Netflix’s new Danish series, Equinox, based on a podcast, sets out effectively, taking the bull by the horns with the folklore of the festival of Ostara, but is defied by its logic, falling apart quickly. Equinox is Nordic-noir-folklore-meets-Stranger Things-meets-Dark, resulting in several outright plot holes, with most of them being, “why doesn’t the lead-character ask the obvious and discernible follow-up inquiries?”
Astrid, played by Danica Curcic, is a 30-year-old single mother, a journalist/host of a late-night radio phone-in show that encompasses supernatural and superstitious facets of circadian life. It’s not quite a coincidence that Astrid is in this kind of job.
She is still on the hunt to find closure for her missing sister, who vanished into thin air without a trace in 1999, along with a bus full of her fellow students after graduation, of whom only 3 have returned. The case is probed but dropped because of insufficient evidence (really?), leaving gossip and conspiracy theories to grow on the streets for years. On receiving a discomfiting call on her show one fine evening, Astrid is cued to return home, to Copenhagen, to take the 21-year-old done-and-dusted investigation into her hands.
Astrid has her hardships to deal with, in terms of her vivid recurring dreams of another reality, which she cannot share with her family or, well, anyone who has not had their lives wrecked by the incident. Astrid has a mouth guard, which is probably to prevent her from clenching her jaw tightly, in the first few episodes but this is forgotten in the rest of this limited series.
She is a classic representation of what we call a damaged soul. She represents someone who’s becoming delusional while coming to terms with the loss of loved ones.
A woman destroying her life and family to look into her past, a mom keeping catastrophic secrets from the family and a freakishly rational dad who doesn’t quite share his own daughters’ belief systems don’t quite make for an engaging watch. But the show still keeps you invested because of the cast, who uplift the otherwise draggy and slightly irrational narrative.
Equinox also effectively shows how differing reactions to loss can pull apart those left behind. But the show falls apart when it tries to put pieces together. Too much is disclosed too early on the show, so the infamous late-show twist ,which is supposed to be chilling, can be seen from miles ahead, removing the sense of a gratifying climax, which instead is delivered as a dull monotone. Is that it?
A terrific Danica Curcic as Astrid is many things at once. She’s vulnerable yet immune, empathetic yet understated, impassive yet manages to be expressive and complex to say the least. With six episodes, Equinox works if you just don’t think too much.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.