The Fall: Episode Two - Review

Another week on the killing streets of Belfast in The Fall, and nothing has really improved. In fact, nor has it advanced that far - are they trying to make the Game of Thrones of BBC police shows, covering all possible angles and telling its story in fractional increments? Still, I enjoy Thrones, there's room in my life for a cop show with the same pace.

This week - another victim, a long slow discovery, Stella Gibson makes some unwise personal choices, but so does the serial killer she's hunting. If that wasn't enough spoiler for you, you can always watch the episode itself on iPlayer.

we open with the most brutal example of The Fall mingling the lives of Detective Stella and Serial Killer Paul, as they intercut Stella's sexual encounter alongside shots of Paul lovingly and disturbingly laying out his latest victim, cleaning her up, then photographed her. Lovely sequence, that was. Definitely got me back into the mood for another hour of ponderous serial killing, which is fortunate as before that I'd been quite cheerful.

If you felt Stella's picking up a random detective last week was a bit on the nose, you'll enjoy this one, as she discovers (as all TV characters who attempt no-strings sex do) that her partner is rather stringier than she is. This story may sound disposable, but we also get to spend the day with her doomed boytoy, as he tries to solve a crime, fails, then gets nailed with bullets at the end. Okay. Fortunately we weren't that invested in him, as he'd mostly seemed sulky. Still, hopefully some of his material will go somewhere later, as otherwise it made this episode rather scattershot for no real reason.

Otherwise, it's straight through the material you'd expect, as Stella slowly locates the new victim, and is then able to convince her boss that, hey, these three similar killings might just be related, whilst bonding with some supporting cast. Serial Paul, meanwhile, masturbates furiously over his corpse pictures and then has problems with both his daughter and some teenage girl who chooses a relly unfortunate older man-crush.

Another decent episode, I think, I'm enjoying the vast scope, as well as the odd sense that I really am not sure they're going with this. They can't exactly pull a whodunnit right now, so will there be a conspiracy? A hostage situation? Will Paul just sit there wanking until Stella catches him? In the meantime, we have the smaller touches, such as the unsettling sight of a recently de-fridged corpse that does not bend anymore, or a local WPC wearily clearing away used condoms, or an awkwardly protracted call with the 999 operator. Strange details but they do make it more vivid. Also, the lack of major on-screen nudity or gore make all the stark unpleasantness of it even more unsettling.

We're hitting halfway next week (episode 3 of 5), what's next? A sudden huge increase in pace? What's up with Ser Barristan (yes, another Game of Thrones connection) and his executive chums, also?

The Fall airs Mondays at 9PM on BBC Two. More information available on the BBC official site, see the first episode on iPlayer too. Maybe the twist is that Paul is actually the policeman and Stella the real killer? Somehow?

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