Stan Lee’s Lucky Man S01E03 “Evil Eye” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on Sky 1, Fridays, 9pm
Writers: Ben Schiffer, Neil Biswas
Director: David Caffrey
Essential Plot Points:
- Mysterious woman Eve summons Harry to Hatton Garden where a jewellery robbery takes place – by thieves on motorbikes – and a diamond shop owner, Franks, is accidentally killed (it turns out he was being tortured and had a heart attack).
- Still affected by what happened to boyfriend Ben, Suri is affected by the man’s death. Detective Superintendent Winter hears about this and demands she takes some time off.
- He forces Harry to team up with Orwell on the case, making Orwell the senior investigating officer.
- They learn of another diamond robbery in the same area at a shop owned by Max Solomons. Harry is not convinced by the shop owner’s story of events – especially why the robbers would want to beat him up.
- Harry – through luck – finds a picture of a valuable blue diamond hidden in the workshop of the other diamond shop that was robbed.
- Harry and brother Rich unsuccessfully try to buzzsaw the magic bangle off Harry’s arm. They then turn to an expert at the British library who connects it to a legend from the Chinese Tang dynasty.
- Bored at home Suri goes the Green Dragon and works out that Roulette wheel is fixed.
- Someone secretly delivers a razor blade to Grey in prison and he kills himself.
- This makes Anna scared and for the first time in ages she turns to Harry for comfort.
- Harry finds a connection between the two diamond shop owners and is convinced one of them has the diamond, and the robbers know of the diamond’s existence too. But where is the diamond?
- Harry follows Solomons in his car, and Solomons is attacked by the biker thieves. Harry manages to stop the thieves taking his briefcase. Inside there are plans to cut the diamond.
- Turns out Franks wanted to cut the diamond while Solomons didn’t, but changed his mind after Franks’s death.
- Both Harry and Orwell find out from separate sources where the man who’s going to cut the diamond is based: under Smithfield Market. But Solomons’ son has told the motorbike thieves too. It’s a race to the diamond…
- …Which ends in a win for Harry, because Orwell is knocked unconscious by the biker thieves while Harry finds the diamond and subdues two of the biker thieves.
- The third biker thief takes off her helmet to reveal that she’s Eve, who then runs off while Harry is still trying to pick his jaw up off the floor.
What a crying shame. After taking a significant step forward with episode two, Lucky Man stumbles a few steps back with episode three. Is this some kind of Yin and Yang? For every dull episode we get a good one? Or is that just wishful thinking that things might pick up again next week?
The bizarre thing is, looking at the Good and Bad sections below, on a first glance the Yin and Yang seems to be reasonably well balanced. Indeed, there is a lot to recommend in “Evil Eye”, especially Suri, the unexpected development of Orwell’s character, the daft moment with the buzzsaw and the twist ending.
The problem is that the downside really drags the show down. The overriding problem remains its reluctance to embrace its silly central concept. The “luck” this week rates disappointingly low on the “wow”-ometer. On a scale from “winning the lottery four weeks in a row” to “woman at till accidentally gives up a penny extra in your change” the luck in Lucky Man ranks somewhere around “Rain holds off until you get on the bus”.
The investigation is fairly lifeless as well; serviceable but not particularly engaging. It’s left to Nesbitt once again to make the case feel likes it’s worth caring about and he does a creditable job of nearly convincing you. Darren Boyd also does a good job as Orwell, the yes-man who is slowly turning into to yes-but…–man. There are certain moments between these two very different cops that have an edgy electricity that raises the show a bar or two.
And thank God the script eventually gets around to addressing the fact that Anna doesn’t know who hired her to represent Grey. We were worried for a while that this was a throwaway line last week that was never going to be mentioned again. How does this all weave together?
