The identity of the killer is revealed, or at least we think, but the story is far from over.
This recap of The Chestnut Man season 1, episode 5 contains spoilers. You can check out our spoiler-free season review by clicking these words.
For the first time since the opening of the first episode, we return to 1987, to what one must assume is the origins of the Chestnut Man. Remember Astrid, the girl that was discovered by the ill-fated police officer Marius? Well, she and her twin brother, Toke, are in the opening of The Chestnut Man episode 5, being adopted by the same family who took in Rosa — and I’m not sure Rosa seems all that happy about it. They’re making chestnut men in the garden when the parents break the news that the twins will be staying full-time, them having been through a lot. So, we have a history of childhood trauma, of adoption, of chestnut men. It’s all coming together, one way or another.
The Chestnut Man season 1, episode 5 recap
If Rosa’s adopted sister was taken by the original Chestnut Man, then she has to know more about the significance of those items being left at the scenes of these crimes than she’s letting on in the present day. It’s just another indicator that Hess is right and that the rest of the police force is wrong. But, it’s Thulin’s last day in homicide, so she’s willing to sweep it all under the rug, move to cybercrimes, and reconnect with Le.
Even Hess seems to have let the whole thing go, somewhat, though possibly for different reasons. The walls of his apartment are clear now, and he’s ready to sell it as soon as possible. He has a new posting in Bucharest, which is where he’s going next. Thulin tells him Hauge has been arrested. Everything seems to be drawing to a close.
Except it isn’t, since Hess is forwarded an email containing a list of Linus Bekker’s most looked-at crimes, as requested after their meeting with him. One of them is the farm massacre we witnessed in the cold open of the first episode, the scene littered with chestnut men. Fittingly, and symbolically, Thulin is at a Halloween show at Le’s school, which is about chestnuts, and their differing types. It reminds her that she hasn’t finished yet. She still has a case to close. Once more, she says goodbye to Le.
With Rosa being told to take the next three months off work, she and Steen get to work finally clearing out Kristine’s room. While they’re busy, though, Steen disappears, and when Rosa returns upstairs, she finds a family of chestnut men, stood in a circle, holding hands. She immediately heads to work to pull up the register of removals and foster cases with Liv, even though Frederik tries to stop her. Meanwhile, Thulin goes to see Genz to ask him about the reports on the chestnuts, which reveals the ones left at the crime scenes are not the same ones found in the Hartung garden — they can’t be the same ones that Kristine was selling.
Hess delves deeper into the death of Marius, the officer who investigated the Orum farm. The theory is that the farm wasn’t doing so well, so the family started to take in foster kids, since each one came with a cheque. Apparently, Orum and his wife weren’t exactly qualified for that, weren’t particularly family-oriented despite having their own teenage kids, but the farm was a good selling point. Orum’s wife was found dead in the bathtub; Marius in the basement. Orum was found in a quarry, having shot himself with his own shotgun. His two teenage kids and a pig had been shot with the same weapon. The foster kids, Toke and Astrid, had been kept in a dungeon. Orum’s wife had filmed him abusing them. They locked the boy in the room and told him to make chestnut men, which he did. The basement was full of them. Toke has just become the prime suspect.
Meanwhile, Rosa is frantically looking for the details of her own past, having been fostered alongside Toke and Astrid by Paul and Kirsten Petersen. They weren’t in the same place for long, though. After being with her they were sent elsewhere, presumably to the Orum farm. Shortly after, Rosa gets a message telling her to meet the sender if she wants to know what happened to her daughter. Hess learns from the records that the Petersons rejected Toke and Astrid after the first couple of months. The latter is still alive now, having been in and out of psychiatric facilities, but Toke has been a ghost and had no registered address since he turned 18. Rosa’s name also comes up.
Steen has also turned to the bottle. He has been handing out flyers to people, still trying to track down Kristine, but he’s so drunk he doesn’t realize he’s visiting the same addresses more than once. When he gets home, Gustav tells him that the front door was wide open and Rosa isn’t there and shows him the circle of chestnut men he found in the living room. As Rosa drives to the meeting spot, she has flashbacks to being a youngster once again, and it becomes clear that she falsely accused Toke of abusing her, perhaps out of jealousy of him and Astrid. On the back of this, Paul and Kirsten moved the twins on. This makes sense since Toke overheard Rosa’s accusations. In his mind, she personally condemned him to the fate he endured at the Orum farm. At the same time, Hess meets with the sister of the officer who worked the farm case at the time, since he mentioned that her children went to school with the twins. On her wall, there’s a picture of them all as children, including Toke, and Hess recognizes him immediately. It’s Genz.
Hess tips Nylander off, but Genz is nowhere to be found. He’s out with Thulin, looking for the specific chestnut varieties used in the murders. On the way back, in the car, he starts arguing with her about how good of a mother she’s being to Le but accidentally let’s slip Aksel’s name, which she has never told him. Is he teeing Thulin up as the next victim? Is she neglecting Le enough that she has made his hit list?