'Deadwind' Season 2 Review: 'Karppi' returns with drugs, murders, and an impeccably timely villain
Pihla Viitala continues to impress as the protagonist whose personal life gets increasingly demanding of all of her attention
Spoilers for season 2
Originally titled 'Karppi', the Finnish series 'Deadwind' continues to be a hidden treasure that deserves more accolades than any of your regular, long-running US procedurals. And that's coming from an avid admirer of the likes of Jethro Gibbs and Dwayne Pride for still managing to keep audiences hooked to their franchise after over a decade of the same old formula, twisted and turned to fit the pro-law authority narrative. Much like 'Marcella' or 'Bones', 'Deadwind' is headed by a female protagonist who does not need cheesy one-liners or loud proclamations of righteousness to assert her dominance in protecting her people. No, Sofia Karppi is far from mainstream garb like that. Vulnerable, flawed, and confused as she tackles the storm that is everyday parenting, Pihla Viitala's lead character keeps viewers hooked with how humane she is - something that becomes the highlight of her journey in season 2 of the crime thriller.
The plot kicks off with a double murder this time; there's no scorned spouse or jilted lover running the show in season 2. It's political agenda mingled with all things considered as toxic cop mentality as the core murderer turns out to be one of the men in uniform - somewhat fitting of the tumultuous times plaguing our great wide world. While one can't exactly point a finger on the specific details, in a lot of way, the narrative of season 2 might appeal to fans of the widely popular 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'. Perhaps it is in its nordic noir essence, or the chilling cinematography that parallels dark hues with landscapes in a way that one wouldn't quite expect in anything outside the genre, but it is the signature tropes season 2 follows that works to its greatest benefits.
Story-wise, things are way more convoluted than the debut season, which was co-written and directed by Rike Jokela. Local political revolutionary Sara Tulisuo (Leena Pöysti) wants to bring about a change in their town and building a tunnel is the core element of her plan. But as Sara immerses herself into fighting against climate change, she unknowingly falls prey to a grieving mother after a secret meeting on a ship goes wrong. Sara, in her attempt to hide her blind daughter's suicide attempt, lets the people aboard the ship believe that a young employee onboard has been murdered. A bunch of people help her in the cover-up and after falsely identifying the body and signing a death certificate; they all become this mother's target.
But wait, there's more: this mother isn't the only one going around killing people. When Sofia's superior and mentor Tapio Koskimäki (Raimo Grönberg) and his daughter Kerttu (Satu Tuuli Karhu) are murdered in their home, everybody assumes it is the grieving mother avenging her son's death, and they couldn't be more wrong. In the end, it is revealed that Koskimäki's boss Carl Sten (Pertti Sveholm) was going around targeting young drug dealers looking to make easy money, and Kerttu, unfortunately, fell under that category after a botched attempt at kidnapping her.
Don't let this simple structure deceive you, however. The story does get exceedingly long - by a solid two hours at least - with the way it pulls in easily avoidable twists and catalysts to keep the plot going. It's a little too slow as well, the kind that makes one want to watch the show at twice the original speed. But the magic of it all lies in the sheer contentment that comes from being right all along about Sten, from the moment we are introduced to Kerttu in the first episode and the camera lingers perhaps a little too suspiciously on the beefy cop.
Viitala continues to impress as the protagonist whose personal life gets increasingly demanding of all of her attention, with her teenage stepdaughter Henna (Mimosa Willamo) now out of home and dabbling in drug peddling, and her young son Emil (Noa Tola) turning into a violent child beating psychopath. It's interesting how despite focusing on the burning issue of young people getting into the business of drugs, season 2 also highlights the intensity and lengths a mother would go to protect her child. Be it the grieving, murdering Routa (Minna Haapkylä), or the conniving and vulturous Sara, or even Sofia herself trying to suppress Henna having murdered an actual drug mule - what it means to be a mother is constantly evaluated and explored in the 8-episode sophomore season and for that, the team of writers deserve due recognition.
For fans of Sofia and her work-partner Sakari Nurmi (Lauri Tilkanen) evolving into more than just platonic emergency contacts, there's a kiss in store and nothing more. Their relationship is nuanced and layered with this overbearing protective attitude towards each other and somehow still tip-toeing around the ticking time bomb that is the will they-won't they question. Humour doesn't easily find its way into the plot but that only makes things better. Exploring the arc of a single mother trying to do her best can often get quite stereotypical, fitting into a certain brand of feminism, but season 2 of 'Deadwind' manages to deliver a familiar narrative through unique perspectives; sort of like your favorite comfort food made better by improvisation.
'Deadwind' season 2 snow available for streaming on Netflix.