Whose Side Are You On?

N and I have gotten almost to the end of the second season of Occupied to discover that the entire time we’ve been rooting for different sides. I’m obviously for Jesper because he’s defending the nation-state and sovereignty.

And it turns out that N is for Anita because he doesn’t understand what Jesper’s problem is. And I’m like, have you read my book? Do I even have to explain?

Season two is enormously better than season 1. If you are not watching, now is a good time. It’s on Netflix.


34 thoughts on “Whose Side Are You On?”

  1. Funny you say this, but I too was on Jesper’s side almost through the entire show. It was very clear that the makers were routing for Anita though; she was setup as the underdog, the “common woman” who saves the day and turns out to be the real hero. But yes, I was for Jesper for the same reason as you.


    1. I honestly thought she was supposed to be the antihero.

      I’m very glad there’s somebody here who’s also a fan of the show. I’m hearing season 3 has been approved.


  2. I am also with Jesper, but I suspect this is because because I am an Eastern-European… And we are have historically been a violent bunch…
    On the other hand, I do not see Anita as particularly anti-hero.


    1. But he too lost me upon shooting a Finnish plane with hacked Russian missile in order to gain support for his cause…


  3. Anyway, I guess watching it must be therapeutic for Eastern Europeans, just watchung to what lengths anybody who becomes a leader of Norway, and has this responsibility on his or her shoulders, goes to preserve lives. In the first season Jesper did a lot of such things too…


          1. the hacker dude did not magically appear on Jesper’s boat. He was brought there (and back) by the resistance fighters staying on Norwegian soil. Who knew full well what the dude did. Not sure why they did not just throw him overboard on the way back. Probably because the decision to tie the loose ends was made by someone later.
            If Jesper ordered either of those hits is of course an interesting question. I did not notice any clear indication either way, but it seems that the military wing of the resistance was running that show, so it looks more plausible to me that Vold ordered both hits.

            As for the app protests… yes, they look ridiculous at the first glance. But they have an important function. They lower the potential barrier for joining some kind of a resistance that the citizens of the welfare societies have, they normalize the idea of the protest. Mostly – gradually and subconsciously, but this works.

            El, the immigrants per se are not considered an issue, if anything Okkupert is full of examples of successful integration – a Chechen boy joining the armed resistance, the coast guard soldier and the wife of the double-agent Hans-Martin, both of African origins. The latter one exhibits more stereotypic “european” behaviors than her Norwegian husband…


            1. I actually thought that Djupvik’s wife was there to make an underhanded criticism of immigrants. She is the most eager to sell out Norway to Russians, she leaves the Western nuclear family for an extended family arrangement. Her child-rearing practices are bizarre. Nothing is said directly but she just doesn’t fit in.

              Unlike Faisal who is as Norwegian as it gets.


              1. —she leaves the Western nuclear family for an extended family arrangement

                This is not how I see it. She leaves her husband (not clear for how long, because it was in the last episode) to live with her mother for very “European” reasons: because her husband is too absorbed by his work and neglects her and is sometimes rude to her and her daughter and because she learns that he personally killed the person who kidnapped their daughter. This is exactly what I meant when I said she is more “European” than him. She is not “eager to sell Norway to Russians” per se, she is stereotypically PC/pacifist in very European ways… She is just fluidity-European, not nationalist-European…


              2. Yes, she’s more versed in the PC lingo of “rights” than anybody else. That’s what makes her the scariest character in the series for me. She seems earnestly to believe that garbage.

                I thought the idea here was that she’s so fluid because fluidity gave her everything. And so she becomes an unquestioning fanatic of it.


