If I learned anything from The Honourable Woman, it’s that the Brits like their dramas slow—I mean really slow, like moving at a snail’s pace. After some quality time with the second season premiere of The Fall, my belief was only cemented.
Much like CBC’s The Honourable Woman, Bravo’s The Fall is an import from BBC Two, and both shows don’t mind taking their time to get to the point. On The Fall, it’s particularly comical. For example, the show spends over a minute on a dialogue-free scene consisting of only walking into a bedroom and opening a box. Then there are similarly dull scenes involving riding a boat, waiting for a train, boarding a train, walking around slowly (or worse standing completely still), cooking breakfast and making a cup of coffee that just eats several minutes of the show. Actually, if you manage to come across The Fall during the wrong moments while channel surfing, I wouldn’t be surprised if you thought it’s a cookery show (as the Brits might say), a Maxwell’s House commercial or some sort of show on transportation.
The Fall‘s slow pace is all quite different from broadcast TV shows from this side of the pond. I’m thinking things like How To Get Away With Murder that grip your attention for almost the full hour. I suppose since BBC Two has the luxury of not having to worry about adverts, they can keep in meaningless scenes, just for the sake of being artistic, or whatever. However, as a viewer I wish they’d just get on with it.
This creeper, as I called him, is actually a serial killer, but lives in plain sight. His name is Paul Spector (also known as the Belfast Strangler to the press and Peter or Peter Piper to some) and he may seem innocent enough with a wife and kids. However, much like Dexter Morgan from Showtime’s Dexter he has a job relating to death—Spector is a bereavement counsellor. They both also share some oddities. Spector likes saving his victims’ hair, while the title character from Dexter likes to save blood samples. They both also like to tie down their victims in some capacity, but Spector is a bit stranger as he appears to enjoy tying his daughter’s dolls like his victims for fun. Unlike Dexter, however, Spector doesn’t have a moral code. He goes around seeking out, killing and abusing young women.
Like Dexter, the show decided to cast the serial killer as a really attractive guy. Jamie Dornan, who plays Spector, will also star as Christian Grey in the 50 Shades of Grey movie coming out next year—no joke. So don’t be surprised if you search #TheFall on Twitter and see people fawning over him. What made the move particularly curious in The Fall’s case opposed to Dexter is the sexual elements in the killings.
Of course, since this is TV, Detective Gibson is quite a looker herself, but too bad the writers couldn’t make her more intelligent in other places where it matters as well. When dealing with one of Spector’s traumatized victims, Gibson takes an elastic band from her hair and puts it around her wrist, suggesting she snap it when her thoughts overwhelm her. I don’t think that actually works because if it did, wouldn’t shock therapy be the most effective form of therapy? The poor thing was left snapping the band around her wrist repeatedly as if she’s hoping it would magically send her back in time to prevent the entire thing from happening. Then Detective Gibson touts the benefits of journaling, a better suggestion as far as I know. It’s probably not going to be enough to get her together though, but I guess that’s why she’s a detective, not a therapist.
With Detective Gibson’s intelligence being rather average, that meant a lot of the other people on the show had to be dumb, really dumb. For example, while on the train Spector notices a woman pulling out a newspaper with a composite image looking like him on the cover. He asks her if the image looks like him, likely knowing full well it does. She says it kind of does. So he draws a beard like the one he’s sporting at the moment and asks her again. Despite the number of alarm bells any of that would set off for a sane person, she seems to think he’s only making small talk. This is even after he asks her if it’s safe to travel back to Belfast.
If that isn’t weird enough, Spector keeps talking. They chat about how all the victims had dark hair and then the woman on the train reveals her hair was dark as well, but she dyed it as she lived in the area and wanted to deter the killer. She goes as far as to pull out her driver’s license—complete with personal information—to prove her hair was in fact naturally dark, to a guy who looks exactly like the composite sketch of the suspect. She might as well have taken out a billboard asking to be killed.
That isn’t the worst of it, unfortunately. A young girl comes across Spector walking around in the dark in her house and doesn’t scream, doesn’t throw a fit, but merely asks who he is. He says he’s a friend of her mom’s and she believes him blindly. They go to the washroom to have ever so much fun with tongue twisters, somehow not managing to wake anyone up. Spector then slips into her mother’s bed, and, well, you could probably guess things didn’t get pretty.
That’s if you can ignore the character’s rather goofy accents. As the show is set in Belfast, for the most part, many of the characters have strong Irish accents, with some being so thick, they sound more like sheep than anything else. I was unaware Gillian Anderson had an accent as well. At first I thought it was something she put on for the show, but it seems she uses it even for interviews as well over in the UK (check out this clip from BBC One’s The One Show). However, when she travels to the US, it all but disappears as seen in this clip from Live! with Kelly and Michael. Thankfully, her accent isn’t as ridiculous sounding as some of the Belfast accents on The Fall.