Alright okay. The Fall is a carnival ride. One that passes the operator on its way to another dreaded lap... and it’s getting faster. In ‘My Adventurous Song’, all the stories twist up and converge in weird ways with the thesis of the series meant to hold us down, under its weight, gasping for air as we plunge to the ocean floor.
So much of the connectivity of The Fall is available to the audience through the details, sometimes revealed pretty casually in passing. Olivia's art (the paper!), Katie's lyrics, Paul's reactions to his supervisor when he's violated his agency's protocol, the interview Stella leads with one of Reed's acquaintances, Sally-Ann's care of the young mother in her ward -- to name only a few. The recurring motifs, both the ones unique to the series and the ones that belong to the genre, are gently (smartly) surrounded by subtle delicate particulars that give even the most unbearably upsetting material palatability. For every heart wrenching moment of Paul brutally attacking Annie and her brother is Stella and Jim talking, pleading in hushed tones in the women's bathroom with most of Anderson being shot indirectly, diffused through the mirror, her soft white blouse an emblem of her silky luster like no other.
I've got the lab report back on the varnish that was used on Sarah Kay's finger and toenails. It's called Jezebel Red -- part of their Painted Lady range.
Thus spake Cubitt -- everyone has a hand in the objectifying of the female form. Even women. Maybe even especially women. Every offshoot storyline walks the razor’s edge of the nature of femininity as a precious entity worthy of unconditional protection, honor and service that can just as easily give way to fetish, possession and degradation. And no one really knows how to hold the exquisiteness. The girls of Monroe Air, the baby girl born prematurely, Paul’s client who’s being physically abused by her husband, even Stella’s apparent harnessing of her own most special asset – her womanhood; the tenuity is everywhere you turn and there’s no foreseeable escape. And this danger, the one that we don't know how to be okay with the role women have on this planet, lurks below the surface of society and informs everything imaginable that we do.
One must still have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star.
So as Paul is barreling towards unraveling from the outside in, the narrative is too. His perfect kill forever tainted because she was pregnant. The letter Paul writes Sarah's dad is a revolution. It's revelatory, earnest and creative as much as it is unanticipated. With all of the facets we have seen of this deeply challenging character, it's yet another. In brilliant juxtaposition, Stella, in her own way continues to parallel Paul -- and the narrative. Her drink with Reed where she reveals an important piece of her history as a profiler (with a patent Hannibal nod?!) along with her almost coquettish painting of her nails with Paul's favorite red brings forth sides of her that she considers dangerous. Well, you can practically see the inner-turmoil because there's just a tiny twinkle in her eye.
The Devil Is In The Details:
* The score playing while Breedlove comes to terms with his future and says goodbye to his wife is just excellent.
* Watching Stella handle the office suicide is borderline majestic.
* There are so many meaningful close-ups in this episode, it all just adds to the various disturbing perspectives.
* The first two times I saw this series, I completely missed Paul slide down the bannister before he gets his ass handed to him by his superiors. I'm speechless -- it's so inspired.
Stella: "What will you tell your daughters in the future? About how to stay safe?"
Reed: "Pretty much what I tell them now. Don't talk to strange men."
Stella: "Strange men?"
Reed: "Any man."
Angelica: "I don't want to stop holding her."
Sally-Ann: "You don't have to. When you're ready we can wash and dress her. Take some photos if you like?"
Stella: "Did he apologize?"
Rose: "Yes, he did."
Stella: "Did he offer any kind of explanation for his behavior?"
Rose: "He said he wanted to know what it was like to make love to someone who was unconscious."