17 September 2015

Spooks 1.6: Lesser of Two Evils - Micro-Review

Review by Tom Newsom

Back to classic Spooks nailbiting thrills, in this finale – possibly the most epic episode yet. The main premise, once it gets going, is relatively simple. IRA ‘bastard’ comes to them with information on a terror attack. But do they trust him and risk an IRA attack to get the information on the much larger nuclear threat?

There’s a lot of talking (a very comedic doctors scene with Harry’s boss, the DG – like something out of Smiley probably!) but some notable action – the bomb in the tube station (first railway station filming this series? Well, there was some in episode 4 with Tom) goes off, offscreen, but the station is evacuated first secretly so cunningly no bodies. Also some rough handling by IRA men, and terrorists messing about with big rocket launcher things – our first proper Al Qaeda style lot ever!

More to come methinks. Oh and Tessa gets her comeuppance, trying to blackmail Harry to the end. It’s a good episode for Harry, and Tom, who clash over which crisis to avert. Angry Harry is fearsome and dangerous.

The threat is over too quickly – you half expect those farmers in the area to launch an attack – but the twist is far subtler. Hidden in a laptop Tom takes home with him is a bomb. In an extended (ten minutes surely) climax, he’s locked out (after the new security system, surely we expected that...) and has to keep Ellie calm enough to defuse it. No time for chocolate cake baking, instead the bomb is primed to explode, and they watch helpless... even when I know what happens next, I’m on the edge of my seat!

Standout Moment: At the end, Ellie looks at the laptop – good use of a laptop, given ‘Matthew’ was in IT. “Oh, it’s fine. It’s just a normal laptop – hard drive, motherboard, clock...” But then the clock is counting down. Ah.
Guest Star Watch: Light on famous stars this week. Lorcan Cranitch plays the main Patrick guy – he’s been in all of Paradox apparently. The safe-house-keeper was in Tinker Tailor.
Hellos and Goodbyes: Nobody introduced – but seemingly the last for Tessa. And Ellie and Maisie, really.
Death Count: Two slightly comedic terrorists who were going to blow up nuclear waste. The rest had survivors etc, and the IRA guys went free.

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