Beforeigners

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Beforeigners
NorwegianFremvandrerne
GenreCrime drama
Sci-fi
Created byAnne Bjørnstad
Eilif Skodvin
Starring
Country of originNorway
Original language(s)Norwegian
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6
Release
Original networkHBO Nordic
Original release21 August 2019 (2019-08-21) – present

Beforeigners is a Norwegian six-part TV series that premiered on 21 August 2019. It is the first Norwegian-language series produced by HBO Europe. The series is created and written by Eilif Skodvin and Anne Bjørnstad and directed by Jens Lien. Beforeigners is produced by Rubicon TV AS. Series 1 sets the world and solves some problems, but leaves larger issues to be addressed in a hoped-for Season 2.

Plot[edit]

The series takes place in Oslo, where sudden flashes of light appear in the bay in Bjørvika. A large number of people from the past time periods suddenly have appeared in the present — people from the Stone Age, Viking Age and the 19th century.

A police officer, Lars, and his pregnant wife meet the first "time migrants" who speak Old Norse. Everyone is told "There's no going back..."

Nearly two decades later, the so-called "Beforeigners" struggle to integrate into modern Norwegian society. Some of the 19th Century individuals have found work as journalists, office workers, teachers, while most of the old Norse folk are homeless and sleep in parks. The Stone Agers live at the fringes and in the forest.

The refugees are perceived by modern Norwegians to be a drain on society, who believe government services are over-taxed and understaffed.

Lars Haaland now lives alone with his daughter Ingrid, 18, while his former wife lives as a proto-Victorian with a 19th Century husband. Lars is addicted to "time drops" and gets stoned every evening. He battles with his ex-wife about Ingrid because their daughter wants to go Russefeiring. Lars scrapes up the money, enraging his former wife.

A woman with Stone Age tattoos and rotten teeth is found dead on a beach.

Lars is put in charge of the investigation. He is partnered with a first-day cop, Alfhildr Enginnsdottir, a Viking-era "farmer's wife" from the 11th century. She is the first police officer with a "multi-temporal background", but is shunned as a Public Relations stunt and "B4 mascot." She uses moss for sanitary napkins. Also she drops a modern pistol that goes off, nicking Lars on the leg and destroying the coffee machine.

Alfhildr tracks down a Beforeigner who raped her at age 12 and beats him soundly. Lars threatens to report her for police brutality but backs down when she says she will report his time-drops addiction.

Since time migrants pop up in the bay, drownings are common. An autopsy reveals the woman was strangled, and has odd cross-hatches on her back. Lars and Alfhildr interview Norse folk from the same time migration. New migrants are held in a sealed compound until oriented for release and sedated with time-drop eye drops.

A Norse girl reports she saw a "green sea monster with glowing eyes" seize the dead woman. Alfhildr gets an artist's conception, which becomes a joke among the cops. Notably, a trawler was seen at the scene and one kind of trawler net is a green net with orange floats.

Alfhildr stumbles on a club, "The Mermaid", which features time migrant prostitutes. A search of trawl net sales points to Cro Magnon Security. The owner is a Stone Age businessman, Navn. He denies everything, then orders his men to yank his prostitutes from the club. When the club owner protests, Navn throttles him.

In a flashback, Alfhildr rides into a Sami village to see a shaman. She seeks a man, Tore Hund. The shaman reveals he journeyed "to the lake of a thousand lights", then passed on "to a faraway land where the houses rise like mountains". Alfhildr rides on.

Lars and Alfhildr chase the trawler and find a remote house full of time-migrant women. The women are sex slaves, scooped out of the bay and peddled in the sex club. Police rescue the women.

Meanwhile, most nights more time migrants pop up in the harbor. 13,000 every year. All need to be quarantined, processed, tested, analyzed.

But the arrests fail to solve the murder. The dead woman is not on any list, and video shows her swimming out to sea. Another autopsy reveals she's not a Prehistorian, but a poser. The cops turn to a new phenomenon: time-migrant "wannabes" who shed 21st identities, get tattoos and have fillings removed, then live as fake Beforeigners. Among them is Ada, who seems to be a 19th century farmer. But Ada hacks the police laptops and downloads the case files. Before long, Navn, out hunting, is tracked by a military drone and shot dead.

Off-duty, Alfhildr is summoned to a robbery, by name. She meets an old friend, Urd Sighvatsdottir, another former shield-maiden. Urd shows Alfhildr the "B4 community" where they carouse in mead bars and listen to skalds recite the old sagas. Before long, someone spots Tore Hund. Alfhildr and Urd approach Tore Hund, but he's "Tommy" with no memory of the past. They insist he's a great chieftain, who waged war against Olaf the Stout and slew him. Sorry, no idea. But soon Tore Hund is ambushed by Olaf's faithful. The attack triggers memories of burning crosses and sword fights, and Tore shouting "Death to the White Christ!" Destroying his attackers, Tore Hund seeks out his shield-maidens for answers.

