The new Danish-language thriller drama series “Copenhagen Cowboy” is somewhat intense, confusing, and sparsely entertaining. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, the show is filled with visuals not too significant or with much meaning, despite having aesthetic visuals, with bright neon lights and a slow camera that almost always keeps panning around. While the visuals as such could still have saved the blushes for “Copenhagen Cowboy” had it been a film playing on the big theater screens, as a series, it falls flat. The plot, dealing with a young woman named Miu and her journey through Copenhagen’s underworld and then gradually into the supernatural, is simply all over the place. Overall, “Copenhagen Cowboy” is an intriguing watch at first, but ultimately it is tiring to sit through the six episodes, with hardly any reward for doing so either.
‘Copenhagen Cowboy’ Plot Summary: What Is The Series About?
A young woman named Miu sits patiently in a car as she is being driven to a new home and family. Considered a living, breathing charm, literally, she has been sold by her mother to a rich woman named Rosella. Despite being married to Sven for many years now, Rosella still does not have a child of her own and is desperate to get pregnant. Out of this desperation, she has bought Miu and plans to sit through her session of lovemaking with Sven so that she can get all the luck on her side and finally conceive. More facets of the characters are gradually revealed—Rosella’s brother Andre owns and runs a brothel, and Sven is just a silent puppet under his wife and brother-in-law’s commands.
From the very initial stages, Andre has his eyes on Miu, both for her youth, and the luck she brings with herself. Rosella keeps her brother away from the woman initially, as she starts to believe she has gotten pregnant through Miu’s charm. However, soon enough, her belief breaks when Rosella wakes up one night, bleeding profusely from her abdomen. Convinced that it was once again Miu who had something to do with this, Rosella starts to believe that Miu is actually not a lucky charm but an evil witch. The woman immediately lets Andre take her, and Miu is made to live with the other girls in the brothel. Here she befriends the only girl who opens up to her and supports her as much as the situation permits. This new friend, Cimona, reveals to Miu that she has been planning to run away from the place and this life of abuse, and she asks the protagonist to come along.
On the night of this escape, Cimona escapes the brothel and reaches their designated meeting spot before Miu arrives. At this moment, a young man named Nicklas drives by the place and offers Cimona a ride. Shortly after, a scene shows Nicklas strangling and killing Cimona in his family’s pig slaughterhouse. On the other side, Miu also escapes the brothel after some time and kills Rosella as an act of revenge, burning her house down. With nobody on her side left, Miu sets on a journey through the underworld of Copenhagen to survive and also look for her friend Cimona. Little does Miu know that she will have to engage in an epic clash against Nicklas and his mysterious family, which will also pull in the supernatural.
What Happens To Miu On Her Journey Through Copenhagen?
After leaving Rosella and Andre, Miu ends up at a Chinese restaurant and makes acquaintance with the woman running the place, Mother Hulda. Miu makes this her new home and helps with a woman’s childbirth. The touch of Miu makes the newborn baby, who is believed to be dead, cry out for life, and Mother Hulda perceives this to be a result of Miu’s supernatural good luck. Gradually, as the older woman opens up to Miu, she reveals that a Chinese mafia gang led by a notorious Mr. Chiang keeps ties with her business. Believing that Miu’s powers might be useful against Mr. Chiang’s severe headaches and worries, Mother Hulda introduces the woman to him so that she herself can earn credits for it. Miu’s power helps, as she seems to enter a dream world with Mr. Chiang for a brief moment, and here she learns that Mother Hulda’s young daughter Ai has been taken away by Chiang. From here on, Miu makes it a point to try and rescue Ai from the Chinese mafia. Once Chiang grows more trusting of the woman, she directly tells him that she wants to make a deal. In exchange for her healing sessions that are genuinely helping the mafia boss, Miu asks for Ai to be returned to her mother. Chiang agrees to such a return, but he asks for a considerable amount of money for it, along with the healing sessions. The always serious and mostly emotionless Miu agrees, seemingly without any plan to get hold of this money.
But Miu does indeed have a plan as she approaches an old acquaintance of hers, a lawyer named Miroslav. The man, who is also very deeply involved in illegal activities and the criminal underworld, seemed to have helped Miu move to Denmark illegally. He now gets her in touch with his criminal friends, as Miu wants to work and earn money for her plan to succeed. She meets up with two men, Polixen and Bjorke, who run a business smuggling and dealing drugs on the streets, and she is made a peddler under them. She is also given a handler of her own, Danny. When the right time comes, Miu becomes acquainted with Danny and starts her new job. Other than a few mischievous customers, whom Miu easily handles with her fighting skills, all goes well, and she starts to earn money. But a dangerous gang war breaks out in the city, with each faction fighting against the other. In such a circumstance, Danny gets killed, and Miu craftily steals a hefty amount of cocaine, eight kilos in total, from the business. She then gives this cocaine to Mr. Chiang, believing that the drugs would be considered more desirable than the money that the Chinese mafia wanted. However, Chiang is not interested in the drugs at all, as he gets them all flushed down the toilet, but he is also impressed by Miu’s desire to help Ai. He offers her another chance to get the girl freed—by murdering a man. Miu goes through with this too, which majorly impresses Chiang. He decides to keep his word and returns Ai to her mother, Hulda, but he also reveals a secret before doing so. He tells Miu that Ai was actually his biological daughter as well, since Hulda and he used to be lovers at one point. Once Mother Hulda and Ai leave the scene, Mr. Chiang professes his love for Miu, but the latter is unimpressed. This rejection enrages Chiang, and a tense fight begins between the two. But due to her supernatural luck and her exceptional fighting skills, Miu is victorious, and she kills the Chinese mob boss.
