Stan Lee’s Lucky Man – Season 1 Episode 4
“A Higher Power”
In this week’s instalment of Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, the tour of London’s international criminal organisations rolls on. We’ve had Chinese Triads, Albanian people traffickers and Jewish jewel smugglers; our next stop – Russian gold traders. Yes, the Russian theme has been teased in past episodes, but here we learn a lot more about the previous owner of Harry Clayton’s lucky bracelet, Vincent Lermontov – the man we saw plummet to his death all the way back in the cold open of the pilot.
The crime for Clayton and Chohan to investigate this week is the disappearance (or kidnapping) of Kate Olsen, a financial services regulator we see being pursued by imposing henchman Yury at the beginning of the episode. Olsen had been examining the case of Lermontov, a wealthy Russian gold bullion trader, but it seems that she had delved too deeply, and was now a target for the same sinister forces that seek the lucky bracelet.
As Chohan and Clayton look for clues to Olsen’s whereabouts, they discover that she is diabetic, cleverly setting up a ticking clock within the episode – if the kidnappers want Olsen’s death to look natural, they can deprive her of food or sugar, and let the diabetes do the rest. This device does add the potential for a little urgency to a show that has struggled at times with pacing, although the stakes are never fully raised, and at no point does the tension ever get cranked up to 11.
We discover more about the lucky bracelet’s backstory – Lermontov had been a railway worker in Russia before coming across the charm, which he then used to amass a fortune in gold trading. As part of the search for Olsen, Chohan pores over Lermontov’s accounts and notices that all of his biggest deals took place shortly before catastrophic events; Chernobyl, 9/11 etc. This ties in to the yin/yang aspect of the luck bestowed on the bearer of the bracelet; the magnitude of the fallout (pardon the pun) of Lermontov’s good luck must mean that his actions far outweighed anything Clayton has experienced (if we take Clayton’s bad fortune as an indication of how the pendulum swings). Hopefully this will pay off at some point, because Clayton has had his life saved by the bracelet on a couple of occasions, and it’s difficult to think of anything luckier than that.
There’s a hint at the possibility of other super powers existing in this universe when Clayton and Chohan meet Lermontov’s son. The younger Lermontov reveals that he is hypersensitive to light, which at first seems relatively normal, but his connection to the bracelet and his dead father’s uncanny abilities is established when he is able to detect that Clayton is in possession of the good luck charm. Some sort of x-ray vision would be the go-to, but we’ll have to watch (or see through) this space to find out more.
The culmination of the kidnapping plot is frustrating as Chohan easily decrypts Olsen’s case files, conveniently revealing important data about Lermontov. As the cops try to figure out where Olsen is being held, the result of their quick brainstorming session leads Chohan to jump to incredible conclusions, which turn out to be right. This is lazy – at least when Clayton behaves like a super sleuth we can put it down to his luck. There’s no excuse for this rubbing off on Chohan. In the end, it’s all just a way to get Clayton in position to use his luck to save the day. The cops end up at a shipping yard (Lermontov owns a shipping company, so of course Olsen is there) and against Orwell’s wishes, Clayton follows his instincts to Olsen. At least this part can be explained away.
Towards the very end of the episode, Clayton is jumped by Yury and taken to a room where Eve is being held captive. We learn more about Eve’s family’s connection to the bracelet – her mother was involved with Lermontov – eventually leading to her death. Yury explains to Clayton that only Eve can remove the bracelet, but also that there is more than just a physical connection to the owner (otherwise Yury would just chop Clayton’s arm off). Yury forces Clayton to play Russian roulette (see what they did there? Game of chance; Russian? Yeah, you get it), and Eve implores Clayton to believe in his luck – tying quite nicely back to an early scene in which Clayton told his gambling addiction support group that “believing in good luck is madness”. The episode ends on a cliff-hanger, which is instantly undercut by the “Next week on Stan Lee’s Lucky Man” promo that immediately follows. The deflation you’re left feeling is indicative of the failings of the series as a whole so far. Let the tour roll on…
Another frustrating mix of good and bad – interesting plot devices are countered by confounding logic. The overarching narrative is still the driving interest in the show and this weeks’ crime was a shade more intriguing than the gangland murders of past episodes.
• the continued development of the bracelet’s backstory
• the introduction of the ticking clock plot device
• far too convenient plot points
• the lack of tension
• ethnic stereotypes