‘Luther’ Series 3, Episode 4 (Finale) Review

Alice returns with a bang… And some fashion advice for Luther

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Neil Cross has the task of either ripping Luther’s (Idris Elba) world apart or finding a way for Luther to have it all in spite of the many dearly departeds and his hand in blood. Happy endings come at a price. Accused of DS Ripley’s (Warren Brown) murder, Luther works to clear his name and stop vigilante Tom Marwood (Elliot Cowan) from becoming a martyr.

I missed the first 20 minutes but a re-watch is more than worth it. The four-episode series finale begins with Marwood still armed with a sawn-off shotgun in a rage. Marwood has so much venom laced with his desire to save the world from people who skate below the clutches of what he considers to be justice, that his agenda moves from a grey area to a clear good vs bad divide. Still not forgiven Marwood for what he did to Ripley in the last episode. This makes it easy to hate him as he pursues the fragile butterfly-caught-in-a-web, Mary Day (Sienna Gullory) who sniffles and whimpers her way through the hour-long episode. Mary is rescued 3 times during the hour by Mary’s knights-in-mostly-leather: Snark, Alice and Luther – in that order. Luther meanwhile is arrested for Ripley’s murder. Guy can’t catch a break, can he. By the look of his (un)lucky coat he hasn’t been home, had a shower or slept at least not in the entire series.

It’s a breath of fresh air to welcome back Alice Morgan (effortlessly played by Ruth Wilson), the original ride or die gangster and fugitive. She blasts her way onto the screen and her greeting after she springs Luther from Gray and Stark is simply: “Wotcha”. There is literally kinetic energy when Idris Elba and Rita Wilson are on screen together. Alice ‘don’t play’ so don’t be fooled by that perpetual smirk on her lips and that twinkle in her eye. Getting into the mix of a heist brings out a lovely colour in her cheeks and a tiptoe skip to her steps. I think she loves her ‘job’.

It’s brilliant to see DCI Martin Schenk (Dermot Crowley) go toe-to-toe with Stark over ‘jurisdiction’ (yes, that’s in every cop drama). Stark is a man who’s “just a dick” and seemingly has no real agenda or depth. People without depth ‘go bye-bye’ so his demise is no surprise. I doubt I’ll miss him. On the other hand the stand-off on the roof top where Luther has to chose between Alice and Mary had me biting my nails. Either would be a tearing loss for Luther, even if Mary “isn’t interesting” as Alice surmises. It’s understandable then that Mary steps aside perhaps coming to realise what it means to be in Luther’s world. Not really fitting for a girl who just wants to meet up for a glass of wine at the end of a day leisurely selling vintage clothing.

Alice is indeed Neil Cross’s most enchanting plot device for adding tension and mystery. Without the danger that Alice, the catwoman brings the Luther finale would be less intriguing. Of course, this episode belongs to Rita Wilson as she matches Idris Elba scene for scene. Although Alice may get Luther into scraps, she gets him out of them. And Luther seems to enjoy her game even if the rules are made up by her as she goes along. Makes for one hellauva ride.

The finale ends with us imaging the opening scenes of a possible series 4. A film version has been rumoured for some time and in fact I think it’s inevitable. Luther warns Alice, “after Marwood, I’m done”. It raises the apt question: “so, now what”, as we pan back and fade out from Luther (without his unlucky coat or Mary and his career in shreds) and Alice on a bridge, to the strains of ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’, by The Black Keys. He’ll be back. Well. He’d better be… Dramatic postscript: if Alice came back for Luther and Alice “always wanted to be a widow”, is this the end for our hero? Stay tuned to find out if our anti-hero will appear on the big screen or be commissioned for a fourth series of Luther – hopefully with Alice in tow. Although there was also talk of a spin-off for her too…