‘The Fall’ Season 2 Episode 3 review

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Whilst the first two episodes of this season have given us a lot of smaller elements and developed them all to some degree, this episode is structured very differently.

It almost feels like two smaller episodes. One, a crime investigation drama and the other a character-led, human interest piece.

The first half of the episode is dominated by investigative elements and that is given real depth here. As the situation intensifies, Stella’s strain is beginning to show: frustration over a clearly false alibi, a newly drafted in colleague to oversee Stella’s investigation and the lack of any sighting of Paul, despite his home being on 24 hour observation, all adding to this.

After last week’s surprising revelation, that pointed all fingers at Paul Spector, it’s gratifying to see them investigate so much and push so hard to connect the dots. This is further highlighted as Rose Stagg’s disappearance is made public and a television appeal is launched to find her. It feels like the net is finally starting to close in on him and it’s gripping to watch.

The Fall 2 Jamie Dornan

Jamie Dornan really proves himself this week in an episode that provides the clearest rationale on why Paul acts this way: his time in care and children’s homes, his abusive mother and the possibility of being sexually abused all adding weight to his tendencies. With Stella gaining ground on him, at one point personally identifying a car he is driving (albeit with an altered license plate), it’s brilliant seeing Paul unravelling.

That this leads to an effective ‘grooming’ of Katie (Aisling Franciosi) into his plans to screw up the investigation is a sinister, but not surprising development, given that one of the episode’s themes is how what happens to us as children can affect our behaviour as adults. Heavy stuff.

The Fall 2 Katie

That all works well. However, then we go from the sublime to the ridiculous. Are we supposed to believe that it was so easy for Spector to gain access to the Stella’s hotel? That he would come across her room number and access key so easily and be able to access it unseen and unchallenged?

It has a story purpose, of course, and you could argue it’s worth it for that moment that Stella realises he’s been in her room, but for me it stretches the credibility of the show just a little too much.

That said, there’s no denying this is a brilliantly cast affair. The chemistry of those involved is a major reason why this show is successful and that’s very obvious here. The X Files star Gillian Anderson shares a simmering chemistry with both The Good Wife‘s Archie Panjabi and John Lynch.

The Fall 2

Dornan and Franciosi have become a very watchable duo, who share a mutually dark intensity in their performance: one of calculated trust and lust that really adds depth to both their characters. Bronagh Waugh, who has been criminally underutilised so far this season as Paul’s long suffering wife Sally Ann, is also given a meaty scene that turns Paul’s alibi on its head.

The final moments, where Stella realises Paul has read her diary were brilliantly executed and should lead to more cat and mouse antics as the net closes in on Spector, hopefully making Stella finally lose her cool.


Aired at 9pm on Thursday 27 November 2014 on BBC Two.

> Buy Season 1 on DVD on Amazon.

> Order Season 2 on DVD on Amazon.

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