“The Fall” recap (2.6): Actually, it’s all about ethics in serial murder

And so it begins like David Copperfield. When did all this begin for Paul? When, essentially, was he born into this? Stella asks him to take her back to his childhood and family. He asks why. Because to understand the worst in us is to understand the potential in all of us. I’m paraphrasing, obviously, because she just asks about the lock of his mother’s hair he keeps.

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Was it as Freud claimed all along, was this all about his mother? The mother who committed suicide and abandoned him. Paul calls her out on her mother blaming, which is actually kind of hilarious. This show keeps you guessing, that’s for sure. Paul says all children are lonely and it’s, well, deeply depressing.

Stella next pushes him on his time with the pedophile priest. Paul tells her he never touched him on account of Paul’s never bathing and stinking on purpose. I can’t be sure whether I believe him, but I think I do. I actually think, through this whole interview, Paul is telling the truth. It’s so strange. I was expecting a battle but instead we got an explanation. Though perhaps explanation is too generous a term; it’s more like a grandiose narcissistic admission of self. Look at me, look at all of me.

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He tells her everything, the dark manifesto of his desires. He is so above all of our mundane sexual fantasies. Sounds are louder, colors more vivid, odors more intense, skin more sensitive. Nothing matters but the life he is about to take. He becomes a god among men, blah blah blah. Really, just a simple God complex? And here we thought you were more interesting.

Gillian asks him matter of factly if Fiona Gallagher was the first person he murdered, and he says yes. Just like that; he said yes. Like I said, this was never an interrogation. This was always an admission of self.

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Granted, there’s a little back and forth. Stella asks how he resisted acting on his impulses until the age of 30. He says he always had a project (i.e. woman to stalk) or was dealing with his young children. He calls Stella a “barren spinster” for good measure because everything is more fun with a little misogynistic sprinkle.

Paul says once he killed Fiona, a switch was flipped and he was forever separated from the herd. He no longer was bound by divine or secular power. Like I was saying, all that god crap. He brags about the “elevated aestheticism” of his next kill with Alice. But the one thing he doesn’t admit to is being a rapist. He says he performs “no overt sexual acts” on his victims. But Stella insists, “You violate them, you’re a rapist.”

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The session continues. Stella asks him why he says he feels protective of children, but not adult women. Stella asks him about Big Foot Chester, his videochat screen name, he shared with Katie. Stella asks him how he is protecting children when he performs sex acts for a child on that same videochat account. For what seems like the first time, Paul blinks. Stella asks him what Sarah Kay did to deserve her fate that Olivia did not.