Previously, on Luther: “Episode 3”
At the conclusion of the previous episode, three things happened: Ripley was shot and killed by the vigilante; Idris Elba’s in-character reaction to Ripley’s death rocketed him up the “Best Actor” list; and the vigilante made his way to Luther’s home, where he was preparing to terrorize Mary Day, Luther’s latest love interest who was waiting for him to come home and talk to her.
Now, we begin the final episode of Luther’s third season (and potentially the final episode of the entire show): Luther is still at the side of Ripley’s lifeless body, and he’s silently deteriorating. This is a guy who has been through this shit over and over, again; just as he was letting himself move on from his wife’s death his best friend is killed. Remember, in the last episode, he actually introduced Ripley to Mary as “My mate; I love him.” That shit is sad as fuck.
At Luther’s home, the vigilante uses his sawed-off shotgun to shoot his way through the front door, and then he proceeds to shoot several of Luther’s belongings. However, he either doesn’t care about Mary or doesn’t initially realize she’s there, because he’s just shooting random, inanimate objects. He sees a mirror and momentarily pauses to look at himself, before then shooting his reflection. That’s when Mary manages to flee the building, and the vigilante does seem to have not realized she was there; he hears her leave and then chooses to pursue her out into the night. She cowers in an adjacent structure, and the vigilante stalks the perimeter, until he hears police sirens and takes off, leaving Mary crying alone.
Back at the scene of Ripley’s death, Schenk shows up and sees the dead body and begins to cry. Luther is finally able to get up and allow himself to leave Ripley’s side.
The police show up at Luther’s place, and George Stark is there to comfort Mary. He starts asking her questions about Luther. Remember, Luther is the one who told Mary to wait for him at his place, so Stark is all about “Oh, you know Luther set you up to be murdered!” Well, he doesn’t quite say that, but he implies the fuck out of it. Mary isn’t buying it; before Stark can shit on Luther some more, Erin Gray pops in and lets them know that Ripley has been killed. However, that just gives Stark more ammunition; he actually uses Ripley’s death to further justify his crusade against Luther. Stark asks, “So what is it about John Luther and the people he loves?” While he does have a good point about people around Luther dying, his implication that it’s Luther’s fault is several kinds of bullshit.
Luther arrives home, being driven by Schenk, and sees his home destroyed. Before Schenk can even finish consoling Luther about the state of his home, Stark and Gray show up to place Luther under arrest for the murder of Ripley and attempted murder of Mary. They must be outside their minds. I can’t even imagine this arrest making any goddamn sense. Everybody in the world knows the vigilante was there. I very much dislike Stark and Gray. Luther doesn’t resist the arrest, until the arresting officers lead him outside and he sees Mary; he tries to speak to her, but they won’t let him.
Oh, and all of that? All of that was a cold open. Now we hit the opening credits.
Stark and Gray now have Luther in an interrogation room and are questioning him about Ripley’s death. Stark has balls the size of basketballs. Stark actually has the cajones to say Mary would be dead if he had not intervened. They’re saying Luther had Mauerwood (the vigilante) kill Ripley and try to kill Mary because they can incriminate Luther. They are full of the most shit. Stark and Gray are arguing that, when Mauerwood previously asked Luther for “two days”, he actually “let him go”. They’re ignoring the fact that Mauerwood had a shotgun pointed at Luther… and Luther had no weapon… and Luther was on the other side of a fucking canal. If it wasn’t clear this was a witch hunt before now, the show is making it extremely clear now. Luther gets visibly upset and hits the table before calming himself and saying only two words, “Loved him.” Stark and Gray leave the room, and Stark tells Gray they’ll have to move him because he’s got too many friends. What the fuck happened to Gray not being on Stark’s side anymore? In the previous episode, she went into the station and wanted to talk. Now she’s suddenly back with this asshole because he says Luther simply “must” have killed Ripley? Is she fucking stupid? Yes. The answer is yes.
