‘Borgen – Power & Glory’ Season 1: Ending, Explained – Does Greenland Get The Permission To Drill Oil?


In politics, decisions are not made according to what’s right and what’s wrong. The purpose of every decision made, is to get leverage and fulfill a motive. People say that politics is a dirty business, as the greed and want for more never ends. Every person has their own moral compass, and the problem arises when they are ready to compromise on it and lead the people astray for their personal gains. “Borgen – Power & Glory” is a 2022 Nordic political drama and has been reinvented and brought to screen after a gap of almost nine years. The characters that inhabit this unpropitious world are still the same. Their roles have changed considerably over the last decade. Where some have risen to power, others have found a spot for themselves from where they can overlook the drama and pull the reins whenever needed. Birgitte Nyborg is no longer the Prime Minister of Denmark, but she still has the kind of influence, as the Foreign Minister, that has the potential to change the course of the narrative.

‘Borgen – Power & Glory’ Plot Summary: What, The Danish Series, Is About?

In ‘Borgen – Power & Glory’ Episode 1, Greenland struck gold as they found oil near Disco Bay. The drilling was to be done next to Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was clear that the drilling could have unforeseeable environmental implications and disturb the delicate balance of the ecosystem in the Arctic. Birgitte Nyborg gets to know about the development and instantly contacts Hans Eliassen, Greenland’s Secretary of State for natural resources, for a detailed report. Apparently, a Canadian oil company had made the discovery, and there was speculation being made in the Danish media as to what the government’s stance would be on the whole issue. Birgitte tells Hans very clearly on the call that fossil fuels are environmentally indefensible and that the Danish government will never approve of putting the environment at stake. But she was also well aware that oil meant revenue, and it was an intrinsic nature of human beings that their allegiance changed very quickly whenever huge sums of monetary gains were in sight. Kaare Mathiesen was the Arctic ambassador and was supposed to lead their negotiations. But the old man was a rigid campaigner and quite stubborn in his approach. Birgitte had a feeling that he was not somebody she could confide in. She needed a loyalist who would play the game and turn the scales in her favor. Kaare also gives out some information to the Financial Times, and it really triggers Birgitte. She decides to make him the Consul General in Manila as she wants to remove him from the scheme of affairs. Kaare’s deputy, the dynamic Asgar Holm Kirkegaard, was made the interim Arctic ambassador, and being overwhelmed by the favor, he swears his allegiance to Nyborg.

Hans Eliassen saw this opportunity as a means to make Greenland financially independent. Hans was a shrewd campaigner and didn’t have much regard for the Danish politicians. He had a belief that they always played to their benefit, and it was in their interest to never let Greenland stand on its feet. Unlike Birgitte Nyborg, the Prime Minister, Signe Kragh, was not totally opposed to the idea of drilling oil in Greenland. It was speculated by an expert from GEUS named Johanne Knusdsen that the discovery could be as huge as Ekofisk, the largest Norwegian oil field, and could probably lead to a revenue generation of around 2 trillion kroner. The amount was too huge to be just ignored. There was substantial evidence that the world superpowers had some involvement in the scheme of things, so Copenhagen was not left with much of an option other than to keep its ear to the ground and not lose its grip; otherwise, there was a possibility that other nations would get the leverage.

Spoilers Ahead

Who Owned The Oil Drilling Company? How Did Birgitte Evade A No-Confidence Motion? 

Though Hans Eliassen had clearly stated that the oil company was owned by the Canadians, Birgitte had come to know that a Russian man named Mikhail Gamov was one of the prime investors. Gamov had close ties to the Russian government and was a member of the President’s security council. He had a role to play in the annexation of Crimea, and there was news that the man would be put on the European Union sanctions list pretty soon. Russian involvement meant trouble for the Danish State, as they had been staunch allies of the United States of America and were also a part of NATO. Birgitte informed the US ambassador, Richard Stranton, about the developments, and he told her that the Pentagon didn’t want her to reveal the name of Gamov as the CIA was conducting a secret investigation and wanted to put pressure on their rivals. Richard had hinted towards the possibility that the United States might push her candidacy for the secretary-general of the United Nations as a reward for her exceptional capabilities and loyalty. Birgitta was just minutes away from a foreign policy meeting, and Richard had put her in a great dilemma. Maybe this was the precise moment where Birgitte chose power over her conscience. Even after being directly asked about Gamov in the meeting, Birgitte abstained from disclosing his name. She had earlier met with the Swedish ambassador, and that information had been leaked out.

