The Fall: 104 “My Adventurous Song” Review
Reviewed by Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull.
The penultimate instalment of Allan Cubitt’s enthralling crime-drama is one of the best as the tension and terror is ramped up to the max, with Jamie Dornan stealing every scene.
What The Fall does so very well in every episode is that it allows the final concluding minutes to be the most chilling, meaning when you come away you are left rattled – and that is a huge understatement. This week, Jamie Dornan’s Paul Spector descends on young accountant, Annie Brawley and her unexpected male friend, fluffing up her murder. What we see is terrifying as Spector glides around her home, assaulting them both haphazardly. It is, essentially, everyone’s worst nightmare displayed over eight minutes; affrighting viewing.
Jamie Dornan is unnervingly good as Belfast’s most wanted, carrying out each murder with the exactitude of a robotic hitman. He still never falters in displaying the best of both Spector’s worlds: his altruistic home life and his homicidal nighttime pursuits. Spector is an incredibly interesting character to watch, a man who appears to have an alter ego (à la Norman Bates) where he is a sexual predator – he even refers to himself in the third person: “a stranger on the prowl”. When he is at home he seems to have no awareness of his evening enterprise and adopts a different persona whenever he either looks at his pornographic journal or commits a crime. I haven’t been able to fathom Spector’s psyche at all but the scene when his seniors confront him shows his true state-of-mind. He mimics one of them and insists that when he visited his abused client, Liz Tyler (Séainín Brennan) he was doing her a favour. Allan Cubitt wrote him as a multi-dimensional character and we saw just how much he tries to justify his acts. I wonder if he will defend himself to the same extent when (or if) he is caught. The madman also sent a letter to the family of Sarah Kay, the lawyer he murdered apologizing for killing the unborn child inside Kay. He says all of this before sounding off with a quote from Nietzsche:
“One must have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star”
This was a real turning point for Spector who previously had just eliminated his victim before fleeing the scene of the crime to examine disturbing photographs of them. Now he is expressing remorse for one aspect of what he did – but we don’t yet know why. All that has happened to Paul Spector will ultimately lead to his downfall as his world slowly crumbles around him.
The sectarian-based subplot has trundled slowly alongside the main drama and now it takes more or less, the centre stage. Rob Breedlove has now committed suicide and the following scenes are harrowing as Stella Gibson (Anderson is a joy to watch as usual) takes control of the situation. Kudos to Michael McElhatton who plays out Breedlove’s final moments poignantly, giving a masterful performance in his understated role in the minutes before his character is killed off. I feel like the coexisting plotline is now beginning to close in on the Spector/Gibson murder story but there are still many unanswered questions that will hopefully be resolved next week in a finale that has a lot to live up to.
The Fall delivered a meaty, three-dimensional story and the only criticism I can find is some clumsy parallels and even that doesn’t detract from my enjoyment of “My Adventurous Song”. After four absorbing weeks of dark Monday night viewing, The Fall draws to a close soon, and Allan Cubitt has most definitely set us up for a riveting climax.