The Fall: All of Seasons One and Two
February 16, 2015 5:39 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Discussion of the first two seasons of BBC's The Fall. All currently available on Netflix in the US.

To recap:

Season One:

"Dark Descent" - Superintendent Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson), a Senior Detective from the Met, is seconded to Belfast to supervise a 28 day review into the investigation of the death of Alice Monroe. A.C.C. Jim Burns (John Lynch) recommends Stella view the case as a single entity, rather than as part of a larger pattern. As reporters begin to descend on Gibson, she is introduced to Sergeant James Olson (Ben Peel), giving him details of her hotel.

Respectable family man Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan), meanwhile, continues to stalk young lawyer Sarah Kay (Laura Donnelly), determined to make her his next victim.

"Darkness Visible" - Dr. Reed Smith (Archie Panjabi) is called to the scene of Sarah Kay's murder, a crime for which PC Danielle Ferrington (Niamh McGrady) blames herself. Ferrington admits to Gibson that she had realized a similarity of the break-in to the killer's MO, but after unsuccessful efforts to reach Sarah Kay the evening after the break-in, she and her partner decided that Kay had probably gone to her sister's after all, and left the premises, unknowingly leaving Kay with her attacker. DSI Gibson, impressed by Danny's honesty and discretion, recruits Danny to her team. Morgan Monroe (Ian McElhinney) coerces Burns into clearing his son's name in relation to killings, whilst DS Olson is assassinated outside his home.

Meanwhile, Spector hides the evidence of his latest crime in the cache located in the ceiling of his daughter's bedroom, whilst Katie Benedetto (Aisling Franciosi), the children's 15-year old babysitter, expresses her interest in him.

"Insolence & Wine" - Gibson, intent on psychoanalysing the killer, becomes permanent SIO of an investigation now known as Musicman. Ferrington becomes permanently seconded to this team. Gibson is questioned about her affair with the now-deceased DS Olson.

Meanwhile, Paul and his wife Sally Ann (Bronagh Waugh) become concerned with their daughter, who is having nightmares that threaten to reveal Paul's hiding place.

"My Adventurous Song" - Chief Inspector Matt Eastwood's (Stuart Graham) investigation into DS Olson's death reveals the involvement of DI Breedlove (Michael McElhatton) with the Monroe family, forcing the latter to take drastic measures that drag Stella deeper into Internal Affairs investigations. Gibson interviews a possible ex-girlfriend of the serial killer, whilst she mounts a televised plea for information pertaining to the murders.

Spector's professional relationship with Liz Tyler (Séainín Brennan) is questioned by both his bosses, and her husband Jimmy (Brian Milligan), forcing him to speed up his next attack – with grave consequences.

"The Vast Abyss" - Gibson begins to investigate the botched attack on Annie Brawley (Karen Hassan), bringing her one step to the Strangler, both emotionally and physically. The investigation begins to focus on a single individual.

In TV footage showing Annie Brawley passing through the gates of the municipal gardens, Spector can be seen following not far behind, thus forcing him to come forward to give a statement to the police. A pregnant Sally Ann provides him with a false alibi as to his whereabouts on the evening of the attack on Brawley. Spector makes contact with Musicman, revealing to Gibson details of his past, before leaving Belfast with his family to settle in Scotland.

Season Two:

Here's What's Happened So Far As Season Two Begins

"Walk The Line" - Ten days after her telephone call with the killer, Superintendent Gibson tries to help Annie Brawley recapture her memories of the attack that left her hospitalised. Rose Stagg (Valene Kane), a friend to Smith, is inadvertently dragged into the case, forcing her to reveal secrets from her past to her husband Tom (Jonjo O'Neill).

Meanwhile, following a break-up with Sally-Ann, Spector returns to Belfast to tie up loose ends, much to the excitement of Katie, and to the dismay of his pregnant wife, who believes he raped the children's babysitter.

"One Named Peter" - Whilst Stella is called in front of the PSNI's Policing Board, headed by Morgan Monroe, to discuss the lack of progress in the case, Ferrington requests a transfer off of the investigation. DCI Eastwood is assigned as Stella's Deputy SIO following Brink's (Frank McCusker) reassignment, and Gibson declares the investigation will focus on a single individual.

Meanwhile, Spector abducts Rose Stagg.

"It's Always Darkest" - Gibson orders extensive surveillance on the suspect and his family. Gibson and Reed Smith share an intimate moment. A distraught Burns informs Stella he leaked information to Morgan Monroe about her investigation, tipping off his son and one-time-suspect Aaron. Burns aggressively attempts to kiss her, and she fends him off.

Meanwhile, Spector continues to groom Katie to assist him in his crimes. He breaks into the Investigating Officer's hotel room and witnesses her confrontation with the A.C.C., making the cat and mouse game far more personal than it had been before.

"Strangler" - Gibson's huge surveillance operation continues to pay its dues. DC Martin (Emmett J. Scanlan) and DC McNally (Bronágh Taggart) head a team assigned to install closed circuit cameras in microphones in the suspects home, a task that has unexpected consequences. The body of a young woman is found fitting the description of Rose Stagg, so Gibson seizes the opportunity to use young and eager DS Tom Anderson (Colin Morgan) to bait the serial killer.

