Young Wallander season 1, episode 2 recap – a run of bad luck

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: September 3, 2020 (Last updated: December 5, 2023)
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Young Wallander season 1, episode 2 recap


Wallander’s bad luck continues as the case takes him to a seedy nightclub and puts him right in the middle of an international arms-smuggling operation.

This recap of Young Wallander season 1, episode 2 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

Check out our spoiler-free season review.

Young Wallander episode 2 opens with Wallander waking up in the hospital, having survived the stabbing that closed the premiere (probably just as well — how would he become Kenneth Branagh otherwise?). He lets Hemberg know that his attacker was Hugo’s killer. In the hospital, he runs into Jasmine, who tells him that Reza is in intensive care. So, that’s something else for Wallander to feel guilty about.

Then again, he’s got a promotion to busy himself with. Now a part of Major Crimes, Wallander presents to Hemberg in plain clothes and recounts the stabbing. He also says that Reza is in intensive care because of him; Hemberg says the job is all about tough choices. He also won’t let Wallander recuse himself from the case after being attacked by a suspect, basically telling him to lie to the internal investigators so the case gets dropped. “Sometimes rules need bending for the greater good.” Quite.

You’ll note that the show has made this point at least three times in slightly different ways now. Needless to say, when Wallander speaks to the investigators, he lies and gives them a fake description. Free to conduct the investigation, he’s advised by Hemberg to return to where he first saw the man in black in the hope it’ll jog his memory. It does. The perp was leaving a church, and when he arrives Wallander spots Gustav Munck (Alan Emrys), the billionaire from the news in the previous episode, and the pretty woman who called him a fascist pig. Her name is Mona (Ellise Chappell), and she runs the clandestine operation to protect illegal immigrants. Naturally, she assumes that Wallander is just trying to pin the blame for something on an immigrant, but she musters some sympathy for him when she spots him bleeding, and even more so when he espouses a pretty pro-immigrant view. He tells her she can call him any time at the station.

Wallander reports all this — not the Mona stuff, though — to Hemberg, who next tasks him with interrogating Ibra, who has clammed up and is much more likely to speak to someone he knows. He still won’t give anything away, but Wallander is at least able to frame things in a more personal perspective, letting him know that whatever he was up to that he doesn’t want to talk about isn’t worth all this, and the ramifications for his future if the matter goes to trial with him as the suspect.

After a brief visit to Reza, Wallander returns home, where he attempts to translate the note he had upon waking up in the hospital, but Google doesn’t recognize the language. There’s little traction in the case, so Hemberg takes Wallander to see Hugo’s parents, who he thinks are hiding something. Their story doesn’t add up since they claim Hugo wouldn’t go out on his own but there are no signs of abduction. The dad’s adamant that their son was ambitious and disciplined, and unashamed about his immigrant stance. “Something is wrong with our democracy when even free speech is under attack,” says Wallander, which gets the father on-side enough to show Wallander Hugo’s room, leaving Hemberg with the much less imposing mother. She tells Hemberg that Hugo snuck out that night, which she kept from his father since she felt he pushed him too hard. You can believe it — in Hugo’s room, he asks Wallander if his son was brave at the end, and insists that pity is for the weak when Wallander tries to swerve the question.

Next on the agenda in Young Wallander episode 2 is Hugo’s football coach. They’re there to speak to Hugo’s best friend, Isaac. He has an eyebrow piercing and an ink stamp of a wire cube on his wrist — there’s a nightclub called The Cube, according to Wallander: “It’s what they call subversive.” That’s where Hugo was, with Isaac for a while, but then alone. “He liked disappearing in that place.” I’ll bet.

Things aren’t going well for Wallander, really. Ibra’s mother is being questioned again, and Reza is still in intensive care. At the hospital, he runs into Jasmine, who has learned from the report that he abandoned Reza and is naturally pretty angry about it. She refuses to accept Wallander’s explanations, but she does translate his note for him. It means, “No choice,” as in “I had no choice.” “Now you can make excuses in two languages,” is her parting burn. Ouch.

Ibra looks even guiltier after his mother’s follow-up interview, during which she breaks down and gives away the fact that the alibi she gave Ibra was false and he’s hiding something. Hemberg and Wallander are next summoned to meet with the police commissioner in the middle of nowhere, who informs them that searching for the serial number of the grenade used in Hugo’s killing flipped a switch on a long-running case involving an import-export route from the former Yugoslavia directly into Malmö. Weapons, amongst other things, are transported along that route. The grenade was part of a shipment that was intercepted; another shipment is about to arrive containing a metric ton of Composition-4. Hemberg wants the case — it has to be swift, decisive, and by the book. The C4 has to be found and seized.

Wallander and Hemberg take this intel back to Rask. The operation is being run by The Dodo, a former Bosnian soldier who now runs a cocaine and weapons business protected by layers of legitimate businesses. Hemberg wants to ruffle Dodo’s feathers, which he and Wallander leave to do. He’s at a swanky bar. Once they get there, Hemberg receives Hugo’s toxicology report, which reveals on the night he died he was loaded with ketamine and GHB. Looks like the ketamine was recreational and he was spiked by the GHB — that means whoever dealt him the ketamine will have been one of the last people to see him alive. Wallander’s going to The Cube to investigate.

There, Wallander runs into Bash, who leads him into a less savory part of the place where people dance in cages and snort lines off prostrate bodies. Wallander lets him know that Ibra is sacrificing his future to protect his code of silence, and changes the arrangement they made — if Ibra goes down, Bash is going with him. Wallander reckons the police will believe Bash since people like him never talk. As Wallander is leaving, he’s assaulted, meaning his run of bad luck looks set to continue for a while yet.

Thanks for reading our recap of Young Wallander season 1, episode 2.

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