Luther: Series 3 Episode 3 Review
Reviewed by James Amos.
“I’m a copper; we’re on the same side. I don’t think you’re going to shoot me.”
The penultimate episodes of Luther have always had great cliff-hangers. This episode doesn’t drop the baton on that front as we are given the most heart breaking and shocking ending to a Luther episode ever.
The episode starts once again introducing us to the killer that Luther will be fighting in these last two stories. Already we can see how this will be different to all the other killers we’ve had before, this one kills criminals. Immediately we are shown how this will be a massive challenge for Luther and his partner Ripley; can they really put a man behind bars for killing people who were about to take innocent lives? Once the opening credits are out of the way we are given a very rare light hearted scene where Luther introduces Ripley to Mary. It’s not often that we see Luther actually happy and laughing, so it’s always a sigh of relief when we get a scene like this. It especially shows us how Cross is so good at character development that he’s put us in tune with Luther; when Luther smiles, we smile.
Stark’s plan to bring down Luther also continues in this episode as he shows Mary all the ‘evidence’ he has against him. Unfortunately, for me, this plot has run a bit dry. Instead of Stark being Luther’s true Moriarty like enemy he has instead become a bit of an annoying mosquito that you keep trying to shoo away. It feels strangely odd that he’s still here. We have the big plot of the killer killing killers, and it feels as if Starks just in the back round holding up his hand saying: “look at me! I’m still trying to bring down Luther!”. Hopefully with the next episode being the last of the series, he actually does some proper damage and jumps into the foreground for an epic final stand with Luther. However I don’t really see that happening anymore. This is a shame as the character in episode 1 had so much potential, yet it really does seem like he’s just a sub plot for the sake of having a sub plot.
The episode itself is epic and has an excellent idea to keep you on the edge of your seat; however the thing that you will be left thinking about once the episode ends is the last 10 minutes. The vigilante killer has a paedophile ready to hang and calls upon the people of London to make the decision. When they choose to let the man die for his crimes, Luther and Ripley run to the scene to stop this from happening. It’s an epic conclusion as Luther is being attacked as he tries to save the criminal, whilst Ripley chases after the killer. As the tension builds we as an audience have our eyes glued to the screen, screaming for Ripley to just walk away as he is held at gunpoint. Of course however, we know that Ripley is too strong of a character to just walk away, and that is the moment where we are left with our jaws hanging and tears in our eyes. Ripley’s death was one of the most shocking and unexpected things I have seen in television. This is like killing off Watson; the man who has stood by Luther from episode 1 is savagely taken from us and Luther himself. It doesn’t help that Cross has written him to be such a lovable and innocent character; to see him being brutally shot down for standing up for what he believes in is just heartbreaking.
The scene itself, although heartbreaking and shocking, I feel could have been done a bit better. Instead of being a sad and solemn last few moments, loud and epic music is played. This didn’t really seem right; it would have had the same emotional impact if there were just a few bars being played on the piano instead of a loud orchestral piece. Thankfully though that doesn’t deter from what was a heartbreaking and unexpected cliff-hanger.
The only problem I have now is wondering whether Cross has taken it a bit too far. It’s a question of how far can they break Luther? It seems that everything in his life is being taken away from him under such cruel circumstances. I can’t see this series, which is apparently the last series, ending happily for him. All shall be revealed next week when we will get to see the aftermath of such a heartbreaking, shocking and tear jerking episode. RIP Ripley, the man who stood by Luther until the very end.