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Films on the to-do list

  • Armageddon Time
  • Black Widow
  • Chimes at Midnight
  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer
  • Last Christmas
  • Remember Sunday
  • Shazam! 2
  • Thor: Love and Thunder
  • Spy Guys

Spooks (2010) 9.1

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.

Spoilers ahead:

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.


An easily distracted and over-excited introvert who never learns to go to bed at a reasonable time. Enjoys traveling (when there's not a plague on), and taking photos of European architecture. Cares for cats, good coffee and Boardwalk Empire. A child of her time, she did media studies in school and still can't decide what she wants to be when she grows up.

4 thoughts on “Spooks (2010) 9.1

  1. Well Cumbria is close (from the U.S. perspective anyway) to Ireland. Then again all from that perspective all of the UK is. I like Skully’s theory of an anarchist cell myself. 🙂

    I watched it in my office at 10 at night, and it was totally worth that. What I appreciated it in particular is that it was worth it not just for the plot, or just for the character interactions (I feel this is a problem with earlier episodes — I either get involved with the plot or the characters, but rarely with both) but for both. The plot w/Dmitri and the ship was compact but believable and I cared about its resolution, even as I knew that it was a sideshow to the other problems.

    Mr. Armitage was amazing, as always.

  2. Cumbria? What about Cumbria? Is that where Vaughn’s from? For all I know, he might be a character introduced in an earlier series. I watched s1 wayyyy back when it was on Swedish TV and then nothing for years until I caught up with s7 online, so really wouldn’t have a clue if his character has already been established.

    Skully’s anarchist theory is one I have to admit I’m not too closely acquainted with, except for the thing about “if he was wearing a black hoodie – OMG, he IS wearing a black hoodie!!” that I read the other day. 🙂 I’ll look it up, though – thanks!

    I concur wholeheartedly – it was a good mix of character and story. Last two series, I was more watching because of RA, and last year perhaps a bit more about the story itself, but generally only looked forward to the airing day because of RA, not for the show itself. Now I’m eagerly awaiting Monday – for the plot! (Which, admittedly, includes RA very much, but still, I’m not JUST interested in Lucas North!)

  3. I am still waiting for Spooks 8 to arrive from London and you are already viewing Spooks 9! You guys are so lucky! Us Americans are in the dark!

  4. Lucas says in 7.6 that he grew up in “a Cumbrian field.” And Skully was joking, I am sure 🙂

    I was thinking about this yesterday and I wonder if part of the issue with the screens is that so much of the plot now has to take place, essentially, on screen. E.g., the terrorists in 7.3 are defanged primarily from the Grid, with almost no practical work other than tackling them done in the field. It’s a sort of characteristic of our world that interactions that used to be f2f are now moving elsewhere (we see this in education, too). Well, you can film a classroom, but you can’t really film an online class. Seems to me Spooks is in the same situation: so much of what they do now has to be computer driven that they have to find a way of making that visually interesting. Hence all the graphics?

    I was actually one of 3 people who was interested in the plot in S8, probably because it was so confusing, so I am prepared to be interested in the plot of S9, but the primary impetus remains “Lucas” / Armitage. 🙂

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