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'Borgen,' Episode 28: 'One Has a Point of View'

This episode will be streaming online for two weeks from August 24 to September 7. Catch episodes of "Borgen" that aren't currently streaming via our recaps here.

Previously on "Borgen"

Birgitte, who catapulted herself into the prime ministry with a single spectacular debate, delivers the worst performance of her life. Her lack of sleep and nonstop work schedule coupled with her radiology therapy and medication catch up to her. Because no one knows about her surgery, the New Democrats feel let down by the former PM and her sudden inattentiveness and inaccessibility. The episode ends disastrously when she's pushed to a breaking point and completely cornered by Ulrik's aggressive moderation technique. The reality-check ultimately forces her to open up to her children. (Click to read the complete recap for this episode.)

This week's episode: "When the Facts Change ..."

The episode opens with shots of campaign posters plastered with Birgitte's (Sidse Babett Knudsen) mug (and crinkly-nosed smile) throughout Copenhagen and closes with those images on the ground, trampled by pedestrians in the rainy, muddy city streets. The party is punished by the populace for its invisibility in a crucial piece of the opposition's legislation as well as for its lack of differentiation from the Moderate Party. And mere weeks after the New Democrats were convinced that Søren (Lars Mikkelsen) is not a double agent, a mole is discovered within the party's core group. It all seems like a lost cause until Birgitte, in classic fashion, pulls a rabbit out of her hat at zero hour.

Last week's episode closed with Birgitte finally telling her children about her surgery to remove pre-cancerous cells from her breast. Tonight we see her coming clean to her party leaders. "Yesterday tells me it is no use pretending it hasn't affected me," she tells her crew of sympathizers. While Nete (Julie Agnete Vang) breaks into tears, Jon (Jens Albinus) tells her to use her illness to play the sympathy card in the press. After all, it would excuse her sub-par performance at last night's debate.

Birgitte puts her foot down, but is forced to bring it back up when she discovers that the Express has learned about her illness. "We have one chance to tell the story ourselves," Karine (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen

Meanwhile, Torben's (Søren Malling) wife Caroline is on to his extracurricular activities. She asks, point blank, if he's slept with someone. He arrived home at 4 a.m. that morning, showered and buried his boxers at the bottom of the laundry basket. It doesn't take much probing for the emotionally unstable Torben to break down. "Damn it, it just happened," he says. He lies and tells her it was just a one-night stand with an assistant, then walks away mid-conversation. Still reeling from the confrontation, Torben walks into TV1 headquarters in a foul mood only to be greeted by roaring applause. "We're front page news," Alex (Christian Tafdrup) says, finally content with the network's performance. "Our ratings are going through the roof. It'll raise the bar for politics on TV."

The high quickly fades when Caroline tells him the next day that she doesn't believe his sexual dalliance was a mere one-night stand. It takes a few seconds before he cracks and says the woman was Pia (Lisbeth Wulff). The journalist wouldn't last more than a minute in a police interrogation. His wife tells him to get rid of her. When he protests, she tells him to at least transfer her to the documentary unit. So spineless Torben breaks the news to poor Pia that she has to suffer the consequences of the affair while he gets off scot-free. Once he suspects his cast and crew will turn against him, he has a change of heart. It's unclear whether he actually sympathizes with his long-time director or is merely reacting to Hanne's (Benedikte Hansen) threat to notify their bosses if he fires Pia. He begs her to stay on.

If the New Dems' role in the opposition movement was in trouble in the last episode, it's doomed in this one. The Labor and Green parties have composed a joint manifesto for the entire alliance without consulting Birgitte. All the policies outlined in the proposal conflict with her party's political stance, but she has no choice other than to give her silent consent. Backing Hans Christian (Bjarne Henriksen) as PM will give their party a reason for existing. If they support Hesselboe (Søren Spanning) instead, they won't be able to stand apart from the Moderates. When the opposition presents their plan to the press, Birgitte and her party come under fire for throwing all their personal policies out the window. A condescending Hans Christian answers questions on her behalf. "She's had enough on her plate lately," he says, relegating her to the role of crippled, silent observer during the press conference.

