Paul Brian McCoy: The second and final episode of Luther Series 4 picks up exactly where the first left off, with a strange blonde approaching DCI Luther, claiming to have a message from the recently deceased Alice. Luther is quick to dismiss her until she establishes some intimate knowledge with a simple “meep meep” and winds up in handcuffs in the back of a police car. In the meantime, there’s been another killing. So much for the idea we tossed around last time about some sort of master plan. Turns out it was our killer lurching out of the elevator, but that wasn’t a lawyer. She was a professor of economics, and he was just looking for some brain power. Literally. He eats her brain. Kelvin Green: As you do. Luther is bonkers, and that’s part of why I like it so much, but this episode was more bonkers than usual, I thought. Paul: It was certainly out there. Kelvin: I mean, they’re chasing a serial killer who is eating people, and that’s the least strange part of the episode. There was so much going on, I don’t even know where to begin. I think that’s a good thing, but my gosh it makes reviewing the thing difficult. Paul: I thought it was interesting that we are dealing with a sufferer of Cotard’s Syndrome, which could very well be another shout out to Hannibal – particularly the bit where Luther says that the cannibalism isn’t necessarily an aspect of the disorder, but he was making a leap, much like Will Graham did in the first season of Hannibal with Georgia Madchen. The treatment of the disorder in Hannibal was almost nonsensical compared to the real thing, and Luther addresses it in a much more satisfying way. Take that Hannibal! Kelvin: It feels strange to be discussing Luther in terms of being more sensible than something else! But, I suppose, the cannibal serial killer turned out to not be the main thread of the story. Paul: Not really. Which is an interesting narrative approach in the first place. Thematically, it’s central, but narratively there’s more going on. Kelvin: It sort of faded into the background as we got the psychic stuff happening — which we’ll get to I’m sure — and I can’t tell if that was deliberate or fumbled. I suspect it will feel more balanced if I watch both episodes together. Paul: I wasn’t sure about the psychic stuff and was very worried the story was heading in that direction, but then it all tied together and I kind of liked it after-the-fact. Especially if we look at Luther as though he’s also got a form of symbolic Cotard’s that parallels our cannibal. He’s essentially dead and gone until Alice is killed, and from that point on he’s trying to not only bring her back (if only with a sense of closure), but he’s trying to bring himself back. Or I may be thinking about it too deeply. And when I say “dead and gone” I just mean from his old life. Kelvin: No, no, that’s just occurred to me too, as I read your “thematically, it’s central”; of course, Luther is pining for something lost too. It does fit together. The only place where I think that storyline does stumble is how much new sidekick Emma Lane (Rose Leslie) is tied into it. By connecting her to the killer, and then sidelining him to focus on the psychic girl and Luther’s pursuit of Alice, it felt like Emma too got sidelined a bit. It felt like they were trying to introduce her and develop her character, then she disappears for large chunks of the episode, turning up to growl at Benny (Michael Smiley) now and then, and then her plot gets resolved in about five minutes at the end. Perhaps I was expecting her to be more central than she was intended to be. Paul: You’re right. The introduction of Megan (psychic girl) spiraled the episode out into another direction that maybe wouldn’t have been as rushed if we’d had a third episode or so. Her storyline, along with the contract being taken out on Luther threw a little too much chaos into the mix. Although it was extremely entertaining to watch Luther take care of his would-be assassins so easily. Kelvin: Oh gosh yes. I loved the hapless assassins, and Luther’s call to their boss to have them called off, not because he was frightened for his life, but because he couldn’t be bothered to deal with them. Paul: Perfect Luther moments. Kelvin: And wasn’t Patrick Malahide wonderful as gang boss George Cornelius? Discussing assassination while he prepares breakfast. Paul: He was. Yet another reason I wish there were more episodes this series. Or maybe even just two ninety minute episodes instead of the two