What the show lacks are some supervillains. Well, not literal supervillains, maybe, but individuals for Harry to go head-to-head with. Yeah, there’s Winter but he fulfils another, different dramatic function (though it’s not impossible that he could be orchestrating things and will be unveiled as the big bad later in the season). But it needs villains of the week to really test Harry’s luck powers. The procedural formula largely avoids traditional villains because the perpetrator is supposed to be a surprise revelation. But Lucky Man has decided to pursue the procedural route and that may be why it’s failing to spark; the only special powers a procedural needs are tenacity and intelligence. Something like luck negates the need to actually investigate… unless, of course, you don’t let your star use that power most of the time. Which just leaves the audience slightly frustrated.
What do you think? Will the show’s luck turn again next week?
- Suri telling Harry not to break the law when he uses a mobile while driving the car.
- Using a press conference for a bit of “story so far” exposition – expensive (they had to pay all the extras!) but better than Winter and Orwell telling each other stuff they already know while walking down a corridor.
- The utterly ridiculous scene with Rich trying to buzzsaw the magic bangle off Harry’s wrist – “I watched an online tutorial while you were at the loo!” It seriously needed a “Don’t try this at home!” warning. Josie’s face was a picture. Plus, how Irish did Harry go when Rich started cutting? This show is much more fun when it’s ludicrous. It should be ludicrous more often. Talking of which…
- Burn Gorman’s arch forensic pathologist would fit right in on Gotham. He’s brilliant, especially his completely undisguised look of disdain on learning that Orwell is Harry’s superior.
- Orwell’s speech about, “This is your forte, isn’t it, Harry. Getting in their heads. Weak men,” is a telling one, especially as he then lets Harry off the leash to do exactly that – get into a weak man’s head. Orwell might not be quite the lapdog to Winter that we thought he was. He’s intelligent enough to play an advantage when he sees one.
- Besides, after Winter sneeringly points out to Orwell that the robbers are, ”One step ahead of Clayton, two steps ahead of you,” you really do feel some sympathy for the guy.
- Then Orwell rings Harry to let him know about the diamond cutter at Smithfield’s; he doesn’t try to keep the glory all to himself. He’s definitely coming to the light side of the (police) force.
- There’s clearly more to Sendhil Ramamurthy’s creepy bleeding heart liberal prisoner governor than meets the eye. Otherwise they wouldn’t have cast Sendhil Ramamurthy in such a small role.
- And while Suri isn’t quite as bubbly and funny as usual (well, she is bereaved) it is another strong episode for the resourceful cop.
- The twist with Eve being one of the biker thieves is pretty obvious, but it’s still great to see Harry’s shock at this turn of events.
- Incredibly dull teaser – two blokes we don’t know arguing about something we don’t understand.
- The finer details of the investigation into what the two old gentlemen jewellers want to do with the diamond make for some very tedious dialogue at times. For a potential diamond heist it’s a rather dry, stodgy plot.
- The origin story for the bracelet seems a bit unnecessary. Sometimes things are better left a mystery. It’d be more fun exploring the effects of the magic bangle rather than finding out where they come from. But this element looks like it’s destined to play an ever larger role in the series.
- When Harry needs some luck to help him out with the biker thieves, the results are disappointingly dull.
- Although lots of little bits of low-level luck come into play throughout the episode, it lacks one big “Wow!” set piece.
- Eve turns up and talks in riddles again. Yawn.
And The Random:
- We’ve been waiting for a big (unlucky) 13 to show up. This is the floor that Suri lives on. Maybe she’s the Yin to Harry’s Yang and that’s why Ben died? Or maybe it’s just a big coincidence?
- Hatton Garden is, of course, currently infamous for the “Hatton Garden safe deposit burglary” in April 2015, performed by a four OAP thieves, one of whom arrived for the heist by bus.
- Burn Gorman, who plays the pathologist, Doug, was in episode, but we forgot to mention then that you might know him from Torchwood, The Man In The High Castle (in which he was brilliantly loathsome) and Pacific Rim.
- Liev Solomans, meanwhile, is played by Mark Fleischmann who is also the headmaster, Me Jeffries, in the excellent CBBC series Wolfblood.
Review by Dave Golder