And now for the recap for Luther S04E02 featuring Patrick Malahide as gangster George Cornelius. You can read about S04E01 here.
Once again, Patrick Malahide’s cheerfully ominous gangster is a true episode highlight . He had a little more screen-time in this episode too which was very welcome. He really stole his scenes with panache.
George was left all alone last week, chained unceremoniously to Luther’s radiator. When we rejoin him, it looks like he’s been taking a regenerative nap. He soon pops back up and really goes to work trying to remove the entire radiator from the wall. Success!!! After much straining and pulling, using his leg for extra leverage, he finally pulls the wretched thing away. George’s fiendish grin of relieved delight is well earned. I really hope he trashed the place for Luther to tidy up later.
Vaping and the Lion King
Of course, now free, Luther isn’t exactly his favorite person in the world. George puts a hit on the unconventional copper’s head. Being a very polite criminal, though, he is courteous enough to phone Luther and tell him all about it.
During the call, George is shown vaping on an e-cigarette. He doesn’t seem very impressed with it though. Still, safer than the real things, I’m sure. Luther, to his credit, apologizes for what he did and even promises to put it right. He just wanted to find out what happened to Alice.
George Cornelius is almost reasonable….almost. He has some genuine respect for Luther who he considers to be a “decent chap” and feels tempted to let it lie. The only problem is that Luther did it all in front of George’s son. “If I start showing weakness to him…well, it’s nature’s way, isn’t it? The Lion King. Hakuna Matata.”
Luther, apparently a bigger Disney fan than George, helpfully points out that George is thinking of the wrong song. ‘What one am I thinking of, then? Oh, Hakuna Matata, that’s the happy one, right? — No more worries.” I love the way George flourishes his e-cig around while he’s speaking. “Then I’m definitely thinking of the wrong song.” George says that last bit very menacingly. The camera angle is really picking up the old-school gangster’s mad and demonic eyes perfectly there. He looks very intimidating and focused.
George then cuts to the chase. “I’ve put a price on your head, John.” He asks Luther what he thinks his life is worth. Luther, feeling very modest, figures it probably isn’t even enough for a good night out and a cab ride home. Awwww. George is equally (not really) sympathetic. “Well, I’m honestly down in the dumps about it. But you did bring it down on yourself. So, you’re a dead man walking. Toodle pip.”
George is very spontaneous the way he makes the leaps from talking about the Lion King, to being downright menacing, to being charmingly sarcastic. Toodle pip. 🙂 He then goes back to vaping in peace.
Cooking With George
Later on Luther does indeed find out that there is a hit on him as he is forced to take care of motorcycle riding assassins with only a dustbin to help him. He at least manages to get their gun which (spoiler alert) comes in handy later.
Really, poor old Luther has more than enough on his plate. He’s got a cannibal running around town for one thing. And now a supposed clairvoyant who claims to be speaking to Alice’s ghost has shown up which is all tied in with a young woman released from jail who Luther believes murdered a little boy years ago. What a muddle. He phones George, hoping to play on his sympathies.
George is busy in the kitchen making an omelet. I have to say, his open neck white shirt is very swank. George dresses incredibly well even for his domestic tasks. “Wotcher?” I like the way George answers the phone. He’s a little surprised Luther is still alive, but chats amiably anyway.
Luther says that some of George’s boys just had a pop at him. George, of course, has no idea what he’s talking about. 😉 He patiently explains, though, that a “greenlit” hit means it wouldn’t be up to his boys to off Luther. “See, if you’ve been greenlit… allegedly… every would-be hit man in London would be after you.” Out of curiosity, though, he asks Luther how the hitman was. “Rubbish,” replies Luther. George doesn’t seem bothered as he replies “whoopsie-daisy.” He’s funniest when he uses the quaint language. 🙂
Luther tries appealing to George by telling him that he is working on a case with a dead kid which might be tied to the Alice Morgan situation, thinking that old-school George would appreciate that. But, George doesn’t quite fit all the old-school gangster stereotypes. “What’s this, Billy Bacon and the Soft-Centered Cockney Villain?” Oooh! I’d watch that!
While this is going on an extremely beautiful and much younger woman walks in. She seems very interested in George and his omelet, but mostly in George. 😉 George is impressed with Luther’s determination. “They broke the mould after you popped out, didn’t they?” Luther says that’s what his mum always used to say. George, who probably runs a Twitter campaign combating Cockney gangster stereotypes called #NotAllCockneyCrims, jumps on that: “Your sainted mother. Is this another appeal to my maudlin East End heart?”
Well, it isn’t going to work because it turns out George HATED his mother. A Cockney gangster who hates his mum? Seems Luther’s wasn’t the mould that got broke!
Anyway, it doesn’t matter. George insists that “greenlit is greenlit.” He says, “I’ll see you on the other side of the veil,” and then has a good laugh about it. He’s very avuncular is our George.
George’s Frame of Mind is Elevated
But, Luther finally happens upon something that will undo the whole “greenlit thing.” He finds Alice’s diamonds and offers them to George in
exchange for calling off the hit. They meet at Southwark Bridge. George is sharply dressed as always and is sporting a gorgeous fedora that really flatters him. Well, everything flatters that man. Luther even comments on it, “nice hat.” Indeed it is! George, being polite, repays the compliment, “Nice coat. Very sensible.” Eh, it’s OK, I guess.
Their dialogue is very cute, “We find ourselves in a pickle,” says Luther who seems to be learning the George Cornelius manner of speech. George agrees, “We are. We’re in a pickle.” I guess that is one way to describe it.
Luther tells him that he’s found a way that George can make quite a bit of money in exchange for calling off the hit. Now that is more like it. “Well, as it happens, I often find that money has an elevating effect on my frame of mind.” George is much more receptive to money than East End sentimentality.
Luther shows him Alice’s diamonds. George is a bit incredulous since they would pay for Luther to start a new life. But, without Alice, Luther isn’t bothered about that. 🙁 So, George takes the diamonds.
Placated, George says it is shame about Alice dying and asks if Luther has found out who did it. I think that was George’s way of letting Luther know he could help take care of whoever did it.
But, Luther asks him for a very different favor. George has a laugh (a nice raspy one, by the way) but is game. Luther asks for drugs…cocaine, heroin, pills. “Well, that’s an unusual request. I mean, given the day job.” George gives another attractive chuckle and leaves.
But, he gets Luther what he wants. Luther uses the drugs to set-up the girl mentioned previously who had murdered a little boy. Luther breaks into her flat and stuffs them into a stuffed owl she’d taken from the child. Then he has her arrested claiming he’d gotten a “tip”.
Well, there was a lot more to the episode, what with the cannibal (yuck) and the “clairvoyant” (I actually liked her) and all, but the George Cornelius scenes were easily the most fun and eminently watchable. Patrick Malahide gave a fantastic, scene stealing performance. Hopefully, if there are more episodes of Luther made, George Cornelius will feature in them again. He is such a great and charming and darkly amusing character.