hours. Kelvin: If they do more — and that seems to be where they’re going — I would love to see him return. He had great chemistry with Luther. Paul: He did. My biggest complaint, though, is just that they tried to do too much with not enough time. I mean, I assume they discover the other dead family, but it was kind of odd for it not to even be mentioned by anyone in law enforcement. Hopefully somebody’s going to ask where that van came from. Kelvin: Yeah, in some ways it did feel like they were squeezing an entire series into two episodes. I wonder if that’s what happened? Paul: Could be. If this was an attempt to see if they could put together a future feature-length production, it needs some work. Kelvin: From one perspective, I liked it, because I am so bored of flabby TV series that tread water to fill out a certain number of episodes when they could be much sharper in a smaller number, but that said, it did feel a bit of a breathless scramble through various plots. Paul: It could have been a perfect opportunity for a three or four part crossover with Wallander if Alice had been found dead in Sweden. Kelvin: Ha! They’ve been showing this weird advert here that mashes Luther, Sherlock, and something with Gillian Anderson that I haven’t seen together, as they investigate a murder together. Paul: That’s probably The Fall with Anderson. I haven’t seen the second series, but the first one was pretty good. Kelvin: Here it is: It almost works, aside from some wonky Martin Freeman CGI, but having been in the Hobbit films, he should be used to that. BOOM. Paul: Just throw Wallander in there and cross it all over with Hannibal and I’d watch that til the end of days. Kelvin: It’s only a matter of time before someone does crossover one of these things. I’d love to see Branagh’s Wallander having a big old wobbly cry opposite Luther. Paul: While Sherlock and Will Graham step on each other’s toes profiling the killer. Kelvin: Chuck Saga Noren from The Bridge in there too, because she’s amazing. Paul: And drag Sarah Lund out of retirement while we’re at it. Kelvin: Jumpers and high-functioning sociopaths for everyone! Paul: LOL! I can just see them all going for their phones whenever one rings. Kelvin: So, the psychic. Paul: The psychic. Who’s not so psychic. Kelvin: You are quite right, the episode took a left turn there. I must admit, Luther is so bonkers a TV show that when she turned up claiming to be psychic, and Luther believed her, I thought “I wasn’t expecting that, but okay.” Paul: That “Tell John hell is real” bit was a nice touch. Kelvin: Yeah, creepy as anything. But of course, it’s more complex than that. She’s not psychic. There’s a twist. She’s faking it to trap Luther. There’s a twist. And then BOOM, she’s swapped in for Alice as John’s new buddy/nemesis, and we’ve got a reset button pushed. Setting us up for series five, except there isn’t supposed to be a series five, or is there? Paul: To be determined, I suppose. Her story should have unraveled a bit more quickly to my mind. Checking the identities of all the kids involved in that old closed case would have been the first thing Luther should have done, rather than just stumbling upon the idea later. The Alice angle threw him off, I suppose. Kelvin: I suppose he was still desperate at that point, willing to believe, and only later did his more calculating mind resurface. I did like the suggestions of his earlier life, as a uniformed officer, eager to help, but unable to. It’s a bit of context to the character that we haven’t seen so much of. He tends to exist as a sort of iconic figure. I wouldn’t want to see a Young Luther spin-off or anything, but it was a nice touch. Paul: It was. I just never really got the sense that Megan is really up to being a new nemesis, though. She was just kind of annoying. Or maybe I’m just annoyed that she’s responsible for Alice’s death and it wasn’t really satisfying – almost accidental, really. Kelvin: I was wondering what you’d think of her. When it became clear — to me — what her role was going to be from now on, I did wonder what you’d think, as the Number One Alice Fan. Paul: The whole “You said you’d protect me from this slag” thing was tedious and kind of dumb. She’s terrified of that girl but can kill Alice and manipulate Luther into taking care of it for here? Out of the blue? I get that she was triggered by Stacey Bell’s release, but come on. Kelvin: Oh, I didn’t think she had anything to do with Alice. I must have missed that. Paul: She