The Tunnel Series 2: Sabotage- Breaking Hearts and False Starts

The Tunnel is back for its second series and this time there is a different bunch of terrorists causing all sorts of bother which brings our favourite French and English detectives together to solve the big crime.

This review will have spoilers for the Tunnel Sabotage, so don’t read on if you don’t want to have parts of the story ruined.

There was an interestingly large gap between the first series and the second series of the Tunnel (over two years) but the show played it off nicely. Elise receiving a promotion to commander and Karl taking a number of months off before transferring to a special victims unit. You wouldn’t have known there had been a big gap in filming because it was as if we had just left the duo.

Ultimately the best thing about the Tunnel as a series is the relationship between Elise and Karl, two characters which are well written, both vulnerable in different ways and with totally different characteristics, yet totally believable as two people who would enjoy the others company. The first series focused more on Karl but Sabotage had a greater focus on Elise and the emotionally confusing arch the character followed…poor Elise. Elise and Karl are well written and Clemence Poesy and Stephen Dillane both play their parts fantastically, it makes a massive difference to the show.

The premise of series two was that terrorists hacked into a plane causing it to crash in the channel, hence the sabotage part of the title. Along with this we are shown a man and his wife kidnapped in the tunnel and some good ol’ fashioned human trafficking. What’s interesting is that instead of leaving these mysteries up for debate, the Tunnel answered them almost straight away, instead leaving the suspense in the hunt and the unknowing of what would come next.

Doing something different from the first series is important, you don’t want to make what you do become too predictable. The idea of a terrorist group who are vehemently against religion is something quite different, the writers could easily have went for the bread and butter use of Islamic terrorism, however by turning the idea on its head it made it all that more threatening and made more some really interesting episodes.

Sadly it very much felt like the writers had too many ideas and instead of picking one or two and running with them they decided to pick all of them and this series became a bit of a mess. I felt the first five episodes were really good riveting stuff, the story strands were all coming together to make a lovely tapestry and then by the end it had all been for naught.

The first five episodes dealt mainly with the bringing down of the plane and the attacks which followed it, yet by the end of the series the plane was nothing but a piece of background equipment in the bigger story. The idea that Robert wasn’t actually the leader of the group, rather that he had been financed by a bigger player was absolutely fine, the issue was that by the time the story got to Artem the whole plane plot had become more of a nuisance than anything.

The conclusion of Sabotage was also a tad unusual, we have Artem who is supposedly a very intelligent criminal lawyer not finding it odd that Eryka went for a shower in her clothes and without a towel, probably coming out looking like she hadn’t taken a shower. The chemist was also good enough to explain exactly what he was going to do to Karl and Elise, so that when they were rescued she’d be able to receive the correct medical help, solid guy really.

By the end of the series Artem wasn’t even considered important by the criminal organisation he was a part of, being given away to the British secret service as a nice present, and now Eryka Klein was the new big bad. It was all just a bit of a mess, I can only assume that they had the original idea for the series which they carried out over the first number of episodes and then changed what they were doing dramatically in the last few but didn’t want to refilm anything, so in the end we got a convoluted mishmash of two different ideas which sort of went together but overall didn’t make too much sense, a case of too many cooks and not enough hobs.

Despite losing the plot in the last few episodes the Tunnel is a really solid show and Sabotage was a solid if not spectacular series. The relationship between Elise and Karl, the tension which the show can create and some nice little snippets of comedy scattered throughout an episode make it a fun watch. They are going to make one more series of the show, which I assume will follow on from what happened at the end of series 2, I’m sure it will be worth watching.

So what did you think of the Tunnel Sabotage? Were you wondering why the seemed to ditch the plane story? Are you hoping Elise and Eryka live happily ever after? Or are you just wondering what the hell happened to Julie!?!? Well leave a comment and share those thoughts!

If you enjoyed the post then why not check out my review of series 1 of the Tunnel.

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4 thoughts on “The Tunnel Series 2: Sabotage- Breaking Hearts and False Starts”

  1. I love this series and find myself very involved with the characters, particularly Karl and Elise. But as Series Two progressed I became increasingly confused about what was going on and who was who. I feel frustrated that the series has become so confusing, although I still enjoyed aspects of the show. I do hope more episodes will be forthcoming, and perhaps be a bit more easily understood. Thank you.

    1. I agree I think they tried to get a little too elaborate and along the way lost their original idea and what makes the show strong.

      I believe they’re only doing one more series so hopefully they’ll be able to round out the story nicely.

  2. I completely agree with the general drift here. I enjoyed the series because of my involvement with Karl and Elise–two great characters played expertly by excellent actors. I was also confused by several parts of the plot–the dialogue went by too quickly for me to grasp at times. And then I realized that several things that seemed so important–such as who was on the plane and what the motive was for bringing it down–were being glossed over and the “bad guys,” and their employers, were shifting quickly. So I pretty much just gave up trying to “figure it out” and just tried to enjoy the last two episodes. I also was troubled by the shower ruse (she said “I have to use the bathroom,” an uncharacteristically crude line for Eryka). I was left with two big questions/annoyances. 1) Why the hell don’t Karl and Elise carry weapons? They are looking for a psychotic mass killer who is protected by a vicious criminal organization and they just waltz into the building and get themselves captured. That’s just dumb. 2) Who was Eryka working for? Did I miss something, or was it the Russians pulling all the strings? Was it jihad? Was it just a bunch of capitalists? When she told Elise that it was a war, what war did she mean?

    1. I COMPLETELY agree with everything you just said. Strolling in unarmed looking for extremely dangerous suspects is an eye roller. It was a childishly written setup for Karl and Elise to be taken hostage.
      Regarding Eryka, she was working for the Russians. But after all was said and done, I still didn’t know if we were supposed to consider her a “good guy” or a “bad guy.”

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