It was speculated that a vote of no confidence would be passed against Birgitte in the third episode of “Borgen: Power and Glory,” because of her stance on the issue. She had vehemently opposed the drilling of oil in Greenland, and that had led to North Atlantic mandates going against her, especially the ones under Jens Enok Berthelsen. They camouflaged their motives by saying that Birgitte withheld information about Gamov, and that’s why they were making her accountable, but in reality, everybody knew that if she changed her stance and supported the drilling of oil; a no-confidence motion would not be passed against her. While TV1 was busy preparing farewell news pieces for Birgitte, she came out in support of sustainable oil drilling in Greenland, which took everybody by surprise, and the seasoned politician avoided the no-confidence motion.

Katrine Fonsmark was not satisfied, and she thought that the foreign secretary got an easy escape. She dug in deep and discovered that Birgitte actually knew about Gamov before the foreign policy meeting. TV1 broke the news that Birgitte withheld information, and Signe Kragh ordered her to do an interview with the news channel to clarify things. Just minutes before the interview, the Chinese ambassador revealed information to Birgitte that changed the course of the narrative. He told her that Gamov was not a co-owner of the company, as every single Russian company had been bought out by a Chinese equity fund, Qingxing Enterprise. Birgitte puts all the allegations against her to rest, and in the process, it gets revealed that the Chinese government was trying to mark their presence in the region.

In addition to all this, her son, Magnus, had become an additional political burden for her. He purported the veganism ideologies and was against anything that caused harm to nature. He had been publicly criticizing his mother, as she had decided to let the Greenlanders drill in the region.

Does Katrine Fonsmark Step Down As Head Of TV 1? 

Katrine Fonsmark was having a hard time dealing with her colleagues. Her ways and means of doing things were being questioned. Torben Friis, TV 1 political editor, tries to guide her and is quick to point out if she does something that is not appreciated by her peers. But Katrine was finding herself getting deeper inside the swamp. No matter what she did, it went against her. Narciza Aydin, who was one of the most popular news anchors for TV 1, was heavily criticized by Katrine for not cross-questioning Birgitte when she changed her stance during the interview and supported the oil drilling in Greenland. Narciza had a different perspective, and she did what she felt was right at that moment. Katrine shifted her to another slot and told another news anchor to take her position. Narciza felt Katrine was condescending and didn’t like how she undermined her authority. Things grew worse, and Narciza was fired from TV1. Katrine received a lot of backlash on social media and, henceforth, no matter what she did, she was criticized and mocked by the general public. Her competence as the head of such a big media house was being questioned. Due to excessive backlash, she was forced to rehire Narciza, and it somehow made her dwindling confidence reach a new low. Katrine knew Nyborg quite well due to her long-standing relationship with her, and so she was called on board as “Nyborg expert” during the election of leadership for the New Democrats party. Just when Katrine was about to come on camera, she got an anxiety attack. The stress and pressure that Katrine had had to go through for the past few months had taken a toll on her mental health.

The ongoing self-contemplation had made her question her abilities and self-worth. She was found sobbing and hyperventilating inside a washroom by Torben. Katrine decided to quit her job as the Head of News for TV1. She calls Torben in the end and tells him that she plans on writing a book, titled “Power in Denmark.” Katrine’s character arc was probably the most beautifully crafted one in the entire series. It made us pay attention to a lot of things that we tend to ignore in our daily lives. Katrine still wanted to chase her goals and nurture a healthy level of ambition, but not at the cost of her mental health, which was not only affecting her but her entire family.

Does Greenland Get The Permission To Drill Oil? 

Asgar Holm Kirkegaard was sent to Greenland by Birgitte Nyborg to negotiate terms with Hans Eliassen and reach a conclusion. Hans was very clear from the beginning that the subsoil belonged to the Greenlanders and what they did with it was totally their prerogative. But he was also well aware of the gravity of the situation at hand. He knew that the Danish government would never let them go without taking their share. Emmy Rasmussen, head of the department at the prime minister’s office, had to mediate the situation as Hans was treating it like his own domestic affair. With the revelation that China was involved in the proceedings, things had become way too chaotic and convoluted.

