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The Fall: What Is In Me Dark Illumine

“All her instincts are telling her to protect him at all costs.”

At long last, Stella gets her chance to probe, wrong-foot and challenge the enigmatic Peter Paul Spector in the season finale, 'What Is In Me Dark Illumine' and every minute of their time sitting across from one another is captivating. As is this entire hour of The Fall, really.

Each scene beat plays out metered, unobtrusive and smooth, yet the lion's share of the plot lines (and points) are unforeseen, authentic even. It's a wonderful edge The Fall has successfully outstandingly walked throughout its run -- the whole 'we're going to give you what you want just not in the way you're expecting it' has worked like a charm for this show. (I chose to accept the few cliches that were also present here because it's not clear if they are just simply conventions of the genre the show promises to deliver.) And the devil really was in the details. Every little and big thing Spector has done was laid on the table by him, or gathered evidence. The show has a masterful understanding of what should cause the tension in every moment. I truly believe the painstaking process of capturing Spector with the goal of convicting him was the source, cause and origin to Stella's emotional response at the episode's end. But more on that in a bit.

Of course we all knew that Spector was going to hold out and insist that he only talk to Stella. That writing was on the wall since the teaser of the first episode, besides it's among the oldest tricks in the crime drama genre book. But the build to the scene (including but not limited to the scene immediately preceding it with Stella and Jim), was fantastic because we genuinely, for one, didn't know if Stella was going to hold it together and be able to withstand Spector's torments, in whatever form they came. (And they never really did come which was another subversion of our expectation.) Also, it was not a guarantee that the interview Stella would lead, could or would yield the stellar results it did. (And how. She was the head mistress of fucking brilliance in every possible way.) Even she was surprised by this.

Gillian Anderson outdid herself in the interrogation scene. (What most definitely added to it was the direction -- the close-ups of Stella and Spector looking straight into camera. What an odd unsettling great choice, Allan Cubitt!) My lord, I don't even know what Anderson was channeling and it's not like Stella didn't ever flinch, but she doesn't ever waiver, she rolls with it. Simply stated, her focus was never more impressive than sitting there with Spector. And the dialogue was sublime, as if each percipient word was naturally tumbling out of these people without pretense, hesitation or inhibition. By the scene's end, both characters get most of what they need -- logistically and emotionally. All told, it's quite beautiful.

So when the episode's twist comes around and Spector's shot in the forest, I think the only foreseeable end is with Stella cradling him in her arms, demanding that he not die. It's like all of the sacrifice and psychic disturbance this case caused everyone it touched cannot end with Spector bleeding out on the ground after a gunshot wound from a reckless gangster he unintentionally crossed. No. For Stella, Spector has to live through this and truly answer for himself in order to justify the devastation.

The Devil is in the Details:

*Spector wakes up in his jail cell calm and unruffled. That struck me as heart wrenching, especially in light of what was revealed about his teen years.

*The Sally-Ann story almost ended me.

*And Katie's succeeded in making me even more incensed -- great job, show!

*Gail interviewing Spector was the cheapest ploy and everyone knew it.

*Sorry I haven't mentioned Ged yet, Stella's trusty forensics-based officer. He's been a wonderful constant.

*Several instances of bolt cutters/crowbars in this episode.

*Rose was found alive which ended up being an unsettling mix of the best worst news based on the circumstances.

*A quick aside: I thought I was taken with Gillian Anderson back during the original broadcast of The X-Files. HA!

*Netflix previous gave this episode's title as 'In Summation'.

The Devil is in the Details: I Love the Way the Irish Do Things Edition

*A trawl.


Tom: "I'm not allowed to show you the crime scenes pictures that I have here, but you should have some idea of the kind of man you say you love. That you're protecting. Fiona Gallagher's neck was compressed by the sheer force with which the ligature was tied to the point that it measured just over nine inches in circumference. Imagine that. The anger and the hatred of women that would allow someone to do something like that. I'm finished. It'll be a matter of routine police work checking your phone, your internet records, CCTV, witness statements, to destroy the alibis you've created. All that remains now is for you to be charged." (Loved Tom in this moment.)

Spector: "Just you, Stella. No one else."

Jim: "I've been face to face with pure evil, Stella. Jensen. Spector is cut from the same cloth. He's not a human being, he's a monster."
Stella: "Stop, Jim. Please, just stop."
Jim: "What?"
Stella: "You can see the world in that way if you want, you know it makes no sense to me. Men like Spector are all too human, too understandable. He's not a monster, he's just a man."
Jim: "I'm a man. I hope to God I'm nothing like him."

Stella: "A woman, I forget who, once asked a male friend why men felt threatened by women. He replied that they were afraid that women might laugh at them. When she asked a group of women why women felt threatened by men, they said, 'We're afraid they might kill us.'"

Stella: "Jesus Christ, she's alive."
Tom: "She's alive."
Spector: "Unexpected."

Quotes: Stella's Interrogation of Spector Edition

Spector: "You sound a little out of your depth, Stella."
Stella: "Do I?"
Spector: "I think you're struggling to understand things that are way outside your experience."
Stella: "Enlighten me."

Stella: "What did Sarah Kay ever do to make her a potential victim when, say Olivia is not?"
Spector: "She's my daughter."
Stella: "All of your victims are daughters."

Stella: "Maybe you did possess your victims but you couldn't keep them and now they're gone and you're alone."
Spector: "Fuck you!"


  1. Excellent review, Heather. This episode really was stunning and Anderson and Dornan are both so exceptionally good. I was really shocked by the twist at the end -- and by the renewal.

    You quoted the line by Stella that really stayed with me, because it went right to the base of why killers are usually men: "A woman, I forget who, once asked a male friend why men felt threatened by women. He replied that they were afraid that women might laugh at them. When she asked a group of women why women felt threatened by men, they said, 'We're afraid they might kill us.'" That's a wow.

    Congratulations on finishing season two.

  2. Thank you, Billie. I really love that line, too. And this show had a few along the way that have always stuck me. I guess it's now onward to Season Three in 2016!

  3. I echo that being one of my favorite lines in the series. It stayed with me long after I finished the episode.

    Great reviews Heather!!

  4. Any thoughts about season 3 and what might happen?
    I can't wait to see which direction Allan Cubitt takes this amazing show in!
    Stellar reviews, by the way!

  5. Flora,
    I am pretty much chomping at the bit in suspense over the direction this show will go in. Oh, how I wish I knew what will happen. :) I haven't even seen much speculation which is an indication that people are going reserve the right to judge until after they see it, I suppose! (Hopefully what was implicit in that sentence is: Because the show is that good.)


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