Paul Brian McCoy: When last we saw DCI John Luther (Idris Elba), he was chucking the whole police game in order to run off with his femme fatale Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson). They stood on a bridge, and planned their escape from England and the long arm of the law. It was exactly where I wanted them to be, being a long-time Alice superfan, and I was ready to say goodbye to the series with that ending left wide open. There were rumors of a pending film, but nothing has come of that just yet. Instead we have gotten a surprise Fourth Series that picks up almost exactly where we left off. We didn’t get a chance to discuss the Third Series, but what was your take on that finale and where it leaves us now? Kelvin Green: I am with you; I thought it was a perfect ending to the series and I was a bit worried when I heard that it was coming back. I thought they would have to bring in a major retcon and it would feel cheap, but you know, I think they found a decent way of leaving the original ending intact while allowing for more stories. Paul: For those reading, there are going to be spoilers aplenty here, so you may want to stop reading now. Okay, now that they’re gone… I’m not sure I like where they’re going with Alice. In my eyes, Luther is always better when Alice is lurking around the fringes. By opening with her mysterious drowning, it immediately put me on the defensive as this new series opened. Of course, I’m sure there’s more to be seen as the story progresses. Hopefully there’s a reason we never see Alice’s face in those police pics. Kelvin: It’s tricky. There’s a good chance that Alice won’t appear, because Ruth Wilson is probably tied up with other work, and they already did the surprise return thing in the previous series, but on the other hand, Alice does seem to still be active, as we saw with the cliffhanger ending of this episode, and a faked death is a very Alicey thing to do. So I don’t know. Paul: If anyone in this show was going to fake their death it would be Alice. So my fingers are crossed (which makes typing this very difficult). In the meantime, Luther is holed up on the Cliffs of Dover apparently – literally. Kelvin: He’s actually at the Seven Sisters (a common substitute for Dover in film), about twenty minutes away from where I am right now, and I wonder if that is deliberate. (not being twenty minutes from me, but the Seven Sisters) Paul: How so? Kelvin: It may be just a scenic location to show that Luther is hiding at the end of the earth, but the Seven Sisters are part of the South Downs, and the South Downs are where Sherlock Holmes retired. So I wonder if that was a deliberate choice to connect the two detectives? Paul: Ah! Very nice! I wouldn’t be surprised. I have to admit, I was a bit surprised that Luther was still in touch with the gang back at HQ. Apparently as far as they know, he’s on a leave-of-absence, but in fact, he’s waiting for Alice to return or give him a call to say the coast is clear and they can run off to San Paolo. So when DCI Theo Bloom (Darren Boyd) and DS Emma Lane (Rose Leslie) show up on his doorstep, I wasn’t sure what was coming. I definitely wasn’t expecting the news about Alice. The fact that Luther is still on speaking terms with the police was a shock. I was especially surprised that Bloom was so friendly and concerned. I guess what I’m saying is that the opening twenty minutes of this episode really had me off balance, but in a good way. Kelvin: Yes, I think if they had to bring it back after such a definitive ending, there are much worse ways to do it. We’re asking questions right away, some of which are answered, some are not, and then the throw in even more questions, like why is there a woman hiding in Luther’s cupboard? Paul: That’s an interesting little mystery, for sure. I guess we’ll find out more about her in the next (and final) episode. And that final episode bit is a topic I want to talk about in a bit. In these opening minutes of the show, we are also introduced to this series’ serial killer in what I thought was a brilliant teasing of expectations. The cutting back and forth between a woman working around the house, and hearing something or someone moving about upstairs, and her husband making his way home from work brought to mind the Gillian Anderson series The Fall. I was really expecting a killer to be lurking in the attic or behind a cracked door. I was dreading what the husband was going to walk in on. Kelvin: It was shot and paced so well, showing the man going about his normal, everyday business, so your expectations were elsewhere when the reveal occurred. I am not often shocked by plot twists these days, but that caught me out. Paul: If there’s one thing Neil Cross does best, it’s come up with exceptional serial killers and mass murderers to keep Luther busy. But this time, Luther isn’t on the job. So DCI Bloom is on the case. Kelvin: And you sort of know, right from the start, that he’s not going to be up to the job. He’s too nice, too calm, and Luther’s world is proper batty insane. Paul: True, but I had hopes. I liked him. I think I’ve liked Darren Boyd in everything I’ve seen him in – except maybe for The World’s End, but that was intentional. Seeing this made me want to go back and watch Dirk Gently again. It was also nice how he related to Luther and that last phone call between the two was beautifully written. I loved the analogy of the optical illusion of the old hag / young girl picture. Kelvin: Yes, it was well done. It showed how clever he is, and why he was brought in to replace Luther. We got more hints of that later when Emma talks about how important he is to her. They do a good job of making him a large, important figure, even if he’s only been on screen for five minutes. Paul: That’s solid writing right there. I guess before we get to Luther back on the job, we should talk a little about what he’s occupying himself with in the meantime – kicking ass and taking names in the hunt for Alice’s murderers. Kelvin: Yes, an interesting parallel thread there, not least because of how much unofficial help Luther manages to get, for someone who’s not supposed to be on duty. Paul: I love the bored look on his face when he has a gun stuck up against his forehead. That “Are you having a laugh?” line made me giggle like a schoolgirl. And when he confronts George Cornelius (Patrick Malahide) about contracting out a hit (or something) on Alice it is a classic Luther moment. Kelvin: I have said before that Luther reminds me of Batman. That scene with the gun was perfect. He had already won, the moment he walked into the room. Paul: Your Batman reference was immediately in the forefront of my mind as he hears about the explosion downtown and goes to his wardrobe to put on his Luther Costume. The Bat is Back! Kelvin: Exactly! Paul: I was only slightly disappointed that there wasn’t a suiting up montage. Kelvin: Ha! With rubber nipples! Paul: What’s under the tie, stays under the tie. Kelvin: “He’s the hero that London deserves.” Paul: And with that, Luther is back on the case, ready to pick up where Bloom has left off. Poor Bloom. As soon as we saw that fridge, Dr. Girlfriend and I were both shouting “No!” at the TV. It had to be a trap. Kelvin: Me too! I did like the clever way Luther made use of our modern, interconnected world, by immediately jumping on his kitbashed police scanner and turning on BBC news to see what had happened. It was a nice little touch. Paul: It was. And speaking of our modern, interconnected world, this series’ serial killer/cannibal is exactly the reason I don’t trust those Geek Squad people to come and fix my computer. In true Luther form, the identity of our killer is not a big mystery. With the crackerjack help of IT Wizard Benny (the always welcome as far as I’m concerned, Michael Smiley) and the instincts of DS Lane we know who he is and how he’s hunting people in no time. The real excitement comes in seeing how Luther and Company are going to catch him. Kelvin: Yes, it’s never really the mystery that’s at the heart of the show, but more how Luther gets his man. It’s a bit Columboish in that respect. I must say I was a little disappointed that the villain is an IT geek, doing strange things with computers that no one understands, as that seems the sort of thing that would be a horror story in 1995, not 2015. Paul: Now that I think about it, I really think the way the killer, Steven Rose (John Heffernan) tracked his victims was a much more effective updating of Red Dragon than the final stretch of Hannibal turned out to be. I can understand your disappointment, but after Hannibal just made the murders random, I kind of see Cross writing this to say, see how easily you could have updated that? Kelvin: That’s a good point. To my shame, I never caught up with Hannibal so the similarities are lost to me. Paul: It’s not so much a similarity as a clear superiority of Luther in this aspect. Kelvin: I see! Still, the killer has now been stripped of his “powers” so we’ll see what he comes up with in the second half of the story. Paul: His snatching of a lady lawyer in the final few minutes of the episode made me wonder if he has some sort of bizarre legal angle he plans on working. I doubt it, but it seemed odd that he’d immediately kidnap a lawyer now that he knows the police are onto him. Kelvin: Well, did we even see that it was him? Paul: That’s true. I didn’t even think to question it! Kelvin: It probably was him, but one never knows with Luther. It’s like that opening sequence: lesser programmes would have stretched out that mistaken identity thing for the whole episode. But here, they reveal the twist right at the beginning, to create a punchy opening. In the same way, the killer’s hideout is discovered and his assets seized before the halfway point, where you might expect that to be the scene of the story’s climax. Paul: The description of the next (final) episode makes mention of a cold case unlocking the mystery tormenting Luther, and since that’s not been anything we’ve seen so far, maybe the lawyer snatch was somebody else. He’s being “dogged by ghosts from his past” and that just gets me wondering what the hell is going to happen next. Even moreso than the ending of this episode as Rose gets away. Kelvin: Yes, and there’s the parallel narrative of Luther hunting Alice’s alleged killers, so who knows what’s going on? The booby-trapped fridge was the only point in the episode that I felt like I had any handle on where it was going, and I mean that in the best possible sense. (pun not intended!) Paul: The sort-of good news is that we don’t have long to wait to see everything wrap up, since we’re only getting two episodes this time. I was horribly disappointed when Series Two premiered and it was cut down from Series One’s six episodes to four. I was accepting of it when Series Three was also only four episodes, but this is really