The Fall - Season 3 Recap
Viewers will definitely be satisfied when they finally see the reckoning of Paul Spector and DSI Stella Gibson. Perhaps in the earlier season we were made to think of a supposed underlying sexual tension between the two. Sexual tension would have been too obvious; perhaps there is some degree of mutual fascination but at the core is great contempt. Spector is a vindictive, deep seated chauvinist,who abhors the idea of Gibson looking down on him. For Gibson, Spector is simply a cold hearted killer, with delusions of grandeur, wanting him to pay for his brutal murders. In an interrogation scene at the final episode, Gibson tells him ‘I wanted you to be alive, as dying would to be too easy’.
Season two left us on a cliff hanger where Spector instructs the police to the location of his captive Rose Stag. Rose is almost 30 minutes to her death, when they find her locked up in the boot of a car in the middle of the woods. A jealous husband of an abused woman counselled by Spector arrives at the scene at the exact time and opens fire at him, injuring him. This strand in the story line is rather weak, possibly created to put Spector in the desired comprising position. The jealous husband plot was given a bit of air time in season two, but feels a bit random when he appears at the scene to kill Spector.
It was stated in the press before the season started that this was Jamie Dornan’s last season, so we are expecting death or escape from the first episode. I am sometimes unconvinced of Jamie Dornan’s performance but then again I can’t think of who else could play Paul Spector. He plays him rather one dimensional; with a very limited selection of emotions and facial expressions. Maybe that is Paul Spector an egotistical psychopath with the face of perfume model. A lot is going on in his head, but then very little is said. He does do creepy well, in any a very natural way; embracing his killer instinct, unabashedly and proudly. His victims are a conquest, fulfilling some unquenched internal desire.
It's baffling to see women still gravitate towards Spector, fully aware of what he is capable of. Like the obsessed angry teenager Katie Bernedetto (Aisling Franciosi) who is prepared to kill for him or the orderly looking after Spector at the hospital, where nursing a patient takes on erotic proportions. This nurse looks exactly like all his victims, dark hair and pale skin, and surprisingly none of the police have picked up on it. Perhaps creator/writer Alan Culbrit want us to think that something will bad will happen to her, adding to the anticipation.
Gillian Anderson’s DSI Stella Gibson is once again presented as this unintentional highly sexualized individual. Even when Spector brutally attacks her; she is lying there, her face all battered, still managing to look striking in her blood soaked chiffon blouse and her flawless wispy hair. Gibson’s sexiness is more female predatory than damsel in distress; men seem to fall for it and resent it at the same time. Her good looks, professionalism and directness is a forced to be reckoned with in a predominantly male environment and of course she comes across as intimidating. “We’ve chosen to work in a masculine, paramilitary, patriarchal culture,” she tells the younger policewoman. “Let’s not let it beat us.” However, by the end of season three we do see Gibson eventually beaten. She is betrayed by her superiors, despite her excellent work and dedication, but also the whole case has taken its toll on her. Even though her downbeat demeanour surfaces earlier in the season, its not till the final scene, where we see her dragging her feet back to her London house, down trodden and visibly upset; gulping a glass of wine, all alone with hard task of unwinding.
Spector, conveniently wakes up from his surgery with amnesia, unable to remember anything post 2006. He appears shocked when he hears he is in custody for the killing of the murders. Of course viewers are thinking: is he faking it? We do know that from season one and two that he worked as a councillor so he may have been briefed as to how an amnesiac will behave. This is a great twist, even thought he might as well be faking it, it offers great tension and with the help of power hungry defence lawyers it is insinuated that Spector may manage to wrangle his way out of it.
All is not lost though, investigators succeed to out trick Spector by looking for evidence for killings that happened prior to 2004 and sure enough they find it. They find that he was was responsible for the death of a Sarah Parker and that someone else was serving a life sentence on his behalf, a friend of his from juvenile care who felt in debt to Spector. Another background story of a traumatic childhood and sexual abuse is introduced by Culbrit here, providing us with the bigger picture of why Spector is who he is. It doesn’t really make us warm to him but rather understand him better.
An edge-of-your-seat interrogation scene follows where Spector is questioned about this murder. Spector surprised by there findings, start to unravel, feeling vulnerable as he is now out-smarted. Gibson manages to hit the nerve and when the investigation is halted, he is compelled to viciously attack her and her assistant investigator DS Anderson. The grand finale has Spector return to the psychiatric ward where he is kept and proceeds to cause further havoc managing to attack his psychologist, then lock himself in an inmate’s room, strangling him and then killing himself by hanging with a leather belt.
Season three was the slowest paced one yet, but at the same time had the biggest crescendo. The final scenes where predictable in terms of plot but still mesmerising. The third season still maintains all the ingredients, that make the show so great: the brilliant depiction of its characters, the Belfast bleakness contributing to an eerie and depressing mood but also subtleness with how things are presented, leaving viewers always expecting something disturbing to happen. Season four is not out of the question! Culbrit has already expressed an interest but we are not sure its happening any time soon. Undoubtedly Anderson’s character is strong enough to carry another season with another murder story for sure. However, viewers may need to recover from this storyline first and then we can talk about a next season.