While Stark and Gray have Luther in the back of their car, presumably moving him, the car runs over some spike strips. Stark, predictably, thinks Luther is up to something. Luther either honestly doesn’t know shit or plays it off beautifully. Stark gets out of the car to see what’s up, and that’s when a flash grenade comes out of nowhere, blinding Stark, Gray, and Luther. There’s also some smoke bombs, the smoke of which is parted when someone in a gas mask comes walking through, sprays Stark in the face with something, and clubs him to the ground. This person then approaches the car, opens the door, and sprays Gray in the face. This person proceeds to drag Gray out of the car, with Luther trying to help her… and then trying to escape, but he can’t because the back doors won’t open from the inside. The gas masked person opens the door and sits down beside Luther and asks him, “Are you my mummy?” No, no; that didn’t happen. The person sits beside Luther, removes the mask, and it’s… Alice, of course! Who else would it be?
We see the vigilante listening to a radio report of Ripley’s death and reacting poorly to the news that Ripley is being hailed a “Hero”. He killed a hero; not a bad guy, and not a guy the system let go. His plan has all gone to hell, now.
Then we jump right back to the Luther and Alice reunion show. She tells him that, if he plans to go on the run, he’ll have to lose the coat. “It’s my lucky coat”, he says, which Alice, acting as the audience, scoffs at the idea that Luther’s coat has brought him any luck at all. They’re in an apartment, but it’s not Alice’s; she says she’s been in Berlin and only came back into town because she saw the news. She’s here to help Luther get out of the country, but he says he’s not done until he catches Mauerwood. That’s when Alice lays down some tough truth–she basically says the same thing Stark has been saying, that the people Luther cares about keep ending up dead, but she does it without being a dickhole about it. Like Stark, she sees Luther as the reason his loved ones keep dying; unlike Stark, she doesn’t believe this is because Luther wants it to be so; it just happens because of the way he does his job. Luther seems more receptive to this idea than the shit Stark was shoveling.
Back at Stark’s car, Schenk is talking with Stark; he says it looks less like an escape and more like a violent abduction. I like Schenk. Schenk assumes it was Mauerwood who took Luther and suggests Stark be a motherfucking cop, for once, and understand that you can’t just assume motivation; you have to catch the bad guy and ask him questions and shit. Stark tries to tell Schenk how to handle the search, but Schenk is basically like, “Get off my dick, bro.”
The vigilante seems to still be unraveling, as he just busts into some pregnant lady’s house.
Meanwhile, Stark and Gray lead Mary through a labyrinthine series of corridors and doorways (which do not lead to a dank, unfinished restaurant basement); taking her somewhere to hide because they’re still under the assumption Luther wants to kill her; she’s still not convinced.
We revisit Luther and Alice in their little hideaway, and Luther asks her where she was, really. She doesn’t give much in the way of specificity, but she does say she got married, then her husband died. Luther doesn’t know whether to believe her or not, but he lets it go. Alice asks Luther about his love life, and carries on in the blunt, unapologetic way we remember; she says Luther’s new love interest wouldn’t be a clone of his dead wife, of course, so she must be a pixie; a vision of the life he wanted to live. She feigns pity for Mary for her involvement with Luther because she says he doesn’t really want Mary; then Alice refuses to say what it is she thinks Luther does want (her, presumably).
They turn on the television and see a report about Ripley’s death; they discuss Mauerwood’s hero complex, and then Luther tells us his plan: he’ll take away what Mauerwood wants, which is the cruelest thing he can think to do to the vigilante. Luther doesn’t really know how he’s going to do this, so he puts the question to Alice: how would she do it? She has an idea.
Next, we see a man arrive home; he’s the husband of the pregnant woman from earlier. Mauerwood has taken her; he calls the house and tells the husband to do as he says to get her back. This guy has really lost his message.
Stark and Gray have Mary in what looks like unused office space. Mary asks where they are, and that’s when Gray spins more insane gobbledygook; she says “Nobody knows we’re here: John, his friends, nobody.” How is that supposed to be comforting? Mary has ostensibly been kidnapped by two people who refuse to tell her where she is.
Elsewhere, Alice’s plan gets off to an “audacious” start, as Schenk describes it. “What? Why would Schenk be describing Alice’s plan?” you may ask. Well, he’s describing it because the first step in her plan was to go traipsing her happy, little ass right into the police station. He reminds her that she is a fugitive and has basically turned herself in. She says he’s free to arrest her, but she’ll just escape, and none of that will help Luther. Now that arrest is out of the question, she relays Luther’s theory to Schenk; Luther believes Mauerwood plans to commit suicide by cop; to become a martyr. Schenk agrees to help, gives her some files on the guy who killed Mauerwood‘s wife (and the people in the prison where he is), so Alice gives them phones they can use to contact Luther.
