Luther: Series 3, Episode 3.

Previously on Luther: Episode 2.

This is Justin. He’s my mate, and I love him.

And now he’s gone. And it’s so, so fucking unfair.

He was finally in a good place, everything was good. There was that delighted shock on his face when John asked him in at the beginning of the episode, when he introduced him to Mary with those exact words. And it only got better when John finally told him that he wanted Justin to take over the unit, which means that John was finally in a place where he could let go. Justin’s never seen John so happy, and it’s all he ever wanted for him; for John to stop being haunted. His own impending promotion was just the icing on the cake. Justin was happy; even the thing with Erin and Stark seemed to have a way out, now that Erin’s got the feeling that Stark is willing to cross lines she never wanted to toe.

And now, John’s got another ghost.

Justin died because he believed in what he was doing, and John’s actions in this episode strengthened his belief. He dove into that mob to protect John protecting Cochran, and he went after Marwood because it was the right thing to do, even on his own. John, rumoured to be dispensing his very own brand of justice, did everything right this time, took a stand that reveals his moral code as a copper, the same code he was following when he forbade Alice to kill Ian.

Is John ever going to forgive himself for not getting there in time, I wonder.

I haven’t been as upset over a beloved character’s death since Reichenbach, and that one wasn’t even for real. This one is. Justin is gone where he can’t come back from, and he and John didn’t even get to say goodbye. John didn’t get to be forgiven by the man who meant so much to him. Justin was his anchor for so long, and now that Marwood is threatening Mary, I’m not sure I want to know what John is going to be prepared to do. We know what happens when John loses a loved one.

Which, as it happens, is why Alice is coming back, I’d imagine.

There’s a lot more to say about this episode.

About Benny’s last words to Justin: “Look out for yourself.”

About Idris Elba and Warren Brown’s tremendous acting, about the way that, in hindsight, those cheery interactions throughout the episode seem so bittersweet, maybe have felt that way for them, too.

About John screaming for Justin to get up, only to meet with the silence of an unbeating heart. About John lying down next to Justin’s body, close enough to touch but separated by life and death; as if he’d been shot, too. As if that’s where he belongs.

Next: Episode 4.

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