sort-of confessed, then backed out. Alice was a distraction for Luther, apparently. They were bad for each other and if John went away, who’d protect her from the scary girl? Kelvin: I thought she’d stumbled on the connection between Luther and Alice and used that against him, but not that she’d had any involvement in Alice’s death. I got the impression that the first time she’d heard of Alice was when she broke into Luther’s house by the sea, after Alice was killed. I probably need to watch that park bench scene again. Paul: Yeah, she knew that he’d talked about the old case with her and that’s where she picked up the “meep meep” to convince him she was psychic. She’d been listening to their conversations for a while, somehow. Kelvin: I thought she’d got that from the voicemails on the telephone she stole. Paul: I suppose it could be, but it wasn’t very clear. I wouldn’t imagine Luther would have kept recordings, but it’s possible. Kelvin: Weird. Well, it gives me something to look out for when I watch it again. So you don’t think they are positioning her as a new Alice, now that Ruth Wilson is off doing US TV? Paul: I don’t know. It’s possible, but I don’t buy her in that role, especially just appearing out of the blue. Kelvin: I don’t think it was a natural or elegant introduction either, if that’s what they’re going for. Paul: With any luck, if there’s another series, she’ll be swiftly dismissed and they can move on to something more interesting. Kelvin: Ha! I thought that might be your reaction! Paul: Or be like that teen prostitute Luther rescued in Series 2 who then disappeared. Kelvin: Oh yes, his surrogate daughter. Paul: She seemed very important there for a bit. Kelvin: They’re not very good at holding on to supporting characters. Paul: Nope. Kelvin: So what else is there to discuss? Paul: I’m not sure. For all the stuff crammed in there, it was all pretty quickly worked through with not much striking a major chord. All in all, this wasn’t a very satisfying conclusion for me. But I’m always crabbier when there’s no Alice. Kelvin: Nor me. I was impressed that they got through so much material, and that it was never predictable or dull, but it did feel a bit choppy, to say the least. Paul: I’d actually say it was a bit predictable, but not dull. Although the random assassins popping up kept me entertained. Kelvin: Yes, there was lots to like, but it didn’t really hang together. Paul: I was also a bit disappointed with the way Emma’s storyline wrapped. Popping up from under a sheet and killing the guy with an unregistered gun she found in Luther’s glovebox, and then just waving it away like it was nothing. No psychological digging there at all. Even Michael Smiley’s off-hand “Dirty Harriet” seemed out of place and insensitive. If insensitive is the right word. Quick and easy, maybe. Kelvin: Yes, it seemed like they’d forgotten they’d introduced her, had no time to wrap it up properly and just went “screw it!” Paul: We never even got to meet her lesbian partner! Wasn’t she pregnant? Kelvin: The bit with Luther telling her to cover up the shooting seemed to be in direct contradiction to his earlier “by the book” speech too. Maybe that was deliberate. And yes, all that stuff about her home life. Waved away. I do get the feeling that we got to see edited highlights of a longer series. Paul: Just double checked. Yup. Girlfriend expecting a baby in six weeks. Never introduced to the actual show. Kelvin: Bets on Emma not being in the next series, if there is one? Paul: No doubt. This looks like a full-on reboot, really. No Alice. Luther back on the job. Hints of shady business. New partner that’ll have to be introduced. Perfect place to launch a film, really. Kelvin: That’s my feeling too. A clearing of the decks for the alleged film. Ding! Paul: So I guess it served its purpose, if perhaps in a bit mercenary way. Kelvin: Yes, functional. Paul: I’d say it’s a solid three-star affair. Maybe the worst episode in the series? Kelvin: The bits I liked, I liked a lot, but there’s no getting away from the feeling that it was choppy and unfocussed. I’d give it three-and-a-half. Such a shame, as the first episode was so good! Paul: You’re right. The good was very good this time, but there was just too much other stuff they had to get through to clear the way for the future. Kelvin: Yes, we’ll see what, if anything, the future brings for Luther. Luther 4.02 Kelvin's RatingPaul's Rating3.3Overall 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.