The Fall Series 1 Episode 5 (BBC2) Review

It might not have ended with the sweet little bow some wanted it to, but this final episode of The Fall gives me high hopes for an already confirmed second series. One thing UK dramas have lacked in comparison to their US counterparts is time to develop great crime stories like this and, by leaving the episode, and therefore the first series, open ended, there’s endless possibilities for Stella and Paul’s dynamic to explore.

Spector is, predictably, almost led to his downfall in this episode, but tries to cover his tracks as soon as he realises his latest kill hadn’t actually resulted in a dead woman. With bits of evidence lying around his home, his car and his daughter’s neck, Paul frantically disposes of the most damning tokens from his three murders.

When he’s also caught on CCTV walking behind the victim, he’s forced to turn himself in and cooperate with the very people who are intent on locking him up and throwing away the key. It’s riveting stuff, and not knowing exactly how things would pan out only elevated the suspense.

There’s also the suspicion of his wife to deal with when he asks the babysitter to lie about his whereabouts. Apparently, an affair with an underage girl is preferable to confessing to three murders, and the confrontation between the couple following his false confession would be the peak of drama and scandal for many other series.

But here, in the blackest corners of crime drama, going on the sex offenders register for sleeping with a 15-year-old is exponentially better than having Stella Gibson catch up with you.

The pair finally comes face-to-face this week, and they have a long and loaded conversation, but the two don’t happen at the same time. The first is a chance passing in the corridor, with one knowing the other without that meaningful glance being reciprocated.

The second is the climax of the episode, pitching the two similar characters, yet opposite extremes of the story, against each other over a phone conversation. Stella has all the evidence in front of her – a drawing of the man she saw in the corridor, a child’s drawing of a pregnant woman and a criminal profile describing Spector to the letter – but she does not connect the dots.

Spector plays the part of the movie serial killer, trying to get under her skin and psychoanalyse her as much as she has done the same because, quite simply, he has gotten his confidence back. The news of his wife’s pregnancy leads him to burn all evidence and tokens from his night-time adventures, but how much of that was because he didn’t want to get caught and how much was for his family?

We can accept Spector as one of the show’s protagonists simply because, as well as dwelling on his brutal murders, the show portrays his love for his family, but Jamie Doran’s fantastic performance hides his true intentions despite what we see.

It doesn’t really matter because, as Paul and his family drive away from a perplexed Stella, we have the comforting idea of a second series that will continue the cat and mouse game between detective and serial killer. If Paul had been caught we would all be asking, ‘where does it go from here?’ The Fall has been fabulous telly in every sense, and this ending should not leave fans unsatisfied.

What did you think of the episode? Will you be coming back for series two? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.