It's a family drama about religion, but unlike saccharine dramas like 7th Heaven, this is a deeper examination of the meaning of faith within a family unit. With a lineage stretching back 250 years, serving as a priest has been the Krogh family business. Ride Upon the Storm explores the lives of the current generation: Johannes (Lars Mikkelsen), Elisabeth (Ann Eleonora Jorgensen), and their sons, August (Morten Hee Andersen) and Christian (Simon Sears).
Patriarch Johannes is god-like to his sons – he gives, loves, and punishes. His favouritism for August and his disappointment with Christian forces both into making desperate choices in order to either gain his love or break free from him.
Johannes Krogh (Lars Mikkelsen)
He is the front-running candidate in the elections for bishop in the Copenhagen diocese. He's the father of two sons and the story’s central character, not just in terms of screen time but also in the way his relationships with his sons determine the decisions they make in life (for better or for worse).
Johannes sees himself as a true Christian in the sense of the National Church and in the vein of Grundtvig, the father of modern Denmark. He is a thinking man of religion, acknowledging the power of faith and the importance of a belief system in the worst of times, but also trying to use the teachings of the Bible and the symbolic books to make sense of the big questions in life.
He sees himself as the next rightful Bishop of Copenhagen, the Church of Denmark’s equivalent to an archbishop. He seeks to revitalise the church through intelligent debate and challenge atheism rather than bowing to it, and plans to make bold steps to improve the Copenhagen diocese’s falling membership numbers, the lowest in the country.
His relationship with his wife is passionate and heated, which seems to reflect his general approach to life itself and his relationship with the bottle as he drinks heavily in secret. He is a figure of godlike importance to his two sons, with the family reaching a crossroads as the series begins.
Episode one borrows its logline from Exodus: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”. Some sage advice for the two sons as they enter the next stage of adulthood and are faced with crucial decisions that will determine their futures in their father’s shadow.
Elisabeth Krogh (Ann Eleonora Jorgensen)
A strong, yet doting, wife who is clearly quite adept and equipped to handle this family of strong-willed men with traditional male roles - in good times and in bad. She is beside Johannes side during his effort to rise to the top, offering unconditional love and support. When things get messy, she is prepared and able to quickly step in and act to protect her husband, his reputation and his ego. Her mother’s intuition kicks in at the first sign of her son’s being in trouble.
Or could it be divine intervention?
August Krogh (Morton Hee Andersen)
The next generation of pastors in the long line of Krogh family men, August is a successful priest for his young age - a poster child for the hip, young end of the church, with magazines profiling his favourite coffee shops.
August must face the difficult choice between two incredible life opportunities very early in his career. Will he become the Danish Army Chaplain, to be deployed to the Middle East, or will he take on the role of pastor at the Marble Church, the youngest pastor in history to be approached for the role? He sees the Army as a calling and a way to make his father proud, while the prospect clearly terrifies his young wife, who pleads with August to remain in Denmark so they can embark on starting a new family.
Christian Krogh (Simon Sears)
Christian has gone rogue, choosing not to follow in his father’s large footsteps - instead seeking a life in business outside the church. He taunts his brother and teases him for his practicality and piousness. Likewise he treats his best friend and future business partner, Mark, with the same level of irreverence, joking about failing to complete the thesis which Mark is relying on him to accomplish as they seek investors for their start up.
He is charming and flirts outrageously with both his best friend’s wife and his brother’s wife, the promiscuous male trying to find an easier form of love and acceptance than he receives from his father. He refuses to take responsibility for his actions and when he finds himself without a place to live, becomes aware his life was not going to take the path he envisioned for himself, and new plans for the future must be contemplated.
Ride Upon The Storm airs Thursday nights on SBS at 10:30pm. You can stream the entire first season now at SBS On Demand.