TV series episode review: Spooks (2010), series 9, episode 1, directed by Paul Whittington
Spoiler “free” but teaser ripe:
What an excellent start to the new season! Within the first five minutes, there was an “ooh” moment, and within the next five, another! Then things started happening, then there was a bit of a lull and then it started happening again, and finished off with an OMFG!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was an absolutely stunning episode.
First five minutes: Harry (Peter Firth) asks Ruth (Nicola Walker) to marry him. Gosh! The shippers must have fallen over themselves squeeing over that one! Even my heart skipped a delighted beat, and I don’t even fancy the guy. Thing is, I’m really starting to warm up to Harry in this episode. He showed some real humanity for once and it just was brilliant. The price of being a spy is definitely high.
Next five minutes: Harry kills off the previous home secretary, after finding out he was actually within the inner circle of … whatever it was called. Not Sugar Horse, the other one. Nightingale, thassa one. He seemed pained to have to do it, but Ros’s death needed avenging. Have to say, previous home secretary bloke had a really nice house. All Georgian and lovely! Wouldn’t want the honour of cleaning it, though. The house we have now is quite enough, and a big ol’ house like that? Not if it doesn’t come with a cleaner!
Then we’re on a container ship with Lucas, newbies Dimitri (Max Brown) and Beth (Sophia Myles). Things heat up in the action department (they get boarded by pirates, yarrrr!) and John Porter Lucas North (Richard Armitage) gets to do actiony bits and be gorgeous and awesome. All is well in that department.
I do miss ice queen Ros, but not as much as I thought I would. Beth seems to be a gutsy go-getter kind of lady, and while we have to suspend our collective disbelief that MI5 would just go ahead and hire spies who just walked in from the street on little more than a whim, I like her as an addition to the team.
Dimitri took such a back seat that I wasn’t even sure he was the new guy, so with regards to him I’ll have to wait and see what happens. Don’t really have an opinion yet.
Had one big issue with the scene between Harry and Ruth on the roof, namely how much Harry was out of focus! I felt like reaching over to the camera to fix it. Ruth was a softly fuzzy around the edges because of the low light, but there’s no excuse for the big blur. Trying to make some kind of cinematic point? Just looked like shoddy camera work.
They said this series will be a lot about the price you pay for being a spy, and it felt so obvious at times. Lucas threatening an innocent mother to get the terrorist daughter to comply, Harry wanting to resign (didn’t he do that last series too?), and Ruth’s proposal refusal, and so on. The whole thing about the terrorist girl, by the way? Even I could see pointing a gun at her was a complete waste of time. Someone who thinks they’ll get glory in heaven if they kill infidels – yeah, being killed by an infidel isn’t exactly a threat! More like a “go ahead, punk, make my day”. Glad Lucas didn’t have to pull the trigger, as I’m sure he was too.
As a technophile who hasn’t left her computer for any longer period of time in the last ten years at least, I always find it fascinating how governmental systems look on TV. They all look really impressive in the user interface (UI) department, but what sort of computer system would look like that in reality? It’s like the computers that are up and running as soon as you’ve switched them on … (Loading screens, what are those?) The techno babble is amusing too (am a computer geek married to a computer geek – techno babble is inevitable). For instance, what did they call that multiple IP address routing? Shadow-something? My thoughts on hearing that was “wait, WHAT did they call it?” because I knew what they were talking about, and in real life, as far as I’m aware, that’s called “onion routing” and nothing to do with any shadows. Oh, and did you see how the message popped up on the forum? I suppose it would have to be AJAX based, and with the common open source forums that you’re likely to have in real life, they don’t exactly work like that. Or look like that, for that matter. If they had pressed F5 to reload a screen with a phpBB or SMF forum, it would’ve looked a lot more credible.
While we’re at it, I read a comment about Tariq’s (Shazad Latif) choice of clothing somewhere, and thought he’s a bit like Abby in NCIS, in a way. She wears whatever she chooses, but she too gets away with it because she’s so incredibly skilled at her job that no one really wants to steal her mojo by telling her that actually, they operate a very strict Smart dress code. That’s the thing. If you work better in the clothes you feel comfortable in, surely that’s better for the workplace than having to conform to some silly dress code? My 2p, anyway.
The OMFG moment. Right at the end, after Section D have saved the United Kingdom from yet another terrorist attack and saved the day like the Big Damn Heroes they are, Lucas bumps in to a guy he calls Vaughn (Iain Glen). And things take a sudden turn to Very Interesting Indeed. Lucas looks shaken (and stirred) to see him, and clearly wants nothing to do with him, but the man gives Lucas a briefcase, and says something along the lines of wondering what it has been like, being Lucas North. AND THEN PROCEEDS TO CALL HIM “JOHN”! OMFG!!!!! So when he said in the interviews that “Lucas isn’t who we think he is”, we were meant to take it literally! I just thought okay, so Lucas has a different side to him. Maybe he likes to play the cello and make Thai green curries in his spare time. No. Lucas North might not even be his real name! Gasp!
The only thing that took away from the “OMFG!!!!!” moment was the name itself. Come on, “John”? Like there haven’t been enough of those in Richard Armitage’s career already? (Porter, Thornton, Standring, Mulligan …) Why not call him Steve or Dave or Paul or something for a change, eh? Maybe they confused action-Lucas with action-Porter? “I’ve seen you on the telly!”
Really looking forward to next Monday to see how things will continue to unfold. This series looks to not just be good, but to be really awesomely good. I want to watch it now even if Richard Armitage wasn’t in it. Maybe.
Phew, I’ve come this far and haven’t even gushed about the man himself yet. Mr handsome-in-whatever-he-chooses-to-wear and running around a boat and being chivalrous toward a lady and stuff, and then coming back and being all brooding and gorgeous and … ahh, Spooks is definitely back and Lucas North is kicking more behinds than ever. Wooh! Definitely worth staying up for.