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'Borgen,' Episode 22: 'With Law Shall Nation Be Built'

This episode will be streaming online for two weeks from July 13 to 27. Catch episodes of "Borgen" that aren't currently streaming via our recaps here.

Previously on "Borgen"

Season three opened two and a half years after the season two finale. Birgitte is no longer prime minister, but she still has political aspirations. When Jacob Kruse doesn't let her re-enter the Moderate Party, she contests his leadership. Birgitte enlists Katrine, who now has a son with Kasper, but is no longer in a relationship with him, as her media adviser. Despite Katrine's best efforts, Birgitte isn't elected as party leader, leaving her to consider creating her own political party. (Click here to read the complete recap for this episode.)

This week's episode: "The Land is Built on Law"

Birgitte's (Sidse Babett Knudsen) dream of a new Denmark slowly materializes when she assembles her "band of brothers" to form the New Democrats Party. The first recruit is no politician, but the party's media adviser Katrine (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen), who was preparing to return to her TV1 gig after Birgitte's loss to Jacob (Jens Jacob Tychsen) as Moderate Party leader. This season finally finds the two protagonists working side by side. Although this story arc is fitting as Katrine is essentially Birgitte's younger counterpart, sacrificing a traditional family life for her nontraditional career, it also feels forced at times. Katrine is a bit too eager to leave her cozy, paid job to join Birgitte's potentially futile crusade.

After some tough love (Katrine tells Birgitte she's out of touch with the populace: "You're not the flabby girl who didn't mince words anymore"), Katrine sets out to work. She runs into Bent (Lars Knutzon) in parliament and mentions the new party, unaware that Birgitte hadn't broken the news yet to the Moderate Party loyalist of 40 years. Birgitte is forced to do damage control. She meets with her mentor and stresses that she's not creating the new center party to avenge her loss to Jacob. The Moderates are rightists now, compromising human rights with their support of a law that would deport immigrants found guilty of misdemeanors, Birgitte explains. Even more telling, she says she traveled far and wide after leaving office because she couldn't stand to be in Denmark and not exert any influence. The new party would put her back in control. Bent's response? "I'm no longer your friend." For the record, this is the second time that they've defriended each other.

Torben (Søren Malling) tries desperately to convince Katrine to return to work. His new boss is putting the pressure on him to rehire their star anchor and to run less negative stories. Katrine finally visits TV1 to tell her former boss about her new job, but ends up bedding the division manager instead. Torben has left for the day so she agrees to grab a drink with his nemesis. The ensuing one-night stand is partly caused by Kasper's (Pilou Asbæk) indifference toward Katrine. He drops by to pick up their son Gustav, but doesn't stay for dinner, even though Katrine had prepared a meal for the family.

Birgitte decides to court the New Right's deputy leader, Erik Hoffmann (Kristian Halken), to join her party. He had paid her a house visit and brought her flowers to thank her brave act of speaking out against the new immigration law during a TV1 interview. He's married to an Ethiopian woman who had to fight to get a residence permit in Denmark. At one point, Erik was forced to move to Sweden to bypass the strict Danish laws he helped pass in order to live with her. He initially turns down Birgitte's offer, but has a change of heart. "We forget that the bills are us. We are the law. The law is us," he says, lamenting that he passed a law that may indirectly victimize his son. Erik, a New Righter of 27 years, will make the party palatable to the right, while the addition of two Moderate Party members (Nete Buch and Jon Berthelsen) will make it an alternative to the original center party.

Bent pulls an uncharacteristically disloyal move and brings Jacob to Birgitte's new secret party headquarters. The Moderate Party leader offers the former PM the seat he had refused to give her before. He even agrees to make her deputy leader. Although cornered and vulnerable, Birgitte sticks to her guns. She says the party doesn't resemble the one she once joined. It's tuned into a right-wing supporting party, she claims. An indifferent Jacob, who probably only made Birgitte the offer upon Bent's insistence, leaves Birgitte with some fighting words: "I'm going to fight you tooth and nail."

Katine returns home from work at midnight the next day and has to answer to her mom, who takes care of Gustav almost full time in her absence. Her mom tells her she acts like she doesn't have a child. You can't continue living like you used to, she warns her daughter before delivering the ultimate blow. She calls Katine a spoiled little brat. It's hard for you to be a mother because you're a child inside, she says. A defeated Katrine tells her mother to go home. The young mom says she can take care of her son by herself.

Of course, she couldn't have chosen a worse day to prove a point to her mom. The stubborn media adviser scrambles to run a press conference announcing the new party's inception while taking care of her sick child. She pushes the stroller into parliament, completely overwhelmed by her mommy duties. As if she didn't have enough on her plate, she has to endure a verbal beat-down from Torben, who loses his cool when she informs him that TV2 will have the exclusive first interview with Birgitte following the announcement of the new party. "You owe us just an ounce of loyalty. You're backstabbing me," he says, after making a jab about her rendezvous with the division manager. Although he's a tad dramatic, Torben does have a point. In trying to prevent the perception of a conflict of interest, she handicaps the news organization that gave her a start.

As Katrine endures the day from hell, Birgitte's keeps getting better. Bent, who must have been swayed by her eloquent prose during the press conference, asks to join the New Democrats. Birgitte ends the day by visiting her boyfriend, who had made a detour in Copenhagen during his business trip in order to spend some quality time with his lady love. As steamy as most of their scenes are, they're no match for the chemistry between Birgitte and Phillip (Mikael Birkkjær), who now have a healthy, nurturing, platonic relationship.

Funniest line:
"You have 10,000 likes on Facebook. How does it feel?" a TV2 reporter asks Birgitte during their exclusive interview following the former PM's announcement of creating a new political party.

Most resonant moment:
Erik Hoffmann tells Birgitte that his wife, who's Ethiopian, doesn't allow their son to wear hoodies because she doesn't want him to "look like an immigrant kid from the ghetto." This calls to mind the killing of Trayvon Martin and the controversial remarks of media pundits who attributed the African American teen's tragic death to his decision to wear a hoodie.

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