Alice rejoins Luther, and he asks her again why she came back. She tries to pretend it’s only because she saw the news, but Luther is onto her; he found a receipt, earlier, that showed Alice has been in London for weeks. This brings Alice to admit she came back because she wants Luther. Luther says he’s with Mary, but Alice won’t accept that.
Back in the empty office space, Mary receives a phone call from Luther. He tells her that he didn’t do anything they say he did… and he also tells her not to be afraid because Stark is “a dick, but he means well, I guess.” Ha! Then he tells her she can trust Erin Gray, but blah blah blah, the “Stark is a dick” thing was hilarious. They were tracing the call, but Luther isn’t stupid enough to allow that to happen.
After the call, Gray talks to Stark in private about him letting Mary take the call. She’s worried Luther could trace the call and find them. I mean, she’s really bought into this shit about Luther being dangerous. Anyway, Stark wants Luther to come find them. You know why? Because Stark wants to have some actual fucking evidence that Luther has done anything; right now, he has nothing. He doesn’t say that, but you know that’s why.
Guess what? Luther was tracing the call. Well, he had the guys at the station do it, but same difference. Luther receives a message informing him where Stark and Gray are keeping Mary. While Luther was on the phone with Mary, Alice was going through the files she got from Schenk. Luther asks if she found anything, so she hands him the files. He rifles through them for a few seconds before Alice delivers a pretty funny line, “Ugh, I’m bored of this already.” Then she just tells him what he needs to know. One of the files is on a Joe Green, a doctor at the prison where the killer of Mauerwood‘s wife is being housed; his wife is pregnant, and that’s who Alice says she would go for if she needed leverage. We know she’s right because we already know Mauerwood did go after the guy with the pregnant wife. Luther doesn’t say anything, but he has this look on his face like, “Yeah, I guess that sounds like the crazy thing to do…”
So Luther goes to the house of the pregnant lady, walks right in, and finds the husband there. The husband is distraught and goes all, “He said no police!” That lets Luther know pretty quickly that he has the right place. He subdues the man and asks him about Mauerwood. Mauerwood told Green to go to work tomorrow and kill the dude with a lethal injection, or Mauerwood would kill his wife the same way the guy killed Mauerwood’s wife. Luther leaves the guy taped to a chair and changes his plans; he now has the station trace the last number to call Green’s phone.
That leads he and Alice to an abandoned mall where Mauerwood is holding another man he plans to execute. He’s filming a video describing this guy’s crimes while Luther and Alice sneak in and spy on him. Mauerwood says he plans to execute one person every day. While Mauerwood is still in the middle of his diatribe, Luther interrupts him; Mauerwood points his shotgun at Luther and tries to tell him Ripley’s death is on him. Luther is all, “No, it’s not. I didn’t ask you to kill him.” You know, saying all the right things that need to be said in order to exonerate himself from charges of killing Ripley… because the camera is still rolling! Not only that, Alice now has it in her hands and is filming the entire exchange. Mauerwood tells her to give him the camera or he will shoot Luther, but Alice says he won’t because people hate cop killers and all Mauerwood wants is for people to love him. Mauerwood is all, “Well, turn off the camera!” Luther pushes Mauerwood to tell them where the pregnant woman is, and Mauerwood seems a little too on-edge for this kind of molestation. He pulls a second gun and points it at Alice, and that’s when Luther has her put the camera down.
She puts it down and hightails it out of there. Mauerwood is all pleased with himself… until Luther lets him know that Alice took the video. What follows is Mauerwood losing his shit and almost going off the deep end, until Luther tries to defuse the situation by telling Mauerwood he’ll swap the tape for the pregnant woman. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Just like that, they’ll just do a nice, old-fashioned trade. Mauerwood seems pleased… but nope! He calls Luther a liar and shoots him in the leg. Oh, dip. Mauerwood was a step ahead. He tells Luther about how, after stealing Luther’s phone, he listened to Mary’s messages. Now, Mauerwood has Luther’s new phone; you know, the one that has on it a text message revealing exactly where Mary is (with Stark and Gray). Mauerwood says he’ll give Luther back Mary in exchange for the tape. Then he leaves Luther laying there all shot and beaten. This asshole.
