This week on Annika, the Marine Homicide Unit is called to the Forth Bridge in Edinburgh, where divers have found a body locked inside what appeared to be a dog cage. A new officer is sent on secondment to the unit. Eventually, the team figures out that the circumstances leading up to the murder started with a hit-and-run accident several years before.
As the case unfolds, Annika is still deciding whether to tell Michael he is Morgan’s father. Her monologue this week shouts out Sir Walter Scott’s literary canon, as he was a resident of Edinburgh. Annika discusses Waverly, his lesser-known first novel, as a story Michael shouldn’t read. Annika then tells the audience Waverly is set during the civil war and the hero of the novel is an English soldier who meets a romantic revolutionary who messes up his home life. Waverley’s plot is a lot longer than last week’s sea monster ballad, so let’s dig into the missing context.
Many people credit Scott with inventing the modern historical fiction novel, and his later works are also credited with changing public perception of the Highland Scottish. Scott published Waverley — also called ‘Tis Sixty Years Since — anonymously in 1814. You can read the whole novel on Project Gutenberg. The civil war Annika mentions is actually the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. The main character is Edward Waverley and the young revolutionary he falls in love with is named Flora. The home life that Flora ends up messing up is having his estate and possessions seized by the British crown after the Jacobites are defeated. Edward has to then petition for a pardon to get his possessions back.
Annika is drawing a parallel between Edward being persuaded by romantic idealism to abandon loyalty to the English crown with her own situation of choosing between dating Michael versus remaining focused on her career. It’s hard to compare treason to unplanned pregnancy, but there is also a parallel with someone else in the series: Blair is presumably facing the same choice Annika was on whether or not to involve the father of her child in parenting.
Later on, Annika switches up the Scott references and talks about one of his earliest publications called “The Chase” or “The Wild Huntsman”. According to her, “The Chase” is a translation of a poem about an earl who goes hunting against the rules of holy day observation. The earl ruins his livelihood and ends up in the depths of hell. Annika then follows up this description of the poem with her observation that most chases she’s experienced in hotels or similar places end up in the depths of the kitchen. The link between the perp and the poem solidifies the theme of running away from inevitable consequences.
During the Jacobite rebellion, death by gibbeting in a cage was how the British punished those who committed treason. Annika brings this up because the victim this week was killed the same way, murdered by her former friend despite taking the blame for a hit and run accident several years earlier. After an argument, the former friend put the victim’s body in a cage that was in their art gallery’s display.
Towards the end of the episode, Annika mentions that Waverley was completed but then put in a drawer and rediscovered suddenly. This is a shortened depiction of the timeline of Waverley’s development. Scott started to write around 1805 but then abandoned it circa 1810 because a friend gave it a less-than-encouraging review. Scott later found Waverley in the drawer with the fishing tackle in 1813.
After the case is solved, the group visits a comedy club where one person of interest in the case works. Michael signs Annika up for their open mic night, and while she’s on the stage she decides that’s the right time to tell him he is Morgan’s dad. Michael storms out of the club without saying a word.
Telling 100 random strangers extremely personal and potentially marriage ending information is pretty extreme. Will Michael ever forgive Annika for hiding this secret from him for 16 years? We’ll find out next week on Annika!