‘The Fall’: Episode 5 review

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Fittingly for a show that has had a grim poetic and philosophical streak running through it, the finale seems to be built around WB Yeats’ ‘The Second Coming’, or at least the SparkNotes of it. In the words of Ol’ Yeatsy himself, ‘things fall apart’ spectacularly for Spector following his botched murder attempt last week, to the point where he takes it out on his mannequin. Still, it’s nice to see Sophie Ellis Bextor getting work.

By his mistake mere anarchy is loosed upon his world. A world which, by the tossed bottles and rioting crowds, we’re re-reminded is set in a city with an anarchy of its own. Spector writhes around truth and fiction in an effort to hold his secret together, bending reality – the babysitter’s infatuation with him, his casework with Jimmy – to create lies to hide his crimes. It’s as sickening as it is compelling, but we’ve come to expect no less from such a carefully deranged mind. In The Fall, as in verse, the worst are full of passionate intensity.

It’s an intensity which reaches a climax as he taunts Gibson over the phone. It’s not the conversation we thought we’d see the pair have in the final ten minutes, but by being boiled down to words alone it’s all the more powerful. Gibson probes, analyses. She’s in his head. Spector pulls his Joker from the pack; the classic psychotic’s cliché, ‘We’re not so different, you and I’. To them you’re just a freak, like me. It’s an old routine hung on a pinhead of truth. Both characters are premeditative, controlling, aware of action and reaction. Both look doomed to lock personalities beyond this series.

Against the creepiest rendition of Sham Rock’s ‘Tell Me Ma’ we’ll ever hear, we see that Spector embodies the rough beast of Yeats’ ‘Second Coming’; slouching over his steering wheel and with a gaze as blank and pitiless as the sun. Soon to have a new child, he’s about to be the nightmare by a rocking cradle. Ready to fulfil the taunting promise he made to Gibson that ‘things are going to be so different from now on’. A hint to a change in his murderous methodology? Or the more psychological ‘cat n’ mouse’ dynamic that’s sure to play out in Series 2?

There Yeats ends his poem and The Fall leaves us dangling like an unsolved clue. Class dismissed. It’s a bold ending: an otherwise frustratingly open-ended conclusion made into a cliffhanger by the knowledge of future episodes. For now, switch off your tellies and have yourself a nice cup of hot sweet tea to calm the nerves. Then we’ll all just have to hang on tight for The Fall‘s own second coming.

Aired at 9pm on Monday 10 June 2013 on BBC Two.

> Order The Fall on DVD on Amazon.

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