I review a whole season rather than individual episodes, so there is a chance of spoilers. If you haven’t watched the whole season yet, stop reading now!
You’d be forgiven for believing that there was no where else The Fall could take it’s two opposing characters after the shocking finale of season 2. Serial killer Paul Spector lay, shot and dying, in the arms of his cop-pursuer, Stella Gibson, played by Gillian Anderson. It was a shocking conclusion to the season and was only made more confusing when season 3 of the series was announced.
To the credit of writer and director, Allan Cubitt, The Fall has managed to deliver something very different each season but keep the story flowing with a purposeful and logical pace. The first season being about Spector’s killings and even “beating” Gibson, the second season being Gibson’s revenge and then of course the culmination of the “battle” in season 3. Knowing that this season would be the finale of the story made for a much more intriguing season but at no point did you know where the story was going.
Surprises abound throughout the season. The opening episode is a masterclass in how to make medical procedures and cold sterile rooms seem full of drama and action, while the rest of the season manages to puzzle as Jamie Dornan’s Spector seemingly suffers from amnesia.
This is the biggest puzzle of the season: is Spector faking? It seems like a ridiculous direction for the story to take but handled so well and played so straight by the key characters, the story works. It also manages to humanise Dornan’s character once again, bringing back the family-man side of the killer which made him so “likable” through season 1 and 2. This becomes particularly poignant when he is reunited with his confused daughter.
The season’s six episode run is mostly concerned with trying to unpick this new puzzle while also trying to capture Spector in a new trap which won’t be beaten with amnesia. This is where Anderson’s Gibson takes center stage, although unfortunately, she doesn’t quite get the dramatic story-lines she got in the preceding seasons. In fact, outside of Dornan’s Spector, the supporting characters all seem to fall away, having little to do than play-out their own smaller story-lines so that the main plot can take center-stage.
It is the final episode that becomes the highlight of the season and holds some of the best parts of the season (and complete show so far). The best moments of the whole show have been when Anderson and Dornan are in the same room and the final showdown between killer and cop, as subdued as it becomes, is a tension filled scene worth the wait.
As is the conclusion to the whole saga. It is always difficult to finish a story as compelling as this one in a satisfactory way but The Fall manages to do so. The characters reach conclusions to their stories the audience can be happy with, even if the characters themselves aren’t.
Overall, The Fall manages to end the season on a high and reach a satisfying and suitable conclusion for the three season saga. The season takes a strange twist but manages to make it work well, while Anderson and Dornan step-up to their respective performances. Aside from some under-used supporting characters, a season fitting of a great series.
Best Episode – Their Solitary Way: The finale to the whole series and a fitting end to the characters.
Best performance – Jamie Dornan as Paul Spector
Should there be another season? – Maybe. Not the Spector story but there is still life in Gillian Anderson’s Detective Gibson.
Rating – 4.5
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)