REVIEW: Lilyhammer (103) — “Guantanamo Blues”


[xrr rating=2/5]

Johnny has some slick, enjoyable moments in the third episode of Lilyhammer, titled “Guantanamo Blues,” but the rest of the action wanders into the weeds.

The immigrant has already found success as a local bar and restaurant business owner, but the ex-gangster is an ambitious one. When Johnny catches wind of a lucrative condominium project his eyes light up. He wants in.

In order to curry favor and potentially a premium condo for free, Johnny agrees to help sort out some trouble for the project developers. The trouble is in the form of a hippy-dippy farmer who won’t sell his family’s land to make way for the development.

Meanwhile, the local police continue to sweat Johnny, but not for his shady business dealings. Hapless police officer Gier Elvis Tvedt (Kyrre Hellum) is convinced that Johnny is a terrorist. So much so that he gets himself in trouble with his superiors.

Although the snooping is completely off-track it does create problems for Johnny. When Gier pulls him over, for no apparent reason, Johnny learns that the driver’s license he was given by the FBI is bogus. He must get a new Norwegian one. That doesn’t make Johnny happy, but he manages to grease the situation, as Johnny is able to do with just about everything.

This episode has a few surprises up its sleeve — one created by Johnny’s wiles and the other given to Johnny by his girlfriend Sigrid. The surprises were nice ones, great plot points, but there are way too many miscellaneous things going on in this episode.

Way too much time is spent on the hold-out farmer. The episode goes to great pains to explore his character and motivations. The problem is, it doesn’t matter. It is largely irrelevant. The farmer is suppose to be a foil for Johnny. As a character that will probably only appear in one episode, he doesn’t need a back story.

The episode also spends a lot of time with the police officer Gier. He is obviously going to be a side character that helps push some of the upcoming action with Johnny, but he is completely uninteresting. The same goes for his boss the police chief Laila Hovland.

Neither character is interesting and neither character is particularly funny (in the keystone cop way). Both have a role to play on the show, but the role seems too big. The amount of time dedicated to them is too large. When they are on screen I end up just wondering what Johnny is doing.

In this way, the show seems to tread into an uneasy position that may not really bother the Norwegian audience, but it is sure to bother American viewers. Since the moments not spent with Johnny are too long, the show becomes too deliberate and even boring to watch.

There is too much superfluous content. I get the feeling that Lilyhammer would work better as a 30-minute show at this point. It is unfortunate, but this show is starting to dither.

All eight episodes of the Netflix original series Lilyhammer are streaming on Instant Watch.

  1. I never made it to this episode, but it doesn’t look like Lilyhammer improved after the first two episodes. I ditched Netflix a while back in favor of the Blockbuster @Home service from my employer, DISH. Not only is it less expensive than Netflix is now, but I get video game and movie rentals, the option to take them in for an in-store exchange, unlimited streaming, and a bunch of movie channels. So if Netflix is going to use exclusive programming to draw customers, this seems like a weak first offering. It certainly won’t entice me to get Netflix again.

  2. @nosgoth1979 – nice work promoting Netflix competition. Pathetic – face it. Satellite and cable companies have been ripping off the public for so long and you want to promote their scourge.

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