A Norwegian offering, Beforeigners is different, very different. Put Sherlock Holmes into time travel with Vikings and prehistorics from One Million Years B.C. into present day Oslo and it still doesn’t accurately describe the drama. But that gives you an idea of the complexity of the plot. And, there are plots and subplots aplenty in this six-part series in HBO Max. Set against the Oslo Opera House, the Beforeigners emerge from the waters in a gorgeous spot.
In the early 2000’s, time travelers from The Stone Age, The Norse era, and the 1800’s began to wash ashore around the globe. Speaking in old tongues, Psych Emergency Services get the call. Years later, assimilation is the aim, but met with both difficulty and resistance. By 2018, annual arrivals number thirteen thousand just in Oslo. Mostly, the prehistorics live in the wild, the Norse are homeless, and the 19th Century folk get menial or clerk jobs. Alfhildr is the exception. A former shield-maiden, today is her first day as a cop. It will not go as expected. I give Beforeigners 4.0 Gavels and it receives a 7.8/10 IMDb score.
A body of a prehistoric female is found on water’s edge. An autopsy confirms a murder. Accused of insensitivity of violence towards Beforeigners, the chief of detectives assigns newcomer Alfhildr to work with Lars Haaland. Soon, the investigation points to sex trafficking. Drug usage by Lars, and old and new feuds involving Alfhildr hinder the investigation. Moreover, what is a crime thriller without a government conspiracy or two? Let’s also add some teenage rebellion and the killing of a Norwegian saint.
Nominated for Best Actress in a Swedish series is Krista Kosonen. From protector and lover of the killer of Olaf the Stout, Alfhildr is one tough gal, even as she tries to learn the mores of modern day Norway. As Lars, Nicolai Broch struggles with temproxate, an eye drop used to calm arriving Beforeigners. An injury led to his addiction. Initially dismissive of Alfhildr, he finds her to be an exceptional partner.
Besides having trouble learning modern day Norwegian, many Beforeigners remain tethered to the past. In particular, prehistoric Navn, disdains clothing. Read that lots of full frontal nudity. Some moderns, distrustful of technology, emulate those of yesteryear. The mix of cultures never fails to surprise.
“Though structured as a crime drama, the show has a wonderfully dry sense of humor, and there’s something intriguing in the idea of people from different eras jostled together, some adapting better than others.” “Do I wish there was more time spent with time-igrants when they first arrive and then gradually adapt to their new surroundings? And learn an entirely new way of being? And come to grips with all our modern gadgets and technology and cultural norms? Yes, yes, yes. What is that process like? Is the brain really malleable enough to adapt without shutting down entirely, at least in the early going?” The Chicago Tribune
Don’t miss Alfhildr quoting Bruce Springsteen and Oprah Winfrey. Sadly, you do have to put up with subtitles. Season Two is on order.