Black Crab Plot Synopsis
Set in a bleak post-apocalyptic world, two sides are at war, with Sweden hammered back and struggling to cope with this invasion. The radio confirms there’s over 157 deaths when we start the movie but as the story progresses, it’s obvious that number is a lot higher.
At the center of this conflict is a woman named Edh, who’s separated from her daughter Vanja at the start of the chaos. Fast forward in time and Edh leads a resistance group to hit back against the soldiers that are threatening to swallow Sweden into a dystopian hell. The only solution here is for Edh to team up with five other soldiers as they head off on a convert mission across the frozen archipelago landscape to deliver two capsules that could change the fate of this war forever.
How far has the enemy pushed the Swedish forces back? What is Operation Black Crab?
At the start of the movie, Edh is gathered alongside several other soldiers who are briefed by General Raad on what’s happened so far. The invaders have come from the north and bombed numerous bases. The Swedish forces have lost hundreds of kilometers so far, and the whole coast-line is lost too, essentially squeezing them into the center. Power has been cut off and they’ve been without water for an unspecified period of time. Different cities have also succumb to bombing raids.
Sweden are on the verge of losing the war but there’s one last, final option to swing things in their favour. For the first time in 37 years the whole archipelago is covered in ice, stretched out to the sea. Vehicles are too heavy to pass that way but the thin ice could support soldiers on skates.
Six soldiers are gathered to join Operation Black Crab. Their mission is to transport two capsules across the ice from Tesenoy to the research facility in Odo. It’s sideways and behind enemy lines, likened to a crab for the way these soldiers will be operating sideways. Black signifies night; the time of day they’ll be traveling to avoid detection. Everything rests on them completing this mission; a hundred nautical miles over frozen ice.
Edh is spoken to separately, as she learns that her daughter Vanja is actually in a refugee camp in Odo. So for Edh, her prime motivation here is bringing her daughter back.
Does Edh make it to Odo? What are in the capsules?
Around the midway point of the movie we learn that the capsules Edh has been tasked with transporting actually happen to contain a virus. They’re going to use biological warfare to go up against the enemy, essentially killing them all with this rather dangerous and deadly way out. One of the soldiers, Malik, doesn’t take too well to this news and takes his own life. Later on, Granvik jumps on a grenade to save Edh from being killed by rebel soldiers. In the aftermath of this fight, the final remaining soldier happens to be Nylund and he takes off across the ice with the capsules.
Edh is stuck in a precarious situation, unsure whether to fire at her superior or not. After all, Nylund was the one who originally picked her up and drove her to the base near the start of the movie. Anyway, Edh takes the capsules for herself after shooting Nylund, leaving him to bleed out on the ice.
Edh stumbles across the ice and eventually finds herself back with a bunch of soldiers who approach on horseback over the ice. They’re on her side, using the codeword “Black Crab” to prove as much. Edh is brought to a hospital where she has three toes amputated and she’s suffering from a nasty bullet wound. She’s made it to Odo and through completing her mission across the ice, she’s promoted to Second Lieutenant – along with being given the Medal of Honor.
Where is Vanja?
Edh is desperate to find Vanja but unfortunately it turns out Raad lied to her. Vanja isn’t actually at Odo and has never been there. It was all one big lie to motivate Edh to cross the ice and bring the capsules so they can enact the next plan. Edh is absolutely distraught, realizing she’s been lied to this whole time. Nylund is still alive here too, and he cradles Edh when she finds out the truth.
It would appear that Vanja is dead, given how long they’ve been separated for – and it makes sense too. A lot of time has passed since they were separated and we hear numerous reports across the film of how many casualties there actually are. Edh clings to the hope that Vanja is still alive out there somewhere. Edh clings to hope in the end – hope that she’ll see her daughter again in the next life and that’s why she sacrifices herself for the good of humanity.
What does Edh do about the capsules?
Before that occurs, Edh realizes she’s been duped and that the only hope now is to stop the capsules from being released and prevent a biological war. She teams up with Nylund and they break into the lab. Edh is injured in the process and bleeding out as they stumble onto the helipad. As Edh and Nylund try to get a seat on the helicopter to escape, Edh decides to sacrifice herself, holding the acquired virus to a hand grenade and holding it up above her head.
With Nylund watching on, Nordh – the woman in charge – tries to talk Edh into handing over the virus as Nylund boards a helicopter to safety. As he flies away, Nylund watches in horror as Edh jumps off the platform, exploding in mid-air and taking the virus with her. As she plunges into the water, Edh lovingly embraces Vanja, which seems like an obvious nod toward Vanja being dead for a while. She’s been waiting for her mother in the afterlife and as they both plunge into the water, Edh is now at peace but the war rages on, seemingly with no end in sight.
Who are the invaders?
Although we’re not told who the attackers are, there’s certainly no harm in theorizing based on what we’ve learned! Given the chilly landscape and precarious conditions, it would make sense that this is a military outfit that is used to these wintery conditions. They would also need to be pretty powerful to actually have the heavy artillery and numbers needed for an invasion like this. After all, Hitler’s forces in WWII were absolutely obliterated by underestimating the cold, despite their superior man-power.
We’re also told that the enemies came “from the North” but the only landmass above Sweden is Norway. Now, the outfits are actually quite similar to that worn by Norwegian soldiers in winter and it could well be that in the future Norway have struck up an allegiance with, perhaps, Finland or even Russia, hence why the coastlines have been taken so quickly. This is all theory work, of course, but it seems likely that something has happened inside Sweden to cause this invasion.
Is there a new world order brewing? Sadly we’ll never know but it’s certainly intriguing to theorize exactly what has caused Sweden to be invaded in this way.
Read More: Black Crab Movie Review
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