              3. Exactly, she is sincere.
                So if there is some mockery intended with respect to her character, this is the mockery not of the immigrants, but of the Norwegian society itself, which made her the way she is.
                But I am not sure it is a mockery, it is entirely possible that the authors simply consider her one possible variation of the Norwegian norm. I have mixed feelings about her, but she does not appear as an example of “failed integration”… Also keep in mind that she is some kind of a junior judge and in the first season her relationship with her husband is depicted as very egalitarian. He just got his prime minister kidnapped, and she plainly tells him it is his turn to come from work early and take care of their daughter…


              4. The first commenter on the thread here. I started the show sympathetic to Djupvik’s wife — like me, she’s a POC and an immigrant to a predominantly white country — but grew to dislike her intensely. Personally, she was a bit too dramatic. I also thought she was too self-serving and insincere, and I am someone who strongly dislikes insincerity. For example, the way she jumped to write up that legislation about trials involving Russian judges, was just too much — it was clear she did it not because she believed in it, but because it would make her important. She is really an icky character, I thought.

                I disliked Djupvik too by the way. I guess I am a fan of the nation state after all; it looks like I hated all the characters on the fluidity side. Anita I could tolerate and understand, but all the rest I hated.

                I am really enjoying this discussion by the way. Thank you for posting about the show!


              5. That’s when I started hating her, when she did that whole self-righteous “and who will protect the rights of the Russians?” thing. I’m in academia, I get too much of this shit at work.

                I hate Djupvik, too. It’s like he’s supposed to be a dudebro stereotype and he plays to it perfectly.

                Anita’s outfits are amazing. They have to be because she has many scenes with the chic Russian witch.


  4. I thought Occupied was about those mute pathetic protesters lying zombie-like on the ground, but after hearing about shooting planes and assassination my interest peaked up. 🙂


      1. \ It’s a very good show. The best exploration of fluidity on TV I have seen.

        I will try to find it then.

        Does it feature immigrants / refugees too? Since it’s a hot issue, it must do it and I wonder about whether the nuanced treatment exists or everybody gives only general ideological statements.


        1. No, it’s not about immigrants. But it’s a metaphor, you can’t take it literally. The question is, does it make sense to preserve national sovereignty? Or to hell with it? Do the words “nation” and “country” have meaning any more?


  5. I just started the second season of Okkupert (it moved up the waiting list because of this post) but N’s reaction might be over-exposure to American tv films in which any time a man and woman have an ethical conflict – the woman eventually is right. He sees a man and woman having disagreements and subconsciously assumes she’ll be shown to be right.
    It’s incredibly sexist and condescending but feminists don’t protest about it much….

    Have you seen Colony? It’s science fiction but is full of characters in positions where there is no good choice, anything you do (including doing nothing) means someone is going to suffer horribly. And in the second season it becomes (at least partly) a critique of the neoliberal consensus of prioritizing abstract economic principles over humanity. It has its flaws but it’s hard for me to think of a series I’ve seen recently that exceeded my expectations so wildly.


  6. “Djupvik”

    I know the d isn’t pronounced in the Norwegian name but every time I see it written it reminds me of ‘dupek’ in Polish (roughly ‘stupid asshole’ from ‘dupa’ which means ‘ass’)


  7. I’m a new fan, thanks to your post. Just finished season 1. I was surprised that there was no mention of the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund. I was under the impression it gave them significant economic power in Europe.


  8. “We need help here. Is Djupvik’s wife an icky character or not?”

    A few episodes (I’ve seen episodes 1-4 and will watch 5 tonight) and so far I think she’s not icky, but rather just extremely Scandinavian and her concern for Russians is just the typical Scandinavian fixation with seeming to be as impartial and fair as possible in all circumstances (she reaches some grotesque heights but in a particularly Norwegian way).

    In context the lie down on the street protests are even dumber than you made them sound… The first one made some sense in that it was a specific demand being made to people with the power to meet it but the giant designs were just… dumb, very, very dumb.

    I like how the scenes in Poland are made to look as poor and miserable as possible (I’ve met a Scandinavian or two that seem surprised that roads were paved and there was indoor plumbing).

    I also like how anyone who gets close to the Russians ends up bitterly regretting it (no matter their original intentions…)


    1. Did anybody understand why the daughter isn’t allowed to open the refrigerator and get a yogurt for herself? She’s way to old to need a parent to do that for her. Even in my family we weren’t prohibited from opening the fridge.


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