Stan Lee’s Lucky Man S01E05 “The Last Chance” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on Sky 1, Fridays, 9pm
Writer: Rachel Anthony
Director: Brian Kelly
Essential Plot Points:
- By an amazing stroke of luck Harry survives his Russian roulette experience when the Bald Russian Guy, Yury Becker, shoots himself dead (we did say an amazing stroke of luck!)
- Eve bundles Harry out of the room saying she’ll deal with things.
- Harry and Suri investigate the shooting of the owner of a private club called Hoxton Ditch.
- They rapidly find out the name of the shooter, Tim Larson; the fact that he’s a gambler; and the fact that there’s a secret casino at the Hoxton Ditch. Harry’s magic bangle is clearly working well.
- Harry, though, doubts Tim could afford to play at the exclusive Hoxton. He suspects Tim was forced to kill the Hoxton owner by somebody else he owed money to.
- Suri recognises a guy working at the Hoxton Casino as someone from the Green Dragon casino. She immediately surmises that Lily-Anne Lau is using the place for money laundering. (Does Suri have a magic bangle too or is this all down to magical scriptwriting?)
- Harry becomes convinced Lily-Anne Lau forced Tim to murder the Hoxton Ditch boss to try to cover up her money laundering.
- Suri alerts the fraud squad and they raid the Green Dragon casino, find the device for fixing the roulette wheel, arrest Lily-Anne and impound lots of possible evidence.
- Harry, meanwhile, is on Tim Larson’s trail having learned that he was going to take part in a “game” where people gamble not just money, but cars, houses, wives and even their lives. Or bits of their body at least.
- Through his contacts Harry locates where the latest game is being held. Through luck he bluffs his way in.
- Harry wins the game (Whose Sugar Knob Will Mr Ratty Eat First? Not exactly Casino Royale, is it?).
- Tim is one of the contestants. Harry is shocked to learn that, among other things, he has just won Tim’s tongue.
- The Game Master is about to chop it out when…
- …Harry proposes another game and if he wins again, he wins Tim in his entirety, intact. With tongue still in mouth.
- Of course, Harry wins, leaves with Tim, then nicks him.
- Tim confesses to the killing but refuses to say who put him up to it.
- Orwell tries once more to get Lily-Anne Lau to hand over the CCTV footage of Harry gambling at the Green Dragon the night of her father’s death. She says okay, but not yet.
- Through her contacts she gets a message to Harry: she wants him secretly “liberate” out an item of evidence taken from the Green Dragon – a box that was on her desk.
- Harry secretly procures the box but keeps it for himself. He finds a memory stick in a secret compartment. On it there’s a file with a picture of a promissory note from Tim to Lily-Anne Lau for £110,000.
- Suri is troubled at Harry’s methods but decides to play along. Though Winter’s words to her about Harry (“Don’t let him turn you into him!”) are ringing in her ears, she further arrests Lily-Anne Lau on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.
- Rich tells Suri that Harry’s gambling addiction is a result his identical twin brother having died when the were just kids. His constant need to test his luck is like a “death wish”.
- The bleeding heart liberal prison boss at White Cross invites Anna to become a mentor for the inmates. She agrees but only as it gives her a way to further investigate Grey’s apparent suicide.
- Eve reveals to Harry that he was one of the investigating officers when her mother was murdered.
- Suri intercepts a package that’s delivered to the office addressed to Winter. She opens it and finds a memory stick inside. On it is the CCTV footage of Harry at the Green Dragon. WHAT WILL SHE DO NOW???
When the highlight of an episode is someone not getting stopped by red lights you have to suspect the show isn’t getting its priorities right. Harry hits the nail on the head when he tells Suri that he’s just been to, “the worse casino in the world.” He has indeed but maybe not in the way he meant it.The centrepiece of the episode should have been the BIG, SECRET, ILLICIT gambling game with the NO-HOLDS BETTING. It’s spoken about in hushed terms. It’s mentioned only in shadows. It is clearly a BID DEAL!
Except it’s not.
It’s like Extreme Mouse Trap where the big prize is somebody else’s severed tongue. Yeah right. “Come and play the biggest-risk gambling experience in the world. It’s over in 30 seconds! You get licked by a rat! And you may lose your Porsche but hey if you like tongue soup you’re luck’s in!” It is ludicrously, laughably banal.