Meanwhile, Spector returns home to find his house destroyed by the botched police operation, Katie continues to provide a false alibi for the strangler, whilst Paul continues to groom her to assist him in his killings.

"The Fall" - Stella continues to monitor the killer, whilst Burns visits a disgraced paedophile priest (Sean McGinley) who may have had contact with the suspect. Ferrington is shot whilst responding to a call out of a man matching the description of the suspect who has been taken hostage, blowing Gibson's arrest strategies.

Meanwhile, whilst Katie works to destroy evidence, Hagstrom (Kelly Gough) heads a team to intercept and arrest her, Martin and McNally arrest Sally Ann for perverting the course of justice, whilst Anderson arrests Spector for the abduction of Rose Stagg, among other crimes.

Stella monitors the progress of the interviews from behind the scenes, whilst she is informed of a video that shows Rose pleading for her life, with the suspect’s face clearly on camera. The search team discover Spector's burnt car with conflicting evidence inside it.

"In Summation" - Two worlds collide as Stella and Spector finally come face to face.

All episode synopses from wikipedia.

“Satisfying the male desire”: BBC’s “The Fall” may be our sharpest commentary on the culture of violence against women

The Fall: The Most Feminist Show on Television

AV Club
posted by triggerfinger (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am obsessed with this show and with Gillian Anderson. I'm interested (and a little worried) in seeing where they're going to take it from here.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:43 PM on February 16, 2015

Two things I've really enjoyed about the show:

Salon - Spector, for example, is not relegated merely to the role of “monster,” as is often the case with a depraved serial killer—from the opening episode, his apparently innocent family life has been intertwined with his stalking, torture and murder.

Atlantic - Refreshingly, none of the tropes we’ve been trained to expect in a story about a powerful woman play out. Nobody resents Gibson’s appearance on the scene or questions her authority. Her gender is a non-issue; subordinates hop to when she enters a room and they follow her commands without question. Gibson doesn’t try to submerge her femininity and stomp around barking out orders. In Anderson’s restrained yet compelling performance, Gibson is cool, calm, and always chic...
posted by triggerfinger at 6:00 PM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

A great series. I found Spector absolutely chilling. Such a wonderful role for Anderson too, played very well.
posted by unliteral at 6:19 PM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I am also very interested in babysitter Katie. She seems to understand how dangerous he is and not care. I know she's a teenager and thinks she's in love with him and that they're soulmates and that she's invincible but I find it interesting that she doesn't seem to have even had the slightest twinge of fear around him. I don't know if she's way smarter (and more menacing) than I'm giving her credit for, or more naive. I would love it if they fleshed out her character a little more.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:30 PM on February 16, 2015

Katie is kind of starting to ruin the show for me, she's either the dumbest plot hole that ever dumbed or she's a sociopath too. If it all ends in a) a Bonnie and Clyde or b) because she throws him under the bus I'll be upset.

Otoh, tight plotting isn't really the shows forte, its the way they're telling the story that makes it stand out. It does a very decent job of capturing the claustrophobic atmosphere Belfast can have. Liz need to get out of the country! He'll find her!! And the idea of messing with the police is plausible there to a teenager like Katie in a way it wouldn't be most places.

As an aside, if anyone likes this and hasn't seen Prime Suspect I recommend it highly. This is very much an homage to the heyday of PS.
posted by fshgrl at 7:18 PM on February 16, 2015

I've only gotten as far episode three of the second season. See you back in here when I finish!
posted by Kitteh at 5:32 AM on February 17, 2015

Paul does nothing for me. Maybe I've just seen too many serial killer shows (probably), but to me he's not all that menacing or fascinatingly inhuman or even disarmingly likable. He's just... glowery. 24/7 glowery.

But Stella makes up for it and then some.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:27 AM on February 17, 2015

I enjoyed this, but the scenes showing the killing of the zillion identical women were both distractingly repetitious and quite unpleasant to watch. I get it! He likes to take a long time about identically killing his identical women!

The Gillian Anderson character is fascinating, as well as Katie the disturbingly believable teenager.
posted by emilyw at 12:29 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

It took me a little while to realise what I enjoyed so much about this show, given that the plot is fairly routine. It's that what would normally be a feminist sub-text was made text! Gibson would normally have to spell out Spector's methods or something to her always-slightly-panicked boss, to make sure that casual viewers aren't left behind. But in this show, she spells out to him that killing women isn't some weird aberration, it's just the extreme end of the spectrum of violence against women. He's nothing like Spector, but he still tried way too forcefully to get her to sleep with him.

I also like how Jamie Dornan plays Spector. Real-life serial killers are never all that fascinating. Dornan always gives the bare minimum of normal human engagement, and people who aren't paying attention (like his wife and clients) just assume he has empathy and fill in the gaps for him. The first time he shows any real attempt to interact with someone is with Kitty, after he realises she thinks he's dangerous but isn't scared of him.
posted by harriet vane at 4:02 AM on July 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

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