me to enjoy the first 8 episodes, which presented a novel murder mystery in an interesting setting, with some interesting characters and relationships. A town where everyone is armed (against polar bears), but there's no crime. The first episode includes the intriguing question that one of the characters asks, "I don't know if you're a good sheriff or a bad one." Someone makes a Treasure of the Sierra Madre-like discovery that might have terrible consequences. There are lots of interesting plot seeds like these from the very beginning, developed over the next several episodes. (Perhaps too many, but at least most of them were interesting.)

Over time, what seems like the central mystery gets increasing attention. A polar bear kills a geologist who had found something in the glacier, and we know from the beginning that there's something wrong with the official account. But is there something more wrong with it, beyond what we know from the first scene in episode 1? The number of people who might have an interest in what he might have discovered is sizable enough to make for an interesting investigation, especially when we discover who is the killer in the small town's first murder in...Well, perhaps ever.

This storyline lasts through the first 8 episodes. I suspect that the writers had done a careful job of plotting up to this point. None of the revelations made me say, "Oh, come on." I didn't lose interest over 8 episodes of slow revelations. Stanley Tucci certainly energized the series when he appears, as a very intelligent American investigator working with Scotland Yard. His careful interrogation of suspects, including the sheriff, is a pleasure to watch.

And then, in episode 9, it all falls apart. After this point, the screenwriters must not have had as clear an idea for the plot, and instead depended on their audience's willingness to go along with all the hackneyed clichés of horror films. That's right, Fortitude swerves from mystery to horror, which would not have been a bad idea, had it been executed with any skill.

Instead, you get smart people suddenly behaving in inexplicably stupid ways. What was once gradual pacing turns glacial (sorry). Long scenes of various kinds of damage to human and animal bodies -- dissection, autopsy, stabbing, erupting pustules, you name it -- make me wonder, who on earth is enjoying this? And who on earth would plot and film gore in this level of detail? In one scene, a scientist confronted with what is clearly a lethal menace stays in the room with it, despite the risk of infection, and even leans in for a close look, his mouth open.

The last few episodes plod towards an obvious conclusion. Since there will be a second season, we know that (1) the terrible menace will not kill everyone, and (2) there's a good likelihood that some element of the terrible menace might survive. That trajectory should be short, not long.

If the story had stayed a mystery, it would have been a good one, probably ending in episode 8 or 9. If it had to be a horror story, it also could have been a good one, if the producers and writers had not thrown the script in the air and said, "Hell, let's just let people wander around, punching and stabbing and shooting each other. And since we have a CGI budget, we'd better us it somehow." There's a zombie-like element to the horror story, which felt like a cheap excuse to take the low road. (Not that zombie stories are ipso facto bad, but damn, there are sure a lot of lazily-written ones, whose faults the authors assume that zombie fans will overlook.)

Really a terrible disappointment, for someone who was willing to go, with no preconceptions, to where this series might have led.
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Starts well, ends poorly
wayneprice-396509 December 2018
First two seasons were really good and me and my partner loved the show. Third season was short and rushed and disappointing. There was enough going on in the storyline to make it a full 10-12 episode season, but they hurried and crammed it all into the fourth episode
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