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'Borgen,' Episode 26: 'Sins of the Past'


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Previously on "Borgen"

Birgitte's crusade to give sex workers more rights fails miserably as the rest of parliament fights to illegalize prostitution. Meanwhile, Torben's flirtation with Pia turns into a full-blown affair. When Alex catches them having sex in the control room, he regains his upper hand, making Torben his personal puppet once again. (Click to read the complete recap for this episode.)

This week's episode: "Sons of the Past"

The Red Scare is evidently alive and well. When Birgitte (Sidse Babett Knudsen) scouts a non-politician to run for parliament on her party's ticket, the political newbie gets a lesson in mudslinging straight out of the gate. His opponents and the media dig up dirt about his Communist past. As summed up by Thomas Jefferson's wise words in the episode opener: "I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past."

Birgitte's pick of economist Søren Ravn (Lars Mikkelsen) as the New Democrats' economic parliamentary candidate initially seems like a winning choice. With the exception of her party members Jon (Jens Albinus) and Erik (Kristian Halken), politicians seem to be thrilled with the possibility of a fresh new face in politics. However, the excitement in the air subsides as fast as it was stirred when the Express runs an article about Søren's active participation in the Communist Party as a youth. He then takes a turn in the public eye as everyone suspects he's a traitor. Despite the stumble, he manages to keep his composure during a TV1 debate with a Labor Party finance expert. He shoots down every single one of her arguments, which he finds moot. "The whole basis for your calculations is pie in the sky," Søren says. "You are trying to fool the electorate."

At TV1, Torben (Søren Malling) is losing more and more control of the network by the minute. His team has managed to slow down the decline in viewers of the 6 o'clock news thanks to the introduction of fluff pieces, per Alex's (Christian Tafdrup) suggestion. But now the 12 o'clock hour is on the chopping block. The sheepish Torben doesn't voice his reservations when Alex announces the news of the program's cancellation to their exec staff. He faces Hanne's (Benedikte Hansen) wrath as a result soon afterward. The veteran journalist says the late-night segment is the only thing distinguishing them from TV2. That, coupled with the forced change in the type of cameras they use, puts the crew in a foul mood.

Then comes the storyline seen from a mile away: Birgitte may have cancer. The former PM finally visits her doctor after suffering hand aches for the last several months. The hospital director himself recommends a biopsy based on the questionable results of her mammography. As expected, the doctor finds cell changes in one of her breasts. He says they need to operate immediately in order to get rid of the precancerous, category-three cells. She will need radiation therapy every weekday afterward -- 25 times over five weeks. But Birgitte seems to be more concerned about whether she'll be able to work afterward.

Next up in the Express? Accusations that Søren is a Russian spy. When Katrine (Birgitte Hjort SørensenPeter Mygind) to sort through artifacts from Søren's past that he brings into the New Democrats' headquarters for inspection. Laugesen runs into Birgitte on his way in and says the unthinkable. He finally apologizes for publishing pictures of his ill daughter during her term as PM. "I'll accept your apology the day it appears on your front page," Birgitte says without missing a beat.

TV1 then joins the witch hunt. Ulrik's (Thomas Levin) journalist friend alerts him that Søren's best friend was a former KGB agent -- the leading figure in the biggest spy case in Danish history. Kasper (Pilou Asbæk) and Ulrik both encourage Torben to run the story, which he does partly to spite Alex. Søren and Benedikte (Marie Askehave) from the Freedom Party later debate about it on "Juul & Friis." Backed into a corner, he says he didn't know about his friend's KGB ties.

Katrine decides to lead an investigation of her own to clear Søren's name once and for all. Her instinct tells her that he's innocent. The former journalist tracks down a former KGB colonel, who lives in Malmö, to get information straight from the horse's mouth. He tells her (and later broadcasts to the world on TV1) that Søren was never approached to join the KGB.

Back at TV1, Torben is losing his edge. He keeps his wife waiting in his office, having completely forgotten the fact that they had to meet with a marriage counselor. She starts crying about how he could possibly forget and he tears up, saying that he can't remember anything anymore. "I simply can't stand it here anymore," Torben admits aloud for the first time. Even though his wife assures him that being stressed is a small price to pay for the prestigious post, he makes a drastic move. The news editor meets with Laugesen and practically begs for a job at the Express. Apparently the only two news outlets in all of Copenhagen are the news network TV1 and the tabloid Express. It was bad enough that Hanne and Katrine joined the paper, but it's completely implausible that Torben would have no other choice but to turn to them as well. What's more? Laugesen rejects him. He tells him he isn't young or sexy enough for the Express.

Late that night Katrine gets scoop that Søren used to date a KGB secretary. Livid that he hid something else about his past again, she calls him into her apartment and forces him to open up. He tells Katrine he dated the secretary for five years. She was pregnant with his child and had a miscarriage, which threw her in a fit of depression. She eventually committed suicide. Katrine immediately realizes she has taken the questioning too far, but there's no going back. The next day, Søren announces that he doesn't want to run for parliament anymore because he's not prepared to sacrifice his private life. Katrine is absolutely devastated. She apologizes for being intrusive and admits that she's paranoid about people keeping secrets from her. Before Søren leaves they briefly touch hands and sparks fly. I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot more of him on the show.

The episode closes with Birgitte being wheeled into an operation room. The Amazon woman hasn't told anyone about her operation. She's tackling it all on her own. This ending is sadly reminiscent of one from the first season when Katrine has an abortion. Let's hope, like Katrine, she ultimately opens up to someone about the procedure.

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