Luther Review: “Series Three, Episode Three”


This review is a little delayed because I’m just trying to gather myself after the events of this week’s Luther. It certainly has nothing to do with the excellent weather we’re having, and the fine selection of ales available at the many pubs in my town. No way. It’s all about this episode or, rather, the end of this episode. It’s shattering. Think less typical cop drama, more Game of Thrones-type shit. Pure f**king heartbreak.

Of course I’m not going to reveal the ending, but it tees up the final episode (can it really be the final episode? Only four episodes? What are the BBC trying to do to us?) perfectly. After being sidelined last week, DS Ripley makes a fine return to the front and centre of this episode, taking more than his fair share of hits and sparring comfortably with Luther himself. He’s particularly heroic, as part of a memorable confrontation with the baddie near the end of the episode, and with some stellar detective work in his own right. His unflappableness is his greatest strength, and his deadpan, perennially understated manner makes the character one of the best accomplices to the hero in recent TV history.

This week’s monster is Tom Marwood, an internet-savvy revenge killer who preys on the sickest criminals in the UK. We’re introduced to him in the pre-credit sequence, as a young couple are just sharing their first kiss after a long-simmering attraction. Their car is set upon by a gang of feral youths of the uniquely BBC variety – hoods, outdated gang slang, clean language – and, in the process, the male of the pair is attacked and later dies. Both would have been killed if not for the actions of Marwood, who takes it upon himself to go on the offensive, with a shotgun. He kills the gang, and holds our dying boyfriend’s hand until the ambulance arrives, when he disappears.  The newly-deaded gang’s mouths are covered in a sticker advertising a web address – While in real life, that link reroutes the user to the Luther homepage, in the world of the show it leads to a picture of the eponymous Caitlyn and a countdown. When the timer runs down, a broadcast of Marwood explaining his motivations is broadcast, and we learn that Caitlyn, his wife, is our killer’s motiviation – he returned home to find her murdered, and her killer was freed relatively early. He has sought revenge in her name ever since, crashing into Luther in the process.

This places Luther in the tricky position of needing to ask the victims of famous criminals to plead for their attackers’ continued safety, as Marwood can hardly claim to be seeking revenge for the downtrodden if they don’t want him to. As Luther himself confides to one such victim, and I’m paraphrasing, “We can’t decide who lives and who dies, no matter what they’ve done.” Said victim, who suffered child abuse at the hands of one of Marwood’s victims, goes on to hold a press conference to convince Marwood not to kill her abuser. To say that this went tits up would be an understatement, and this upping of tits leads to an angry mob chasing said abuser, in an attempt to stage a lynching, which Luther and Ripley do their level best to prevent.

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