It’s all blood and guts as The Fall returns – but will it return to form?
★★★½ BBC2, Thursday, 29 September, 9pm
ANYONE IN TRAINING to join the medical staff of an ER department should watch this opening episode. It must be the most detailed depiction of operating on gunshot victims ever seen in a primetime drama.
From CPR to blood units to delving right into Paul Spector’s insides, few aspects of the procedure are spared. Half of the first episode is absorbed in blow-by-blow accounts of medical teams dealing with Spector and his injured victim Rose Stagg. Casualty is kids TV in comparison to this and new face Dr Joe O’Donnell (actor Richard Coyle) is virtually star of the show.
In terms of the drama, you wonder what the point of all this gore is. At the disappointing end of series two, we wondered why Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson had rushed to woman-killer Paul Spector’s side rather than that of the colleague she had recently slept with, the also injured DS Tom Anderson.
And would the much abused victim Rose survive her ordeal at his hands? Has Anderson made it?
Gillian Anderson is as icy as ever as Stella
These cliffhangers are forgotten for a while. In what is a rather strange return, The Fall instead focuses on Spector’s travails in the operating theatre. The medical emphasis seems to be pointing out the irony of the all the effort that would go into saving a vile murderer. As one of the medical teams at Belfast General Hospital says, ‘No expense spared.’
Eventually, we get some relief from sutures and spleens. Gibson is confronted about her apparent devotion to Spector and we find out about Rose and Tom’s long-term prospects. The pressure is also turned up on Stella as the police honchos suspect she is out of control.
Katie (Aisling Franciosi) is still the troublesome teen, ostracising family and friends in her desperation to rush to her imaginary lover’s bedside.
Happily Gillian Anderson is still on great form as the Ice Queen, inscrutable, talking in whispers. She has a lot more to do than Jamie Dornan as Spector, who gets to move a finger. And John Lynch looks as constipated as ever as Stella’s boss and ex-lover Jim Burns.
Will The Fall become The Fail?
I think The Fall lost so much viewer goodwill at the end of series two that many think it will never be anything other than The Fail. Writer Allan Cubitt had got inside the sick mind of a psychopath and set up the hunted-hunted theme brilliantly in series one. He also picked up several awards along the way, including a British Screenwriters’ Award.
Then there was that ending to conclude series two, which seemed to make nonsense of Stella as a character. I’ve heard of people close to the show also predicting that it’s going to be rubbish. However, that might be premature. I suspect Cubitt was setting up a cliffhanger with that finale and will backtrack by getting Stella in the groove once again.
And it wouldn’t be The Fall if if didn’t also chill us. Devotees will soon realise as episode one closes that the nurse attending Spector (new cast member Aisling Bea) is just his dark-haired type…
- See BBC2’s site for The Fall