In some ways, it is surprising that the third series of The Fall was made, especially with Jamie Dornan filming the 50 Shades of Grey movies. The second series ended in such a way that it could have been a good way to end, but that would have missed out on a much darker way to end the series.
Having survived the events of series 2, Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) is now in hospital with amnesia. With the police forming a case against him it is down to his lawyers to find a way to defeat the case against him. With all eyes on Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) as the weakness in the case, she has a battle on all sides to not only defeat Spector, but also her work colleagues who look to see her fail.
I binge watched The Fall: Series 3 to write this review, and in many ways this was the best way to watch it. In contrast to the earlier two series which were constantly about the chase, and felt to be moving at a good pace, series 3 is about the slow process towards justice, or lack of it.
I can understand if this slow methodical pace didn’t work for some, but it does make for engrossing television. The chess like game that Spector and Gibson play is interesting, especially with the addition of the amnesia storyline. The darkness within the character though, and the way Dornan plays him creates a duplicitous evil that always puts the audience on edge. You can feel that something is not right with his actions, and that he has a plan.
While the process of building up a case against Spector is interesting, Dornan’s character is much more captivating as we have to decide for ourselves what the truth is about him. We learn much more about his past in this series, and begin to understand where his serial killer tendencies were grown from. In many ways, you can almost sympathise with him based on his apparent loss of memory and lack of knowledge of his actions.
Then of course we get to the conclusion of the story and the explosion of sudden action which comes as a punch to the gut. This is of course the real reason for the slowness of the previous episodes. We are drawn into the pace, and fooled into letting our guard down, and then the slap in the face comes. This is what makes this season of The Fall work, because it is lulling us into a false sense of security, as many of the characters almost are.
With these six episodes, it highlights the truth of many of these types of crimes and that is that the list of victims still grows, and people are made to suffer. This is also the case for Spector himself, if we buy into his amnesia. Even in the final episodes when the story is played out, we can’t even be sure that he was faking it or not.
One weakness that I did feel slightly let down by with The Fall: Series 3 was Stella Gibson’s fight against the Patriarchy as she herself puts it. It is pushed at us rather bluntly that she is fighting a male system, and when a female victim or witness is put under scrutiny she feels the need to defend them to the utmost, even when it may seem slightly unjustified as they must answer for their actions. For me, it weakened her character somewhat, but I can still understand why it was a part of the story.
It is true that the character of Stella Gibson is a strong woman fighting against a male system that looks to attack her at every opportunity. In the end though, the real weakness is the male superiors, and maybe her fight was one that needed to be handled in the way it is portrayed.
Although the end of The Fall may be a little controversial the more I thought about it, the more I was impressed with the choices that were made. In many ways, the actions are done in a way that we must question the character of Spector himself, and his motivations of his final act. Thought provoking and disturbing, this is a good end to the story of Paul Spector.
The Fall: Series 3 is available on DVD now.