If you haven’t seen the BBC’s The Fall, you’re missing out on an excellent, slightly terrifying crime drama. You’re also missing out on Gillian Anderson playing cat and mouse with Fifty Shades of Grey pretty boy, Jamie Dornan — who, despite getting a bad rap for that role choice is excellent as serial killer, Paul Spector (not really a spoiler, since it’s evident from the series’ outset). Aside from watching the murders and investigation unfolding, The Fall is notable for Anderson’s no-nonsense portrayal of Stella Gibson, über-focussed on the job, and seemingly unaware of her “effect on men.” Stella’s attitude carries on in her personal life; sex is just a means to release. Speaking to The Telegraph, Anderson remarked on the media’s preoccupation with Stella’s appearance and sexuality:
“I think she wouldn’t be interested in men finding her attractive; she’s only interested in the ones she finds attractive enough to find her attractive enough to satisfy her fleeting needs. I don’t think that she gives a s—-.
It always surprises me when interviewers want to talk about Gibson and sex and her picking up this guy [referencing a series 1 scene]. Why is this so shocking in our society, when it’s 2014, that a woman clearly chooses to be single, and has a desire to have a one-night or two-night stand? Why is it shocking that a professional woman of a certain age should do something like that?”
Indeed. Were Gibson’s character a man who exhibited no emotions about casual sex, we wouldn’t blink. Gibson gets what she wants “in a male way.” (Anderson)
The actress says we’ll see more of Stella’s “inclinations” in the new season; “It seems she is a hunter as well..There is that aspect of her and yet she squares it somehow. It makes sense to her and her belief systems. She talks openly about it.” (via Belfast Telegraph)
Alternately, Dornan’s creeptastic Paul Spector exhibits an odd, seemingly emotional attachment as he *prepares* his victims — something inside him falls in line with his other side (family man, bereavement counselor). But, there’s also a disconnected, ferociously violent side that will leave you jumpy and terribly uncomfortable, especially if you’re viewing alone, at night.
Our confused emotions over both characters are by design. As Dornan notes, writer/director/showruner Allan Cubitt (The Runaway, Anna Karenina) wants us to feel uncomfortable about our own reactions to these characters:
“If you only ever saw him inside the sickness of his mind, the audience would never be on his side, and I think that’s the most chilling aspect of it. My intention, and Alan’s intention, is that the audience is in a way gunning for him in the end, I mean…I hope he gets away with it. I feel that, and I know that other people feel that, not just friends of mine.”
The Fall series 1 is available on Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes. Here are the series 2 trailers: