LUTHER 2.04 ‘Episode 4’

Writer: Neil Cross

Director: Sam Miller

Previously on "Luther":

Toby pressured Luther for inside information on a rival businessman. DS Gray went to Ripley after catching Luther breaking into Schenk's office to get the info. Luther and Ripley apprehended Robert Millberry, the madman terrorizing London. Growing impatient with Luther, Toby broke into his flat and attacked Jenny. When Luther arrived home, he found Jenny covered in Toby's blood, his dead body beside her. Elsewhere, Robert Millberry's twin brother surfaced at a London train station.

Story:

Luther (Idris Elba) tells Jenny (Aimee-Ffion Edwards) to clean the apartment while he heads to work. He meets  DS Ripley (Warren Brown) and DS Gray (Nikki Amuka-Bird) at the train station. Ripley hands over the killer's wallet which he dropped. Luther theorizes there are two killers in competition with each other, possibly twin brothers. Benny (Michael Smiley) and Ripley tell Luther about the book code they believe the two men are using.

Luther tells Jenny to ditch Toby's car somewhere. He then meets with Frank (Alan Williams) to ask about Toby's whereabouts and hand over the documents he requested. At Robert Millberry's apartment, Luther suspects the twins are using Gideon's Bible to decipher the book code. He then meets with Toby's grandmother, who tells Luther he's missing. Luther warns Jenny to leave his flat immediately. Frank then breaks into the apartment and finds a bloody sponge in a bucket. Luther stuffs Toby's body into a duffel bag and drags it downstairs. Frank catches him outside and demands he open the trunk of his car. Inside however, he only finds Luther's police gear. Frank calls Caroline (Kierston Wareing) and asks to meet with Jenny. In exchange, he'll leave her alone and take care of Luther.

Robert's brother, Nicholas (Steven Robertson) strikes again on a London street, breaking into a car and beating several people with a hammer. Luther and Ripley confront Robert about his brother's attacks. Luther tries to taunt Robert into helping him catch Nicholas. They roll dice for it  and Luther loses. Meanwhile, Jenny returns to her mother's home.

Ripley and Luther tell DCI Schenk (Dermot Crowley) about a blog the brothers use to communicate privately. At Caroline's, Jenny suspects her mother is up to something and calls Luther. DS Gray confronts Ripley about Luther's scheme to plant a story in the media about Robert's escape. Meanwhile, Frank arrives at Caroline's but Jenny is gone. Luther tells Jenny to call the police while Frank is inside. They arrive shortly after and find Toby's body in the trunk of Frank's car. 

 

At the office, Gray is reprimanded for falsely accusing Luther of breaking into Schenk's computer. Meanwhile, Nicholas sees a news report about Robert's escape. He stops at a coffee shop to check in with his brother on the blog. Ripley tells Luther that he cleared the history on Schenk's computer to protect him and promises to "make it right." 

Benny pinpoints Nicholas' location. Cornered at the cafe, Nicholas emerges from inside with a bomb strapped to his body, squeezing a "dead man's switch." The bomb squad leader suggests shooting Nicholas down in a clear area but Luther comes up with an alternative plan. He approaches Nicholas, throws him a lighter, douses himself in gasoline and suggests the two play a game. Nicholas has Luther get inside the back of a truck with him. With his hands full, Nicholas puts the detonator down at Luther's suggestion and rolls the die.  Luther then uses the writing on the side of the truck to instruct the shooters where to aim. They succeed in killing Nicholas and Luther walks out of the truck.

Later, Luther and Jenny meet with the Toby's grandmother. She demands Luther find Frank but he tells her he's done and warns her that if anything happens to Jenny or himself, a friend of his will come after her. Outside, he tells Jenny the friend's name is "Alice" and then buys her an ice cream.

Breakdown:

Jenny put it best: Luther is "totally epic." Creator and writer, Neil Cross has given us some intense moments in the show's two season run, but nothing tops having the titular character cover himself in gasoline while standing before a serial killer, lighter in hand, engaged in a psychotic pissing match with his twin brother. Knowing Luther, we can be sure he's one step ahead of whoever stands in his way, be it deranged twins or a geriatric pimp. The fun is in seeing just how Luther makes each adversary more or less a victim of their own crime.

We also know Luther likes to think, and make moves, outside the box. Destroying a potential crime scene, disposing of a body and then dumping it in a gangster's car are all things DS Gray and more importantly, DSI Schenk would disapprove of. It's a challenge to believe Luther can pull all this off in the course of a day, while running a major murder investigation and remaining mostly under the radar but Neil Cross' adept storytelling and Idris Elba's strong performance make it easily forgivable. Luther's "ends justify the means" M.O. isn't anything we haven't seen before in the genre, but Elba's portrayal of the haggard,widower detective makes each episode of "Luther" feel more like a high-level chess match than a cliched cat and mouse game. 

It's especially true in this series two finale. Half of what makes John Luther such a worthy opponent of London's most wanted is his ability to simultaneously demonstrate strength and vulnerability. Perhaps more honest with the criminals he chases than his own co-workers, Luther's an ironically straight shooter when he's not made to play by the rules. And what rules are there when you're trapped in the back of a truck, covered in gasoline, standing across a lunatic strapped with a bomb?

All this leads to speculation regarding the next series. Ripley vowed to make things right regarding DS Gray and her suspicions. Will Luther continue to crack cases, his unorthodox methods going unchecked? He's already faced an "enemy within" in DCI Ian Reed. Will Gray be next? And what of Alice, Mark and now, Jenny? We've seen Luther suffer through unspeakable personal tragedy and recover, only to enter the maelstrom again. What fresh hell will he face next? Neil Cross, Idris Elba and the rest of "Luther's" cast and staff have proven they can deliver a strong police procedural with enough clever twists and feints to keep it interesting. But the twists that make it wicked are the reasons that "Luther" is "epic."

Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.