Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Fall - Series 1 (Spoilers Included)

It's been a little over a week since both RTE1 and BBC2 have aired the first series finale of The Fall and now I've decided to have a look back at the series itself.

What can I say about this show that hasn't been said already? Well, the basic synopsis for the five episode first series mainly comprised of serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan - Once Upon A Time) bumping off many a young girl in Belfast whilst being in hot pursuit by ice queen Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson - The X-Files) and it was certainly an interesting pursuit, given how sparing their interactions were over the course of the series.

Let's focus on Paul Spector, shall we? It's not too radical a thing for television nowadays to try and generate sympathy for serial killers. Dexter has managed to run for eight seasons, due to the fact that we can sympathise more for him and far less for his victims. With Paul, it's a different kettle of fish. His victims are innocent women, none of whom have done anything to deserve the violent and partly sexual deaths inflicted upon them and yet, at times, it's been hard not to like Paul. We've seen his good side through his job as a grief counsellor and his love for his wife, Sally (Bronagh Waugh) and children has shone throughout the series that Gibson's accusation of misogyny for his selected victims doesn't entirely feel true. And that's in spite of the fact that he really does have a specific sort of woman he tends to terrorise and kill as well. Either way, Dornan has given a very layered and nuanced performance throughout the series as Paul.

And then there's Stella Gibson herself. If there was ever a character to have Gillian Anderson really escape the shadow of Dana Scully, it's certainly the more sexually unapologetic Gibson. One of the more interesting female protagonists that we've had in this genre for quite a while (Saga from The Bridge excluded), I've enjoyed Stella's steely determination to track down the murderer in Belfast over the last five weeks, even if every rebellious cop cliche was utilised and her startling phone conversation with Paul in the final episode as the two of them sized each other up. A finale that shockingly decided not to resolve things with Paul Spector but instead ended up with him escaping with his family as Stella miscalculated his final move.

It's certainly been a source of contention for viewers. Some have been vocal in their disappointment over a lack of resolution of the Spector storyline as it will now bleed into the show's second series (BBC2 were a little eager in announcing it would come back in 2014). Personally, I don't mind it too much but I do hope that the Stella/Paul cat and mouse game, interesting as it is, is brought to a satisfying conclusion at the end of the series second run though. The Fall might not be the most original of cop dramas we've had but it's certainly been one of the more interesting and deserving of acclaim ones we've had though. Watching the five episodes again, it's not too shocking to see why it's become BBC2's biggest dramas in the last eight years as well.

The Fall - Series 1 is out on DVD and US viewers can see it on Netflix.

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