Luther uses his tie as a tourniquet, hobbles out into the street, and steals some random guy’s phone. With it, he calls Mary and tells her to put George on the phone; Luther is trying to warn Stark to get Mary out of the building, but Stark won’t listen. He says Luther is just trying to lure them out. So, instead, Luther calls Schenk and tells him to get someone to Mary’s location.
Meanwhile, what happened to Alice? Why, she took it upon herself to go to Mary’s location, of course, so she’s slinking about in the building. Then Mauerwood pulls up outside, too. Remember, Alice doesn’t know Mauerwood is coming. Alice finds the room where Stark and Gray are keeping Mary, then she creates a diversion outside to lure Stark and Gray out. Stark thinks it’s Luther–because he thinks every-fucking-thing is Luther– and tells Mary, “There’s nothing to worry about”, while he and Gray load up their guns and go outside.
Stark and Gray go on out into the hallway, all like la-dee-da, walking away from where Alice is hiding. When they’re out of sight, Alice goes into the room with Mary, who is completely confused because she doesn’t know who the fuck Alice is. Without saying anything, Alice goes to Stark’s computer and starts loading the video of Mauerwood. Mary asks what it is, and Alice is all, “It’s proof you shouldn’t need of the kind of man John Luther actually is… bitch.” Okay, I added the “bitch”, but it was clearly implied. The video finishes importing, and Alice doesn’t even show it to Mary. She just tells her to show it to “Stark and the lesbian” (her words) when they get back. For kicks, Alice throws in a warning, “If you ever betray him like this again, I’ll kill you… and eat you. How’s that sound?” Then she walks over to the door but doesn‘t exit, leaving Mary even more confused than before.
Meanwhile, in the stairwell, Stark and the lesbian–err, Gray–are still dutifully searching for the water bottle Alice threw down the stairs as a diversion. Stark and Gray really are not very good at this; they’re like Keystone Cops randomly pointing their guns in directions hoping something steps in front of it. Well, nothing does step in front of their guns… but out of nowhere, Stark does step in front of Mauerwood’s shotgun blast! Boom. Stark is no more. Gray lets off a few shots before tripping up the stairs. Mauerwood approaches her and asks if she is Mary. She says she is… and then she’s all, “Did John send you to do this?” Dammit, Gray! Luther isn’t in on it! Wise up already! Fuck!
Mauerwood doesn’t believe her when she says she’s Mary because he has heard Mary’s voice, and Gray’s accent differs greatly from Mary’s. He demands Gray give him her wallet. She does, and he sees that she is not Mary. Then he shoots her in the face. Well, he points the gun in her face, the camera cuts away, and we hear a gunshot.
What the camera cut away to was Alice and Mary not knowing what to do. See, I would have thought they would leave using one of the many other stairways this building undoubtedly must have, but they made a different choice: stay in a room where they have bullets but no gun. Alice takes the bullets and turns into MacGuyver, telling Mary to find her a nail. Alice grabs a butter knife, while she tells Mary to lock the door. Mary locks the door and comes running with the nail in her hand, as Alice manages to get another door open, and the two of them flee as Mauerwood blasts his way into the room.
Luther is still forever away, as he has just now commandeered a guy’s car.
In the building, Alice and Mary run from Mauerwood. Well, Mary is running her ass off, and Alice is walking very calmly; however, the two of them somehow end up right beside each other. They hide on the other side of some swinging doors at the end of a hallway; Mary is out of breath and panicking, while Alice tells her to breathe. They set up a trap with a bullet lodged between the doors and wait for Mauerwood to get close. Alice places the nail on the bullet and hits it with a paperweight (or something?), causing it to fire and hit Mauerwood in the shoulder. Pretty crafty, but it didn’t do anything but make him angry. They run and find a locked door. Mauerwood catches them; as they’re cornered, Mary grabs Alice’s hand for support, and Alice is almost touched by the gesture… almost…
Then, somehow, Luther arrives. He must’ve driven really fast, especially since he told Schenk to send someone to get Mary, well before getting into a car, himself… oh, and he is still shot and managed to get up several flights of stairs in this building which has no apparent elevator system. Anyway, he’s there now, and he tells Mauerwood to stop. Mauerwood takes off, though, and takes Mary and Alice with him. He gets away, too, even though they have to unlock the door which stopped them earlier; they get away because Luther is struggling to get up these stairs. I don’t blame him; I mean, these particular stairs must be much more difficult to climb than the many other ones he climbed to reach this spot. Anyway, again, they’re on the roof, now.
