The Fall: 1.04 - Review

Short even by British TV standards, The Fall reaches episode four, and already it's nearly game over - number five is the end. But now we know there's a second series coming, does that mean we won't see a real end to Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson)'s investigation of Paul Specter (Jamie Dornan)'s serial spree? It could go either way, to be honest, and more to the point, I'm not sure which one I'd prefer. I love a good ending, but Dornan has been excellent and it would be sad to lose him from the cast.

But for now, all we can do is wait as the hunt shifts up a gear. Spoilers follow, so watch the episode on iPlayer if need be.

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The Day In The Life Of The Fall

Last week, Stella finally got her task force underway, ready to take a firm bite of the crime apple. As a result, this is probably the Fall episode most like a "regular" crime drama so far - instead of atmospherics and borderline-horror, everyone is simply trying to solve the mysteries and get on with their day. Even our serial killer Paul doesn't do much actively creepy until the final quarter of the episode - instead, we see him in his day job, accidentally saving someone from domestic violence whilst trying to cover his tracks.

Still, after three episodes of dark psychological skin-crawl, it's not the worst thing in the world to get some driving plot action. Michael McElhatton's corrupt cop commits messy suicide, and yes, he is also Roose Bolton from Game of Thrones. (After this week's big ending in that show, you can see why he might feel bad.) The police corruption end of the storyline is still the one that feels most disconnected - whenever it's on-screen, you drum your fingers a little waiting for Anderson or Dornan to come back. With one episode left, interested to see if/how they'll bring it together.

Psycho Paul Vs RoboCop

Despite doing standard police work this week, Stella is still a captivating lead - Gillian Anderson's steely strength is a joy to behold. The idea of casting a woman in the mega-maverick robo-cop parts often played by a man, not just showing her efficiently smashing crime but really asking how people react to it, has been the other thing that really works in this show. Especially enjoyed the scene where Stella's sidekick came out of the closet and got completely blanked - lack of prejudice or disinterest in her personal business?

Finally, the ending: Specter gets back out on the serial killing scene, but his routine is disturbed by an on-looker. Meanwhile, Stella stumbles upon a mututal acquaintance who might be an early victim of Psycho Paul - a little too coincidental perhaps. We viewers always kinda want the hero cop to solve the case with genius, rather than luck. Then again, in a non-Sherlock reality, maybe this sort of thing is quite common? Anyway, everything is in place for a tense final episode, but will it really be the end? Will Stella and Specter have a showdown on a construction site, backlit by bolts of lightning?

That would be too lame for The Fall, I think, but part of me really wants to see it now...

The Fall airs on BBC Two, 9PM Mondays, but only for one more week! More info on The Fall official site, and the whole series is still up on iPlayer for now. Give it a go, there's only four of them.

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