I must not have been the only one whining about the second season, since they corrected most of my complaints. Elba continued to please, but his co-stars finally stood out on their own too. And Alice was back, and though she shone brightly in season 1, her return lit things up quite nicely. I enjoyed the new serial killer cases, but some of the plotlines could’ve used a few more episodes to properly explore.
After all the bombshells dropped last year, this season seemed kinda boring. Then it left quite a few plot threads still dangling, uncharacteristically for the show. The final episode, while quite good, seemed more like a season opener with how many new characters and conflicts it opened up. I think the series might be trying too hard to shoehorn in new types of drama, and they simply don’t hold up to previous seasons. But the performances are still top notch, and Maggie Smith continues to be the best part of the show.
Like Luther’s second season, much of the established cast is absent and also like Luther, those absences are glaring and detrimental, especially Tom Hiddleston, who I feel never quite got his chance to shine on this show. It tried to “shake things up” but it all just felt forced and out of sync with the smart moodiness of the first seasons. The second episode, “The Dogs of Riga” represents the low point of the series, attempting a mob story, which rarely works as a subject for a detective series in my experience.
Wallander elevates the detective drama. Normally I prefer a focus on story rather than “character studies” but the series takes such genuine effort to make it’s characters seem real that it’s impossible not to enjoy. The first episode contains an authentic, and original look at racism that avoids cliche. Others show Wallander dealing with heavy issues surrounding death that I’ve rarely seen handled so well.
I really enjoy British shows like this whose “season” consists of 3 hour-and-a-half episodes. Though at its heart its just another detective drama, Wallander just seem classier. Also more believable. The second episode, Firewall, featured the least ridiculous take on “hacking” I’ve seen in a crime show and the final episode really had the actors on the top of their game. It doesn’t hurt that it’s set in Sweden and I have a crush on Scandinavia.
This show never quite got the balance between police procedural and melodrama that it was looking for. After some great cliffhangers, the next episode would find the characters barely discussing them. I enjoyed several of the more minor characters, but the main cast felt bland.
Though the cases were more interesting this time around, the character interactions were less so. Alice was largely absent, much to the show’s detriment. Luther continued his struggle with morality, but the struggle seemed more bothersome than conflicting this season.