The third and final season of Occupied, the Norwegian political thriller series that got Russia all riled up, has arrived, and it is awesome.
Which opens in the aftermath of the assassination that closed Season 2.
The occupation is over. Russian forces have withdrawn from Norway, owing to the peace agreement with the EU. But more than a hundred thousand Russians are still living and working in Norway, and nationalistic Norwegians want them gone from their country, too.
Since the assassination, Norway has been without a functioning government, and Jesper Berg (Henrik Mestad, Conspiracy of Silence, Norsemen) is tasked with forming a new government in advance of the general election. While he campaigns to be prime minister once again, the anti-fossil fuel Jesper must uphold Norway’s part of the peace agreement and resume the country’s oil and gas production.
Except the start of production at a gas terminal ends with an explosion, which kills a number of people and prompts the EU to put its peace-keeping forces in Norway. It also spurs Jesper to put in motion a plan that has far-reaching consequences for tens of thousands of people within and without Norway’s borders.
Part of the team tasked with implementing Jesper’s drastic plan is Hilde Djupvik (Selome Emnetu, Mammon), a senior member of Norway’s Justice Department and wife of the country’s Security Service chief, Hans Martin Djupvik (Eldar Skar, Mammon). As she assists those who’ve been attacked by anti-Russian activists, and subsequently gets involved in the campaign of Jesper’s political opponent, Hilde has no idea about the peril she has put herself and her family in — until she herself becomes a target. Of multiple parties.
Elsewhere in Oslo, Irina Sidorova (Ingeborga Dapkunaite, Wallander) learns she’s been relieved of her duties as the Russian ambassador to Norway. Now she and her pregnant girlfriend, Lyubov Sorokina (Darya Ekamasova, The Americans), must return to Moscow, despite their desire to stay in Norway to raise their child. But after Lyubov demonstrates a serious lapse in judgment, the now-powerless and desperate Irina is forced to be a pawn for the Russian government. Lyubov, too, without realizing it.
One person in Moscow of her own free will is Norwegian entrepreneur Bente Norum (Ane Dahl Torp, Home Ground). She has two objectives for her new life in Russia: to reconnect with her former lover, Nikolaj (Alexej Manvelov, Before We Die), and to become a partner in a posh restaurant owned by a wealthy (and dangerous) Russian businessman. But Bente’s ambitions come at a price that people she loves will pay.
Meanwhile, back in Norway, Bente and many others — Norwegians and Russians alike — become targets of a hate-filled campaign that grows swiftly and violently in this age of social media hashtag activism.
So much of Occupied: Season 3 reflects current events in the US and Europe as well as globally that it would be tough to watch it without concurrently mapping new headlines — from immigration and climate change, to negative campaigning and foreign government interference in elections — onto the show’s storylines.
But even for folks who eschew the news, this last season of Occupied is still a binge-worthy watch. For one thing, it takes us through the final phases of Jesper Berg’s transformation. He went from being the tormented, honorable leader of an occupied Norway in Season 1, to the exiled freedom fighter and then desperate politico in Season 2; Season 3 finds him becoming fully immersed in being a demonstrably wicked and devious liar, backstabber and manipulator, all before he reverts back to being a man with a conscience and a cause.
There’s more besides, including Irina’s comeuppance of sorts, Bente’s business and personal dramas, and the complete overturning of Hilde’s world.
Occupied: Season 3 has been streaming in the US (as well as the UK and other territories) exclusively on Netflix since December 31. Go check it out!
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