A family of three traverses through a worsening snowstorm to arrive at the airport to begin episode 1 of A Storm for Christmas. The couple argues as they head up an escalator and their young daughter sees a man dressed as Santa Clause. Santa goes through the security check and rushes to his position, on a chair surrounded by Christmas paraphernalia. The first girl in line in front of him comes up to sit on his lap. When he asks what she wants for Christmas, she asks for an iPhone and a Burberry purse.
Somewhere behind Santa, a young girl in a green coat approaches the airport bar and asks for a coke. The bartender, Marius, obliges and then heads out to take a phone call. He tries to get in touch with a Dr. Mansen but it seems the doctor is unavailable. He hears about some new test results on the phone. In a restroom, he tries to calm himself down when someone knocks on the door. He leaves and a man and woman enter and proceed to fool around with each other.
A pop star named Ida sits in a car alongside her bodyguard, Asle. They wait for her assistant, Ingvild, who comes back with the news that they have booked a flight to Gatwick after which they will proceed to Ida’s concert. A white-haired man smoking a cigarette enters the airport alongside them. Inside, Ida sees an ad for her new album but doesn’t seem very happy about it.
A woman in an orange vest helps out a man in a Hawaiian shirt. She introduces herself as Ronja, a priest. The man, David, asks her to pray for nice weather. They talk about hot dogs and David reveals he’s going on a holiday to Málaga. His wife went there a week before him.
The biped man tries to use the airport fast track but is unable to. One of the airport staff tells him that his ticket is economy class despite him saying that he never flies economy.
As Ida moves through the security check, a group of young teenage girls see her and get excited. She smiles at them. At the counter, a security officer asks her about the pills in her bag and doesn’t let her leave until Ingvild has shown her the pill box. The security officer then tells Ida that she and her nieces are huge fans, but Ida simply walks away.
The little girl from earlier stands in a line along with her arguing parents. David, who is in front of her, starts a conversation with her. Her parents then realise they’ve left a suitcase outside the airport and have to leave the check-in queue.
The young woman, Stine, and her lover from the restroom now stand in front of an airport display board and see that their flight to Copenhagen has been cancelled. The woman gets a call from a man who tells her to come home quickly and that he loves her.
The white-haired man realizes that he can’t get into the lounge because of his economy-class ticket. He asks the lounge assistant manager if he can at least use the restroom and she complies.
Ida, Asle and Ingvild arrive and settle into the lounge. Ida talks about feeling stared at, as if she is under surveillance all the time. She asks Asle if he loves his mother and if she loves him back, and he says yes.
In the restroom, the white-haired man, Arthur, talks to his agent, Mary. They talked about a recent bad review. His agent says they need to talk as his recent concert only sold 32 tickets. He asks if one bad concert is enough for them to give him an economy-class ticket. He smokes a cigarette while talking to her and hurriedly puts it out when someone knocks on the restroom door. He opens it to find the lounge manager there. She chides him for smoking and tells him to leave.
As the young family are finally checking in their bags, they realize they are overweight. The couple gets into a fight about what to leave behind. The woman ends up taking out her husband’s Pétanque game.
The carousel takes the suitcase into an inner part of the airport where it is received by two of the airport’s luggage staff, one of whom is Henrik. Henrik and his boss discuss having a family. Henrik claims he doesn’t want one as he doesn’t want to answer to anyone.
An airborne plane is going through high turbulence. The pilot makes an announcement while inside, a woman and her son hold hands and pray.
The cheerful David arrives at the bar and orders a beer. He and the bartender chat about his trip to Málaga. The young girl in the green coat is still at the bar. She asks the bartender for some chili nuts and seems to look at him keenly.
Henrik picks up a cage with a small dog named Lasso. He puts him in a chamber from where the cage will be picked up and transferred to a flight.
The pilot from the turbulent plane, Olav, walks through the airport. A service assistant gives him instructions to remain on standby as other pilots are on sick leave. He says he will be waiting in the lounge. The service assistant, Kine, reaches her desk. She is approached by the mother and son from the place. They need to go to New York for her son’s eye operation but Kine tells them they will have to wait as there are no flights.
Stine and her lover sit at a table and discuss what to do. Stine talks about taking a boat from Oslo to Copenhagen as she needs to get home. When the man suggests getting a hotel room she tells him the next day is Christmas Eve. She asks him who he thinks she is. He says she’s the person who slept with him in the restroom. This ticks her off and she leaves to find her own way.
The white-haired man arrives at the bar and orders a drink. David recognises him as someone famous but isn’t able to quite place him. Then he sees Arthur’s name on a newspaper nearby. They talked about him doing a concert on Christmas Eve. The two of them and the bartender discuss his bad review. In an attempt at motivating Arthur, the two others suggest that anything can happen after a period point.
The priest rolls up prayer mats in a room. She sits down and prays for help from God. She says she needs direction and that she doesn’t know if she’s the right woman for him. She says that everyone needs help but she’s unable to give them what they need and so, feels inadequate. Then, she gets a phone call.
The Episode Review
Episode 1 of A Storm for Christmas offers a glance at a number of airport workers and visitors as they go about their lives. The episode makes a collage out of these people, where they’ve come from and where they are going. It cleverly uses a smooth flow of shots to transition from one protagonist to another, emphasizing how these different people are all in the same place.
Sadly, this crisp editing is not consistent and sometimes gives way to jumps between scenes that stand out more than they otherwise would have.
Throughout the episode, the narrative focuses on little moments, like discussions over the best way to have a hot dog. The issues that seem to plague these characters are a lot more human than just delayed flights — from a dip in self-esteem caused by an economy class ticket to a child’s efforts at distracting her parents from a fight. One thing is clear, this is going to be an emotional journey.