All the way through season 3, we kept saying how it feels like we are waiting for the storm – well, in ‘Their Solitary Way’, it arrived, and destroyed everything. The finale, no matter what Allan Cubitt said, seems like the end of The Fall, and was one of the series’ most violent episodes. So different from the rest of the heavily psychological season, a recurrence to the roots.
‘Their Solitary Way’ started just like the other episodes, with boiling tension, and we didn’t have to wait for long to get a punch in the face. Paul Spector attacking Stella Gibson, the object of his fascination might not have been surprising, but it was still unexpected. The creators did a good job at putting our suspicions to bed.
It was great to see their dynamic one more time, and it showed us how much Paul was enjoying this game. He came alive in those moments, provoking Stella, his equal in intelligence. They have studied each other for a long time and their conversation was the evidence of how much they’ve learnt about the other, touching on the most painful nerves. We said after the previous episode that Spector was happy in a way that someone was finally listening to him – and Gibson talked about how it’s all a performance for him.
“You just want to be noticed.”
We got compelling conversations, including a very odd one between Stella and Dr O’Donnell, some more arguments about Spector’s amnesia and some closure in the last episode. The lawyers and Burns were a bit unnecessary though. Not like Stella’s and Katie’s scene, which revealed a bit more about Superintendant Gibson and gave Aisling Franciosi another chance to shine. Even though their shared experience with self-harm resulted in an interesting and maybe even tender moment, Katie’s potential got lost somewhere in the season. Rose Stagg reading the ‘real-life’ version of The Frog Prince was the other oddity of the finale but even with all its strangeness it fit nicely with the end of The Fall.
We’ve got ambivalent feelings about the ending of ‘Their Solitary Way’ – however we have to bow our head before the choice of titles this season. We loved the symbolism, that Paul Spector died the way his first victim did, But it was the easy way out and also somewhat predictable. We knew that whatever he was going to do, he’d use Bailey for it. He hurt as many people on the way as he could – poor Dr Larson and Tom Anderson with that arm! There wasn’t anything left for him to do, there was no other way out. He didn’t think much of his life either, so it was time for him to go, and he did go in the most perfect way possible.
But we are human and we wanted justice. As Stella Gibson, we wanted him to be punished for what he’s done. Escaping by dying from suicide was not satisfying for the viewers, but it was a really Paul Spector-thing to do – controlling everything until the very last minute, even his own death.
“Do you think I’m treatable?