“Do you think that looks like me?”
Jamie Dornan returns as serial killer / adoring dad Paul Spector as BBC Two’s controversial drama The Fall begins its second series. One thing that’s clear from the start, is The Fall would have worked better without being split into two series. If you haven’t seen the first series you’ve got no chance of following the second. Luckily for me (and this review) I had. That’s not to say I didn’t have moments trying to remember who was who and how they were connected.
The series starts off fairly sedate, Spector hiding alone up in Scotland ten days after the events of series 1. Gillian Anderson‘s DSI Stella Gibson is shuffling the different facets of the case; through profiling the killer, to trying to help Annie the survivor of Spector’s attack. Gibson is a very closed off character but we get a tiny glimpse that wasn’t always the case when she shows the victim to snap her hair band on her wrist to control her feelings and emotions. It would seem Gibson’s demeanour is born of a desire to control and mask her emotions. What events caused the cold officer to such lengths I’m not sure we’ll ever find out.
The second half of the episode takes a more sinister turn as we see Spector tie up his daughter Olivia’s dolls and later scope out his next victim in the not-natural blonde on the train. But the most distressing encounter has to be Spector talking to Rose’s daughter after being caught creeping in the house. On one hand we see the loving father persona emerge, but then contrast that with why he’s in the house and potentially about to do the her mother, it truly shows Spector’s disturbed logic.
The females in this series are painted a little too foolhardy for my liking: The girl on the train gives way too much information about herself to Spector, considering she went to the lengths to change her hair colour so as not to become a target (nobody told her telling defeats the object); Remember Katie, the teenage babysitter in series one who Spector attacked and then claimed to his wife Sally he’d been having an affair with? She clearly knows Spector is the killer and yet goads him with the evidence – she’s either very brave or stupid. And finally, Rose, attacked by Spector in an early relationship and helping the police, yet surprisingly calm when she realises who has his hand over her mouth? I don’t know about you? But my reactions would be pretty different to those mentioned above.
The Fall is a Psychology lesson in itself, as writer Allan Cubitt has said, the true victim in the series is Spector’s daughter. He uses her youth and naïvety to cover his actions while still appearing the loving father. It’s a testament to Jamie Dornan’s performance that he convincingly pulls off both aspects of the character making us aww at his interactions with children and the next fearing what he’ll do next. The first episode focuses less on the stalking and ritualistic killings of the first series but more the psych of the killer and the lengths he will go to keep his secret as the clues start to stack up and the police ever nearer to his identity.
The series started off slow, but still managed to keep the intrigue and tone of the first series making it a fantastic journey to watch, with Spector taking more risks and in doing so leaving more clues for Gibson. Despite my reservations about the portrayal of some of the female characters, the gripping series is a welcome return.