Stan Lee’s Lucky Man – Season 1 Episode 7
“The Charm Offensive”
After a strong outing last week, Stan Lee’s Lucky Man looks to build towards the climax of its shaky first season. Gradually plot points are beginning to pull together; connections are being drawn between the various underground factions to which we’ve been introduced over the past few episodes. This week we discover a little more about ‘Golding’ – the mysterious figure we’ve heard mentioned a few times previously, who seems to be inexorably linked to Harry Clayton through the crimes he’s been investigating, but also to the bracelet that has been helping him along the way.
The episode begins strongly with a startling cold open. A half-naked man, clearly beaten and bloody, staggers through a London traffic jam screaming for help. Our first sight of him comes as he slams up against an unwitting driver’s window. The visual is shocking, and reminiscent of imagery that would seem more at home in a zombie movie (or ubiquitous TV show). The police attempt to taser the man but because he has been doused in petrol he goes up in flame. The wide angle shot of the bridge and the sparing use of CGI work well, which is refreshing, as Lucky Man has been let down in the past by an overreliance on poor digital effects.
Clayton and Chohan are at the burnt man’s bedside as he lies dying in hospital. With his last breath, and with a hand grasping Clayton’s bracelet, he gives up the name ‘Golding’. The rest of the plot unfolds as the investigation into the desperate man reveals that he was a conman working with a partner who both posed as rich foreign students in order to blackmail and steal from wealthy females at colleges around London. When the partner realises that the police are onto him, he kidnaps his latest target, Indira, and attempts to flee the country. Meanwhile, a polite yet sinister henchman is tracking Clayton. Could he be working for Golding? We’re led to believe that he is, and that he is prepared to go to any lengths to get his man.
Throughout the series Golding’s name has been cropping up more frequently. We already know from Anna’s storyline that she was fed the name in connection with Kevin Gray’s suicide. She meets with Clayton to discuss the case, but her developing relationship with the prison warden derails the conversation s Clayton attempts to warn her of the danger involved in tracking Golding.
Paul Lermontov makes a brief appearance during a scene with Eve, in which the pair converse about Golding, Clayton and the bracelet. This is intriguing as it’s the first hint that the younger Lermontov has a greater knowledge about the situation surrounding the use of, and hunt for, the bracelet, as well as Clayton’s growing ability to control his luck. There’s also a fairly heavy-handed revelation that Paul and Eve have known each other since childhood. This detail about their relationship must resurface somewhere further down the line.
The supporting cast have been one of the strengths of the show so far, but unfortunately this episode proves to be an exception. It’s a real shame – the pair of Indira and Joaquin/Jed are unconvincing, and so much of the plot revolves around them that it’s difficult to ignore. After last week’s strong outing this is a real disappointment.
On the upside, the development of the Golding conspiracy is entertaining enough. Each week more of the individual crimes we’ve been witnessing are tied back to Golding, which results in them being more interesting retrospectively. Deputy Mayor Frierson’s recently introduced subplot is also intriguing, with its ties back to the unsolved Alexandri case. Another fascinating wrinkle is Frierson’s relationship with D.S. Winter. Previously it had seemed that Frierson would work with Winter to oust Clayton. Over the first half of the season Winter has been set up as an obstacle to Clayton’s unconventional method of policing; the superior officer who would always attempt to shut down his subordinate, even placing him under Orwell’s supervision/investigation. But now, Frierson has entered the fray from even further up the chain, Winter is taking a stand, defending Clayton’s results. It’s a power struggle to keep an eye on, and a much-needed source of friction in the rogue cop takes on his superiors storyline.
Clayton’s gradual acceptance of the abilities granted to him by the bracelet appears complete, as on multiple occasions he actively and seamlessly controls his luck. When Clayton’s car is sabotaged, causing it to spin out of control on a busy street, Clayton lifts his hands from the wheel, much to Chohan’s alarm, allowing his good fortune to take over and steer them away from danger. This sequence is another example of the creative yet sparing use of CGI – the action is convincing without having to rely too heavily on the effects. At the climax of the episode, Clayton dares the kidnapper to shoot at him – knowing that he has luck on his side. Despite this, putting yourself in front of a loaded gun is still a brave move. Clayton taunts the gunman, declaring that when he gets lucky someone else always loses out – this seems like final confirmation of Clayton’s recognition of his power and subsequent responsibility.
By the end of the episode, Golding’s forces have managed to foil police attempts to catch up with him, and covered his tracks by killing off any contacts that may have had information on him. Without any leads, how will Clayton and Chohan proceed?
Following up last week’s high point was always going to be difficult. This week’s plot isn’t as interesting but continued strong performances from the leads and developing narratives about police corruption and the interconnected criminal underworld help save the episode.
- Golding and Frierson overarching plots
- the developing relationships between the leads
- disappointing performances from the secondary cast
- a move away from last week’s grittier plot