To Binge or Not to Binge: The Fall

The Fall popped up over-night and was suddenly on every critic’s watch-list. One day it just innocuously appeared on Netflix, without much bravado. But when this BBC show was brought to the larger public on Netflix, the world was presented with one of the most compelling and thrilling crime dramas ever made.

A warning: This show is probably the most psychologically upsetting shows on TV right now. There is no overt bloody violence and sex, but the anguish and mental torment people are put under is incredibly real and distressing. Having said that, this show has the most convincing story and characters of any serial killer drama out there. The Fall is basically a story of two hunters: Detective Stella Gibson, played by Gillian Anderson (famous for her days as Scully on the X-Files) and serial killer Paul Spector, played by Jamie Dornan (upcoming star of 50 Shades of Gray, ooh-la-la). These two characters drive the show. The cinematography is especially strong in this show. Through the directors choices in editing, there is a very clear comparison drawn between the lives of these two characters. Rivals and complete enemies of each other, these two characters are strikingly similar, and the way the episodes are formatted and cut speaks to this. They are both obsessive in their craft, firm in their beliefs, and completely fixated on control. Stella Gibson is probably one of the most interesting and complex cop/detective characters, with her stolid feminism and ability to control men. Spector is equally imposing from an emotional standpoint, having complete control over people through his coldness and mystique.

Spector is a fascinating character, and actually being able to follow his life is one of the most compelling parts of the show. Although he has this cold side that is terrifying and perverted beyond belief, the audience sees him in his day to day life. A major characteristic of Spector is the love he has for his daughter. It is almost disgusting and upsetting to watch, for one moment he is strangling a woman, and the next he tucking his daughter in. He is seen at his job, as a couples counselor. He is a normal person in many respects, but the darker aspects of him are of something wholly and completely evil.

The show moves at a blistering, tense pace that is always drawing the viewers in. From the start of season one till the final moments of season 2, the show is constantly keeping the audience on the edge of their seat. There is never a slow moment, because everything is important in painting the picture of these two fascinating characters. When season 2 ends, you will take a deep breath and think about what you just experienced. This show is as good or better than True Detective, the other groundbreaking cop drama of the year, but this show is more focused and uniform in tone.

Grade: A