According to the policy laid down by Hans Eliassen, once the block grant was phased out by Denmark, Greenland was going to keep all the proceeds that came from the oil drilling. Obviously, the Danish government was against it, and Birgitte informed Hans about the same. She lost her temper while asking for a reasonable share of the proceeds, which led to the Greenlandic delegation going back and leaving the discussion midway. Birgitte called it Han’s political agenda in the media and shrugged off taking any responsibility.

America and Russia, the two superpowers, didn’t want to be at a disadvantage. Thule air base in Greenland was under the United States of America, and Washington DC didn’t want any outsider presence in the region that hampered their geopolitical interests. Birgitte is called to meet the US secretary of State, who asks her to stop the Chinese from pursuing their vendetta. Birgitte was left in a fix. She couldn’t say no to drilling oil, and she also couldn’t upset the country’s oldest and strongest ally.

Asgar suggests to Birgitte that the only way they could go ahead without violating the contract they had signed with the Greenlanders was by getting the US government to accept the presence of China in the region. Nyborg met Richard Stranton, and proposed creating a company with China, Greenland, and Denmark as the parties, which would act as a buffer between the US and China. China demanded that they want to expand the harbor they had already been allowed to build for their oil shipment, if Denmark wanted them to sign the contract. So it was decided that the US would be allowed to build a harbor in the northeast, and the Chinese would be allowed to expand theirs. The deal was sealed, but an unwanted Chinese drone crashed in Greenland, and the Russians had employed a team of special forces from a submarine that had been lurking nearby. It meant that China and Russia had both violated the nation’s air space and territory. In a move of retaliation, the US deployed its fighter jets in the area. Birgitte signed a contract in which they were getting 50 percent of all the proceeds. But still, the tension didn’t end, and Birgitte had been challenged by Jon Berthelsen, the Justice Minister, to contest in an election for the New Democrats party leadership. Birgitte knew that there was a possibility that she might not be able to get the majority of votes, as defending her stance in favor of oil drilling was not an easy task. It meant that she would first have to step down from the leadership of her party and, secondly, she would upset the nation’s strongest ally, the United States. Birgitte devises a plan and decides that Denmark will back out of the contract. The Danish government put forward an excuse that they were making an ethical choice as the oil drilling would lead to the destruction of a water flea that provides nutrition to many predators in the Arctic ecosystem, therefore prohibiting the drilling in Greenland. But everybody knew that Birgitte had some other vendetta, and it was only a matter of time when the real deal would come to light.

‘Borgen – Power & Glory’ Season 1: Ending Explained – Why Did Nyborg Step Down From Her Post? Will There Be Another Season?

From the inception of her tenure, the Prime Minister, Signe Kragh, had issues with Birgitte Nyborg, as the latter often tried to play solo without involving or informing anyone. Birgitte was the former Prime Minister, and so somewhere, Signe felt that she was still being dominated by her. She valued and admired Birgitte in spite of their differences and knew that she needed to have her by her side. But being on Signe’s side meant that Birgitte had to go against the values of her own party, the New Democrats. Jon Berthelsen, the co-founder of New Democrats, was not happy with Birgitte’s approach. He challenged her to contest an election for the post of party leader. Birgitte’s mentor, Bent Sejro, was also of the opinion that she should resign from her post. 

In the last episode of “Borgen: Power and Glory,” we see that Birgitte not only resigned from the post of party leader but also from her position as Foreign Minister, and it was presumed that she was going to completely give up politics. But the old wolf was not so naive after all. Birgitte had already planned her next move. She had told Signe to nominate her for the position of Commissioner of the European Commission, and, knowing Birgitte Nyborg, it is probable to assume that she knew for certain that her nomination would be approved and that she would get the required votes from the European parliament.

A second season of “Borgen – Power & Glory” is definitely on the cards as Birgitte Nyborg will commence her new journey as a part of the European Commission. Over the years, her roles had changed, but one thing that remained constant was her high level of competence and her ability to turn the situation in her favor. Till now, she has been successful in all her endeavors, but it would be interesting to see what the future has in store for her and whether she is able to tackle all the difficulties as the Commissioner of the European Commission.

“Borgen – Power & Glory” is a 2022 Political Drama series streaming on Netflix.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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