The Fall: 1.03 - Review AND Series Two News!
The third episode of The Fall sees us reach the stage most crime dramas would've hit by the end of episode one. Well, you can't say they aren't keeping us on our toes - although now they've got that second series renewal, maybe they're just going to throw the resolution down the line. Nonetheless, we don't watch this show for the box-ticking, it's all about the atmosphere. This week: the creepy desperation of serial killer Paul worsens, as Stella's aggressive command continues to baffle her colleagues.
So, since this is the literal middle episode, have they hit a dull mid-section? Check out the episode on iPlayer if spoilers worry you.
Unstable Serial Killer Visits In-Laws, Disaster FollowsCleverly, by delaying the stuff we normally see at the beginning until the middle, The Fall might have skipped a lot of the midway slump symptoms. Stella's big speech about the killer, intercut with shots of the suspect, is something we saw in the very first episode of Broadchurch. Elsewhere, her thoughts on the way women are treated in these cases manage to successfully annoy her colleagues - she does start speechifying at times, but at least she's making valid points. And considering how much she seems to care about that issue, it's not unrealistic for her to bring it up that much.
Killer Paul Spector (no relation to Phil?), meanwhile, spends most of the episode tracking a new victim, whilst simultaneously dealing with a tedious trip to his in-laws. Meanwhile, his wife and kids are finally starting to notice that the man of the house might be a tiny wee bit unstable. About time, really. It was a shame we didn't see more of Paul's strange relationship with his babysitter, as that storyline was coming to a head nicely at the end of last week, but his moments alone in the shed and with his book were pretty visceral and disturbing too.
And is it me, or were they implying he might be taking a shine to Stella next? That probably won't end well.
Superman Fails To Save Jimmy OlsenThere are some other storylines too - and these are the parts of The Fall that maybe aren't working as well, simply because we see them in such small underdeveloped bursts, it's hard to work out why we should care or how they relate to the main plot. I'm enjoying John Lynch as Stella's commanding officer, though. Also, the dead guy from last week was called Jimmy Olsen, which raised a smiled whenever someone mentioned it.
Still, I'm very much with the Stella and Paul stories still - hopefully this will remain the case as they wind to a close. Next week, the penultimate episode, and my expectations have shifted a little with the announcement of that second series. Will they catch him, or will this first five-episode series end up only being the first half of a story? My money is on the second one, to be honest, but we'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, though, another well-paced bit of atmosphere-crime-horror. Well done, The Fall.
The Fall airs Mondays at 9PM on BBC Two, more details on the BBC official Fall site, and see episodes available on iPlayer here. The second series really does position this show as the crime version of Game of Thrones, I feel.