Alice In Lutherland
Following the shocking reveal at the end of last night’s episode, Luther picks up where it left off, returning for a much more reflective hour of detective work, acting as a proverbial deep breath after the breathless opening to its fifth season. With both storylines from yesterday given some crucial time to grow, the episode ends with a look ahead and a promise to return to the same level of intensity the season started off with.
After a brief flashback involving Alice trading some diamonds with a shadowy figure, we cut back to present day as Alice and Luther reunite in less than ideal circumstances. Alice has been shot and is in need of medical attention from our exasperated detective. After learning what happened to Alice, Luther’s second episode slows the pace and focuses on the complicated relationship between these two enigmatic characters. Around these two characters are the predominant storylines of the season which gain some real traction here.
The killer is still on the loose and last night we learnt that Dr Vivien Lake appears to be the ringleader for the murderer’s charade. Along with her heart surgeon husband, they scheme together and plot their next move. Running parallel to this story is the return of George Cornelius whose narrative gains the lion’s share of screen time this time. It turns out Alice has gotten mixed up with the cockney crime boss and bargained using George’s son’s life. While all the details around this are still unclear, George gives Luther an ultimatum – give him Alice and the vendetta is settled or face the wrath of his fury. This is made all the more challenging by his leverage over Luther, with Benny being held captive and tortured. All of this leads to the finale which sees Alice decide to take matters into her own hands, spelling serious ramifications for tomorrow’s episode.
While some may lament the much slower pace this week, after the way Luther burst back on our screens, this slowed pace is certainly a welcome change. It also helps give more characterization to the key players in the show although DC Halliday’s chirpy, humorous dialogue constantly feels at odds with the tone of the show which remains bleak and unforgiving. It’s not enough to offset the balance though but it is something that’s worth keeping an eye on as the series progresses. The rest of the cast do well though with Alice and Luther’s bond the highlight of the episode as their contrasting views on life clash and contrast brilliantly.
I mentioned the cinematography yesterday and it’s something that continues to impress here too. The general framing of Luther has always managed to bring the best out of the show and it’s great to see that continue here too. i won’t dwell too much on this as I discussed this quite thoroughly yesterday but suffice to say, there’s some really interesting shots used here again, including one in particular with a reflective surface, accentuating the off-kilter, unpleasant feel to the scene.
There isn’t much else to say about Luther’s second episode. While still full of tension and nicely worked set pieces, this feels like a much more reflective episode than before. Just as well too, as the upcoming episode preview feels like it’s about to raise the stakes again and sink back into that effortless, tension-wracked feel the first episode had in abundance. What will become of Alice? What do the couple have planned for their latest victim? Will Luther and George Cornelius settle their differences? The episode leaves big questions hanging over the series but at least we won’t have to wait for long to stew over these, with Luther returning tomorrow at 9pm on BBC One.