The Fall recap: 'The Perilous Edge of Battle'
Nearly two seasons’ worth of cat-and-mouse intrigue have led to this: the capture and arrest of (literal) lady-killer Paul Spector. But now it’s as though we’re the feline and the writers are dangling a big juicy rodent just out of paw’s reach. Spector may be in lock down, sure, but we’re not getting what we really want: the sure-to-be-electric face-to-face confrontation between him and Stella. It was a slick trick to have Gibson not make the arrest, indeed.
Surveillance is still going strong on Spector, and despite his water-logged house, he hasn’t called in a plumber or builder, which puzzles Gibson. She hasn’t finalized the details of Spector’s arrest, but it becomes evident early on that she isn’t planning to be the one wielding the cuffs. That would be
MySpace founder DSI Tom Anderson. And I still haven’t figured out why she’s enlisted Anderson’s help here. Is it because she thinks he and Spector have something in common? (Something besides the realization that they look enough alike to pass as brothers?) As Gibson, Eastwood, and the team go over the “target profile” we learn a few more details about Spector. Most telling is the fact that his father is serving time in Canada for a murder (the murder of a man, to be clear). Less seemingly important is the fact that Spector isn’t actually Jewish: His father was adopted by a Jewish family.
Gibson decides to take the calculated risk of holding off on arresting Spector in the hopes that he will lead them to Rose Stagg. Because that tactic has been really successful so far.
Burns, meanwhile, is paying a prison visit to the former Father who ran one of the orphanages Spector lived in as a kid. Now, of all the depraved moments this series has served up so far, this may very well be the most chilling. The pedophile, Jensen, has no remorse for his crimes. In fact, he’s convinced he was providing a service, helping the young boys explore their sexuality. Of Spector (whom we’re told was not molested) he purrs, “He was a very pretty boy.” Excuse me while I take 11 hot showers in a row. For what it’s worth, Burns returns to the station with Spector’s juvenile record, which is under the name Peter Baldwin. (How many pseudonyms does this guy have? Why did he go from Spector to Baldwin and back to Spector? Can someone please explain this to me in the comments?) Anyway, Spector/Baldwin/Spector began breaking and entering and stealing women’s underwear around the age of 13. And he kept a journal, a “voyeur’s map of the town,” as Burns describes it.
As the police continue to watch Spector’s home, he finally emerges in jogging clothes and makes a run for it.
NEXT: A caged animal
Spector has spent his morning destroying evidence. He rips up at least one of his soaked journals, setting the pages on fire in the sink. He’s also dispatched Katie to do some of his dirty work. The surveillance team follows her to the bank where it appears she’s made a large cash withdrawal. She then walks to the river where she places a love lock on the bridge’s fence. It reads “Katie plus Paul” with the day’s date. She chucks the keys into the water. Her final stop is Spector’s room in the Bleecker Street Hotel. She retrieves the lock of hair and memory card Spector has hidden. She’s in the middle of flushing the card down the toilet when coppers break in and arrest her. (Was she successful cracking up the card? I had a hard time telling.)
Back to an on-the-run Spector: It looks like he might have lost the police when he barrels into the botanic gardens and changes his clothes in the greenhouse. But then the worst possible bit of bad luck strikes: He’s spotted by none other than Jimmy Tyler, who’s desperate to learn the whereabouts of his wife. Jimmy and his goon begin circling Spector; the goon retrieves a gun from the back of their van. A neighbor sees the scuffle and calls the police. Ferrington recognizes the description of Spector and radios Gibson that she’s on her way. In the meantime, Jimmy is forcing Spector to use his grief counselor credentials to make a few calls and track down Liz. When Ferrington arrives, a shoot-out ensues. (Excerpt from my notes: “What the f—!?!?!?!!?!”) The damage: Jimmy’s goon is shot and killed, Jimmy drives off, Ferrington is shot in her flak jacket, and Spector is left to be questioned by the cops. He’s acting cool, and for a minute, he (and we) think he might just walk away from the scene. Especially after Burns arrives and dismisses him. But he’s finally arrested by Anderson a few hundred feet outside of the crime scene. At this point, he’s only being taken in in connection with the disappearance of Rose Stagg—no murder charges just yet.
And Spector’s not alone in the police station: In addition to Katie, Sally-Ann has been brought in on charges of “perverting the course of justice.” In layman’s terms: She fibbed about Spector’s alibi.
Spector is strip-searched (not gonna lie—I enjoyed this), and his personal effects are searched. A passport with the last name Baldwin is retrieved, as well as an image of what appears to be Spector as a child with his mother on the beach.
Video footage is also collected from both Katie and Spector’s phones. Gibson watches the clip from Spector’s; it’s of Rose Stagg pleading to be untied. Alternating between despair and desire, Rose uses whatever tactic she thinks will elicit a response from Spector—to no avail. Tears are streaming down Gibson’s face. And then Spector turns the camera on himself: “Why the f— are you watching this, you sick shit? What the f— is wrong with you?” Is this a message to himself or Gibson?
When Anderson asks Spector for an explanation of why the video is on his phone, he just leans back and puts his feet on the table in some sort of yogic lotus pose and simply stares.
Later, as Gibson watches Spector sleep, she’s delivered a piece of good news: The scissors they recovered (the ones with Spector’s fingerprint on them) were found to have Joe Brawley’s blood on them. It’s enough for the police to add another charge to Spector’s arrest. In her continuing bid to keep herself from Spector, Gibson taps McNally—with her brunette locks flowing and top unbuttoned to there—to deliver the news to Spector, who mouths something to the camera, knowing Gibson is watching.
The episode concludes with police uncovering Spector’s scorched automobile. What will they be able to recover?
Also: How much closure will the season finale give us? And, perhaps more importantly, how much closure do we really want?