2015, 2017, 2018, TV

Fortitude (2015)

So this is a hard show to review for me because we watched the first season a few years ago, we watched the second season maybe at the beginning of the pandemic and we just watched the abbreviated final season this week. My memory of both the first and second season has faded and it’s going to be hard to me to really put it all in context.

I’ve tried to avoid the spoilers that discussing the last two seasons in detail would necessitate.

I generally liked the show in its early going. It was really slowly paced and there was a sense of mystery where you really were wondering what the hell was going on. And then there is that particularly surprising turn late in the season. (And there are enough of those that you’re probably wondering which one I’m talking about.) I certainly had quibbles with some of the plot and some character motivations but, generally, I felt like it was a pretty unique TV show and I was interested if there would be more.

And then, a couple years later, there was more. So much more. And I’m not sure how much of it worked. If the show had never been renewed I might have given it a 7. But after the last two seasons, I really don’t know any more.

And that’s because things get progressively crazier. Like so many TV shows they felt the need to up the stakes. If memory serves, some of that worked in the second season but the third season is out and out crazy. Mercifully it’s short. Also, mercifully, it seems to at least be somewhat aware of how crazy things have gotten.

My quibble with this show, as it is with so many other TV shows, is not the acting, it’s the plot. Actually, to be fair, there are some other issues here in addition to plot: it feels like the island itself gets bigger each season, with more and more stuff, and with more and more people – it feels like the world expands though it physically cannot. But I’d likely forgive the weird continuity issues if the plot wasn’t so nuts. To me it feels like a lot of the appeal of the show in its early going is missing later because we know what is causing everything – whether or not it is believable – and so we’re just sort of waiting for things to play out in some way.

One thing I will say to their credit is they know how to do things unexpectedly. Even though I have huge issues with how the plot evolves I will say that they usually dispatch characters in ways you will never expect. That’s probably the best part of the show in the latter two seasons (and it’s something that’s true in the first): you neve know how someone is going to die. (And nearly nobody is safe. Nearly.)

I wish it hadn’t gotten so crazy, but I still enjoyed it more than some.


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