15 September 2015

Spooks 1.4: Traitor's Gate - Micro-Review

Review by Tom Newsom

Aka the one with Tony Head! Yep – he plays a starring role in this, as an undercover double agent gone rogue. Which sounds more complicated than it is, honest.

There’s background involving riots and George Bush’s visit to the country and anarchist groups (not implausible in this recession today!). But it’s mainly about him – turns out he’s fallen in love with a girl from the cell, and out of love with the country. Also, he’s the one who recruited Tom.

Both him and Matthew McFaddyen are really something in this episode – as we see him finally tell Ellie (and Maisie). It’s natural, realistic acting and writing, both from him and the one who plays his girlfriend. Wonderful. There’s also lots of other plots ticking away – Danny’s credit problems and potential romance with Zoe (see next ep!), some shady deals with Tessa.

Harry also gives it good this episode – and there’s a new character, head of MI6 played wonderfully by no less than Hugh Laurie! Probably written for him, as it’s very upper crust English type he plays.

The ending with Peter Salter’s suicide is nicely handled – but the plan about air traffic control sort of fizzled out. Just a random chance comment that led Danny onto it (one that I wouldn’t have worked out!), and we presume they’ll all get it fixed, as it doesn’t seem to be in the next one!

Standout Moment: Tom’s natural, carefree revealing to Ellie that he’s a spy. And her reaction. Obvious high point.
Guest Star Watch: Tony Head – between Buffy I presume – and Hugh Laurie are the big names here. Both sort of type cast. Other than that, nobody much – although Richard Armitage played “Armed Police Officer”?! Years before being cast properly... heh, can sort of believe that.
Hellos and Goodbyes: We welcome Hugh Laurie, as the wonderful (comedic) Jools Siviter, head of MI6.
Death Count: Only one again – that’s Tony Head’s character at the end.

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