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

In a bedroom of delusion and despair, Katie and her hopefully on-the-rocks BFF Daisy are chatting about normal girlie stuff. Police summons. Court dates. Serial killer pretend boyfriends. The usual. Katie has drawn doodles of Paul and hearts and flowers across her official charges paperwork.

Daisy gets up the courage to ask her if Paul did it. She looks up with that round, childish face and says, without hesitation, “Oh, yes.” If you didn’t feel a chill run down to your very bone then you’re clearly living on the sun.

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Stella, now back in her hotel, is writing out drafts of her comments for a press conference about the arrest. Two things: 1) Stella has lovely loopy handwriting, and 2) is Stella still in her old hotel room?

But those details are almost immediately forgotten because as the camera pans out we see Stella is not alone. Anderson is asleep in her bed. She watches his slumber peacefully, and the camera cuts abruptly to Paul awake in his own bed.

The feminist in me hates that the tiny remnants of puritanical patriarchal society in me wishes she didn’t sleep with him. Granted, the lesbian in me wishes that too, but for different reasons. As much as I willfully reject the Madonna/Whore archetypes women get shoved into, I still can’t help but feel a small tinge of the reflexive, unconscionable slut shaming. I am only human, I admit that fully. But I also feel it for the guy, so does that help?

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But the rest of me thinks it actually makes sense. Stella is a woman keenly aware of her image and how she is perceived, yet also keenly aware that she is an adult woman who should be allowed to do whatever the damn hell she wants. She is not bound to her desire so much as she knows there is nothing wrong with it. She is also a woman who clearly desires both men and women. That she is shown sleeping with two men, but being turned down (oh, though I so wish it wasn’t so) by a woman does not diminish her sexual fluidity. It speaks more to her partners’ willingness.

Don’t worry, this is the final recap. You won’t have to take much more of me on my soapbox, I swear.

The next morning, Stella and Anderson share a quiet breakfast in bed. Stella asks him if everything’s all right and he tells her she said a strange thing when she asked him to interview Katie. When, specifically, she suggested he was like Paul.

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Stella gives him a slow blink and replies, wearily, “I meant what I said.” Oh, you have got to be kidding me? Another dude stuck in the Not All Men feedback loop? She meant similar age and similar looks. He presses, “Not anything more?” Is there something deeper in his nature she sees reflected in him?

Ever the keen bullshit detector, Stella breaks it down thusly: “So, you remind me of Spector. I fuck you, therefore I fuck Spector? Is that where this is going?” Anderson shrugs like, yeah, probably. And Stella tells him it’s a repellant thought.

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Here’s the thing about sexism, the reason it remains so pervasive in our society isn’t necessarily the blatant misogynists and out-right bigots. Oh, don’t get me wrong, they are still out there. But it’s the casual, well-meaning, though willful obliviousness from far too many men about what the day-to-day experience of being a woman in his world is like that continues this cycle.

Anderson calls Paul “fascinating” with a “strange allure.” Stella takes a long, deep sigh and gives this young man a textbook lesson in #YesAllWomen.

Stella: A woman, I forget who, once asked a male friend why men felt threatened by women. He replied that they were afraid that women might laugh at them. When she asked a group of women why women felt threatened by men, they said, “We are afraid they might kill us.”

That woman, it should be noted, was Margaret Atwood.

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