Borgen — Power & Glory season 1, episode 8 recap – the ending explained

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 2, 2022
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Borgen -- Power & Glory season 1, episode 8 recap - the ending explained


“Mother of the Sea” is a great finale, paying off the season’s drama in a poignant way while also suggesting a big future for Birgitte — perhaps still on Netflix?

This recap of Borgen — Power & Glory season 1, episode 8, “Mother of the Sea”, contains spoilers, including a discussion of the Borgen — Power & Glory ending. You can check out our spoiler-free season review by clicking these words.

Power — that’s what it all comes down to, isn’t it? It’s right there in the title, after all, though glory is a trickier thing to attain. These are the concepts that Birgitte must weigh against each other in “Mother of the Sea”, a poignant finale that steers all the season’s lingering subplots to a big conclusion while also suggesting that, just maybe, one could have both power and glory. But it’ll require some finesse.

Borgen — Power & Glory season 1, episode 8 recap

Admittedly, things aren’t looking good initially. Birgitte’s leadership of the New Democrats is being contested, a multinational agreement for Greenland’s oil has been drawn up and is about to be signed despite nobody seeming to like it, and career keeps getting in the way of family. This applies to Katrine as much as it does to Birgitte. She spends almost all of this finale crying, lashing out at the kids, and hiding from her professional responsibilities. And who can blame her?

When you think about it, this is the same kind of arc that Birgitte herself goes through here, she’s just a bit more up-front about it. But before she can change she has to be reminded of who she has become. And that begins when she attends a televised political debate with Magnus, whose ideas she absolutely tears to pieces in front of the country. It’s hilarious, on the face of it, and a big example of why Borgen has worked so well as a reboot, since it gets right to the heart of the ideological chasm between generations. But it’s also quietly tragic. This is a mother humiliating her own son on national television to make herself look and feel better.

Naturally, the appearance doesn’t go over well. And it’s still on Birgitte’s mind when she arrives in Greenland as part of a goodwill gesture to sign the agreement between Denmark, Greenland, and China. It’s Hans who vocalizes the obvious — that Demark wants to deny Greenland’s independence so it can be used as a bargaining chip with the U.S. — and Birgitte who sums up politics in a nutshell with this line: “I know. Everyone knows. We just don’t talk about it.”

And there we have it.

But her guilt over humiliating Magnus, and a mandatory tour of Greenland’s natural beauty with a whaler who laments the receding icecaps and having sold prosperity for a swanky new boat, begin to stir something in Birgitte. The titular “Mother of the Sea” is, apparently, in charge of whale hunting, which hasn’t been as prosperous lately — perhaps as retaliation against greed. And that’s what it all boils down to in the end. Everything Birgitte has done thus far, every decision she has made has been about keeping her job. But at what cost?

Borgen — Power & Glory ending

You know a change is coming when Birgitte symbolically buries the dead mole in her garden which, at the top of the episode, she frustratedly kicked aside. At the contested New Democrats election, she has a choice to make. She can either fight tooth and nail to retain her position, or she can accept defeat and potentially rediscover herself.

It takes a while for Birgitte to choose, or at least for us, the audience, to know what she has chosen. A major turning point comes when Bent Sejro takes the floor, ostensibly to speak on Birgitte’s behalf, and instead denounces her, pledging his vote for Jon Berthelsen instead. In response, Birgitte can attack his credibility, claiming that his dementia treatment is clouding his judgment. But she doesn’t. Instead, she finally finds a way to renege on the oil deal. The Arctic ecology is a complex, fragile thing, after all. A humble water flea might seem unimportant, but it’s food for something. And without it, that thing will die. And so the cycle will continue until the cost of the deal has to be weighed against the damage it has wrought upon nature.

Birgitte announces that the government is no longer supporting the deal in a speech, during which she also announces that she’s stepping down as leader of the New Democrats and implores everyone to vote for Berthelsen. It’s a great, big moment. And in it, Birgitte is able to redeem herself in the eyes of those who love her and have lamented how she has changed, including Magnus and Bent. She seems to be leaving politics for good.

But she isn’t. Instead, she’s heading to Brussells as an EU commissioner. She doesn’t think anyone there will like her, and she might be right. But at least it’ll be for good reasons.

You can stream Borgen — Power & Glory season 1, episode 8, “Mother of the Sea” exclusively on Netflix. Do you have any thoughts on the Borgen — Power & Glory ending? Let us know in the comments below.

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