Netflix’s The Fall is one of those shows you get recommended on Instant Watch when you’ve delved deep into the BBC-sphere of programming. I’m mainly talking about the ever moody Luther and lighter affairs like Dr. Who and Sherlock.
From the jump it seems like The Fall is establishing the stage for a whodunit that’s more about the who, than the dunit. Yes, this approach has been done before, but it doesn’t feel overwrought here.
Within the first 20 minutes of the show, we’re quickly introduced to our hero and villain: Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) and Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan). Gibson has been called into the Irish town of Belfast to review the investigation of the murders of a couple young women. The implication is that the local department has bumbled their way through this already and Gibson is around to steer them in the right direction. On the other hand, Spector is our ever so creepy killer casing a third victim. Killing, however, is his night job. By day he’s a happy family man who’s also a therapist. Talk about fucked up.
This, plus Gillian Anderson’s appearance as a common denominator, will conjure comparisons to Hannibal. The Irish setting and other key plot points however do spice things up. We’ll have to see over the course of the season.
What struck me throughout this episode is the amount of effort put into muting as much of Gibson’s character as possible. The stylistic choices here favor characterizing the nature of Spector’s psychology, whereas Gibson’s character traits are given in small bits; her dream book, her icy demeanor, etc. It’s an interesting setup in that she’s more of a mystery to us than the killer. This reversal of some standard crime drama tropes intrigues me and I’m excited to see how it plays out.
Overall, this episode was solid in setting the scene for what’s to come. The final scenes especially set up several “oh shit!” moments that are sure to be referenced in the next episode. My main issue with it, having now seen it twice, is that the effort to make Gibson mysterious feels a bit alienating. Maybe it’s just because it’s the first episode, but I felt as though we should know or feel a bit more from her character.
It’s hard to judge here though, given this BBC format of 5 hour-long episodes. They’re clearly throwing a lot at the viewer while also trying to keep enough for each successive episode. I for one am only disappointed when the ride ends, a la Luther. All in all, The Fall sets an intriguing premise and leaves enough to keep you interested.
So, if you like a good crime thriller and/or, this may be the show for you.
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The original Homeboy With A Keyboard ™, dap wants to be an enigma, but he’s pretty transparent. A transplant from “Back East,” he found himself in Oakland writing about alla the fun things. He’s in love with the coco(a) (skinned women and butter,) among other things. Find his rants and retweetery @dapisdope