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The Fall: The Mind Is Its Own Place

"Is the world a place of pain and suffering, of grief and despair or is it a place full of joy, all sweetness and light?"

That black and white thinking lies at the foundation of Spector's darkest motivations. Oh, there's loads of miswiring present in this guy, but his worldview starts from the most perverse ways to deal with pain from the human condition. We already knew this, because Stella knew this. Stella gets 'vicarious'. Perhaps better than most, which only adds to the layers upon layers of emotional weight in The Fall.

This whole show would have not worked without a 'Stella Gibson.' Her perfectly timed anguished expressions and heavy sighs are the vehicle through which we are delivered the dramatic irony and unmitigated despair that Spector walks around with. A woman's emotionality, as restrained and measured though it may be, was the only choice to convey the profoundness this man's paradox. (It's also possible this show would not have worked without a 'Gillian Anderson'.)

But back to irony, I had a thought about Katie when watching 'The Mind Is Its Own Place'. I think she's a symbol of that lucky piece of an occasionally-arbitrary always-complicated puzzle by which people doing bad things manage to have a good run. That perfect accidental cover that only lasts so long, yet lasts long enough to tease out a bit more freedom to wreak havoc. Her presence is infuriating on so many levels, and it's also precarious and fragile and it communicates impending danger like almost nothing else on this show.

The despair though, oh dear -- Stella has taken away from her, her treasured coping technique, Annie is emotionally assaulted by the realization that her counselor is her attacker (after also realizing he is the only one she felt safe with while recovering), Rose's husband has to reconcile intellectual understanding with the deepest emotional concern when watching a news report that hints that a young woman found dead might be his wife even though he knows it's a ruse. And the list goes on.

Oh and the paradox and incongruity reign supreme on The Fall, and blessedly make it a much richer bitter experience to behold as a viewer. One excellent and completely unexpected encapsulation of this -- James getting hot-headed, threatening violence to everything in his reach during McNally and Martin's interview is offset by his massively astute observation that Spector lives free of fear and in fact, is downright inhuman. I really loved that scene. The mirrors, real and metaphoric, gorgeously impart the impossible idea that the range of human potentiality is both any one of these things and all of them.

The Devil is in the Details:

*Loads of tension in this hour: Watching Stella show Jim the hotel camera footage was fantastic. The hospital shakedown (including the improv the detective rolled when talking to Spector), well, it was hard to exhale at all. And the subsequent installation of cameras in the Spector house were very tightly directed. Even Stella, then Reed arriving at the scene before the woman was identified not to be Rose.

*Can't wait to see what happens with Tom Anderson.

*So many diaries in this one and many of course an internal self.

*The opening showed Spector looking at Stella's entry about her dad -- comparing his much bigger arm to hers. Where to even begin.

*And the details again, the impeccably written details: Annie's half-haircut, the suicide note of the woman found, the painting Spector left Stella as her desktop image, seeing Liz again.

*Netflix previously gave this episode's title as 'Strangler'.

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

*Intrusive surveillance.

*Monumental cock up.

*Knuckle in.


Stella: "Modern life is such an unholy mix of voyeurism and exhibitionism. People perpetually broadcasting their internal and external selves."

Stella: "We all have physical, emotional needs that can only be met by interaction with another person. The trick is to ask someone appropriate to meet them."
(then the next line of dialogue, though a different scene.)
Olivia: "Why can't you marry your daddy?"

Annie: "I know it was only the once but he was the most helpful anyone's been."
Stella: "Why, do you think?"
Annie: "He just seemed -- He just listened. He was almost like a mirror. He seemed to reflect me back somehow."

James: "That man's not right!"
Glen: "Why do you say that?"
James: "I have a reputation and the fucking wherewithal to back it up! That piece of shit faces up to me in a fucking bath towel? Not a flicker of fear."

Tom: "So you haven't given up hope?"
Stella: "Good God, no. Never."

Spector: "If other people's happiness pains us, then why not reduce that happiness?"

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