Belfast Telegraph

Joe Nawaz on The Fall: Once more a reluctant witness to the silliness of Jamie Dornan's Spector

By Joe Nawaz

With the alarming alacrity of a drunken uncle making a pass at the bridesmaid, here I am again heading for a Fall.

My slices of re-torte pie may be served cold, but I always flatter myself that I attempt something approaching objectivity. Admittedly it's often akin to aproaching Ben Nevis in plimsolls. In these very pages, billed perhaps unfortunately as "Spector's First Victim", actor Laura Donnelly said she didn't think The Fall degraded women. Which is fair enough. But I happen to think that the character of Paul Spector and the show (written by a middle-aged male incidentally) do seem to enjoy portraying the "victims" as credulous, fragile or most improbably of all, as happened more than once last night - stupid little girls who were out of their depth. The victim who'd made the terrible mistake of putting something a little risqué "on one of them there adult sites", caused me to have possibly the weirdest combination of hilarity and incredulity, since Hugh Hefner's latest tweenie bride on their wedding night.

So what was the meat of episode 2? Well, Jamie Dornan's Spector had upped the stakes somewhat by kidnapping his ex. "This doesn't even look like you" she lied when he angrily produced the photo-fit picture of himself. Which by the way, seems an odd thing for a secretive serial killer to go round doing. That's the second woman he's shown that "Ray Mears in crayon" profile to. By the end, he'll be going round bus stations, like a demented (if dishy) meths-head, telling anybody who'll listen: "this really isn't me you know".

There's also his buttock-gripping line in faux-profundity, like that annoying kid in sixth form who'd attempted page one of Ulysses and made like a Joyce scholar.

"Too much remembering can destroy the present," our soulful sociopath chuntered meaningfully at rubberband-wrist victim (as I'm insisting on calling her). "Thanks, that was really useful", she replied. Yes, that's what she actually, really said.

Speaking of upping stakes, nowhere was the butchered herd more highly elevated than with our old friend "schoolgirl with the weird accent who he's not having an affair with". But true to trope, she got a bit too clever for her own good. Our pulchritudinous pervert left her all knotted up, both literally and intellectually, with another meaningless line remembered from GCSE English: "Camus says life is the sum of all your choices" or something. But when it came to placating "the wife" he was suddenly clumsier than a teenager fumbling with a bra strap.

"I thought you were in Scotland?" she snapped. "I'm, um, back." Was his distinctly un-Camus like response. His "little book of cool quotes for potential female victims" was found wanting again when the long-suffering Mrs Spector took him to task about being distant "in the bedroom". "I was ill, I had, um, food poisoning or something" bumbled our usually wondrous woman-frightener.

Across town, an unusually quiet episode for DI Stella was capped off by a phone call from Spector.

"Stella - how nice to hear your voice again." He purred like a Bond villain's cat. "Shining stars. Stella. Made me think of you." He'd have been pure scundered, though, if he'd known we'd all seen him with his missus moments before, more "ums" than a barber shop quartet.

Big Jim was an earthy delight on with Nolan (so he was)

It was more upsetting than that bit when she was naming his virtues, and his partner didn’t just stop at “kind and loyal”, but also added “good in bed”. It was more troubling even than the revelation he had been a “nearly Nazi” who used to hate Catholics. No, the crushing revelation about “Big” Jim McDonald in Story of a Lifetime was that he went to the poshest school ever named after a tinned soup.

But once you’d gotten over that fact that he’d been a boarder at Campbell College, Charlie Lawson actually seemed like an earthy, engaging bloke.

“I never battled anything. I loved the drink,” he cheerfully explained, refusing to sink fully into Nolan’s warm empathy bath.

For another thing, he said “f**k, “sh**e” and “kn**head” with such regularity, it hampered local broadcasting’s own Pharoah Emotorecap from doing his usual ‘look thoughtful and repeat back what they just said’ trick.

“So what you’re saying Charlie, is that you were covered in sh**e?” simply didn’t come up. And it was a small mercy, so it was.

Switch on:

Good-time Nesbitt: I’m higher than a health minister on heterosexual blood. The second series of the peerless who/why/whatdunnit Broadchurch is returning to ITV in January, immediately making it the hottest anticipated show of 2015. If you can’t wait that long for your good TV fix, witness James Nesbitt having a good time for a change, in sharp-as-a-whittled-truncheon Copedy — Babylon on Channel 4.

Switch off:

I’m A Celebrity: They’re currently haemorrhaging celebrities faster than the Only Way Is Strictly Come Chelsea can spew them out. With the latest two bailing before we slavering hordes had a chance to pick up a phone, surely I’m A Celebrity’s credibility is being stretched thinner than an alibi on The Fall. Hang on, did  I say “credibility”? And the sword and sandals nonsense of Atlantis is a shabby replacement for Doctor Who in the schedules. Just saying.

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