Sometime in the middle of all of this, Miu accompanied Mother Hulda to buy more pigs for the latter’s restaurant. They had visited the biggest slaughterhouse in the city, owned by a respectable and extremely wealthy family. This was indeed the family estate of Nicklas, and it was here that the man had killed Cimona. After setting foot at the place, Miu feels something wrong going on there, and she tells Mother Hulda about it too. Convinced that the place and the people residing there were evil, Miu went around and had flashes of her dead friend Cimona, along with other young women who had been killed there. Realizing what had happened, Miu confronts Nicklas and has a deadly fight with him inside the slaughterhouse. Nicklas’ novice fighting techniques are no match for Miu’s, and the woman severely beats him up. Terribly injured, Nicklas is then mowed down by his own pigs, and by the end of it all, he is in a horrible physical state.
What Are Miu And Nicklas’ Real Identities?
Throughout the series’ runtime, the real identity of Miu is kept hidden and it is one of the few subjects to ponder upon. The young woman is introduced as a good luck charm and has been referred to as a witch ever since Rosella had a miscarriage. There are other characters, too, not just Rosella, who call Miu a witch, one who indulges in the dark arts, but there is little evidence of Miu being a witch in the traditional sense. Most of her actions are simply human-like, and yet there is a sense of superhuman luck with her. Another theory can be that Miu is an alien from a different planet, and this might tie in with the scene towards the very end when Miu walks through a forest and meets numerous other women, all dressed in blue outfits like her own. There are probably a number of ways to read this, ranging from the supernatural to the socio-political. Most of the young female characters we meet in the narrative were illegal refugees living a dangerous life in Denmark, and Miu possibly had a similar origin too. Even though it is a stretch that neither the director nor his work seems to support, the sense of camaraderie at the end may be tied to this. At the very end of the series, when Miroslav finds himself in trouble with the gangsters because of Miu’s decision to sell off the drugs, he consults a good friend of his over a video call. This friend is noted real-world videogame designer and popular culture figure Hideo Kojima, who is himself a good friend of the director Nicolas Winding Refn. Kojima refers to Miu as a spirit and tells Miroslav that only the giants can help him defeat Miu.
On the other hand, once the character of Nicklas and his actions start transcending to the supernatural, he and his family definitely seem to be vampires. All broken and destroyed, now having to walk with a crouch, Nicklas realizes that Miu is too powerful for him. Yet he wants revenge against her and decides to summon his dead sister Rakel to help him in his fight. Rakel, who is significantly more powerful than her brother, appears to him in spirit form and tells him how to wake her up. For this, Nicklas has to procure their mother’s blood on a sword, go down to the family crypt, open up Rakel’s coffin, and give the blood to Rakel’s dead body. All activities which are associated with vampires. After Rakel’s reawakening, Nicklas appoints a helper of their family, who has been serving the family for centuries, to hunt and harvest human hearts to revive Rakel’s health. Following this, Rakel seems to try to give her powers to Nicklas but then decides to face Miu by herself.
‘Copenhagen Cowboy’ Ending Explained: What Happens To Miu At The End?
After having reunited Mother Hulda and Ai and also having killed Mr. Chiang, Miu walks through the woods of Copenhagen. On this journey, she meets with the other young women in similar blue outfits, and they all keep joining Miu. Finally, when they reach a clearing in the woods, Miu literally has a team of blue-clothed women with her. On the other side appears Rakel, dressed all in red, a color that almost always rivals blue. In the middle is a small pond, and the stage for a grand fight is set. However, once Rakel starts to charge up her energy for an attack, it is evident that she is too powerful for Miu. Rakel’s eyes light up with a laser, which she seemingly uses as an attack against Miu, and the protagonist has to forcefully keep her ears shut with her hands while tears roll down her face. A black screen with the wails of a siren follows, probably suggesting that Miu is defeated by her foe Rakel. This whole fight also probably takes place on the mental stage rather than the physical stage, based on how it is shown. In the end, Miroslav has a video call conversation with Hideo Kojima, who suggests that he take help from the giants to bring down Miu. It is either that these men are not yet aware of Miu’s defeat at the hands of Rakel or that they know more than we do. Perhaps the siren was for Rakel, who had been defeated by Miu somehow. By this time in “Copenhagen Cowboy,” the existence of the supernatural, both in terms of superpowers and the factions involved in the fight, is evident. It is perhaps only fitting to make mention of one more supernatural faction and keep doors open for a dreaded second season.
“Copenhagen Cowboy” is a 2023 Danish Drama Thriller series streaming on Netflix.