The Fall: Season 1, Episode 5

The Vast Abyss (I) (28 May 2013)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Thriller
8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 344 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 3 critic

Spector is frustrated and angry for he has failed in his perfect murder, killing Jack Brawley whilst Annie Brawley survives and is taken to hospital, where Stella tests for DNA on her body.... See full summary »

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Title: The Vast Abyss (28 May 2013)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Glen Martin (as Emmett Scanlan)
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Michael Colgan ...
Sheldon Schwartz
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Dr. Manson
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Katie Benedetto
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Annie Brawley (as Karen Hassen)
Sarah Beattie ...
Olivia Spector
Simon Delaney ...
David Beattie ...
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Storyline

Spector is frustrated and angry for he has failed in his perfect murder, killing Jack Brawley whilst Annie Brawley survives and is taken to hospital, where Stella tests for DNA on her body. Spector's wife Sally Ann sees him on CCTV footage of Sarah Kay's last recorded movements and makes him go to the police station to eliminate himself from enquiries. Sally Ann covers for him but is angry when he lies about his nocturnal jaunts by admitting to an affair with the under-age baby sitter. Sally Ann leaves him but he wins her back. After an Identikit picture of 'Peter' is published and Sarah's father makes an appeal Stella receives a bizarre phone call from Spector, promising to end his killing spree, though that is not the end of the matter. Meanwhile Eastwood accuses Burns of weakness for tipping off the Monroes that he knows about their illegal activities, allowing Aaron to flee from the law. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Drama | Thriller

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28 May 2013 (USA)  »

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Quotes

Reed Smith: The older I get the more I have two selves, the medical self that's confronted every day with the biological basis for existence - blood, internal organs, corpses. And then I have another self that bathes my kids, puts them to bed, kisses their little cuts and bruises better. Examining dead bodies is one thing; living victims is something else.
Stella Gibson: There's a name for it. It's called doubling. I do the same. So does the killer.
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User Reviews

Season 1: Too slow, too cold and too much about next season but is still coldly engaging and best when it picks up in the final episodes
31 December 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I'm not a big watcher of crime dramas but this one caught my eye as it was quite high profile, starred Gillian Anderson and was set in Belfast. The plots sees Stella Gibson transfer from the Met to the PSNI to conduct a case review of a murder with possible links to the son of a leading politician. Once in place she begins to suspect that this killing is linked to others and that a serial killer is behind them. While she thinks this, family man and grief counselor Paul Spector is planning his next victim – another in a line of young professional women to be killed and posed. While the two continue their own paths, other complications add for both whether it be amorous babysitters, sectarian killings or political connections.

Just worth saying to those starting this show – it is not a complete story as a season and you will not have an "ending" if that is what you are looking at. I guess if you really enjoy it then this is good news but personally I didn't care for how open it was at the end. The issue for me was that the show clearly has its roots in British drama such as Prime Suspect but also appears to be influenced by the Scandinavian thrillers doing so well at the moment. Perhaps as a result it moves very slowly, very coldly and deliberately. Now, slow progression of narrative I do not mind but this frequently felt slow for the sake of, not because it was packed with detail and subtext. Even though I was interested, this pace did test my opinion and it is even harder not to see it as deliberate because it speeds up in the final episode in a half. This achieves the goal of having a strong close to the season and meaning most people will return for the second season, but it did annoy a bit in terms of how it made the rest of it look.

As a story the structure is good and I liked the dual-threads device even though it didn't quite work. One of the problems is that Stella is hard to like – or worse, hard to be interested in, I don't need to like her character but she is so cold, so distant as a character that I found her quite dull – a problem for the lead character. She is supported by more lively characters who all engage in the main thread and other asides, but too often these asides don't go anywhere and it is frustrating – particularly when you realize that most of what you are watching is not about this season, but about setting up another. I understand a show cannot do everything in one go and it is sensible to play it out longer, but the problem is that it felt like this is primarily what it is doing and it was neglecting the "now" in some ways. The threads with the killer Paul are better and I found him more interesting and the show was better when on him.

The delivery of the show is deliberate but the killings, although mostly bloodless are still pretty brutal in their intensity. In terms of the setting, I am not sure why Belfast was chosen and, although I liked that it was, it is a very muted Belfast – accents are toned down and the political background is there for color rather than ingrained. I understand why this is the case – the Belfast accent is not the easiest and there is no point of putting of viewers by preventing them understanding the dialogue, but still. Anderson is a good bit of casting in terms of her name, but her performance is too distant, too cold. I understand she is trying to play clinical and strong, but she overdoes it to the detriment of the character and her scenes. Dornan is much better and delivers much more of interest. Support is mostly decent with turns from McGrady, Lynch, McElhatton and others, making it more annoying that Anderson leaves such a hole at the core.

The Fall is a good start but overdoes its clinical patience, setting up too much for another season and not always doing enough for the "now". It is engaging as a whole and I will return for the second season (hopefully the conclusion of this story, if not the series) but I hope that it warms up a bit, does more to justify the slower pace and that Anderson can find a way to be slightly clinical and distant without being totally cold and distant to the viewer.


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