In the most unexpected storyline of the night, Benedikte (Marie Askehave) strikes up a flirtation with Ulrik (Thomas Levin). The two almost have sex when the Freedom Party leader comes into the studio to turn in their campaign video. It's clear mid-kiss that she's prepared to use sex as weapon. She tells him to be nice to her during their upcoming interview. Fortunately, a call interrupts them while they're hot and heavy. Ulrik eavesdrops and learns that Benedikte is trying to overthrow Svend (Ole Thestrup).

The next day, he asks her on air if the Freedom Party would ever run for the prime ministry, something Svend staunchly opposes. After much stalling, Benedikte says the woudln't dismiss the possibility. The party chairman has a fit over the possibility of being back-stabbed by his deputy. Benedikte, who was a lioness hunting prey just hours ago is now a deer caught in the headlights. When she catches on to what happened and calls Ulrik's behavior unconscionable, he fires back with the best line of the night: "As unconscionable as snogging me so I'd go gently on you?"

Jeremy (Alastair Mackenzie) finds out about his girlfriend's surgery when the rest of the world does. Whether a fear of commitment or a fear of being stifled with empathy, she wants him to keep his distance. Poor Jeremy has to resort to Facebook messaging Laura (Freja Riemann) to get Birgitte's attention. When that doesn't work, he just shows up at her door. He professes his love and tells her that he won't interrupt her busy schedule. "When you get home, I'll be here," he says, taking on a much more supportive role than Phillip (Mikael Birkkjær) did toward the end of their relationship.

The episode's real conflict unfolds in the second half. With Søren's help, the New Dems come up with an unmatched and seemingly counterintuitive education policy. Before their party is able to fight for TV1 airtime to unveil their grand plan, Jacob Kruse (Jens Jacob Tychsen) reveals the Moderates' policy, which turns out to be identical to theirs, key words and all. At this point, the show director begins to sow seeds of doubt into the audience's head about whether Nete, who worked on drafting the plan, leaked it to her former party. In an effort to differentiate itself from the Moderates, Birgitte asks Katrine to set up a live TV1 debate against Jacob. This completely backfires when he lists the party's "new policies" -- plans the New Dems had actually conceived. He steals their idea of setting up a research center for wind power, something he hadn't supported until that very moment.

To find the culprit, Katrine and Søren ask Nete, Jon and Erik (Kristian Halken) their positions on key issues to make them believe that Birgitte will be discussing said topic in her upcoming TV1 debate. The spin doctor then collects everyone's cell phones to prevent them from making contact with the Moderates while being briefed on Birgitte's game-changing announcement. As the debate rolls on, Birgitte and Katrine realize that it was Nete who backstabbed the party. The issue that Søren had talked with her about before the debate -- integration -- is the very topic that Jacob discusses. Her red-handedness is a bit too obvious as she behaved suspiciously throughout the ep. On the topic of predictability, Brigitte's groundbreaking announcement is that the New Dems no longer support Hans Christian for PM or any candidate, for that matter. They're not backing either Hesselboe or Hans Christian.

When Birgitte confronts Nete later that night, the meek politician says "you have always been my hero." But the former PM's "weakness" at the press conference announcing the opposition's policy disappointed her. In that moment, she lost faith in her party leader and the New Dems as a whole.

Meanwhile, Torben has the mother of nervous breakdowns. His wife barges into the TV1 office and finds the news team, including Pia, discussing the day's plan of action. She announces the affair between Torben and Pia to the entire newsroom, making the already awkward situation even more tense. Caroline then asks for the house keys. Torben and her have officially separated. Alex, whose hobby seems to be kicking people when they're down, approaches him mere seconds before he's about to go on-air and says "Your little affair is affecting your work -- way beyond what I can countenance." The conversation affects his work. The veteran journo completely freezes up. He slurs his speech and misreads the prompter, even calling Ulrik Torben. As soon as the camera pulls away, he breaks down into tears. In the episode's most difficult scene to watch, the editor sobs uncontrollably in Ulrik's arms as Pia watches from the control room.

As Torben deteriorates before our eyes, Birgitte rises up again. Her decision to break away from all other parties proves to be successful through and through. The party walks into their rally, which they were afraid would draw an embarrassingly small crowd, and is greeted by a swarm of people. They've finally made it. Their identity has finally been drawn.

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KCET site editor, movie over-analyzer, TV binge-watcher.
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