Fortitude is one of those shows where, once you’ve watched it, you try to get everyone you know to watch it too if only to watch their faces twist in horror. Our Scottish friend Alyssia showed me, I showed Diana, we showed half our friends. It’s become a creepy, polar bear infested fixture in our lives.
I’ll avoid spoiling too many details – like most mystery or horror shows, knowing the surprises ahead of time takes away half of the fun. But if you haven’t watched this, (and considering it’s a series on Sky Atlantic, you probably haven’t) go find it now. We’ll save you some trouble, it’s free to watch if you have Amazon Prime. It’s like a darker, creepier version of Twin Peaks – a murder occurs in a town filled with secrets, and as the secrets collapse into each other the mysteries deepen, the gore and horror begins. Oh, and in the opening shot someone’s eaten by a polar bear. What’s not to love?
The entirety of the show takes place in the fictional town of Fortitude. It’s the globe’s northernmost town and it’s populated not by locals, but by a mix of people from different countries. Even so, the characters seem to take on Fortitude’s own strange nationality. Everyone seems characterized by their own unique brand of loneliness, uniting them as Fortitude’s population. Though throughout the show, they don’t seem all that united. While the audience is attempting to solve the mystery—dark, murderous, and potentially supernatural—at the show’s core, the struggles between characters—unrelated to the mystery—remind us of their humanity.
Fortitude was filmed in Iceland, a country we’ve been desperate to visit, but we probably won’t be venturing out to Fortitude… Still, one of the show’s strengths is the filming itself. It’s filled with beautiful shots across desolate landscapes of ice and snow, in which our cast seem oh so small. While they might seem small, giants populate this cast. Michael Gambon and Stanley Tucci are both regulars on Fortitude, showcasing the best of their acting chops.
Don’t marathon it if you’re easily creeped out. The gore and guts start out light, but get increasingly grosser as the series progresses. All in all, it’s a show that kept us on our toes through every new reveal. It could easily have been self-contained in this one series, but a little birdy told us there will be another soon to come. And we can say that without a doubt, we’ll be watching it.