Anyway, single-most-unimpressive-set-piece-of-the-series-so-far aside, the episode’s not too bad. It resolves the Russian roulette cliffhanger with the kind of ludicrous piece of luck that we’ve been asking for more of since the pilot. Before Bald Russian guy (we prefer that to Yury) shoots himself in the chest (that’s right – a gun that was pointing at Harry ultimately plants a bullet into the guy who was pulling the trigger) he tells Harry that he hasn’t learned to master his control over luck yet. This seems to be the spark Harry needs to start putting the magic bangle to use as every opportunity; turning traffic lights green, correctly guessing pass codes, pinpoint which file on a memory stick is the right one to open first. It’s still all a bit low rent, but we’re trusting that by the finale he’ll be leaping out of aeroplanes without a parachute to see if he’s rescued by a passing TARDIS.
And at no point does Eve turn up giving it all that Yin/Yang spiel, so Harry’s luck really must be in. But going by the show’s own rules, somebody close to Harry must be getting an awful lot of low level bad luck. Maybe Rich’s tea bags keep bursting in the mug?
Talking of Rich, his revelation about Harry’s dead twin being the trigger for his gambling addiction was a tad melodramatic. Was this just a throwaway line, or will the whole twin thing have some relevance to why Eve chose Harry? Hopefully not, as it has the definite whiff of an idea that could become awfully cheesy. Likewise Eve’s revelation about Harry working on her mother’s murder case. This show could start drowning in its own backstory.
Meanwhile, Winter and Orwell continue their odd cop/strange cop pairing and becoming more two dimensional by the week. We’re reminded that Winter seems to think he has some higher calling to nail Harry, but to be honest he’s so obsessed we’re wondering why his superiors aren’t questioning why he never seems to get any other work done. Aren’t there whole police departments devoted to investigating police corruption? Why doesn’t he het a job there?
Suri continues to be one of the best reasons to watch the show – smart, fun, resourceful – but she’s left in a dilemma at the end of the episode that could make or break her character. It’ll be interesting to see what she decides to do with the CCTV footage. She’s proven intelligent and independent so far; let’s hope she doesn’t have lobotomy in the week between episodes.
It’s also a pleasant surprise to see Lily-Anne nicked so soon in the series. You have to assume there’s a whole extra twist coming because the arch-as-the-Arc-De-Triomphe vamp is far too good a character to lose; a comic book villain in a show that seems slightly embarrassed by its roots. She could easily become Lucky Man’s Fish Mooney, and the show would benefit mightily from it.
- The green light sequence.
- The jump cut to the guy playing a video game during the Russian roulette sequence – it was an obvious “gag” but it still made us jump.
- Harry getting pissy with Lermentov Jr in the back of the his car.
- The way the prisoner at White Cross’s Restaurant Rehabilitation pauses, thinks, then spits out Madam to the end of every sentence is an amusing little detail.
- Eve revealing that he just made up her spiel to Yury about needing to Harry in the eye while killing him otherwise he’d be cursed.
- That was some extreme luck going on there with the Bald Russian Guy shooting himself – the gun must have been loaded with a magic bullet.
- The “extreme” gambling was utter, utter rubbish. After all that mystery and hushed whispering we get a gameshow even Channel 5 would ashamed to commission.
- Harry seems peculiarly unsuspicious when the guy at the Hoxton Ditch doesn’t turn around to answer his questions.
- Tim was the most inept assassin ever. He was leaving clues all over the place like he wanted to get caught.
- Also, are we missing something? Presumably the debt was cleared when he killed the Hoxton guy. So why did he need to play Extreme Mouse Trap?
- And while betting your tongue is admittedly a pretty big thing for the person laying the bet, if you’ve bet your Porsche and you win, you’re going to be pretty pissed off at getting a bloody severed lump of gristle as a prize.
And The Random:
- Tim Larson is played by Andrew Lee Potts of Primeval and Wireless fame.
- The Games Master is played by Kevin Eldon, the current voice of Penfold in Danger Mouse and also known for Hyperdrive, Dead Set and various Harry Enfield comedy shows.
- Is is a good idea for an illegal gambling den to have its own personalised chips?
Review by Dave Golder