This week on Annika, we finally meet Papa Strandhed and find out some of the reasons why Annika’s relationship with her dad is so strained. He suggests doing some family bonding at the same eco-friendly resort where Morgan is doing her work experience. Unfortunately, the family bonding session is interrupted by Annika finding a dead body in the stream. Her monologue repeatedly references the Shakespearian tragedy King Lear. Let’s take a look at why.
Annika begins her monologue on her father’s visit with an anecdote about a failed trip to see King Lear. In this example, King Lear was the name of an oil field in the North Sea. Ironically, Jake is visiting Norway on a work trip this week. Annika and her dad are flying together on a seaplane to get to the Blaine Park resort. While on the plane, Annika also references an old The Twilight Zone episode about an airplane pilot who is convinced gremlins are destroying the plane. Following a literary reference with a pop culture one is unusual for Annika!
Morgan’s boss at Blaine Park is clearly dedicated to saving the environment, but she’s also a high-strung micromanaging nightmare to work with. Through all of that, Morgan’s found a nice cabin for Annika and her dad to share. Annika’s dad tells her he’s seeking her advice. During a game of Pontoon and over drinks of Aquavit, he reveals that he wants to leave her mother. Annika assumes either he cheated and was caught, or her mother kicked him out. Annika tries to take a walk in the woods to avoid her dad but instead finds the body of Casper McCray, a construction contractor, in the river. She calls in the rest of the Marine Homicide Unit only to find out Michael has a case of food poisoning and Blair still hasn’t started her maternity leave. Harper travels to Blaine Park to assist Annika in figuring out why McCray was murdered.
In between interviewing the next of kin and business associates, we find out that Papa Stradhed worked on the oil rigs that are partially responsible for the current climate crisis that Blaine Park is fighting against. Annika and Harper find out that McCray owned a real estate company with a business partner that bought properties on the cheap and then flipped them for maximum profit. The original owners never saw a dime of the profits. Annika then mentions that King Lear gave away the keys to his kingdom. He also complains about his health to the fool who is traveling with him only to have the fool attempt to throw him over the cliff. This reference ties into the fact the victim’s work car was found at the bottom of a small cliff without him in it. Another disgruntled client took the work car and destroyed it because McCray stole funds from her to pay for the car.
The play King Lear is based on mythology and later attempts to reconstruct the history of Britain. The real Lear is believed to have ruled Britain around the same time as the founding of Rome. According to the legend written down by Geoffrey of Monmouth, King Lear had three daughters: Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia. He divided the kingdom between them, but eventually, Goneril and Regan conspired with their husbands to take the kingdom away from Cordelia.
The next reference to the play is when Annika mentions that there are 10 deaths throughout the course of King Lear. There’s a poisoning, a duel, a suicide, cardiac arrest, 4 slayings, and death by a broken heart. King Lear ends up dying of a broken heart, and that meant he had feelings to begin with. Shakespeare changed the ending of the legend (the real Lear managed to raise an army to regain control of his kingdom). McCray’s killer was NOT a broken heart: it was the seaplane pilot who took Annika and her dad to Blaine Park. The pilot's father was swindled out of his home and he sought revenge for his father’s illness, which he blamed on McCray.
At the end of the case, Papa Stradhed admits he’s proud of Annika for how she solved the mystery. At the same time, Michael finally tells Astrid the truth about Morgan and stresses he didn’t know until recently. Astrid asks how this will change things, as Morgan has clearly bonded with their kids. When will Morgan find out the truth about her father? Will Annika be able to bond with her father? We’ll have to find out next week on the season finale of Annika.