‘The Fall’ Season 2 finale review

If there’s one thing The Fall has really, really done right, it’s that I find myself almost breathlessly grateful that Rose Stagg is alive. We must be thankful for such small mercies in a narrative world that provides so few.

If I were to list all of the things and people in this episode that are heartbreaking, we’d be here all night. It’s impossible not to feel for Sally Ann, and even more so for little Olivia: she doesn’t know why, she just doesn’t want her father to get in trouble. The events of this season are going to haunt her for the rest of her life.

And then there’s Katie, still clinging to her love story, and I feel for her too. We’ve seen a decidedly calculating and manipulative nature in her to begin with, but on the other hand, we also see that innocence that comes with being a love-struck teenager playing out in her interrogation, the willingness to believe the stories she tells the police.

The Fall 2 Jamie Dornan

This isn’t easy television and it doesn’t get easier. Some of that earlier tension is diffused now that the chase is ended and we have that nice, long scene where Gibson chats to Spector. Gillian Anderson is so good as Gibson: facing off in a quietly civilised (if uncomfortable) conversation with Spector, Gibson is unflappable, but not unfeeling.

I suppose it’s slightly satisfying seeing Spector speak so candidly about the things he’s done and what he thinks about, and Jamie Dornan once again is just creepy enough that I might flinch if I ever met him before remembering that he was just pretending to be a serial murderer for the BBC.

The Fall 6

Jimmy Tyler has raged in the periphery of the story, standing in seething, shouting contrast to Spector’s dark detachment. Where Spector is a quiet manipulator with calculated plans, Tyler is a shouting bulldozer, and this is painfully apparent in his terrifyingly violent encounter with Liz and the other women. It fits his character perfectly that he would insist upon muscling his way into the episode’s final conflict. But where this animosity between the two is concerned, how do you take sides in a battle between monsters?

I wasn’t surprised by the ending; indeed, my partner shouted from his desk, “that angry man’s going to shoot Spector.” Okay, so it wasn’t a surprise, but does that diminish the impact? I’m not sure.

It’s an unsatisfying note to end on – Spector bleeding out in Gibson’s arms, then cutting to credits before we will ever know if he lives or dies – but deliberately so. Why make the ending any less uncomfortable than the rest of the story leading up to it has been?


Aired at 9pm on Thursday 18 December 2014 on BBC Two.

> Buy Season 1 on DVD on Amazon.

> Order Season 2 on DVD on Amazon.

What did you think of the finale? Let us know below…

> Read more by Sami Kelsh on her website.

  • guest

    (.. what I found most shocking was the disbelief on young Anderson’s (Colin Morgan) face when he sees Gibson run to Spector’s side- instead of his own!
    the sight of Gibson cradling the wounded Spector’s head in her hands and lap- and the urgency in her face- is moving but chilling- an extremely disturbing, fittingly-unsettling ending.)

  • Laura Richardson

    I found the finale exciting. It tied up some loose ends and left others open ended. I imagine that Spector is dead and wanted this confirmed. It leaves this business unfinished and unnecessary. The show is explosive enough to keep us tuning in, so in my opinion his death should have been decided. Gillian was dynamic and I look forward to her next case.

  • vegimitehandwich

    For the most part, the ending was fairly predictable. I was growing tired of the Jimmy subplot, and
    frankly there was such an unrealistic laissez faire attitude in the last
    few episodes when it came to anyone’s urgency of finding Rose. Would they
    really have wasted all that time with him in custody ? Maybe I’m used to
    Yank TV where the cops certainly would have roughed Spector up more to
    get some answers on her whereabouts.

    The most interesting part about the ending and which I loved, was the final moment, the Romeo and Juliet sort of weird star-crossed lovers thing between Gibson and Spector. It looked like they were about to embrace… and her frantic calling out to save him was kind of shocking. Despite the few crying scenes she had which were great and not overdone at all (GA is fabulous) Gibson, for the most part kept her composure and never really yelled or got out of control.

    I think something deep inside
    Gibson mirrored Spector, and in her own way, and not literally, she slew
    men as he slew women. She knew that he saw inside her, he had read her diary and as an intelligent man, he was able to penetrate her metaphorically. They were inextricably linked by the end. Is there a season 3, does anyone know??

  • StraightDs

    Im definitely of the opinion that Gibson and Spector were in some ways very similar. They hint at Gibson maybe having some past issues with her dad (or someone else, not sure). Its implied by anyone paying close attention that this has lead to her sexual behavior. Just as after Spector kills someone – he is ok for awhile, then the pressure mounts and gets unbearable until he satisfies it – so is the case with Gibson, but she satisfies it with sex. Doesnt even matter if its a man or a woman. Its the whole Joseph Conrad “Heart of Darkness” thing (later to be spun into Apocalypse Now). The “good” person searching out the “bad” one is much more similar to their prey than they originally thought.
    It’s an old theme, but when done well it works and is unsettling, because we can in some way understand how someone can slip down the rabbit hole.