“Whispers of the Stars” links two murders to an icy conspiracy that quickly hits very close to home for Karppi and Nurmi.
This recap of Deadwind season 2, episode 1, “Whispers of the Stars”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous season by clicking these words.
There’s something ominous about a construction site in the darkness; the silhouettes of earth-movers loom over mounds like monsters rising from the swells of some awful landscape. The landscape in Deadwind season 2, episode 1 is frozen, as ever, and so is the corpse that Karppi finds in a storage locker. “Whispers of the Stars”, the episode’s title, refers to the air we breathe being turned to tinkling ice crystals at sub-zero temperatures.
The man suffocated in the storage room, which was too cold and dry to breathe in. He froze to death, essentially. There are signs of assault with a blunt object, possibly the barrel of a gun. He was tied up with cable ties, but not when he was found, and has a tattoo of a naval jack seen on Estonian ships. He might have been an Estonian sailor. Then again, he might not.
Karppi gives these brief details to Nurmi, who is returning to work — something she’s evidently happy about. She gets a call informing her that another blindfolded body has been found in Tallinn. That’s where they’re going next, in a rickety-looking helicopter that one imagines makes the 20-minute journey feel like a lifetime. We’re reminded again by “Whispers of the Stars” that this is a gorgeous-looking show. Upon arrival, Karppi and Nurmi walk past a gaudy billboard advertising the Helsinki-Tallinn Tunnel project, the world’s longest undersea rail tunnel which the Pro-Change Movement have promised to build should they win the election. This is discussed openly, so it might as well be called Chekhov’s Tunnel.
At the crime scene, Karppi and Nurmi are greeted by Anto Ots, who leads them to the body, handing from a bridge — same blindfold, same tattoo.
Elsewhere in “Whispers of the Stars”, Mayor Sara Tulisuo watches a blind girl skateboarding and is quick to tip some unpleasant onlookers on their heads for harassing her. The EU, she learns, is pumping 200 million euros into the tunnel project, keeping it going ahead despite rising costs. But we’re quickly introduced to the idea that Sara might be susceptible to blackmail, or simply vulnerable to damning information. Everyone is, of course, but this seems pretty specific.
At the station, Karppi meets Tapio’s daughter, Kerttu. When she leaves, Karppi presents a theory about the killer trying to say something with the cloth used as a blindfold, but Tapio is putting Nurmi and JP on it. Tapio has suggested Karppi as his replacement, a job she doesn’t want. But he’s off the homicide unit, all the same, leaving a vacancy.
Nurmi drives Karppi to a campsite used by Estonian temp workers; on the way, they discuss why she hasn’t applied for Tapio’s position — she doesn’t want to look after people — and downhill skiing, of all things, which amuses Nurmi since it’s so unlike her, activity-wise. At the site, they find a lone camper, empty apart from a dog. Inside they find a box of Subutex; a dealer must have been staying here.
Meanwhile, Henna drops off a stash in an abandoned, rusted train car, and runs into Jere, a dead-ringer for Zlatan Ibrahimovi? who invites her for food — and he’s paying. Tapio is also going to show his face at a party the Mayor is throwing in celebration of the tunnel project; he’s reluctant, but needs must.
Nurmi receives a call from Anto Ots, who has identified the Estonian victim as an electrician on ships who was working for a Finnish company, Kaartamo Nordic. That company is building a ship terminal for the construction of the Helsinki-Tallinn Tunnel. Nurmi refers back to a picture he took of a lanyard in the dealer’s camper van which has the initials KN. Following this lead, Nurmi finds the location where the Helsinki victim was presumably zip-tied; a stool, still with those zip-ties attached, and a pool of blood give it away, as does his nearby Kaartamo Nordic ID. A bloodstained photograph of Tapio, though, is more mysterious.
Nurmi calls, but Kerttu answers, since Tapio’s phone was too big for his suit pocket and he had to smarten up for the party at City Hall. He then calls Karppi, who is at home with Emil, discussing his acting out at school, and tells her that Jaan Laanest wasn’t working on a ship, but at the processing plant where he was found. He was held prisoner in the basement. Both victims were Estonians working as electricians on ship terminals for Kaartamo Nordic. Nurmi also tells her about the photograph of Koskimäki. She asks if he’ll pick her up.
Karppi and Nurmi race to the shindig, where Karppi asks Henri Kuusinen for Tapio’s location. He says he thinks he left already, maybe 15, 20 minutes ago. We see him arrive there and discover a neat circle cut out of the glass in his kitchen door. As he wanders through the house, he’s shot by an assassin with a silenced pistol. Karppi and Nurmi arrive and find him unconscious, but breathing. Outside, Nurmi chases a suspect through the woods, but they’re able to get away on a… pushbike, of all things. Tapio chokes out to Karppi that Kerttu is upstairs. Karppi heads up there and finds her dead — when she returns downstairs, Tapio is dead too, having written a message in his own blood, which is where Deadwind season 2, episode 1 comes to a chilling end.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.