Luther Series 3 Recap: Part One
It’s always good when you can open with a bad guy being arrested in a flaming warehouse. Luther is back, and we’re dropped down right at the end of the chase, much like the opening of Series One where we started with the capture (and fall) of Henry Madsen.
And then nothing happens. After all, that story is over. John Luther gets in his vintage volvo and drives home to his empty house. (Hey, what happened to last season’s flat?) He stares at pictures of his dead wife, and postcards from either Jenny Jones (the girl he semi-adopted last season) or Alice Morgan. Meanwhile, across the city, a pretty blonde puts the kettle on. We get a long shot of her high heels from under the bed. She takes them off and goes to sleep.
As much as I love this show, it bothers me that so much of the action is spurred by Women in Refrigerators (I assume in the UK this trope is known as “Ladies in Iceboxes?”). Writer and creator Neil Cross is playing on American-style cop shows, but because the show is so intelligently written, I want it to find ways to circumvent that trope. That being said, the image that Cross gives us here, as the psychopathic killer rises silently, Dementor-like, from under the woman’s bed as she sleeps was so creepy, so terrifying, so fundamentally “monster-under-the-bed” frightening that I checked under my own before I went to sleep after the episode.
Yes, Luther is back, and as stunning to watch as ever.
“C’mon you damned darkie.” - DSU George Stark
Race has always been bubbling just below the surface with Luther. Despite decades of immigration, much of England’s upper classes are still a very white world. Luther has played with this before in their first season–part of how DCI Ian Reed convinces everyone on staff that John Luther killed his estranged wife played on race. The show seemed to let the matter drop last season. They even introduced a second black character to the station, DS Erin Gray, so that he stuck out less. But DS Gray has always been overly interested in Luther, attempting last season to tie him back to something nefarious. This year she’s been promoted to DCI and now she’s decided to come back and take Luther down. To that end she pulled racist ex-police George Stark out of retirement to “catch” Luther misbehaving. Worse, she’s conned poor little DS Ripley, Luther’s faithful sidekick puppy, to wear a wire to aid them. Luther has been assigned an open-and-shut case that he couldn’t give a rats arse about and ignores, leading Ripley to side with DS Grey and her racist friend.
If Ripley pulled his head out of his ass long enough, he might have seen things from Luther’s point of view. There are two cases here–the dementor under-the-bed killer who is somehow tied to a series of cold cases in the early 1980s and the set-up case of the internet troll who was suffocated, tagged and sprayed. This second case turns out to be a vigilante killing by the father of a dead girl who the troll tormented. When we meet the father, Ken Barnaby, he’s clearly full of pent-up grief and rage at this man who sent him messages like ”Help me daddy, it’s so hot in hell.” But he’s taken out the man who had driven him there, and his chances of killing again seem to be nil. Luther judges that there’s no need to arrest him or torture the family further–they’ve suffered enough. When Ripley won’t let the case go, Luther calls Barnaby and tells him “We need your prints to clear you.” It’s a silent warning that they have a print, and he gives the man the night to commit suicide honorably, run, disappear, or what-have-you. Barnaby goes for Option D. He puts his hand in a running blender to remove the fingers that could be traced. (Horrific, but effective.) Gray’s plan is thwarted, but Ripley sees this as proof that Luther doesn’t play by the rules, and decides to go back to the station and attack him . . .
. . . Just as Luther is dialing the next victim of the Dementor killer to warn her. (Too late–he’s ALREADY IN THE HOUSE!) The call was interrupted and Ripley’s actions give our serial killer his second and third victims. Way to go, Team Gray and Ripley!
Tomorrow: Luther goes on a date with a cute blonde he met by accident, literally and Ripley and Gray continue to try and bring Luther down.
(Xposted from IShouldHaveBeenABlogger)
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