Luther: Series 3 Episode 4 (Finale) Review
Reviewed by James Amos.
“If you ever betray him like this again, I’ll kill you and eat you. How does that sound?”
The last episode of Luther left us with a heartbreaking scene as John Luther lay heartbroken next to his friend and colleague Justin Ripley. This episode, being the last of the series, had a lot of pressure to appease every viewer’s expectation.
The episode opens where the last one left us, Mary being hunted by an armed Tom Marwood, and Ripley shot dead for standing up to the killer. It makes for tear jerking viewing as Schenk finds Luther sitting beside his dead friend, without any words to say. It also helps bring out the emotion as we don’t see Luther full of rage over what’s happened, instead he says nothing as he stands with tears rolling down his cheeks. Of course, it’s not long until Stark and Gray decide that Ripley’s death was Luthers fault and they arrest him. This makes the beginning of this episode nearly identical to the finale of Series 1, where Luther was framed for Zoe’s death. Thankfully, it doesn’t follow on down this route.
This episode plays host to the long awaited return of Alice; everyone’s favourite psychopath. She is supposedly back from Berlin after killing her husband because she always wanted to be a widow. Yep, same old Alice. Although it would have been nice to see if Luther could deal with things on his own, so we are able to see the full effects of Ripleys death on him, and witness whether he can get out of this with no help at all. It was still nice to see Alice back in the mix, fighting alongside Luther to clear his name. However, I do worry that having her back took away from the drama of Ripley’s death and the effect it had on Luther. It would have been nice to have Alice show a little compassion towards Luther and the death of his friend; instead she refers to the subject as the death of a puppy. Nevertheless having her back pushed along the story as we come to the dramatic showdown at the Paragon Tower safe house, here we really get to see Alice in action.
With Marwood after Mary, its up to Alice to save her from the barrel of his shotgun, and she does so with a lot of style. In fact not only this scene, but the whole episode actually looked very stylish. It had an epic cinematic feel to it, as if it were trying to show the world how this could work as a film. Furthermore fuelling the rumour that this is exactly what they’re planning to do. The Marwood chase scene leads to Alice, Mary, Marwood and Luther having a confrontation on a rooftop. Ever since Sherlock, you always know something bad is going to happen when it ends on a roof. Thankfully though, this ends well for Luther as Marwood is injured by Alice and ready to be taken into custody. The lead up to this was more tense than you can imagine, as Marwood makes Luther choose between Alice and Mary. If he is unable to choose, both will die. Once Alice gives Luther a knowing smile, Cross has you sitting on the edge of your seat as Luther chooses Alice. Just before you think it’s all over, Mary pushes the shotgun away and Alice stabs Marwood in the neck with a nail. However you can’t assume that this was Alice’s plan, as she cant have known Mary would push the shotgun away. This leads me to believe that her plan was to die so Luther could live happily with Mary. Perhaps this was Cross’ intention so as to show the audience how compassionate Alice is as a person, and actually how human she really is. This almost replicates Luther’s story.
We as an audience have only seen one side of Alice before now, the psychopathic and non caring side. Much as most of the characters have only seen the one side of Luther. Leading to some, such as Stark and Grey, to assume he is responsible for his friends deaths. We as a viewer are also to assume Alice is, although protective of Luther as we see in Series 1, uncaring for other human lives. Perhaps Cross wrote her the way he did in this episode to show us how we have been so wrong about her, as Mary practically words nearing the end of the finale: “I don’t care what she’s done, John, she saved my life”.
So it would seem appropriate that Luther chose Alice over Mary, and walks off into the sunset with her. Although it was quite fitting, him throwing his coat away into the river signifies him letting go of his life as a copper, I didn’t really appreciate the way this series ended. Stark, a man with so much promise in episode 1, was killed very simply and very quickly. He was hardly Luther’s Moriaty, instead he was simply a dim-witted man who didn’t really understand anything of what was happening. Jenny, the girl from series 2, was never even mentioned. Leaving us as an audience forever wondering what happened to her. Also, and frankly more annoyingly so, Ripley’s death seemed to be glossed over for this romantic finish. I think he should have at least been mentioned during the last few minutes; instead it seems he’s simply forgotten about. I find this very hard to come to terms with seeing as he was the co-star of the show since episode 1 of series 1. I wonder if maybe Cross was scared to end the series on a solemn note, and so left out anything to do with Ripley and his untimely death. For me this didn’t really do justice for his character and his courageous death.
Lastly, although the ending was nice, it just didn’t feel right. In the last scene on the bridge, Luther didn’t exactly look that happy; in fact he looked quite confused. It felt as if he obviously wasn’t over Ripley’s death, he wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Mary, and he wasn’t sure on spending the rest of his life with Alice. This probably isn’t what Cross and Elba intended with this last scene, but that’s what I got from it.
All that aside though, I have to say what a joy this series has been for three years. It never failed to deliver epic episodes full of tension, excitement and heartbreak. With it’s two stars, Idris Elba and Warren Brown, both delivered phenomenal performances and made you feel and relate to both characters. I hope we see them both on our screens again very soon. Although this is the last series of Luther, I truly hope the rumours about a film are true. This story is too good to be let go of so soon.