Stella's tightly controlled psyche is starting to fray badly while Paul dissolves into Peter and fails to compartmentalize with the same level of exactitude he's formerly shown.
One of the things The Fall exploits exquisitely is structure of the slow burn. It does it better than most because the slow is the best possible mix of unhurried and deliberate and the burn is searing yet sustainable. This pace is a beautiful by-product of a show where both of your main characters are self-controlled within an inch of their natural born lives. To this end, the choice to shake shit up by referring to the seams unraveling and have that, then, be the source of unrelenting tension is also an incredible tool at The Fall's fingertips that the show uses with utter restraint.
Stella sleeps on a cot in her satellite office, sure to not rumple her blouse as it's hanging nearby on a hanger on the file cabinet but she's haunted in her dream where she shoots who she thinks is Peter but is really James Olsen. We all know those dreams that take place in the actual place you're sleeping, right? They're paralyzingly fear-filled. It's some awful crossed wires in our brain that disallow us the safety of knowing the dream is just a dream.
Speaking of crossed wires, Peter's spinning plates are both multiplying and not at all in sync. Watching the pile-up of Rose, Katie and Sally Ann, it's hard to not feel the sense that his unraveling is closer at hand then Stella's, and ultimately far more controversial. With Peter's story, I'm never not conscious of Stella's description of his behavior as a law of diminishing returns. The sense that a plate is going to fall and break and start that necessary collapse of all of the facets of his life is almighty.
Yet there Peter sits, at one point, with the incredible good fortune to be assigned to Annie Brawley as her bereavement counselor. It's so sick, but it's unmistakable that he's at his best here. Maybe it's not that he's devoid of emotion at all. Maybe it's the reverse. Isn't it emotion that the sexual sadist feeds off -- blind panic, abject terror? I think he feels their pain acutely.
The Devil is in the Details:
*Katie’s ringtone on her phone.
*Rose's mouth guard.
*The drama surrounding the scissors is so specific and so convincing.
*Netflix previously gave this episode's title as 'One Named Peter'.
Peter: "There was no other girl. You were the only girl. And you've betrayed me."
Peter: "That's down to him -- and him alone."
Peter: "We all know people who live too much in the past. Too much history, too much remembering, can ultimately destroy the present and the future."
Stella: "They have to be probed, wrong-footed, challenged." (Oh shii, I can't wait to see this.)
Stella: "Is that you, Peter?"
Stella: "Why are you calling me?"
Peter: "Because I'm looking up at the sky. Stella, shining star. It's a beautiful night - made me think of you."
Peter: “I don't know what's going to happen to me, to you, to anyone else in this world. All I know is no one can outwit death.”