Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Fall Season 1 Netflix Series Review

The Fall (2013-)
Season 1 - 5 episodes (2013)
Watch The Fall on Netflix
Created by:Allan Cubitt
Starring:  Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan, John Lynch
Rated: TV-MA

DSI Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) chases serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan).

This is an amazing season that defies convention to create a subtle yet terrifying serial killer. The best way to catch a psychopath is to use a sociopath. DSI Gibson is clinical and cold, unable to relate to people, where Spector has a family and is employed as a grief counselor.
The mystery isn't who the killer is. This identifies the killer in the first scene. We don't look for clues to determine who, but to determine how he fits into society. This guy looks completely normal, and yet he's not right, causing you to wonder who you know could be a twisted psychopath. That person could be blending in and you don't even realize.
Watch it.

Allan Cubitt wanted to identify the killer immediately so that he could focus on the psychology and underlying motivations. He also named many characters after guitar brands.

This is a show that forces you into the mind of a killer and a cop.You want the bad guy to stand out, to be a loner. If you can pick out the bad guy on a show, how can do it in real life. The clues you look for aren't to determine who the killer is, but to determine how you'd spot him in everyday life. That's the scary thing, this guy blends in. He could be a coworker, a friend, or even family.

Episodes compare and contrast Spector and Gibson. He's hunting his next victim, and she's hunting him. They share many similarities, but she seems like more of a sociopath than he does. He realizes he has to blend in and act the part. Gibson doesn't have the time to fake empathy or civility. She is anti-social, not needing to hide in plain sight. In most cop shows, Gibson would be the killer. This show flips those roles. The cop isn't that likable.

The first episode starts with Spector breaking into a house, rifling through belongings and taking pictures with his phone. He leaves before the home's owner returns.
We then see that Spector is a father, a seemingly normal guy employed as a grief counselor. It's one thing if he's a deviant, but another if he seems normal. He's not a longer. He and his wife go out with friends.

Gibson doesn't have friends. She is unable to fit in, but both of them are obsessive concerning their "work." His murders are deeply intimate, though we don't know why he does this. Gibson strives to make everything, even sex less intimate. She's devoted strictly to her job.

What is this about for Spector? He enjoys the hunt for sure, but it's about more than just sex. Is this a way to live out his fantasies? In the second episode, it's clear he's not that normal. He keeps locks of hair from his victims and even gives his daughter a necklace he stole from a victim.

This show really makes you pick apart the actions of the characters. In episode three Spector finds a house in the woods he wants to put to use. He leaves his daughter outside, which seemed neglectful, but we've seen him act like a good father before. That's the trick of this show. We don't know if we're seeing Spector or the false front he uses to hide in the world. We want him to be a neglectful dad, because a good dad shouldn't be able to murder.

Gibson briefs other cops on the serial killer, comparing it to an addiction. The cravings happen more frequently and larger doses are required. This isn't something that is going to go away.

The editing in this show is excellent. It frequently intercuts Spector and Gibson's scenes. Gibson is creating a profile as Spector breaks into his next victim's house. The cops muse about why he does this, as we see him actually doing it, wondering the same thing ourselves. The editing is always used to great effect.

In episode four, Spector's boss gives him flak for breaking protocol and making a house visit. He did it as a last resort to cover up casing a house, but we see him mock his boss and it's an indication of how smart Spector thinks he is. It's a rare moment where he breaks character. He seems normal, but he's learned to live an intricate lie to appear that way.

The final episode unravels Spector's home life when he asks his wife to lie for him. He contacts Gibson, telling her she is like him. They are both driven and ruthless. He's surprised to discover she knows more about him than he anticipated.
It ends on a slight cliffhanger which was unnecessary. The final line of dialog wasn't necessary. It might as well say, "Just wait for season two." A show this good doesn't need to tease the next season.

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