With surprisingly little fanfare, Netflix dropped the new season of Lilyhammer into the my Netflix queue, giving me a difficult choice on how to prioritize my viewing considering the 190 plus other shows waiting for my attention. I had reviewed the first season here and with season one I was left a bit unsure how I felt about the show. I ultimately decided to go ahead and power through it and if I hated it, just drop it out of season two.
Well I didn’t hate it.
In fact I loved it. There was a major jump in quality, story, and comedy from season one to season two. Part of that is that season one spent so much time putting all of the pieces in place that it distracted a bit from the story. Also, as an American viewer, I centered on the sole American character, Frank Tagliano, aka Giovanni “Johnny” Hendrickson, as played by Steven Van Zandt. But after a season, the Norwegian characters are coming into their own, particularly Torgier, Frank/Johnny’s business partner, second in command, and general idiot. Johnny and Torgier’s relationship evolves quite a bit from a simple business relationship to a fairly loyal friendship. Torgier makes some huge errors along the way which jeopardize Johnny’s various businesses, but Johnny can’t seem get too angry with him.
As season two opens, Johnny’s capture of the Lillehammer criminal underworld (such as it is) is nearly complete. He’s welded the tools of extortion and blackmail to such an effect that he’s got much of the town owing him a favor. Although his relationship with Sigrid is over, they have a cordial relationship and Johnny is stepping up to do his part as dad to his infant twins, as long as it doesn’t interfere with time at the club and “business.”
I don’t want to really give anything away for season two, however it involves English hooligans, daycare, a Moose and a murder, a bank robbery by multiple Justin Beibers that put Johnny’s real identity at risk, a gay African cook from the refugee center, a Khat addiction, another murder, a cult, an engagement, reindeer games, and finally a fairly satisfying season finale that takes place back in New York, which pits Johnny’s new Norwegian mafia against the New York mob. In terms of a season wrap up, that was probably one of the better season finale’s I’ve seen. Too many times I’ve found myself disappointed with season finales. This one hit all the major points I look for.
My only complaint is that the storyline with the new sheriff seems to be incomplete. After blowing into town and taking the job of new sheriff, she unaccountably sleeps with Torgier; a man with at best average looks and no game. She then introduces herself to Johnny by pulling him over and smashing out a taillight, in true southern sheriff fashion. Although Johnny hands her a tin victory to try to get her off his back, it felt as if that storyline just stopped with no resolution.
Hopefully there will be some resolution in season 3. Yes there will be one. Netflix has a far better grasp on how many people are watching their shows than a regular Nielsen dependent network does, so there must be many more people who agree with me.