Stan Lee’s Lucky Man S02E08 “The Fallen Angel” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- Harry is gambling again, but not for the money. He simply throws that away. But he takes 20 grand off a security guard called Bill who’s now seriously in debt.
- Isabella is sleeping with Winter and gaining access to his laptop to learn who are the capital’s most-wanted criminals. She then sets about systematically killing them off.
- She sees herself as an avenging angel, but Harry, who realises what’s she up to, says that no amount of killing will bring back her children. She retaliates by killing a criminal in front of Harry’s eyes in a restaurant – he slips on olive and splits his head open on a table.
- Anna visits Harry and forced him to play scratch cards – he wins 50 grand over two cards. She now totally believes in his luck powers, and they plan to get back together (besides, Johnny’s being a complete dick).
- Harry misses a lunch date with Suri, and subs bro’ Rich instead. The evening starts off with them throwing recriminations about and ends with them in bed.
- There’s another murder of a known criminal – he’s found burnt to a crisp in his car – but Isabella tells Harry she’s knows nothing about this one.
- Harry finds evidence that implicates Bill and traces him (with Eve’s help) to a warehouse where he’s working as a night watchman.
- Bill runs, and – thanks to Isabella showing up – dies in a plummet from a steel walkway, just after confessing (he killed the man he owed money to)
- Harry then has a brainwave – he frames Isabella for the murder by using Bill’s mobile to call her and getting Eve to break into Isabella’s apartment and plant Bill’s blood.
- Isabella is arrested. But, of course, she uses her luck powers to highlight evidence that points to Eve as the murderer instead.
- Isabella is released.
- Later, Harry and Anna are driving in a rainstorm, when the brakes on Harry’s car fail. He drives into an electricity pole…
- Isabella steps out of the shadows. This is her work.
- Harry gets out of the car, and is hit by a loose electricity cable.
- Elsewhere Eve senses something potentially lethal has happened to Harry. She leaps on her bike, but by the time she reaches him, he’s dead!
This is unquestionably the best episode of Lucky Man ever, by quite some way. Can it be like this every week please?
Not that they need to kill Harry every week. Okay, that shock (sorry) ending was part of the reason why “The Fallen Angel” was so good, but by no means the only one. This was a brilliantly tense chess game, with Harry and Isabella trying to outmanoeuvre each other. We have Isabella letting rip with her luck powers showing Harry exactly what is possible if he has the guts/lack of guilt over the consequences; finally you can see the series dealing with luck as a bona fide superpower and not just a handy work accessory. An especially fun moment has Harry demanding Isabella reveal where she is, and Isabella, still exasperated at his reluctance to use his bracelet, pointing out, “Just going into any bar in London and I’ll be there…”
Harry, though, likes to do things his way. His plan to frame Isabella is chilling in its clinical brutality. It certainly makes for an exciting sequence as he ruthlessly out his plan in action and then the trap closes on Isabella. Except…
Well, you do wonder why Harry doesn’t seem to consider that she’ll simply use her luck powers to escape “justice”. Or why he doesn’t use a little bit of his own luck to try to prevent that. Harry certainly doesn’t seem completely averse to using his powers (he uses them with gay abandon in the precredits scene) so why he doesn’t take advantage of them when it’d really make a difference is a little irritating. Especially as the one thing we haven’t seen on the show yet is what happens when both Harry and Isabella try to use their luck powers at the same time against each other; will they cancel each other out or cause major chaos?
And why hasn’t Harry asked Eve about that?
Still, maybe that’s the season finale. Because we don’t believe Harry’s really dead. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking…
But ongoing quibbles with the show’s format (and lack of willingness to really explore it) aside this is a great, great episode. Thrilling, tense, funny, unpredictable, fast-moving and great-looking. We’ve listed some of our particular fave things in the “Good” section below, but it’s worth emphasising what a great job director Jamie Childs does in hitting just the right hyperreal tone that the show cries out for.
The last two episodes are going to have a hard time topping this. But we hope they do.
- That cliffhanger!
- The double bluff with the jerk in the restaurant’s death, when it looks like Harry’s saved him but… oops! Olive alert!
- Suri pulling the sheet over her head when Harry discovers her and Rich in bed – adorable.
- Isabella, killing in silhouette – very stylish.
- Director Jamie Childs does excellent work throughout, but special kudos to the way he makes the build-up to Bill’s death both tense and vertiginous as hell!
- That moment when you realise what Harry is planning to do, plus a little bit later when he picks up the baseball bat, and clearly has problems believing what he’s about to do himself.
- For the second week in a row, Anna – who’s been wasted for much of the season – has a really good scene. We loved her showing up at Rich’s place and demanding that Harry play scratch cards.
- Eve threatening Isabella. Just because…!
- The business with Orwell trying to get his key card to work while Isabella studies the police boards is stupidly tense.
- Isabella shows up at the warehouse to kill off Bill, then manages to get to the restaurant in suspiciously superquick time. Plus, wouldn’t that have meant she didn’t have had an alibi for the actual time of the murder? Plus, how didn’t Harry see her? Or at least hear her stilettos in that really echoey space? Something just doesn’t chime right about the way the scene’s shot and editing.
- The opening scene is slightly odd. Why is Harry gambling again? Just for the thrill of it? Isn’t he scared about that “bad luck” ying/yang clause? Why don’t we get to see his hand? (Not really a fault, but it’s a film and TV convention that the audience gets to see a winning hand, and you feel kinda cheated when you don’t.) In the end, the scene only appears to be in the show to introduce Bill.
- It really didn’t cross Harry’s mind that Isabella might use her luck powers to escape from custody? He’s a bit slow sometimes, isn’t he? It was pretty obvious she’d react like a caged animal and lash out.
And The Random:
- The camera lingers on Bill’s cards just before he dies, but they don’t seem significant (it’s certainly not the infamous Dead Man’s Hand – black aces, black eights). Maybe they’re just supposed to indicate that life’s dealt him a crap hand.
- Back in series two of new Doctor Who, Matt Jones wrote the two-part “The Impossible Planet”/“The Satan Pit”. He’s also written for Torchwood and Dirk Gently and produced Skins and Shameless.
Review by Dave Golder