The third and final episode of The Escape Artist was strange. In a way, it was extremely satisfying to see the way that Will took control of things, and used his famed intelligence and acute legal mind to engineer the perfect revenge.
Looking back at the first episode, though, I’m not sure the climax lived up to the situation that had been set up. Liam Foyle was one of the most frightening villains I’ve seen in a long time. He carried that air of menace that Hannibal Lecter had in The Silence of the Lambs – you would be terrified to be alone with him. You’d be terrified just knowing he was in the world, out there somewhere.
I expected a massive showdown between Foyle and Will – Foyle had shown such an aptitude for psychological torture – but when the confrontation came it was over fairly briefly. Foyle’s death was suitably nasty, with the camera in so close we could see little flecks of spit shooting up as he spluttered for air, and he did the usual monster thing of getting up for one last swing at our hero, but essentially he was dealt with far too easily.
It came back to the title, I think. “The Escape Artist” is the kind of nickname that serial killers are given (Buffalo Bill, the Zodiac Killer), but in this case it applied to the hero, never-beaten defence lawyer Will Burton. He got the name because he could find a loophole or a way out of any difficult situation and win a case. The case he had to win in this episode was his own, defending himself against a charge of murder, which he did by planning the murder so well that the escape was already built in, even though it relied heavily on coincidences and implausibilities. In the end, it was Will’s story, and because Will was David Tennant it was never less than watchable and at times was completely gripping. I couldn’t help thinking it was a waste of a very scary villain, though.