That was disappointing right? Talk about leaving it open. Or haven’t they? Well after a six week second series The Fall ended with a feature length ninety minute episode; full of hits and misses, answers and questions.
Frustratingly the climax of two years build up didn’t really feel like an ending, a conclusion, more of a teaser for series three. But then maybe that’s just the preconditioned view of it, that might just be it. There’s no third series announcement – yet – so perhaps Allan Cubitt’s superior thriller has ended exactly as he planned it to; his killer escaping justice, dying in the arms of his nemesis / peer. We’re jumping ahead of ourselves though, the story itself got to a conclusion; Rose Stagg was rescued, just about alive, but was almost brushed over in the move towards a conclusion of the Paul Spector – Stella Gibson dance. With all the talk in the media, and criticism of the show for not portraying victims as real people it was a shame that Rose’s story ended up just being a plot mechanism; Cubitt had done a good job of making us believe that the victims actually mattered to someone over the course of this second season, but a lot of that was undone right at the end.
The thread of Katie Benedetto also got slightly wrapped up, she was charged with a few things and turned out to be not just a misguided teenager but a Paul Spector in the making. This comes across as slightly implausible mainly because of any lack of backstory for her character. Perhaps that was the point but it felt as though her motivations were unclear, and fudged. There was also the case of gangster Jimmy and the dodgy journalist. Missing for most of the series this storyline came back just in time to put Jimmy in the right place for that denouement. More scenes where women we victims just to drive the story along allowed one of the most unbelievable aspects of this series to play out. Also, what happened to the corruption storyline? That went AWOL apart from the one episode it was convenient to bring it up.
The key scene, and culmination of two years’ work, was the meeting – at last – of Spector and Gibson. After the near misses, the telephone calls, and the interview room voyeurism to see them in the same room was fascinating. Considering the two leads have mainly played their characters emotionless it was a gripping scene. The matter of fact way that Spector confessed his crimes and Gibson, icy-faced as ever, talked calmly through them, was different from what you may have expected to end up being a series of mind games.
Ultimately though the second year of the show felt a let down; it felt contrived and was missing many of the aspects that so engaged in the taut, spellbinding first series. That’s a disappointment for this series that once so skilfully played its hand. The most effective scenes from the first series were those of Spector preying on his victims, and that drama was almost totally absent this time round, the kidnapping of Rose being the exception. The quality of the performances never dropped, Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan in particular were as great as usual.
For all our sake let’s hope that this is the end for The Fall. Some shows have an unlimited life-cycle but this story has run its course. It was a ride, at times dark and sinister, at times intimidating and violent, sometimes avoidably frustrating, but always watchable and fascinating.