bothering me. When this airs in the US, it’s a one-night “event” for fuck’s sake. Kelvin: Series Six will be negative episodes. You’ll have to watch two episodes of something else to unlock one Luther. Paul: Ha! Maybe a web series of a few three-minute installments is the way to go next. Kelvin: I do wonder where it’s going. They sort of marketed this as An Event, but as much as I liked the episode, it didn’t feel like An Event, but like an average episode of the series. Paul: I read somewhere, Elba said it was priming viewers for a movie by trimming it all down to feature film length, but that’s a bit shite if you ask me. Kelvin: Yes, I have seen no solid news of an actual movie being in the works, so if that’s the reason, it seems a bit hopeful. There’s also the poor track record of British TV shows becoming films. And, it seems a bit of a bizarre ambition given that all the talk in TV of the past couple of years has been about how TV is gaining prominence over cinema, with the big names moving to the small screen. Paul: There’s more money on the big screen, I guess. I just discovered that recurring Luther director Sam Miller and Elba already teamed up on a theatrical release: last year’s No Good Deed. Granted, it didn’t have Cross on screenwriting duties, but it was apparently not all that. Kelvin: I have never heard of it! Paul: Elba is an escaped convict invading a woman’s home. It didn’t get a lot of good reviews. Although, I’m tempted to check it out now that I know who directed it. Kelvin: Oh dear. He doesn’t seem to get much luck on the big screen. I liked him in Pacific Rim, but everyone seemed to hate that. I thought he was terrible in Prometheus, but so was everyone else who wasn’t Fassbender, so I don’t blame him for that. Paul: Maybe that’s why they’re pushing for a feature film. Luther is pretty much Elba’s most prominent character (that can be spiraled out into other formats, anyway), so I guess that makes sense. He’s a champ supporting character in film, but Luther could put him over the top as a lead. It’s the same for Cross, really. He’s successful, but Luther is the feather in his cap. The two of them could turn a Luther film into a springboard for future work, security, and boatloads of cash. Hmmm. It looks like there was a proposed US adaptation with Cross scripting, but there’s been no info on that since February 2015 according to IMDB. Kelvin: I would love a movie to work. I like Elba and he’s great as Luther. He seems to like the character too. I’m just so wary of TV-to-cinema adaptations, British ones even more so. Did you see the Spooks (MI5 over there) movie? Paul: I did. I enjoyed it, but I couldn’t tell you anything that happened in it. Kelvin: Ha! Paul: Actually, now that I check, I didn’t see Spooks but another UK cop show adapted to film. The Sweeney! That was it. That’s the one I can’t remember. Kelvin: Oh! Yes, I avoided that like the plague. Looked terrible. Paul: Eh, Ray Winstone being badass. Not sure what else happened. Oh, look! Hayley Atwell was in it. That must be why I watched it. Kelvin: As good a reason as any. Winstone played a pirate in a Moonfleet adaptation a couple of years ago. I didn’t see it for complex and boring reasons, but you may like it. Paul: After Noah, I’m wary of Winstone cashing a check. Kelvin: Ah, didn’t see that either! What were we talking about? Paul: I’m not sure anymore. Which is as good a place as any to wrap up! Any final thoughts? Kelvin: Only to summarise what we’ve already said, I think. I was grinning like a loon while watching this episode, because Luther is bonkers and unlike any other detective series I’ve seen. It’s this weird sort of comic book version of London, and it’s great fun to watch. Elba is brilliant as the title character and there’s lots of intriguing stuff going on, so I can’t wait to see the next episode. That said. It does feel a bit strange, because it feels like an average episode, not the event television the BBC has been advertising it as, but I suppose that’s not necessarily the fault of Cross, Elba, and everyone else. An average episode of Luther is still very welcome. Paul: Definitely. An average episode of Luther is better than just about anything else on TV. And this was an above-average episode at that. Kelvin: Agreed! Paul: It hit every note it needed to hit, broadened the world Luther exists in, and gave us a truly disturbing villain for Luther to hunt down and make pay. If I have any worries, it’s just in the way it seemed to reset Luther as a troubled cop making his way in a dirty world. But we’ll see how that shakes out. Kelvin: Yes, I have some confidence that they won’t go for a cheap reboot. So, your score? Paul: I’d say it’s a solid 4.5 star episode. The only reason I wouldn’t go all the way with a perfect score is Alice-Anxiety. I don’t want her to be dead. Kelvin: It always feels worse when you know a character is dead because the actor is in another TV show that probably pays more! I hope that’s not the case here and we see Alice again. I’ll give it a 4.5 myself. I had great fun watching it. Paul: Then, until next week, hope and pray that Luther doesn’t show up on your doorstep asking you to come along with him. Or if he does, don’t give him any lip or it’s into the boot with you! Kelvin: Are you having a laugh? Paul: That always makes me think of Father Ted. Sigh. Kelvin: Sigh. Luther 4.01Kelvin's RatingPaul's Rating4.5Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.