Lars' addiction is getting worse, with him time-dropping during the day. Alfhildr isn't doing much better, drinking with buddies by night and hungover by day. Her best friend Urd has cancer and refuses treatment. She takes a booty call with a Harbor Cop. But after sex, he plucks one of her hairs. As evidence? For DNA?

Urd visits a "drop-in shaman". Urd must "find her way out of the maze by following a dog".

Ingrid and friends are Russefeiring and attempt a stunt for a fake time-migration. One girl stole some of Lars' time-drops. Maddie dresses in Norse clothes and jumps in the bay—just as a time flash disgorges more migrants. Maddie is suddenly older, with rotten teeth and visions of the past. The girls are quarantined. Maddie suffers an identity crisis and begins praying devoutly.

Alfhildr is assigned to find where Navn was gunned down. She enlists Urd and other Beforeigners to search the forest. An old Sami finds the murder site. Bullet casings came from a military drone. The Police Captain admits the government tested attack drones to kill Beforeigners, and one drone was stolen. Only 10 people in Norway could control it. A search reveals Ada, now a 19th Century devotee, was a soldier trained in drones. Suffering PTSD, she joined a cult in the country. Ada flees Oslo to the cult, which is run by The Doctorard, a visionary from the 19th century sent to "cleanse modern society of their dependence on things".

News feeds are rife with social ills and Beforeigner vandalism. They deface churches dedicated to Saint Olaf: Olaf the Stout. Christians counter by harassing Tore Hund, slayer of Olaf the Stout. "Neo-Luddites" sabotage world clocks, sowing chaos. A new batch of time migrants undergo orientation about diversity, religious tolerance, and gay rights. A big Christian Viking objects to modern "sinning". Seized with a vision, he contacts Maddie.

Lars is perpetually stoned, and called out his daughter and ex-wife. Lars is visited by a disciple of Odin who helps him interpret clues. One clue are numbers mumbled by Maddie: GPS coordinates to a time-hole in the bay. Alfhildr gets in a car accident, and the car is searched, time-drops found. As a former time-migrant, she's accused of addiction. Lars comes home to an intervention: video shows him talking to a non-existent disciple of Odin, a man who died two years ago. Friends and family force him to get clean. Lars confesses his addiction to the Police Captain and resigns.

Alfhildr is stuck with the murder investigation. But Lars presses on, sifting clues with the help of the ghost Odin disciple. The Harbor Cops' schedule doesn't match events. The Harbor Cop who befriended Alfhildr has bite marks. Alfhildr donates "man seed" from her sexual encounter. Harbor Cop's DNA is found in the murder victim's teeth. Two Harbor Cops conspired with Cro Magnon Security to scoop up time-migrant women for prostitution. The murdered woman went undercover to investigate, was caught, and strangled. The case is solved!

The Police Department celebrates. The "B4 Mascot" is a PR victory. But Lars points out bigger fish are still at large. Who ordered the dead woman to go undercover? Who ordered Navn murdered by a drone, then framed Ada, who's disappeared? Rumors persist the government invented the time-holes and is experimenting on migrants, and they insist "there's no going back", which is untrue. So many questions - that have to wait.

Tore Hund is offered a chance "to lead again" and embraces his Viking Chief past. At a celebration, while dancing, a Christian rushes in with a pistol to shoot Tore. Urd jumps in the way and takes six bullets. Alfhildr weeps as Urd sinks. "The shield-maiden's still got it, eh? See you in Valhalla."

Tore Hund consoles Alfhildr, but recalls something else. Back in Viking times, in a flashback, Alfhildr was fished out of the water as a toddler, wearing a float vest! She is christened Alfhildr Enginnsdottir ("No Man's Daughter"). She's a reverse time-migrant from the 21st century! That night she drinks in a bar, morose and mourning. Lars joins her. He's no longer a cop: "I don't know what I am anymore." She replies, "You're not the only one." They drink and dance to forget their woes.

Epilogue: Maddie journeys to an ancient church and digs up a sword and crucifix. The big Christian Viking rides up on a horse to collect his tools and her. "I forget how tall you were." He replies, "I wasn't called Olaf the Stout for nothing." The viking was Olaf II of Norway.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

After creating the show Lilyhammer Anne Bjørnstad and Eilif Skodvin decided to explore science fiction ideas. Eilif suggested the core concept "what if refugees arrived not from a different location but from different times" and then they built a crime story around the concept, with two main characters Lars and Alfhildr decided early on. The creators were inspired by series like True Love, District 9, and the story was influenced by The Leftovers and sci-fi classics such as Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four.[1]

Finnish actress Krista Kosonen did not understand Norwegian and had to learn the language, as well as Old Norse, for the role.[1]

Filming took place in Oslo and Lithuania.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Pham, Annika (23 August 2019). "'Beforeigners" Anne Bjornstad on HBO's First Norwegian Original Series". Variety.

External links[edit]