Luther Season 5, Episode 1 recap: Sharp objects

Idris Elba as DCI John Luther - Luther _ Season 5, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Des Willie/BBCAmerica
Idris Elba as DCI John Luther - Luther _ Season 5, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Des Willie/BBCAmerica /

Luther returns for a fifth season, in its first episode pitting DCI Luther against a violent killer and a vengeful mobster.

All Luther really wants is a good sleep, at the end of the day. He’s pulled in different directions on Luther Season 5, Episode 1, leaving him less as a catalyst to solving the murders but a passerby.

The main case is a deviant murder with a fetish for using knives and nails to inflict horrible pain on his victims. It’s the kind of case where its suspect becomes clear rather quickly, which certainly raised some alarm bells up front.

The identity is usually the thing that keeps the chase and hunt so difficult, but here it’s given up relatively early. Given where the episode goes, it makes perfect sense in hindsight.

Luther’s continued physical punishment comes in many punches to the gut, and a number of taser strikes. Add this all onto exhaustion, and Luther is in for a difficult time on this episode. He’s rubbing his eyes, pacing, and completely distracted. He’s reaching a final breaking point, with all of this boiling up onto each other.

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This is all on top of a new partner in Halliday (played by Wunmi Mosaku), whose earnest and smart thinking leads Luther to not quite trust her. Perhaps it’s because she could be another rising star with a mind of playing to the rules too much. He sees her as green still, that’s for sure, with her disinterest of taking pens used in crime scenes and being shaken by the dead girl’s image.

But she is the one, at the end of the episode, who notices there’s missing pieces for the whole case to connect up, so perhaps she’ll earn her place and his respect as time moves on.

The old switcheroo, of planting James (the suspect) as the killer when really the killer is Vivien’s husband, leaves way more questions than feeling like a satisfying twist. Was James being held in that abandoned building, his death the means of closing up all of the loops? Is Vivien leading Luther and Halliday there always part of the couple’s plan?

The most intense moment of the episode comes in saving one of George Cornelius’ thugs from a neck brace bomb. It’s a wild sequence, Luther even losing faith at one point and telling Benny to make a run for it, away from the blast radius.

Cornelius is out to inflict pain on Luther after the radiator incident last season, willing to tie Luther to his son’s disappearance any chance he gets, without much in the way of reason. His hired goons look rather menacing, too, so hopefully Luther can steer clear from them.

Alice appearing at the very final moments of the episode, when Cornelius, Schenk, and Halliday are on their way, is a jolt of excitement to a somewhat tame episode. She supposedly died in series four, and so her appearance, alive and well, while being one of the best parts of the previous years, leads to a ton of potential ahead.

(Side note: her single line is British slang!)

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The episode leaves a lot of open questions for what comes ahead, a solid opening that leaves Luther against a rising list of enemies.

George Cornelius is blind with rage, wanting to take out prior slights on Luther rather than deal with what’s right in front of him. The killer is still out there, with a protector in Vivien. And with Alice returning, Luther won’t be finding some peace and quiet any time soon.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments!