The Fall recap: 'The Mind Its Own Place'
Blame the instant-gratification payoff of all those Law & Order/Law & Order: SVU/Law & Order: Criminal Intent/Law & Order: Parking Violation Unit marathons we’re accustomed to, but “The Mind Its Own Place” seemed in comparison a spinning-wheels hour largely devoid of action—and arrests. Sure, Gibson is hoping Spector will lead her to Rose Stagg (dead or alive), but if, as Burns suspects, Spector knows they’re onto him, it’s doubtful he would be so careless. (Though, to be fair, he did return to Annie Brawley’s hospital room, so perhaps he is becoming reckless enough to do just that…)
We open with Gibson standing outside her hotel room, as techs dust for prints and bag evidence, which includes her laptop and what we come to learn is her dream diary. (I’ve never met so many people outside of a creative writing workshop or the premiere episode of The Vampire Diaries who keep a journal: Spector, Gibson, and Katie.) At the station, Gibson does an image search for the Gothic artwork Spector set as her wallpaper. It’s an 18th-century work by Henry Fuseli called—get this—“The Nightmare.” Fitting.
Gibson shows the image to Burns—who has come to apologize for his despicable behavior from the night before—and explains how Spector hid in her hotel room while they were both inside. Of course, Burns’ knee-jerk reaction is to worry about his own damning admissions.
“Oh, forget about your private embarrassment for a minute,” Gibson scolds him.
As she and the investigators comb through their files on Spector, including his bereavement counselor credentials, Gibson has something of an epiphany. She makes a few calls and her fears are confirmed: Paul Spector has been counseling Annie Brawley. In fact, he’s due for a session in about half an hour.
Poor Annie Brawley. She’s been violently attacked. Her brother’s been killed. Her would-be murderer has been visiting her under the guise of therapy. And now she can’t even get a decent haircut! Gibson arrives, shooing away the stylist Spector hired before she’s finished, and whisking Annie to the bathroom to hide as Spector ascends in the elevator. The copper stationed outside Annie’s room does a decent job covering; she makes up some excuse about Annie needing a treatment on her throat. But Spector isn’t convinced. He leaves, and lucky him, Sally-Ann happens to be downstairs looking for him and gives him a ride.
Gibson handles Annie carefully, proceeding with caution. She knows she can’t reveal Spector’s true identity or intent, so she lets Annie slowly work it out for herself.
“I really like him,” she tells Gibson. “He made me feel better about myself.”
“In what way better?” Gibson asks.
“I know it was only the once, but he was the most helpful anyone’s been… He just seemed—he listened. He was almost like a mirror seeming to reflect me back somehow. He wasn’t judgmental.”
But, then, it happens. The realization. After a beat.
“My god, he was there!” Brawley says almost in some sort of fugue state. “I remember him! In that bar. The night I lost my driver’s license. He’s the man that attacked me.”
Meanwhile, a body matching Rose Stagg’s description is found.
NEXT: The sky is falling
Arriving at the scene, Gibson meets a DS Tom Anderson (sadly, not the MySpace founder), who does look a bit like someone we know: Paul Spector. Gibson seems a bit taken with him. She waits for Dr. Smith to arrive to examine the body, and they’re remarkably not awkward around each other after what almost happened the night before. They struggle to identify the body with all of the mud caked on it, but Smith is convinced it’s not Rose—Rose has a C-section scar that would be visible. It appears the woman in question committed suicide by hanging herself from a tree. (At episode’s end, we find out she had called a suicide hotline on several occasions. Didn’t Spector work at just such a hotline?)
Gibson tells Anderson not to reveal anything about the victim—she wants to use the body as some sort of bait for Spector. But she does go to the courtesy of visiting Rose Stagg’s husband and telling him not to worry over anything he sees on the news.
Elsewhere, the rest of the team is ramping up the investigation into Spector. Martin and McNally pay visits to Spector’s former clients, the Tylers. Liz is living in a safe house, while Jimmy is at home on bail. Neither reveal anything too damning. Liz confirms that all that ever happened between her and Spector was a hug—even though she’d wanted more. Jimmy has little patience for the inquiry and gets loud and violent fast.
A surveillance team is dispatched to the Spectors’ house to set up a video link while the family is out. Except, the whole thing crashes down around them. Literally. The ceiling in the master bedroom gives way. But it doesn’t give way quite enough to reveal the spot where Spector has hidden his journals. The police make a quick decision to cover up their mess with a rigged water-tank flood. While inside they do find a few items of interest (though their admissibility seems in question as they don’t have a search warrant). But anyway! First, they snap details of what appears to be an image of Spector at the age of 10 years old (except the initials on the back read “PB,” which doesn’t align with what we know Paul’s given name—Peter Paul Spector—to be). Second, they find the original copy of the drawing that had been imprinted into the letter Spector sent to Sarah Kay’s family last season.
Back at the police station, Gibson tells Eastwood they should bring DS Anderson on to the investigation. Is she just lusting after him, or is there another reason? She had seemed impressed that he thought to call her when he found ligature marks on the victim, so maybe she just likes his brain?
The episode concludes with another grooming scene between Spector and Katie. (Sorry that sounds so simian, but you know what I mean.) Spector continues to slowly reveal himself to Katie, including the fact that his mother killed herself when he was 7 years old, leaving him “alone and unwanted.” (Let me guess, she was a brunette?)
“There’s suffering all around us. Why not take some pleasure from it?” Spector muses.
“I don’t know how to get pleasure from suffering,” Katie says.
Spector has Katie imagine her friend Daisy. What it would be like, how it would feel if her life started to go haywire.
“Happiness in others is an affront to our own pain and misery,” he says.
“What is it you want me to do?” Katie asks.
With just two episodes left, I’m starting to wonder just how much closure we’ll get by season’s end. Some of my favorite scenes of the series have been the phone exchanges between Spector and Gibson. Their chemistry—though not even in the same room—is palpable, and I’m dying to see how they’ll interact face to face. I feel like I could watch almost a whole season of just Gibson interrogating Spector in a dank police station. Book him, Gibson.