The premiere had a lot of heart-pounding moments, and the second episode keeps it beating rapidly. One of my all-time favorite directors and the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, once said of building suspense, “Four people are sitting around a table talking about baseball or whatever you like. Five minutes of it. Very dull. Suddenly, a bomb goes off. Blows the people to smithereens. What does the audience have? Ten seconds of shock. Now, take the same scene and tell the audience there is a bomb under that table and will go off in five minutes. The whole emotion of the audience is totally different, because you've given them that information. In five minutes' time, that bomb will go off. Now, the conversation about baseball becomes very vital. Because they're saying to you, 'Don't be ridiculous. Stop talking about baseball. There's a bomb under there.' You've got the audience working."
Luther creator Neil Cross must have been a student of this school of thought, because each episode of Luther feels like a mini-Hitchcock film. Cross simply replaces the bomb with the Internal Affairs investigation against John and tells the audience it’ll go off this season, and he watches as we wait impatiently for the BOOM. He knows exactly what to do to keep the audience right where he wants ‘em, in the palm of his hand.
The second episode ups the ante throughout. The bomb is ticking . . . John’s starting to get a whiff of what his old nemesis DCI Gray is up to, we’re introduced to the serial killer’s even creepier mentor, and shown the more lighthearted side of John Luther in his interactions with Mary. That’s not all, folks! Luther’s trusty partner DS Ripley may not be so trustworthy after all. Tick tick. Ned Dennehy, who plays Carney, the elder serial killer, is the absolute highlight of this episode. His performance will leave you wanting to take a shower after watching it. I’m getting chills just talking about it. Kevin Fuller, who plays the padawan serial killer from the first episode, also adds to the creep factor with plenty of moments that make you absolutely uncomfortable. To offset this side of Luther’s life, Cross gives us some hopeful, uplifting moments with Luther’s blossoming relationship with Mary. There may only be two episodes remaining, but if the first two episodes are any indication, we’re in for a real treat with the next two.