Rushing To Conclusions
A show can live or die by its ending and when it comes to Luther’s fifth season, this is absolutely the case. Despite beginning with promise and a flurry of explosive action scenes, the fourth episode ends on a whimper rather than roar, failing to resolve very much and rushing through to an unsatisfying and disappointing conclusion. George Cornelius’ story is a particular culprit here although the final scenes are likely to spur a divisive reaction from the fan-base too, especially if Luther doesn’t return for a sixth season.
The story picks up where it left off yesterday. Benny has been shot in the head, spurring Luther into action as he succumbs to the gunman’s demands and begins a journey through checkpoints to free Alice and Mark who are held captive. Or, that’s what we’ve been led to believe. Instead, Luther drives straight to George’s house, intent on ending their conflict once and for all. After a trade of blows and guns to the face, the two form an uneasy alliance and work together to take down the gunman before ending with a truce and mutual agreement to leave things as they are. All seems well until Alice catches wind of this and goes on a crusade of her own.
While this uneasily resolves the George Cornelius conflict within the opening 20 minutes of the episode, our attention then turns to the murder investigation we opened the series with. DC Halliday ditches the humour from episodes past, taking on a much more hardened demeanor as her and Martin Schenk begin interviewing Vivien Lake about her husband. It’s at this point where we see Jeremy fly completely off the handle, killing people in broad daylight and flaunting his murderous intent with sickly glee. This culminates in Luther and DC Halliday infiltrating a house Jeremy is hiding out in, ending with bloodshed and a surprise twist to the tale.
This, in turn, leads up back to Alice and Luther together, alone again. We get glimmers of the old Alice here; the unhinged psychopath we first met back in the first season with an unpredictable edge. After some home truths and revelations, the final scenes of the episode interestingly mirror that seen in the first scene of the first episode way back in 2010. It’s a lovely little touch and something that helps show just how far Luther’s character has come since then but the resolution to this and the two other stories this season feel rushed and underwhelming, especially given the high stakes raised over the past couple of days.
With a few more episodes, this fifth season could easily be one of the strongest in the entire show’s run. In a bid to rush this out and squeeze the story into four episodes, everything feels messy, poorly paced and underwhelming. Given the amount of screen-time George Cornelius had received this season it’s particularly frustrating to see this story squandered and ruined by its conclusion. Some of this is thanks in part to the overwhelming focus on this conflict than the much more interesting murders and characters involved with this.
This torn focus between the various storylines ultimately leaves more questions unanswered than resolved when the credits roll. We get no definitive ending to Vivien Lake’s story. Luther’s fate remains uncertain and many other characters caught up in the conflict are given next to no character development. It’s all a bit messy and loud at times and it’s a real shame too as this season had some real momentum and buzz going for it leading into tonight’s episode. Luther’s fifth season is chock full of memorable and shocking moments but as a cohesive whole, the plot is sorely lacking. Rushed and poorly planned, Luther’s finale is a bitter pill to swallow, especially given the excitement and expectation going into this episode. If it’s really the end, and let’s hope it’s not for story’s sake, this isn’t the right way to appease fans who have stuck by this show over the years.