The Chestnut Man season 1, episode 3 recap – the case begins to take more of a toll

September 29, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 1
Netflix, TV Recaps


The case continues to tear families apart as Thulin and Hess do what they can to save the next potential victim.

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The case continues to tear families apart as Thulin and Hess do what they can to save the next potential victim.

This recap of The Chestnut Man season 1, episode 3 contains spoilers. You can check out our spoiler-free season review by clicking these words.

There are several stages of grief. But how is the process changed when you discover the possibility of your murdered daughter being alive? This is the situation Steen Hartung finds himself in. He’s reopening the investigation into Kristine’s murder in his office, leaving his son, Gustav, to starve in the other room. He’s becoming obsessed. And, even if it’s for the right — or at least understandable — reasons, that isn’t going to help him come to terms with the loss of his daughter. But if he hasn’t really lost his daughter… well. That’s a different story.

The Chestnut Man season 1, episode 3 recap

Following the discovery of the secret room beneath the shed at Laura’s house, forensics take some samples, and Hauge’s laptop reveals that he had been making illicit videos of Magnus for months, forcing him to strip on camera — and God knows what else — under threat of upsetting his mother. This could explain why Laura changed the locks, and potentially why the social services report was filed against her, but it could also reveal a connection between the victims. As well as Anne’s daughter, Sofia, having broken her nose and collarbone, similar blood traces were found in another room, but this time from the sister. Anne’s children were having more accidents than seems reasonable. Thulin and Hess interrogate her husband, who confesses to being abusive. He, too, had an anonymous social services report. A pattern is beginning to emerge.

The case is getting to everyone, though. It compels Thulin to stop seeing Sebastien, who takes the news really badly. (It also looks like a hooded figure, presumably the same one we saw recording the children singing about the chestnut man, is watching her apartment.) Steen says to Rosa that he’ll drop his personal investigation into Kristine’s death to protect Gustav, even though we know almost for certain that he won’t. You can’t imagine any of these dynamics are going to get any easier for anyone.

Thulin and Hess, recognizing clear similarities in the wording of the two social services reports, requisition a year’s worth of similar reports which weren’t acted upon. Any with the same wording could help to identify the next potential victim. Both of them pick out five reports that, while not identical, pertain to families who seem highly dysfunctional; cases where it seemed like social services got it wrong by not intervening. They narrow that down to two, and then to one, a report on Jessie Kvium, the 24-year-old single mother of Olivia, aged six. Jessie, as we see, is sleeping with a married man, and after her latest liaison with him, he shoves and slaps her, telling her to leave him alone. The police bring her in, and she downplays the report as jealous parents being bitchy, though does mention that she thought she was being followed at the mall. There are rumours that she’s an alcoholic and that there have been interventions at school, but is she really the next victim, or are the police barking up the wrong tree?

Either way, word gets out to the press of the potential link between the murders of Laura and Anne and Kristine Hartung, throwing his home life into further disarray. Things aren’t going well for Thulin, either. Le is acting out, complaining about her breaking up with Sebastien and never being home. When Hess calls to go over some things, he stays for dinner, and Le peppers him with questions until he reveals that his wife died in a fire at their old apartment. It’s a bit weird that Thulin doesn’t intervene and stop her daughter from asking incredibly personal questions of her new partner, but instead she hovers nearby and listens. I guess she wanted to know.

Anyway, the police put surveillance on Jessie and Olivia. Jessie is in on the potential sting, but everyone is distracted when Steen appears on television, speaking about Kristine possibly being alive. The waiting around allows these underlying themes of family to come to the surface a bit. We’re seeing how grief and desperation are tearing the Hartungs apart. And Thulin explains to Hess how the time away from Le is ruining their relationship, too. It’s hard to filter out the nightmares. But at the same time, it’s hard to know people are dying and you can do something to prevent that. Things heat up when a potential suspect is seen approaching Jessie’s door, but when the police take him down, it’s revealed to be Nikolaj, the married man Jessie was sleeping with. Someone recorded their latest encounter and sent him the videos, telling him to go to Jessie’s apartment or they’d be sent to his wife. It looks like Jessie, who is hiding out with Ricks in a cottage she borrows, is the next intended victim after all.

Outside that cottage, a car alarm starts up, which distracts Ricks enough that he misses the warning call from Thulin. Jessie, rather idiotically, goes outside to investigate. We see a chestnut man being left nearby, and when the police arrive, Jessie has been crucified, both hands and a foot missing.

You can stream The Chestnut Man season 1, episode 3 exclusively on Netflix.

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1 thought on “The Chestnut Man season 1, episode 3 recap – the case begins to take more of a toll

  • October 23, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    Who the hell wrote this? Some sentences make no sense since the characters have not been previously introduced. So many random jumps from one topic to the other.

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