The Chestnut Man season 1, episode 2 recap – another victim is claimed

September 29, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Netflix, TV Recaps


The Chestnut Man claims another victim in a pacey episode that builds to a chilling conclusion.

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The Chestnut Man claims another victim in a pacey episode that builds to a chilling conclusion.

This recap of The Chestnut Man season 1, episode 2 contains spoilers. You can check out our spoiler-free season review by clicking these words.

Hess has the right idea. A show like The Chestnut Man doesn’t suggest a possible connection between two cases if there isn’t one, so despite the protestations of Thulin and his new boss, Nylander, he’s adamant about getting access to the Hartung case. As The Chestnut Man episode 2 opens, he listens grimly to the confession of Kristine Hartung’s supposed killer, a man named Linus Bekker who claims to have hacked her to pieces with a machete. But if that’s true, how were her fingerprints found on a deliberately placed chestnut man at a crime scene a year later? Something’s amiss, and Hess knows it. We all do.

And it seems like there will be another victim before long. Anne, a woman who evacuates her family from their home for thus-far unclear reasons, finds another of those chestnut men on her dresser, and you know what that means.

The Chestnut Man season 1, episode 2 recap

On Monday, October 12, Thulin interviews Laura’s partner, Hauge, who doesn’t have a solid alibi. Laura had the locks changed without his knowledge, which suggests that perhaps she wanted to end their relationship, but the evidence just isn’t there to keep him in custody, let alone charge him. In a closing gambit, Thulin shows him a picture of the Chestnut Man, but he claims — and displays — no knowledge of it. Being the most obvious suspect in a Nordic Noir is almost a guarantee of innocence. But beyond Hauge, Thulin is out of ideas. Luckily, Hess isn’t.

Hess’s idea is to hack up a dead pig with a machete to prove a theory — the analysis of Linus Bekker’s machete revealed Kristine’s blood, but not her bone dust, which would have surely been present had he actually used it to cut her up. He couldn’t identify where he buried the body parts, either. When a message is received by Laura’s mobile phone, an eerie recording of local children singing about the chestnut man, it becomes more obvious than ever that the link between the cases is very real, and is only going to become more pronounced.

Steen seems to have realized this too. After making plans with Gustav, he stops one of Kristine’s friends, Mathilde, and asks her about the chestnut men they made and sold. But she reveals something interesting. They didn’t make any last year, the year of Kristine’s death. They thought it was too childish. If the killer bought one, it must have been the year before. At the same time, as Rosa leaves the parliament building, she finds her car has been daubed with the word “Murderer”. Whatever’s going on here, the Hartung’s are very much involved. Steen knows it, and won’t let it go, even if Rosa seems content to dismiss the idea.

The audio file sent to Laura’s phone is traced back to a man who denies all knowledge of it but has a phone full of pictures of random women. He also has a package from Laura that he claims he was directed to pick up by a random message. It contains her bloody severed hand. Suddenly, the location of his wife seems of paramount importance, and his wife seems to be Anne, from the cold open. It’s all coming together.

As the police race towards Anne’s house, she notices some kind of disturbance in the building. By the time they arrive, Thulin finds the house in disarray — including the chestnut man — but Anne missing. Scenes of her fleeing through the woods are spliced with those of the police trudging through sometime later, on her trail. Eventually, Thulin finds her dead, hanging upside-down from a tree, both hands removed. There is, obviously, a chestnut man nearby.

As of now, the only thing that connects the two victims is the chestnut men. Kristine’s fingerprints are on both. Hess is adamant about reopening the Hartung case, and it’s hard to disagree with him at this point, despite the obvious uproar of re-investigating a sitting parliamentary minister after so many resources were expended in closing the case in the first place. But Hess’s speculations make sense, as does his insistence that there will be more murders. The first victim had one hand severed, the second two. A chestnut man has no arms and no feet, so it isn’t hard to figure out how this might develop.

Anne’s husband was an adulterer, but probably not a murderer. He doesn’t know why Anne packed up all her kids’ things and shipped them off before she was murdered. But he does know why there was dried blood on the floor of the home — a few months ago, their eldest daughter, Sofia, fell and broke her nose and clavicle. She was sent to the same hospital where Laura’s son, Magnus, was treated. The consultant who treated both of them suggests neither the children nor their parents knew each other. Thulin suggests he might have been sleeping with both mothers since he’s the only common denominator between them. Realizing he’s a suspect, he begins to open up a bit more, revealing that he knew Laura quite well because of how long Magnus had been in treatment for his autism. Suddenly, though, they stopped coming in after an anonymous report was filed with social services claiming that she was neglecting her son.

In the meantime, Nylander goes to fill Rosa and Steen in on the latest, framing the fingerprints on the chestnut men as a form of malicious harassment directed at Rosa, which ties in with the threats she’s receiving at work (which she didn’t tell her husband about). It’s Steen who raises the obvious — if Kristine’s fingerprints are being found today, doesn’t that mean she might be alive? Nylander claims not, since fingerprints can last for years, but it’s a reasonable question. There’s obviously a connection between the murders and the threats Rosa is receiving, whether she wants to downplay them or not. Obviously inspired, at home, Steen digs out all the newspaper stories and other paraphernalia associated with Kristine’s murder, which he obviously accumulated.

Thulin and Hess recover the anonymous social services report filed against Laura, which refers to her as a “w***e” and claims that evidence of the abuse can be found in her home. That’s where they go next. Thulin canvasses the neighbors while Hess pokes around inside. When she’s finished, Hess tells her to go home and attend her “son’s” Halloween party, but she calls in the license plate of a suspicious vehicle parked outside the house before she leaves. Inside, Hess lays on Magnus’s bed, looking at his posters of the solar system. Behind one, he finds drawings of a house falling gradually into disrepair, a monstrous black stain growing underneath the shed outside. Hess looks inside the real building, and finds a grate beneath his feet, hiding a room beneath. It contains a little desk, a bed, children’s toys, a video camera… and a man, hiding. He jumps Hess and beats him, grabbing the evidence and locking him inside. But Thulin, whom Hess had tipped off, catches him in the act. It’s Hauge. He’s able to flee in the subsequent commotion, but he leaves the laptop he was trying to run away with behind.

You can stream The Chestnut Man season 1, episode 2 exclusively on Netflix.

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