Matador, explained | Romeo comes to town

When love comes to the town of Korsbæk, the animosity between the old and new guard goes from professional to personal

The following is intended as an aide for those interested in watching the Matador series, but whose Danish level prevents them from following along.

Episode 4  Skyggetante

In the town of Korsbæk, Romeo, it turns out, is a banker, and he is the brother of Mads Andersen-Skjern. 

And in this case, the Capulets are the Varnæs family.

Kresten Andersen-Skjern is called to Korsbæk by Mads to help with his brother’s burgeoning lending and estate activities.

Those estate activities soon include the secret purchase of the waterfront vacation property of his failing competitor, Alfred Arnesen, which Mads plans to subdivide into smaller plots for sale.

But while the arrival of Kresten foreshadows a coming commercial conflict between the Andersen-Skjern family and the Varnæs family, it winds up being on the romantic level that the two families have their first open struggle, when Kresten falls for Elisabeth Friis, sister of Maud Varnes, and governess to the family’s children.

Desperate to escape her life as the ‘skyggetante’ (shadow aunt) in the Varnæs household, and bound not to let her family’s interference ruin yet another relationship, Elisabeth resists the pleas to call off her planned marriage with Kresten – first by her sister, then by the town doctor, Dr Hansen – himself a secret admirer of Elisabeth.

In the end, it is Jørgen Varnæs who is able to convince Elisabeth to do so, but only after he makes it clear to her that the Andersen-Skjern family isn’t running just other families in Korsbæk, their banking activities could well sink the Varnæs family as well.

Heartbroken, Elisabeth calls off the engagement and instead accepts Dr Hansen’s invitation to travel to Salzburg on a music study trip.