Eammon Jacobs reviews the final episode of Luther series 5…
That’s it, Luther Series 5 is over. And what an ending it brought to this tale that weaved in brand new characters with it’s own pre-existing story. It had shock reveals, creepy murders and a nail-biting conclusion that could have gone either way. After the shocking death of one of his friends, Luther is pushed to his limits as his two major problems come crashing down around him. His relationships with everyone he’s met throughout the entire series are radically changed by the final few minutes, and it proves once again that the BBC do have a winning team behind DCI John Luther.
Since it was the finale, there were a few surprises in store that felt necessary but surprisingly also felt a little redundant. The death of one character, who was underused throughout the series and definitely had plenty of potential, came out of nowhere. Although it helped raise the shock factor for the audience, it didn’t feel natural. Luther is usually quite good at delivering emotional deaths, just look at Zoe or Justin from previous series. But this character’s development hadn’t been fully expanded over the course of the four episodes, so it didn’t quite land the gut punch it was going for.
However, Luther and Halliday interrogating Vivien Lake may have been one of the best dramatic scenes in the finale. Hermione Norris spits her words with such venom as the pair psychoanalyse her during their questioning. She was really allowed to shine as the search for her sadistic husband continued. Unfortunately, after they leave the interrogation, it’s left up in the air as to what happens to her. Is she charged? Does she get her comeuppance for her role in the killings? Who knows. It did seem like there was more of her story to tell, perhaps left on the cutting room floor.
The climactic confrontation between Luther, Halliday and Jeremy Lake is cleverly done, but annoyingly it’s over far too quickly. But as they tentatively wandered through a familiar location in the dark, more bodies started to appear and it seemed like Luther had jumped into full slasher horror movie territory. Which isn’t necessarily a bad idea, in fact it was incredibly creepy since each victim was posed in a different position, simulating a ‘normal’ home. It’s a shame they rushed through beating him to deal with the Alice problem. It’s obvious that the secondary conclusion needed to become the main focus to shock viewers.
And shock, it did. As Alice raced to prove to John how toxic he is, everyone’s favourite grizzled detective slowly comes to realise that this might be a situation he can’t wriggle out of. Ruth Wilson shows off just how unhinged Alice can be, and seeing her fury unleashed was completely gripping. And as the ending rolls around, it could drastically change the direction of the series from here on out. The draw of Luther was that he was a chaotically good person, meaning he wanted to do the right thing but wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries to do so. It’ll be interesting to see how he copes with a complete dynamic change with everyone he knows in a future series (or the long rumoured movie).
Although it had some problems with pacing, Luther’s fifth outing was a devilishly entertaining thriller that isn’t afraid to get bloody when it wants to. Here’s the difficult question; series 6 or a movie?