And it just keeps getting better. The third episode of The Fall, “Insolence & Wine”, took the most solid factors of the first couple of episodes and turned them up another notch. With the sexualized violence mercifully gone, all the characters got some much deserved focus and the investigation of the three victims gained speed – and it was glorious.
Can I just state on record how much I love Stella? I love that the narrative doesn’t try to frame her into only one constrictive label: she’s smart as all get out, but there’s a lot more to her than an impressive brain. She’s highly confident in her sexuality, but that’s only one facet of her character and the writers treat it as such. Intelligence and competency in other women are, in her opinion, things to be nurtured and celebrated, not a reason for her to feel threatened. She will call you out on your double standards and debate you into the ground, and all of this with a smile on her face. I have crazed love for the scene when the cop in charge of Jimmy Olson’s murder investigation judged her for having a one night stand with Olson after knowing him for a few minutes, and she deadpans with, “that’s what really bothers you, isn’t it? The one night stand. Man fucks woman. Subject man, verb fucks, object woman. That’s okay. Woman fucks man. Woman subject, man object. That’s not so comfortable for you, is it?”
Standing ovation, please.
She also decided not to refer to Spector’s victims as innocent in the press conference. When Burns tells her that the victims were indeed innocent, Stella turns the conversation around: “What if he kills a prostitute next? Or a woman walking home drunk, late at night and in a short skirt. Will they be in some way less innocent, therefore less deserving? Culpable? The media loves to divide women into virgins and vamps, angels and whores. Let’s not encourage them.”
You’ll notice this review is turning out to be more of a love letter to Stella Gibson, wonderfully portrayed by Gillian Anderson, than anything else.
But there is more to the episode than Stella, regardless of how much I enjoyed her scenes. Paul chooses his next victim. We find out more about his motivations – according to the team investigating the murders, he’s a frustrated man who destroys women in positions of power. He gets a sexual thrill from this destruction. In Stella’s words, “he’s creating his own pornography.” He learns about Stella’s existence, though they have yet to meet face to face. Jamie Dornan continues to blow me away with the incredibly believable, albeit incredibly creepy, way in which he brings Paul Spector to life.
Are you watching The Fall? What are your thoughts so far?