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'Luther' Season 3, Episode 1 Talkback Session - Luther Certainly Has A Full Plate...

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
September 4, 2013 10:26 AM
5 Comments
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Luther
BBC America Luther

And we're off!

Season 3 of your favorite TV series, Luther, starring one Mr Idris Elba, debuted on BBC America last night, and I was actually surprised that my Twitter and Facebook feeds weren't all a-chatter during the broadcast. I know it's not Scandal (your other favorite TV show, which routinely wins the social media spotlight during its time slot), but I thought I'd see more than a couple of tweets, and Facebook status updates about Luther, while it aired, especially after all the excitement and anticipation leading up to last night's season premiere.

I'm looking forward to seeing what the ratings were.

If you tuned in, your thoughts on what we know so far? And if you've watched all 4 episodes already (whether online, or if you're a reader in the UK where the entire season aired earlier this summer), please don't spoil it for others by "looking ahead." Let's just focus on the first episode. We'll take each as it airs, here in the USA.

NOTE: If you haven't seen episode 1 yet, you may want to skip this entire post.

The first of what will be a 4-episode season, airing over 4 successive nights (September 3-6), came out swinging, wouldn't you say? A lot was crammed into the premiere; but, I suppose, given that the season will comprise of only 4 episodes, introductions and pacing can't be at a snail's speed.

Our man Luther clearly has a lot on his plate this time around; then again, I suppose he always has: 2 new crimes to solve (a so-called fetish serial killer, and the revenge killing of an internet troll named Jared Cass), while being investigated himself (although he doesn't seem to know it yet) by an ex-cop who seems quite determined to bring him down; and you'd think that having to solve 2 crimes simultaneously, which he clearly isn't keen on (he seems much more interested in the fetish killing case than the other), Luther would have time for romance. Alas, thanks to a chance meeting over a minor fender-bender, Luther meets Mary Day (Sienna Guillory), a waifish blonde who apparently takes an instant liking to him, which he seems pleased by (it's so rare to see Luther genuinely smiling at anything. He's always so focused, serious and, some would say, intense). So Mary seems to be bringing back a side of Luther we haven't quite seen since the early episodes of season 1.

And given that we know that Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson) will return in at least one episode this season, evidence tells us that she'll have a little something to say about this budding romance.

Keep in mind that all of the above happened in less than 24 hours: the introduction of the 2 new grisly crimes, the revelation that someone (George Stark, played by David O'Hara) wants Luther brought down a peg or 3 (aided by Nikki Amuka-Bird's character, the recently-promoted DCI Erin Gray, and the newly-enlisted Warren Brown as Luther's partner, DS Justin Ripley), and finally the set-up for a new romance.

Like I said, the episode throws the viewer right into the thick of it, and you're forced to keep up. I actually had to watch the episode twice, to make sure I caught everything. 

But even with this initial lay of the land for the season out of the way, I can't say that we're entirely certain of what's coming down the pike, with 3 episodes to go. I'm sure I could guess where each story strand will eventually end up, but I prefer to keep it all a mystery and not spoil the experience that's to come; like, who's Mary Day exactly? She's the one key unknown this season, and the conspiracy theorists out there might wonder whether her chance meeting with Luther was really just that, or whether there's more to this woman than meets the eye, which we'll eventually learn about. Or is she just a pawn who will be used to test Luther's convictions later? She seems so unlike Alice, who's maybe more of a match for Luther - and not necessarily romantically, but she'll definitely give Luther a challenge, for sure, more-so that Mary... seemingly. 

Why does Stark want Luther's head so badly? Maybe I just missed some back-story there, but I want to know more about this character, his background, motivations, etc. But maybe that's all coming.

Also, I did think that it didn't take very much for Stark and Gray to convince Luther's partner, Ripley, that Luther may be a dirty copper, and was worthy of being investigated and raked. He gave in a bit too quickly. Remember, this episode takes place over just one day. Ripley and Luther start the day, as usual; and by the end of that day, Ripley seems all-too ready to see Luther walk the plank.

And who's this fetish killer, and what's his true motivation? 

And how insane was it that the character played by Lucian Msamati - Ken Barnaby - was willing to slice up his own fingers in a blender, to prevent a finger print match in the revenge killing of the internet troll? The entire kitchen was bathed in blood after that sequence. It all seemed a bit much, but I'm not nitpicking. 

While watching, it did make me ponder the appeal of the series though. Thinking about it, the crimes Luther has had to solve are actually nothing particularly fresh. If you've watched TV shows like any in the CSI franchise, Dexter, Law & Order: SVU, etc, you've seen much of this maniacal gruesomeness already. So the appeal isn't necessarily the various storylines, I'd argue. The appeal is in Luther, the character, and the actor who brings him to life, believably and impressively. I'd also add that his *blackness* is something of a novelty, because it's so very rare that black actors play these kinds of complex, engaging leading characters. And that the actor in this case excels in the role, certainly helps. 

If Luther were white, I'm not so sure we'd care all that much, because it would be a character we've all seen before. Certainly, we wouldn't be talking about him on this blog.

But what's the show's appeal to you?

And also, what did think of season 3, episode 1, if you tuned in last night?

Episode 2 airs tonight at 10pm on BBC America.


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5 Comments

  • The Coloured European Observer | September 17, 2013 6:45 AMReply

    I really liked season 3, I was terribly disappointed that it had just 4 shows!!! Total episodes now is 18, which is like a regular US season. Mind you, American seasons used to be 30 episodes or more.
    I hope Luther's gonna come back!
    I really liked the whole Ruth Wilson - Sienna Guillory dynamic, it was awesome. Alice is my fave girl criminal anywhere.

  • Roosevelt Howard | September 4, 2013 4:21 PMReply

    I watched series 3 last month and can say its the best so far. You guys are in for a treat.

  • Vanessa Martinez | September 4, 2013 3:04 PMReply

    I only thought that the introduction of the love interest seemed very rushed; understandably so perhaps, given that the season comprises of only 4 episodes. However, the car crash scene seemed a little contrived. I hoped for a more original initial encounter, or at least an episode of some interaction, in which we didn't automatically assume they'd hook up.

    Other than that, I enjoyed the episode, especially the tension between Justin and Luther. I like the usual crime plots, although like you pointed out, they're definitely not the main appeal for me. It's definitely more about Luther, the man itself with all his quirks, and the battle with his demons. The fact that he's so complex (aside from being so astute in solving these crimes), and also passionate, genuine and emotionally transparent makes his character all the more compelling..and *perfect* when he certainly isn't. I guess that's the beauty of it all.

  • Christopher | September 4, 2013 12:14 PMReply

    As for the Stark character I feel he is one of those singular minded people that once they have made up their mind they are like a shark with blood in the water. Nothing else matters no rules just the prey even at the sacrifice of logic. And we have to remember if u were to look at the shit luther has been through on paper as an outsider, alot would look very suspicious to say the least.

  • Christopher | September 4, 2013 12:08 PMReply

    Ive seen all 4 but will only discuss the 1st episode. ( warning spoilers abead for the 1st epidode only) Some random thoughts not in any particular order. I have a blender one day I accidentally forgot to put the top on while making a smoothie there was smoothie every where ceiling, walls, floor so I dont think the blood in the scene was overkill especially if after you put your hand into said blender and then probably thrashed about in pain, blood flying all about. 2. I think Luther as a character is such a layered person whose drive to make things right while understanding what it takes to understand and I believe connect with his adversaries on a certain level in sort of a "theres a thin line between genius and madness" sort of way in that theres also a thin line between justice and vigilantism or cop and criminal. I think Luther struggles with this and his role in seeking justice.

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