From Under The Glacier
Episode 1 of Katla Season 1 begins one year after the eruption of Katla in Iceland. Situated North of Vik i Myrdal, the volcano doesn’t look like stopping any time soon, with the sky choked with a thick cloud of volcanic ash.
The survivors in the area do their best to cobble together a living, brushing ash and dust off roofs and keeping an ear out for any updates on the radio. Among those survivors is Grima, whose encouraged by her Father Tor to leave and go to Reykjavik.
Samples from the eruption are examined at a lab by Darri and his team. When he learns these samples exhibit irregularities, he puts together a team ready to investigate.
Back in Vik, an ash-covered woman stumbles out of the volcano and is discovered by Gisli. He takes her back home where Vigdis does her best to help. With her hands shaking, this ash-covered woman speaks Swedish and asks just where she is.
Determined to figure out what this means, Grima drives up with Gisli to speak to this survivor. Our Swedish, ash-covered survivor is called Gunhild and it seems her body is covered in a strange mix of clay and ash. She claims someone called Tor was with her – which happens to be Grima’s Father’s name. When he shows up to see her, he’s shocked and eventually hurries away.
At Hotel Vik we catch up with the hotelier, Bergrun, who claims that no Gunhild works there, despite what this woman is claiming. The only one who did work however, was way back 15 to 20 years ago. Doing some research, this story checks out too.
Phoning Sweden, Gisli speaks to Gunhild’s son, Bjorn. Apparently Gunhild is there and has just gone out to walk the dog. It seems like this ash could well have healing abilities or be a key part in all this but right now it’s still unknown exactly how or why this is happening.
Well, things become even weirder when Gunhild phones home herself and speaks to Bjorn… and an older Gunhild. When she mentions Tor, the Gunhild in Sweden hastily hangs up.
As the plot thickens, Grima finds another survivor – a girl called Asa.
The Episode Review
Katla gets off to a really intriguing start, complete with a gripping mystery and a really moody atmosphere. With Katla rumbling in the background and plenty of gorgeous establishing shots of the choked ash and clouds in the sky, the Icelandic setting allows for a uniquely stylized series to breathe through.
We’ve seen this whole “mysterious survivor” angle before with shows like Dark and Curon, but here it’s given an extra dimension with the ash-choked clouds and volcanic eruption. There’s a definite sense of impending doom with this setting, and it feeds into the musical score too, which is excellent throughout.
This one is shaping up to be quite the intriguing mystery, and the episodes ahead promise lots more drama to follow.