As roughly a million police officers finally arrive outside, on the roofs of adjacent buildings, and pretty much everywhere, Luther asks Mauerwood where the pregnant lady is. Mauerwood won’t say, and instead chooses to give Luther a choice. Alice or Mary? Luther has to pick which one lives, so he can feel the loss Mauerwood felt. It makes plenty of sense, in terms of the television show; I’m not sure it makes a lot of sense, in terms of this guy being a vigilante, but I guess he’s a psychopath, so it doesn’t have to make a lot of sense. If he just wants the police to kill him, randomly killing innocent people is a good way to go about accomplishing that. Luther can’t choose; he won’t choose.
Mauerwood goes back and forth between Alice and Mary, with Luther saying he can’t choose one. Again, the fact that he says he “can’t choose one” makes sense for us as viewers seeing Luther being forced to decide which person to love, but him saying he can’t choose one doesn’t quite mesh with his character; he should be saying he doesn’t want Mauerwood to kill either of them, instead of playing along with his either/or scenario. If nothing else, he should tell Mauerwood to shoot him instead, but perhaps the writers didn’t want to use that familiar trope? I don’t know.
As Mauerwood goes back and forth, Alice smiles at Luther, as if to tell him it’s okay. Luther tells Mauerwood he has chosen: Alice. For a moment, you think he’s saying he loves Alice and wants her to live; Alice even believes this to be the case, as she smiles at the thought. Then Luther reiterates, “Shoot Alice!” Mauerwood puts the gun to Alice’s head, and… Mary saves her by pushing the gun away! Just then, Alice spins around and stabs Mauerwood in the throat with the nail from earlier.
Luther tells Alice and Mary to get out of there, and then he grabs Mauerwood by the throat. He’s not choking him, though, he’s applying pressure to the wound. He demands to know where the pregnant woman is, but Mauerwood doesn’t want to tell him. Luther informs Mauerwood that he can keep him alive until the medics get there, or he can let go and let him die. Mauerwood wants to die and begs Luther to let him die; Luther won’t listen until Mauerwood tells him where the woman is.
Now, longtime Luther ProFans will recall, in the very first episode of Luther, he was in a similar situation; he had a kidnapper dangling from a ledge and was demanding to know where a kidnapped child was. He finally got that man to confess and then promptly let him fall to his death.
Mauerwood finally relents, and tells Luther where the pregnant woman is. Now, Luther will let him die, right? Abso-fucking-lutely not. Has Luther changed? Is that the point of repeating this scenario from the first episode? Maybe, or maybe it’s just that Luther didn’t let Mauerwood die because that’s what he wanted. Either way, I’m a sucker for call backs, especially when it’s a series finale calling all the way back to a series premiere. The medic arrives, and Luther heads downstairs.
We see Schenk find the pregnant lady; she’s in pretty bad shape but still alive. Then we go directly back to Luther exiting the building. He sees Gray being wheeled away; turns out Mauerwood didn’t kill her after all. Then Luther talks with Benny (fellow officer whose name I almost never remember); he tells Luther they’ve arrested Alice and give him a note from Mary. Luther laughs and turns to go speak with Alice; Benny questions Luther’s direction, but he knows where he’s going. Luther opens the back of the police van, where Alice is being held, and slowly climbs in; sits down… next to Mary. There’s been a “mix up” as to who’s who. A purposeful mix up, of course; Mary chose to let them arrest her in Alice’s place, to give Alice time to escape, because Alice saved her life. Mary and Luther have an “almost goodbye” goodbye, where she tells him it’s okay, and he apologizes without really apologizing. More is said in what isn’t said, really. He goes in to kiss her goodbye, but she turns her head. They partially hug, and he leaves. They both know he not only should be with Alice, but he wants to be.
Luther limps his way through the London streets, hands in his pockets, in that signature way. He’s making his way to Alice, as he really always has been. The credits role, while The Black Keys’ cover of “Never Gonna Give You Up” very fittingly underscores the moment. Alice is waiting on the bridge on which she and Luther have spent so much time. The credits are interspersed with a scene of the two of them finally together; she tells him he really should lose the coat. He listens to her and throws the damn thing in the river. They walk away together; two perfectly imperfect people who couldn’t have really ended up with anyone else. Anywhere else. End.