Review: Luther (S2 E2/2), Tuesday 22nd December, BBC1

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WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 05/12/2015 - Programme Name: Luther - TX: n/a - Episode: Luther S4 (No. Ep 2) - Picture Shows: **STRICTLY NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 00:01HRS, SATURDAY 5TH DECEMBER** DCI John Luther (IDRIS ELBA), DS Benny Silver (MICHAEL SMILEY) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Steffan Hill

(C) BBC – Photographer: Steffan Hill

With cannibal killer suspect Steven Rose on the run, Alice apparently dead, and Bloom definitely in bits, Luther’s running out of options – at least he has crimelord Cornelius chained to a radiator. But not for long.

Time for a deus ex machina, we feel, and Megan Cantor (Laura Haddock), the young woman who stole Luther’s phone, turns up with claims to have a psychic message from Alice – ‘Tell John that Stacey Bell has the owl.’ Shades of Twin Peaks. The Stacey Bell case means something to Luther, but he can’t link it to Steven Rose.

Cornelius escapes and has the decency to inform Luther that he’s put out a hit on him, while Lane investigates Steven Rose’s background, in between making Star Wars references.

Rose is still out there, wearing a dress, and killing and eating people – Luther thinks he has a syndrome. But is there any method to his madness?

The Stacey Bell case involved a murdered child and a dead suspect, and Megan, it transpires, was in the same class as the victim, and remembers young Constable Luther investigating; now, in the grasp of an irrational fear of Stacey Bell, she’s stolen Luther’s phone and monitored his relationship with Alice to put pressure on him. All the psychic stuff about Alice was based purely on stealing the phone, then.

Forensics digs out evidence of 200 bugging victims from Steven Rose’s trashed hard drives, plus a list of potential bolt-holes, and details of an ex-girlfriend; by the time the cops arrive it’s too late, he’s killed her husband and kidnapped the family.  

Rose is rehearsing all the serial killer clichés – wearing lipstick, sharpening knives, revving up the chainsaw – when Luther and Lane roll up at his abandoned hospital hideout. While Luther tackles an inconvenient hitman, Lane shoots Rose using another assassin’s borrowed weapon; she gets what she wanted, revenge for Bloom, but at what cost to herself?

Investigation of Megan’s finances reveals a safety deposit box, which contains, ta-da, Alice’s uncut diamonds and Luther’s stolen phone; Luther could now cut and run. But instead he buys off Cornelius using the gems, plants some drugs on Stacey Bell to get her locked up, and tells Megan that if he finds she had anything to do with the death of Alice, he’ll be back. Like the Terminator.

If this is the last of Luther, it’s not a very satisfactory ending; if Alice is indeed dead, there’s no closure to be had in her dying offscreen. Bumping off Bloom seems random, though it does give Lane some motivation; and it’s no more random than the maniac cannibal killer being both an IT expert and a bomb-maker, or posh PR girl Megan apparently being frightened of a chav from a sink estate she was in school with 20 years earlier.

Let’s hope that rumours of a Luther movie are not wide of the mark, and let’s hope that Alice can be resurrected; Megan’s right, the relationship might have been one of fright and fascination rather than tainted love, but it was a powerful one, and one that deserves to have been explored in more detail than this scrappy finale allowed.

Chris Jenkins

For all our news and review on Luther, go here

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