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LUTHER 2.03 ‘Episode 3′

Luther faces increased pressure from Jenny's old boss as a new threat emerges on the streets of London.

Writer: Neil Cross

Director: Sam Miller

Previously on "Luther":

DS Ripley escaped from Cameron Pell's lair, beneath the streets of London. He and Luther tracked the masked man to a warehouse, where he planned to gas a van filled with school children. With Pell under arrest, however, Luther's troubles did not end. Jenny's former employers blackmailed Luther, who decided to let Jenny stay with him, against his better judgement.

Story:

As a group of people line up inside a gas station convenience store to check out, a man out by the pumps starts acting strangely. He jumps on top of one of the cars, vandalizes it with spray paint and then takes a bat to car next to it. When the owners of the cars rush outside to stop him, the man shoots one with an acid filled water gun and beats the other with the bat. He then drives off in one of the cars before police arrive.

At his flat, Luther (Idris Elba) tells Jenny (Aimee-Ffion Edwards) he's taking the day off to help her find a job. However, his plan is foiled when DS Ripley (Warren Brown) stops by to inform him about the incident at the gas station. Luther suspects the man's choice of racially diverse victims suggests he might be part of a white power organization. He has DS Gray (Nikki Amuka-Bird) look into possible suspects.

Meanwhile, Luther meets with Toby (David Dawson) and Frank (Alan Williams). Toby makes another demand of Luther, this time for information on an Armenian importer. When Luther balks at the request, Toby threatens to hurt Jenny if he doesn't deliver.

Back at HQ, Luther determines from the gas station surveillance video that the killer is rolling dice before he acts. He then gets a call from Toby, threatening to dismember Jenny if Luther doesn't get him the goods by the end of the day. Luther springs the fire alarm and sneaks into  Superintendent Schenk's' computer to get the information, but not without being seen by DCI Gray.

Elsewhere, the killer vandalizes a number of parked cars. Luther decides to have the team monitor all 911 calls (999 in London). When a call comes in about a bike courier whose been stabbed, Luther and the team head to the messenger's next delivery point. However, the killer has already arrived and attacked a number of people inside the office with a hammer and acid.

It appears the killer has escaped, but when Luther cases the parking garage, he finds a dead man in the trunk of a car, stripped of his suit. This leads Luther to believe the killer is among the office workers. When he spots a man acting suspiciously, Luther realizes he's got the killer. He and Ripley corner the man and place him under arrest.

Luther attempts to interrogate the man but he remains stoically silent. Meanwhile, Gray tells Ripley about Luther sneaking into Schenk's office. Ripley tells her Luther must have had his reasons. 

Jenny returns home from meeting with her mother in a church. Moments later, there's a knock on the door. Jenny opens it and Toby forces his way in. After a tense conversation, he attacks her.

Ripley brings Gray's accusation to Luther, who tells him to leave it alone. Ripley asks if Luther's in trouble. He responds, "things are a bit messy."

Luther calls Toby to let him know he has what he wants but there's no answer. He returns home to find Jenny covered in blood, with Toby dead on the floor. Meanwhile, a man makes his way through a train station, setting a hammer, a bat, a knife and a water gun on the ground and rolls a die. As he looks up, he is revealed to be the original killer's twin.

Breakdown:

Who knew London was such a dangerous city? Just last week Luther plucked a van full of school children from the clutches of a masked maniac on the verge of gassing the kiddies to death. Now we've got a harmless looking Londonite taking a hammer to cars and a water gun full of acid to the face of anyone who gets in his way, all dictated by the roll of the dice.

Oh and let's not forget about the young death fetish pornographer upstart, Toby. He may look like a proper English gentleman but there's nothing "gentle" about him, as Jenny knows all too well.

It's a good thing Luther is a brilliant detective, although his ability to predict his mark's next move seems to border on clairvoyance, at times. Thus, his mishandling of Toby is an uncharacteristic misstep for Luther, who is also an excellent profiler. His assessment and exploitation of the friction between Toby and Frank was spot on. Luther didn't believe Toby would really go after Jenny. But if that were the case, why bother putting his career on the line to get what Toby wanted? And why antagonize the psycho if he planned on delivering? And the biggest question of them all, why the heck didn't Jenny look through the peephole before opening the damn door?!

Still, "Luther" remains engaging, despite any nagging plot holes, mainly because of Idris Elba's excellent performance. And newcomer Nikki Amuka-Bird, as DS Erin Gray, adds another layer to Luther's already complex relationship with his subordinates. Despite being under the watchful eye of Schenk, Luther's operated unchecked, thus far. Those days may soon be over.

With just one episode left in the second series and two nasty hairpin plot turns at the end of this third hour, I'm relieved to know "Luther" will be back for series three. With Toby's blood on Jenny's hands and a killer twin on the loose, it's unlikely Luther will be able to clean up this mess in the next hour. Add to that the fact that he'll likely be facing internal heat again, thanks to DS Gray, and it's clear haven't seen the last of DCI John Luther and his furrowed brow.

Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.