Review: Stan Lee’s Lucky Man (S1 E2/10), Friday 29th January, Sky1

lucky_man_2Here we go then for the second episode of Stan Lee’s less than superhero/supernatural/supersomethingorother fantasy crime drama. Last week’s opener was patchy to say the least – its story of a gambling addicted copper being embroiled in a murder plot (fair enough) in a pristinely-photographed London consistently hamstrung by a daft subplot involving a bangle that gives its wearer unlimited luck (as well as some shocking dialogue and soundtrack work). But sticking with it I am, so I was interested to see how the story developed this week.

This week’s episode centred around the pursuit of main suspect, Kevin Grey, which was why perhaps I enjoyed it more than the first offering. It felt to me like that, at least for the first half, it centred around purer procedural techniques rather than mucking about with luck-giving bangles and cheesy whiffs of the supernatural. In fact, during this run when things were settled and following lines of enquiry and pursuit I sat there wishing it stuck to crime drama more and forgot about the whole lucky bangle business.

But it didn’t, and it continued to straddle a slightly puzzling, uncomfortable line between two genres.

Harry and Suri first checked out the plane Grey was supposedly leaving on, but instead found the seats stuffed full of money and an audit sheet linking the plane to Lau’s daughter Lily-Anne, which in turn made them think about how a person might want to get out of the country as quick as possible. Clever those two. The hunt was on for a counterfeit passport maker, who, it turned out, ran a card-trick stall-cum-pick-pocketing racket down on the banks of the river Thames.

It was time for Harry to demonstrate the power of the bangle (I so wanted to type the power of Grayskull there) and break down the confidence of the trickster, which he duly did, not only wiping out his money and exposing his tricksy ways, but also finding out when and where Kevin Grey would be the next day.

This procedural core to the episode rattled along at a fine pace, and was watchable and fairly enjoyable. It’s not the best crime drama out there, but within this context, it’s certainly preferable to all the supernatural element. What was (semi) interesting was that when the bangle was introduced it proved to be nothing more than a convenient a plot driver. Whenever the plot or Harry needed a shift, the bangle came into play. One instance was when Harry was chasing Kevin Grey through a wooded area (it’s always through a wooded area). His prey was getting away and the only way Harry could catch up with him was to chance his arm at crossing a motorway, Frogger style. Thanks to the bangle he blundered across it (in slow motion, naturally) unharmed and Harry Clayton got his man.

In terms of character, the bangle was also starting to have an effect on Harry in ways he hadn’t foreseen. He started to attend a gambling anonymous meeting again in a bid to win back his estranged wife, Anna. There, he skirted around his new luck-based issues, instead asking the assembled attendees what they would do if they were given a seemingly endless stream of luck. One of them, a young woman, said that she would throw this whatever-it-was out straight away.

This got Harry thinking – perhaps he could document the bangle’s behaviour to see what situations it worked and in which situations it didn’t. By understanding, he reasoned, he could defeat it and get it off and continue with being flawed and rubbish again. We saw him setting up his own mini incident room at home when he received a call from Suri (again, she got all the best lines in this episode) – her sexy-time cohort, DI Ben (who I had my suspicions about throughout the episode as being some sort of imposter) had collapsed and was about to cark it. Bearing in mind Harry’s reckless behaviour led to Ben’s initial accident, our lucky man might be about to come under more scrutiny from the (currently) laughably and one-dimensionally evil DS Winter.

Perhaps the bangle doesn’t endow everyone it comes into contact with with special fortune.

Paul Hirons

For our episode one review, go here

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