Stan Lee’s Lucky Man S02E09 “Lamb To The Slaughter” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- Technically, Harry does die, but the paramedics arrive quickly enough to be able to resuscitate him.
- But before they arrive, Eve removes the bracelet from “dead” Harry. She leaves before she realises he has been brought back to life.
- On her way back to her pub, Eve is mugged by a guy called Jay. She slaps the bracelet on him.
- Later Jay and his little bro’ Nathan try to remove the bracelet but fail.
- Jay is only a part-time mugger. His other job is bare-knuckle fighting which up until now he’s been rubbish at. But he suddenly starts winning.
- In hospital, Harry wakes up and realises he is no longer wearing the bracelet.
- Winter visits him, and Harry warns him about Isabella. Winter doesn’t want to believe him but in a rare moment of saying something that makes absolute sense, Harry points out, “I may be a lot of things but I am not that cruel, and I am not insane, so why else would I tell you this?”
- Winter decides to probe a little bit further and lets Isabella continue to think Harry is dead.
- Isabella visits Eve who tells her that she is now truly alone. She also lies and says she destroyed the other bracelet.
- After Isabella leaves, Harry turns up, having slipped out of hospital. Eve tells him what she did with the bracelet and they start the search for Jay.
- Jay is now rapidly becoming a star fighter, and the power is going to his head. When Harry and Eve catch up with him he makes a getaway by savagely mugging a guy who’s just getting into his very expensive sports car. Jay nicks his car keys and discover a gun and drugs in the car.
- Little bro’ Nathan is horrified at what his brother’s become and calls Harry, telling him where he can find Jay.
- But when Harry gets Jay to face facts about his luck bracelet by forcing him to pick named cards from a pack – which Jay does correctly each time – the bad luck balance clause kicks in causing Nathan to die of a brain brain aneurysm.
- Harry and Eve take Jay back to Eve’s pub, where they explain how the bracelet works. Jay does not take it well, and blames himself for Nathan’s death.
- Meanwhile, after amassing a ton of circumstantial evidence that suggests Isabella is a bit dodgy, Winter sets a trap for her, to force her into admitting her guilt. He does this in secret wanting to challenge his “girlfriend” himself.
- Suri realises what Winter is up to and calls Harry. He heads out to try to stop Winter doing something stupid. They track him to a flat near where Harry’s accident happened.
- With Harry gone, Jay pulls out the gun he found in the sports car and shoots himself in the head.
- Winter has told Isabella that the owner of a flat was a witness to the accident and has evidence about about someone seen leaving the scene. Isabella turns up expecting to “luck” the witness to death (presumably) but finds Winter waiting instead.
- He urges her to give herself up. Not her style. She kills him instead. That’s her style.
- Harry, Suri and Orwell arrive moments later to find the body of their boss at the bottom of a flight of stairs.
We said Harry wasn’t dead. Well, technically he was dead for a while. Dead enough for Eve to remove his bracelet, and dead enough that Isabella goes on a bender and blinds random leches. But no, it turns out the paramedics arrived soon enough to bring him back across the Styx with grumpy demeanour intact.
Which could have come across as a bit of a cheat after last week’s jawdropping cliffhanger, but the show manages to use the fact that he was briefly dead to produce another cracking episode based around the fact that Eve – in a fit of pique – gives the bracelet to the worst person possible.
To be fair, the rise and fall of Jay Tate as the temporary replacement Lucky Man does feel a little rushed, and could have been spread out over two episodes, maybe. But within the constraints of this one episode it remains a compelling tale of power corrupting, with some stylish fight scenes and a real sense of impending doom. Eve basically signs the guy’s death sentence as soon as she slaps the bracelet on him, then abandons him. She clearly knows that giving a guy who’s into recreational mugging is a very bad idea, so her decision was mean-spirited at best, downright callous at worst, because she’s well aware that there’ll be “collateral damage” in the form of other people.
Also very effective was Winter’s methodical, considered, understated approach to investigating Isabella. It was Winter through and through, but again, you could sense it was going to end badly from the moment he asked to look through Harry’s old case files. The closing moments may have been a shameless use of the slow motion and religious chanting but they gave the scene a real lump-in-throat poignancy that Winter ’s demise deserved. He death will not be in vain; it’s clearly setting up one hell of a season finale.
The episode had its creaky elements, sure (especially Eve being so wet and weedy, Isabella not cottoning on that Harry survived, that fight promoter who looked like he belonged in Only Fools And Horses and a number of other things we’ve listed in “The Bad” below), but building on last week’s leap in quality, this is another promising indication that the show has permanently upped the ante. These last two weeks Lucky Man has felt more the comic book show it’s always threatened to be, and it’s really beginning to have fun with its central concepts. We doubt next week’s finale will be like Professor X versus Magneto, but it should be a lot more entertainingly bat-arse than last year’s “’70s cop show with a few handy coincidences” finale.
- The entire end sequence from Winter’s death to Orwell punching the door in frustration is incredibly powerful and excellently shot.
- Henry Garrett does a really good job of fleshing out Jay so that really believe – thorough git though he is – that he’d be affected enough by his brother’s death to kill himself; you even feel for the guy when he blows his brains out. As we say elsewhere, this is a plot that feels like it could have done with two episodes to play out, but Garrett does excellent work with what he’s given.
- The Eve/Isabella scene is great stuff; Isabella may threaten to kill Eve, but Eve gets in the killer blow with her comments about how Isabella is all alone now.
- Isabella really does feel like a supervillain here, especially in the moment when she casually deals with the odious lech in the club.
- Rich: “It’s okay everyone, he’s still an arse.”
- Why doesn’t Jay ask how come Harry’s still alive when Eve tells him that he has to die before the bracelet can be removed?
- Anybody else feel just a little bit uncomfortable that Nathan dies as a result of Harry forcing Jay to use his powers? Okay, it’s probably the accumulative effect of all the luck Jay has been using, but you’d think Harry would have the grace to feel just a little bit guilty.
- What the hell was the point of that really odd flashback Isabella has when she’s drowning her sorrows in the club? Presumably it was supposed to show her and Harry in happier times, but it spends far too long lingering on that really peculiar band. Were they mates of the director?
- Talking of lingering, after Jay wins the boxing watch the shots of the crowd go on for what feels like forever.
- The rise and fall of Jay would have had more impact over two episodes.
- Jay actually says, “Flippin’” at one point, like some Grange Hill throwback.
- Why is Eve so whimpery and damsel-in-distressy this episode? Okay, at the start she’s distraught about Harry’s supposed death, but we’d have thought her natural reaction would be to kick out, not crumble when a common-or-garden mugger tries to attack her.
And The Random:
- You’d need a lucky bracelet too if you’re going to fry bacon in sleeves like that and not get cooking oil stains all over them.
- Did anybody else think that Winter thanking Suri for everything she’s done sounded exactly like he didn’t expect to make it out of his encounter with Isabella alive? Or maybe he was thinking that if it turned out she was guilty, he would have to hand in his notice for being so gullible.
- Jay’s “fight club” tattoo is a horseshoe, another symbol of luck.
- Henry Garrett, who plays Jay, is best known as Captain McNeil in six episodes of Poldark, but he’s also had small roles in The Wicker Tree, Red Tails, Zero Dark Thirty and Peaky Blinders.
Review by Dave Golder