Stan Lee’s Lucky Man S01E04 “Higher Power” REVIEW

Stan Lee’s Lucky Man S01E04 “Higher Power” REVIEW

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stars 3

 

Airing in the UK on Sky 1, Fridays, 9pm
Writer: Neil Biswas
Director: David Caffrey

 

Essential Plot Points:

  • Winter assigns Harry and Suri to the case of an FRSA (Financial Regulation Security Authority) agent, Kate Olsen, who made a 999 call from her office but was never seen again.
  • Turns out she was investigating billionaire Russian businessman Vincent Lermentov – the guy who killed himself in episode one by freefalling from a skyscraper without a parachute.
  • Turns out Kate has records of him having extraordinary luck in his financial dealing over the years.
  • Harry notices that Lermentov is wearing the magic bangle in an archive photo.

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  • Suri and Harry work out that Kate has been kidnapped not killed but she’s also diabetic so she could die without medication. Is that what the kidnappers want? To murder her with no evidence of foul play?
  • Meanwhile a Bald Russian guy (who sounds like the B in bald should be capitalised from the way everybody says it) is still stalking Harry, hanging around outside Anna’s house and scaring his little girl. This gives Harry the excuse to stay the night and sleep with estranged wife, but she makes it clear she just needed a comfort shag and he should read nothing into it.
  • Harry interviews Lermentov’s son, who clearly knows something about the magic bangle.
  • Anyway, a few luckily-escaped scrapes later Harry and Suri work out that Kate’s boss was leaned on by team Lermentov to dissuade her from pursuing the Russian billionaire (the Bald Russian guy was also at the final meeting between Kate and her boss). Kate refuses. Hence Bald Russian kidnapped her.
  • Suri surmises that the Russians may be attempting to smuggle Kate out of the country in a shipping container. And she’s right! Hang on… who’s wearing the lucky bangle here?
  • At the shipyard Harry correctly guesses which container Kate is in. He then gives chase to the Russians and is clouted unconscious by Bald Russian guy.
  • Harry wakes up bound to a chair opposite the similarly bound Eve.
  • Bald Russian explains that only Eve can remove the bangle.
  • Eve says it’s not the real bangle.
  • Bald Russian says something along the lines of, “Okay, let’s find out shall we?” and the proceeds to play Russian roulette with Harry.

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Review:

Okay, we’re in luck. Last week we said what this show needed was a proper comic-book baddie for Harry to lock horns with and this week we get one. Sort of. Bald Russian is slightly more Bond henchman than Marvel supervillain, but he’s the most comic-booky thing in this show so far. Or at least he was until Lermentov Jr showed up, although – again – his allergy to light and his urbane passive aggression makes him more of a Doctor No than Doctor Doom. Not that we’re complaining – it’s all a step in the right fantastical direction for a show that’s been a bit timid about embracing its roots so far.

Plus, Bald Russian is involved in the two best scenes by far – his nasty, brutal fight with Eve and the game of Russian roulette with Harry – so we’re definitely happy he’s finally stepped out of the shadows.

That was the good news. Sadly the dastardly duo’s influence didn’t rub off on Harry and co, who were more low-rent-Luther than ever. Harry seems almost determined not to have any fun with his powers and weirdly seems to be in denial about them for most of the episode. Surely he can’t still have doubts? Then again, he runs straight into Bald Russian guy’s iron bar so maybe he’s right to question how all this luck stuff works. Increasingly it seems he has to consciously switch it on, except that wasn’t the case in earlier episodes. It’d be handy if the writers could make the rules a bit clearer.

Harry also doesn’t help himself by acting like a borderline stalker with Anna, though all credit to her; she takes advantage of the situation then says sling your hook.

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Suri is disappointingly “okay” this week. She’s normally a lot better than okay but here she’s mostly just telling Harry stuff she’s learnt. Or guessed. Because her hunch about the Kate being kept in a shipping container was a pretty lucky guess for someone who doesn’t have a magic bangle. Winter and Orwell seem to think they’re in a Samuel Beckett play, whispering hoarsely and staring witheringly at each other. Presumably this is supposed to give them a menacing air, but instead they look like they’d rather have less boring lines. It’s a shame that Orwell has returned to a one-dimensional “nail Clayton” mode as he was far more interesting last week when he was showing signs of grudging respect. It’d help if we knew why Orwell is so anti-Clayton because at the moment he seems to be doing it because he’s secretly in love in Winter and trying to impress him.

On the other hand, the arc plot is shaping up pleasingly. Eve may still be completely incapable of forming a sentence that actually means anything but for once she seemed to be stalling for good reason not just to make the viewers suffer. We got to learn a little more the history of the magic bangle and its previous owner, and Lermentov Jr looks promisingly mysterious as chief moustache twirler.

Besides, we’re hoping that this Russian roulette business will be a turning point for Harry. Surely that’s got to change a man?

 

The Good:

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  • The Russian roulette scene is one the show’s best set-pieces so far.
  • Bald Russian guy finally bring a sense of comic book menace to the show.
  • When Anna shags Harry but tells him, “This changes nothing,” we think we’re supposed to feel sorry for Harry, but instead we were thinking, “You tell him, girl!”
  • “Before you got that bracelet you were not a very lucky man.”
    “I don’t feel very lucky now.”
  • The fight between Bald Russian and Eve was a great down and dirty bit of combat, almost worthy of Netflix’s Daredevil series.

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  • Talking of which, this was the best-framed shot of the episode.

 

The Bad:

  • No Josie. We needed some of her amusing snark.
  • The level of luck is really underwhelming again – the barge fire could have been a high point but Harry just kicks a door and the padlock falls off. Whoopee-effing–doo.
  • The episode is even more dour than the previous ones. Where’s the fun? Loosen up a bit!
  • Not sure that having Harry quite such a snivelling wreck during the Russian roulette scene was a good thing. Sure he’d be crapping himself but in this kind of show you want a little bit of stoicism from your hero.
  • Orwell has taken a strep backwards after his interesting development last week. He’s just “boring lap dog” again.
  • Harry seems to have written off the magic bangle’s powers as fake at the start of the episode which, considering everything he’s been through, is highly unlikely.
  • The security at the FRSA is truly terrible.

 

And The Random:

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  • This week’s random symbols of luck/bad luck include: a stylised black cat figurine on the desk of kidnap victim Kate Olsen and an albatross figurine in Vincent Lermentov’s apartment. Lermentov’s shipping company is also called Albatross. In times past, albatrosses were often regarded as the souls of lost sailors so killing them was supposed to bring bad luck. A bit more of a stretch is the fact that when Harry is looking at the CCTV footage and the time code skips 10 minutes, the time it jumps to is 21:34 which has “13” in the middle. But that’s probably just coincidence.

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  • When Rich was asking Harry last week what he thought of British Museum magic bangle expert Barbara Haleton, we thought he was trying to match-make for his brother. Seems he was after her himself. Though why he wants to keep that secret from his brother is a bit strange.

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  • Whoever it was who set the barge on fire, she was definitely being employed by Lermentov’s Albatross shipping company as her jacket proved. But it’s a bit of a mistake to wear a DayGlo jacket with your employer’s logo emblazoned on it when you’re murdering people in full daylight, surely?
  • The FRSA (Financial Regulation Security Authority) is not a real organisation (and there is no Hope Square in Canary Wharf).
  • Anna Clayton’s boss is called Nathaniel Kelso, which is the name of a cartographer who has worked for The Washington Post and Apple Maps. We’re pretty sure there’s no connection but it’s a weird “fictional” name to pluck from the air.

Review by Dave Golder


 

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