Created by Petter Holmsen and directed by Holmsen and Harald Zwart, the Norwegian horror series ‘Post Mortem: No One Dies in Skarnes’ combines elements of horror, comedy, and Scandi noir to create a compelling ambiance. The story is at times hilarious and at times outrageously funny. However, if you don’t go into the series expecting to be spooked, it may just end up scaring you.
The narrative revolves around the titular sleepy township of Skarnes, revolving around the Hallangen family of funeral organizers. The story begins with the family’s daughter coming back to life after being found dead, which unearths a terrible secret within the family. The ending of the season is seemingly well-rounded, although it gives rise to some questions. If you are having a hard time decoding the finality, you may bank on us. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Post Mortem: No One Dies in Skarnes Recap
In the sleepy Norwegian township, policemen Judith and Reinert have a hard time since there is no murder. However, a body is found in the first episode, which sparks off a mystery. Judith and Reinert rush to the scene after the discovery of the body of local nurse Live Hallangen. Ironically enough, Live is the daughter of Arvid Hallangen, the owner of the local funeral agency. Live’s body is sent for an autopsy, but as the pathologists cut into her body, they are stunned to see warm and running blood in her veins. Then, to their utter disbelief, Live wakes up on the gurney as if from a bad dream.
Live’s brother Odd is relieved at the news, and he calls his father to see Live at the hospital. Arvid, however, is wary of seeing Live since he believes that Live is dead. Live goes back to her house and is greeted by Odd’s wife, Rose. Live discovers that she likes blood more than chocolates. At night, Live and Arvid have a confrontation, and Arvid attempts to incinerate Live alive, but she escapes by an inch. Arvid tries to make Live understand that her mother had the same symptoms. But an infuriated Live is not ready to hear anything, and Arvid dies after Live throws him into a heap of things.
Odd is devastated at the news of his father’s death. On top of it, Arvid had a huge loan in his name, and now an agent from the bank comes around, threatening Odd with the acquisition of the house. Live craves blood and runs an errand to the hospital to meet Margit Gundersen, dead at night. Live extracts an enormous amount of blood from Margit and starts drinking it right away. However, shortly after, doctor Mathieu comes in to discover Margit having a seizure. Margit passes away shortly after.
The events indeed take a saddening turn, but Odd sees a silver lining. However, the Gundersen brothers opt for the cheapest coffin, which can probably fit three people inside. After the day of Arvid’s funeral, Live ends up at Reinert’s house. Reinert has an old crush on Live, and he attempts to comfort her. However, Live wakes up the next day to discover Reinert dead. Presumably, Live has drunk some blood from Reinert as well. Judith calls Reinert and later stops by his house. Live packs the body and takes him back to the funeral agency.
Live hides the body in Fru Gundersen’s coffin and is relieved to know that the coffin will go straight for cremation. However, she is in for a shock when Odd tells her that he has negotiated a viewing deal for the grieving parties in exchange for a few extra bucks. Live rushes to retrieve the body of Reinert from the coffin, but to her dismay, the body wakes up from the coffin — naked and with the head wrapped around in plastic — and runs into the woods.
The Gundersen brothers are infuriated at the sight of their mother in a disheveled state and take the body to a rival funeral agency in a neighboring town. Meanwhile, Live gives a falsified statement to Judith and a fellow officer. She is summoned by Dr. Sverre, who tells her that she must stop Reinert before anything happens. Sverre gives Live two doses of blood: one for herself and another for Reinert. Odd goes into depression, but amidst all the mayhem, Rose gives Odd the news that he will be a father. He gets another job that offers lucrative money, but Odd burns the money after knowing that it may come back to bite him.
Live goes to Reinert’s place for updating him on the recent developments, but Reinert thinks he is okay. He goes out on patrol and runs after a delinquent kid for blood. Dr. Sverre stops him before he can take the kid’s life and takes him to an old barn. Following Dr. Sverre’s instructions, Live meets him at the barn. The doctor instructs Live to burn the barn with Reinert locked in it. As Live enters the barn, the doctor locks them from outside and sets the barn on fire. Both of them escape, and Dr. Sverre finds himself in the company of vampires.
Post Mortem: No One Dies in Skarnes Ending: Is Dr. Sverre Dead or Alive?
Live and Reinert kills the doctor and presumably drink most of the blood. In the final episode, Odd takes up the job of giving a grand funeral to Dr. Sverre after selling the grand package to the doctor’s wife. With the sale, Odd sees a ray of hope and sees his life finally turning around. However, Odd finds it odd that the body does not have rigor mortis even hours after death. Although Live tries to sell Odd the idea that there are exceptions to rigor mortis, Odd knows better than that.
Meanwhile, Judith closes down on the Hallangen case and rushes to retrieve the body for an autopsy. Judith does not listen to a word said by Odd, and he has no option but to comply. However, when the police send the body to the morgue, they get an infuriating call back from the pathologists. The body of Dr. Sverre is embalmed, i.e., the blood has been extracted from the body, and it has been sterilized. Therefore, the pathologists cannot perform an autopsy on the body, and even if they did so, they would not get any leads from an embalmed body.
The story plays with the audience by suggesting that Dr. Sverre is infected by the vampires and is transformed into one of them as a consequence. However, the audience can sigh relief as after embalming, Dr. Sverre is most certainly dead. After the pathology lab returns the body, Odd continues the ceremony as planned, and Dr. Sverre has a “dignified” burial. However, the involvement of Live and Reinert in the death remains unknown to the police.
Can Odd Pay Off the Mortgage?
Out of desperation, Odd agrees to take a boy across the border. However, he comes to know that the body is stuffed with drugs. By the time he realizes it, it is too late. Odd must execute the business, which he does with commendable composure. He gets the money needed to buy a few more days and save the house. However, the money is dirty. As it bugs Odd’s conscience, he burns the money in its entirety.
However, after the death of Dr. Sverre, Live gives Reinert the idea to give Odd a chance to organize the burial of the body. Reasoning this, they leave the body to be discovered. It is only a matter of time before the body is discovered, and as there is no competition in the township for funeral services, the body comes to Odd. Odd strikes a favorable deal with the doctor’s wife and squeezes out the money needed for saving the house. In the end, then, it is evident that Odd gathers enough money to pay off the mortgage.
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