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'Borgen,' Episode 23: 'The Right Shade of Brown'

This episode will be streaming online for two weeks from July 20 to August 3. Catch episodes of "Borgen" that aren't currently streaming via our recaps here.

Previously on "Borgen"

Birgitte assembles her "band of brothers" to form the New Democrats Party. Katrine stays on as media adviser and Moderate Party members Nete Buch and Jon Berthelsen as well as New Right deputy leader, Erik Hoffmann, join her cause. Event though Bent, a Moderate of 40 years, tells Birgitte he's no longer her friend following the disloyal move, he ultimately comes around after hearing his mentee's stirring speech at a press conference about her former party's willingness to compromise human rights. (Click here to read the complete recap for this episode.)

This week's episode: "The Right Shade of Brown"

Tonight's opening quote from Winston Churchill is more directly applicable to the episode than most: "Some men change their party for the sake of their principles, others their principles for the sake of their party." Birgitte (Sidse Babett Knudsen) exemplifies the first type of man. She created a new political party when she realized that the Moderates no longer shared her principles. But as her new cause becomes a mass movement with no financial backing, she considers sacrificing her values for the sake of the new party's future.

There's now a newfound flurry of activity in the New Democrats' cozy headquarters. From religious fundamentalists to animal rights activists, anyone not associated with an existing party has decided to be a New Democrat. In fact, the factory-turned-party-headquarters is so crowded that Birgitte and her team have to hold meetings in the supply closet. They're invited to partake in a live TV1 debate about integration so their top order of business is to find an immigrant who's the "right shade of brown" to join their cause. In a game of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," the party considers three contenders, but rules them out for politically incorrect reasons. The first candidate had words tattooed on his neck that Katrine (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen) feared would be mistaken for a Koran verse. He was also arrested as a youth. The second person was a woman who wore a headscarf and the third, who fit just right, had just been hired as a financial analyst for TV1.

Hiring Nadia (Laura Allen) is Torben's (Søren Malling) attempt to revamp the network's programming, which his new boss Alex (Christian Tafdrup) claims doesn't appeal to the younger audience. At this point, the journalist is at the station manager's beck and call, hanging on his every word. But despite his best efforts to find someone versed in finance, Alex is dissatisfied with Nadia's addition to the team. He insists that she, like the rest of their programming, is too negative. He calls her the "Pakistani prophet of doom."

Torben then tells Pia (Lisbeth Wulff) that he changed his mind about Nadia. Instead of throwing Alex under the bus, he says the decision is his own in order to appear in control. He casually slips in the same racist phrase that Alex used, citing the fact that she's a "Pakistani prophet of doom" as the reason for letting her go. Pia is outraged. The usually loyal editor tells the rest of the gang, who all file complaints against Torben, accusing their boss of discrimination. If Alex wasn't happy with Torben before, he despises him now.

Katrine and Kasper (Pilou Asbæk) seem to have completely switched lives. Kasper works for TV1, is completely devoted to his son, and doesn't want to get back together with Katrine. Meanwhile, Katrine works for Birgitte, is more committed to her job than her son, and is itching to get back together with Kasper. In fact, she's unhappy with her life because he's no longer in it. Now that she's been logging in more hours at work and had a fallout with her mom, Kasper has been watching Gustav more frequently. He's his usual complimentary, charming self when he drops off their son, who has an ear infection again. In an uncharacteristic move, he stays for a TV dinner and falls asleep next to Gustav in Katrine's bed. Katrine misreads his intentions. She sleeps on the opposite side of the bed with Gustav sandwiched in between them and rises early in the morning to make breakfast for the family. "Maybe it's healthy to be with both your mom and your dad," she says coyly after mentioning that their son no longer has a fever. Kasper chooses not to take the hint and says he can't stay to eat. When Katrine calls him that night to offer help watching Gustav, Kasper says it's a bad idea to get their son used to seeing them together. Now that's a shutdown. Their story line is handicapped by the fact that the audience doesn't know what drove them apart in the two and a half years between season two and three.

With no money to their name, Birgitte considers charging the new party members admission fees. She's even charging for coffee. Having exhausted her own funds, she's forced to move the family into a less than lavish apartment -- a dump, as the spoiled Magnus (Emil Poulsen) calls it. So it's more than a pleasant surprise when Jon (Jens Albinus) finds a banker, Jorgen Steen Andersen, who wants to donate a million kroner to the party. He raises that sum to 1.5 million after meeting with Birgitte in person. Buzzing on the wine from lunch, she tells Katrine to calmly pay all their bills minutes before Philip (Mikael Birkkjær) warns her about Jorgen's potentially hidden agenda. His hunch is spot on.

She meets with the banker again the following day and learns that he wants them to adjust their political positions on certain issues to benefit the bank. Jorgen influenced Jon's draft of the party's economic stance, namely the passage about lowering corporate tax by four percent. A horrified Birgitte decides to return the quarter million that the party already spent in order to wash her hands of the less than kosher transaction. She calls off the collaboration and asks her supportive ex-husband Philip for a loan to pay the banker back. "We can't sell out to big business before we've won over the voters," she tells a clueless Jon the following day.

Now that Nadia is cast aside by TV1, the scorned economist returns to the New Democrats. She's completely transparent about her views on integration and lets it be known right off the bat that she's harsher on the issue than one would assume. Down in the dumps about her personal life, Katrine drops the ball on prepping Nadia for the upcoming debate. The perpetual snooper finds a bra and makeup in Kasper's apartment when she lets herself in to drop off Gustav's antibiotics. So unless Kasper has been cross-dressing on the side, he has a new lady in his life. When she finally gets to the interview prep, she realizes that Nadia's views are far more right than is right for the party. "We can't open up our borders to people who'll end up on welfare," she says before stressing that Salaphists shouldn't be let into the country at all because they oppose freedom and democracy. Nete (Julie Agnete Vang) takes her place at the round table at zero hour. She ends up hitting a home run.

After all the mishaps, Birgitte decides that the party can't continue to be a mass movement any longer. Because everyone is reading his/her own dreams into the party, it has no clear identity. Birgitte makes a speech to her followers to define what the party stands for, somewhat targeting the people who don't fit in. She says she'll call those whose views align with theirs. And with that, she moves one step closer to the prime ministry.

Most resonant moment:
Gustav cuts his dad's hair when Kasper falls asleep on the floor during arts and crafts. The damage is apparently irreversible as it causes him to shave his locks completely. He's very un-Kasper like during the ordeal, laughing off the humorous predicament instead of obsessing over it, as he would have last season.

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