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The Fall: Smouldering psycho drama more chilling but even less thrilling

Wooden acting and a predictably dark script can only mean one thing, The Fall's back, writes TV critic Joe Nawaz

By Joe Nawaz

You knew The Fall was nearly upon us like a predatory male in an alleyway because the twittersphere was abuzz all day with women who should and men who didn't know better.

All of them getting in a tizz about the latest series/gratuitous protraction of the latent sexual circling betwixt cold siren DSI Stella Gibson and beauteous bluebeard Paul Spector.

That's Hollywood star Gillian Anderson and "aar wee" former model Jamie Dornan to you.

I'll ignore the puzzling public hollers from certain quarters along the lines of "Jamie Dornan can break into my house ANY time". I even tried to set aside my previous concerns about Spector's - and by extension the show's - unsettlingly languorous revelling in the degradation and abuse of women.

New series, new beginnings and all that. Like Spector claimed at the end of the last series, I too was done with all that negative stuff.

Within moments, it was clear that we were both writing cheques our backsides couldn't cash (except I bet his posterior is peachy bloody perfect).

My good intentions unravelled faster than Spector's alibi of sleeping with an under-age schoolgirl with an improbable accent. We're back to the see-sawing juxtapose of our glowing stars.

All those incessant cuts between Jamie and Gillian, beating us elegantly over the head until it sinks in to even those that listen to southern gospel that they're "two sides of the same coin".

It became almost a spectator sport in my living room. "Aaaand….NOW" we'd shout as the scene cut from Gillian looking hauntedly winsome by a sink to our dreamy dehumaniser looking winsomely haunted. By a sink.

Speaking of sinks, we also had the unwelcome, but unintentionally hilarious return of John Lynch's Assistant Chief Contestable Jim Burns, last seen with Gillian by a sink, asking her if she had any idea of the affect she had on men, whilst seemingly holding in a wee bottom burp.

She acted mortified beautifully, and we all squirmed uncomfortably in our seats, like a dog with particularly feisty worms.

"Jesus! What are you doing here?" she yelped, as he materialised, to once more stare mournfully at her by a sink, but dressed like he was auditioning for the King's Speech. Or Mr Popper's Penguins.

He'd also clearly forgotten how to act, but had hurriedly replaced this with a last minute eyebrow knit and matching mournful whisper, like he was endlessly imparting his dying words. Gillian herself seems also to have taken it down a notch vocally.

This series there's a definite basso profundo quality to everything, making The Fall possibly the most canine-friendly thriller since our knackered VHS of The Godfather insisted on playing at half speed.

Elsewhere we had the return of the keystone "community workers" saying threatening loyalist stuff like, "Little bow peep who lost her sheep," and, "You're nat welcome", which at least had the ring of authenticity, when directed at someone in possession of a funny accent in such parts.

We had our old friends from the Belfast Chronicle back, helpfully publishing a comedy photo-fit of the sexin' Spector on their front page. It's niggled me from series one - but he looks like Ray Mears. Admittedly Ray Mears after he's gone on the roadkill and wild berry suppers for a bit.

There was a painful exchange where the scrumptious psycho creepy-flirted with a woman on the train, getting turned on that she was from south Belfast, and she flirted back. He is the hot-hot-hottest woman-hater in town after all.

"He may be fat, he mat be bald," speculated one of DSI Gibson's frustrated officers near the end.

"Oooh, he's definitely not fat," she dreamily chided.

Look, I'm not saying it's all bad - I've said before that amidst some of the excruciating lines and constipated acting, there's a great array of local actors.

It's very tastefully shot, and some nice arty stuff with mirrors, but, well, it was also quite boring, wasn't it?

I expect sparks will start to gently drift into darker corners next week with the mouth-watering monster back in town.

"Nice and chilling," The Guardian gushed. "Like opening a fridge door". If it's anything like my fridge, the thermostat will be knackered. Tepid cheese anyone?

Two stars

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