‘The Fall’ Season 2 Episode 4 review

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For those of us who like our televisual escapism grim and stressful, The Fall has once again provided plenty to get stuck into.

It’s so refreshing, in many ways, to have a crime show where the tension and complexity of a single story arc is given so much room to breathe, and it takes full advantage of the space it is given.

Gillian Anderson continues to play DSI Stella Gibson with such restraint: there’s so much present just beneath her calm exterior that you almost wonder what sort of a storm would ensue if a little were allowed to escape.

Joining the cast this episode is Colin Morgan, whom viewers may remember as the titular character from the BBC series Merlin, here playing DS Tom Anderson – he doesn’t have a lot to do in this episode, but I rather hope we’ll see more of what he’s all about in episodes to come.

The Fall 4 Jamie Dornan

I’m forever grateful that The Fall has avoided falling into the trap of making Paul so charismatic or likeable that the audience is apt to forgive or justify his actions – it never goes so far as characterising Paul as a hapless victim of an unfortunate upbringing, leading him inexorably into an adulthood of increasingly disturbing obsessions and, eventually, a handful of murders; nor, however, does it present him as a wholly inhuman and unfeeling monster.

We see him sort of make the excuse in this episode, to Katie, arguing that others deserve to suffer because the two of them have been wronged. Katie, drawn in by the heady cocktail of dark angst and teenage lust, buys into it; for the audience, on the other hand, it feels hollow and unconvincing, just as it should.

The Fall 2 Katie

It’s genuinely sad that someone with potential and, admittedly, some good attributes besides, was allowed to become so irredeemably screwed up for whatever reason, but that never quite makes us like him. If anything, I feel for his young children, and his wife (played with such heartbreaking strength by Bronagh Waugh), and for whatever will befall them when Paul is finally undone.

Regardless of whether he’s in control or things are falling apart, Jamie Dornan is so convincingly creepy as Paul that I fear I’d be slightly uncomfortable meeting him at a social event. That’s the power of quality acting skills, right there.


Aired at 9pm on Thursday 4 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 episode? Let us know below…

> Read more by Sami Kelsh on her website.