The show’s penultimate episode delivers violence and metaphor aplenty, with a richly symbolic lead-in to what one hopes is a definitive conclusion.
This recap of the Nicolas Winding Refn Netflix series Copenhagen Cowboy Season 1 Episode 5, “Copenhagen”, contains spoilers.
Throughout these recaps, I’ve speculated about Miu. I’ve described her often as a kind of moral good in human form, sheer will in a tracksuit. But that uncomplicated description doesn’t quite fit a woman who will watch the light fade from a gangster’s eyes, even if he deserves it. There’s sadism in that, and sadism is not a quality of which most TV protagonists are possessed.
Copenhagen Cowboy Season 1 Episode 5 Recap
And yet here we are, in the complex moral conundrums of a Danish dreamscape, where a brutal gang war is one of the simplest, less macabre things that has happened, and where witchcraft might be at fault. Miroslav, given responsibility for Miu’s actions when she takes off with eight kilos of cocaine, suspects this might be the case. How else would one explain it? He obviously can’t say he’s in a Nicolas Winding Refn story, though that would probably suffice as an explanation.
But he might be onto something. Once again, through him, we get snippets of Miu’s backstory, from a flash-frozen infant, fatally nursing on the woman who claimed to be her mother, to the short-haired figure of revenge she has become, an omen of death or new beginnings for all who encounter her. It has the hazy, uncertain quality of old fables, passed on again and again, picking up new embellishments with each retelling. But it’s difficult to argue with the idea.
Miu is tasked by Mr. Chiang with killing a man. She does so easily. This is, again, not so much the actions of a story’s hero, but we’ve established already that Miu deliberately exists outside of those distinctions. It’s easy to believe everyone she has harmed has deserved it in some way, but I don’t think our job is to rationalize what we’re seeing here. I think, instead, we’re expected to ponder its implications, to grapple with the ideas of right and wrong and how they can exist within a world that’s light is refracted through the prism of artifice.
Nothing, and nobody, in this show, feels real. And that’s by design. The exaggerated performances and flat, spare writing are designed to evoke automatons play-acting a surreal neo-myth, deliberately distorted like the details of how Miu came to be. The outlier remains Nicklas, playing through his own horrific, pseudo-sexual rebirth, reclaiming his red manhood and plunging it through his mother’s seductive visage, claiming her blood. Oedipus would be proud, or at least a little wide-eyed.
You can stream Copenhagen Cowboy Season 1 Episode 5, “Copenhagen” exclusively on Netflix.
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