As the third season of The Fall approaches, the level of excitement rises quickly. Well, we’ve got some good news for everyone who cannot wait to see the next chapter of Paul Spector and Stella Gibson’s story. The premiere is set out for late September and we have already seen it – it is worth the while!
We also had a chance to attend a Q&A session with creator Allan Cubitt and lead actors Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan where we learned a bit more about their perspective on their characters. There were talks about both the past and the future, with a comment from Cubitt saying “this is not necessarily the end of The Fall“.
One of the show’s most praised qualities is the writing – done by Cubitt – especially when it comes to Gibson and Spector. Both of them are such strong characters and they create a really good balance of power. Anderson talked about how much she respects Stella for being so comfortable with who she is – even though she is definitely not flawless. She has got some qualities the actress would love to spend more time with. “I wish I was her” – was her comment about Detective Superintendent Gibson.
Gillian Anderson denied her character being perfect – she’d made some strange, morally ambiguous decisions. She thinks Stella would have made a mistake by sleeping with Reed Smith (Archie Panjabi) and she shouldn’t have started an affair with colleague Tom Anderson (Colin Morgan).
We have never seen much of Stella’s personal life, which was a deliberate choice from writer-director Allan Cubitt. He wanted to avoid any cliches that have been made in earlier presentations of police officers. At one point they talked about including a phone call between Stella and her mother but Anderson thinks it’s better that it never happened.
Jamie Dornan’s Spector is different in this case – in the first season we saw him not only as a serial killer but as a bereavement counsellor and more importantly, a father. Dornan talked about how it’s harder to find any redeeming qualities in Paul now but “it would be wrong to approach him only as a monster”.
As the plot has been evolving, the focus drew towards Stella and Paul’s relationship. Both of them are losing control but still in a balanced way. They are equals to each other in every aspect. Being two so intelligent and powerful people, it’s not surprising that they are fascinated by each other. But are they only intrigued by the other’s mind, or is it something more? Viewers started talking about attraction between them, but when Gillian Anderson was called out on that last scene of season 2, she shared her opinion about Stella’s behaviour.
Anderson said that her character is clearly fascinated by Spector but she doesn’t think there’s anything unhealthy about it. Gibson seemed devastated because she doesn’t want Spector to get away with everything he’s done by dying. She wants him to live so the families – his and his victims’, can have closure. The only reason she ran to him and not Anderson – her lover – was that she saw Spector is in much bigger danger.
Through Stella Gibson’s character, The Fall stands up for feminism. The show had been criticised earlier for the opposite which was brought up during the conversation with the cast. Allan Cubitt told us he was really upset about his series being called an “extended rape fantasy”, offended by the presumption that it would indeed be his fantasy. It’s a male serial killer attacking females with a sexual motive, but this doesn’t mean the show itself is degrading for women.
“I don’t hate women. I hate everyone and everything, including myself” – said Spector during his interrogation.
Sexuality has also been an important subject on The Fall, since the very beginning. This is what drives Paul – in the finale of season 2, he acknowledged to Stella it’s always been his main motive. But Spector is not the only sexually driven character in the series. Desires play a significant role in all of their lives – Burns, Jimmy Tyler, the man in the hotel who spies on guests, Katie, Stella – they all act upon their passions at some point.
We can probably all agree that one of the most surprising plot twists in season 2 was Katie Benedetto’s changed role (Aisling Franciosi). While in the first season Paul clearly sees her as a child, and not as a potential victim, their relationship has shifted and is now fuelled by sexuality as well. Allan Cubitt spoke about how Katie represents people on the show who are not parented correctly. Neither she, nor Paul or Stella had healthy childhoods with both parents available and he attempts to explore the consequences.
And what does the future hold? Well, even if Paul survives – two abdominal gunshots sound quite dangerous – he is under arrest. Is he going to escape somehow – maybe with Katie’s help? Are we going to see more of Spector and Gibson’s relationship? We certainly hope so, since the interrogation scene was one of the best last season and they do have an amazing chemistry on screen together. Luckily, we don’t have to wait much longer to find answers to our questions.