18 September 2015

Spooks 2.1: Legitimate Targets - Micro-Review


Boy, this one had it all! Definitely kicking off the series in style.

Okay, so the cliffhanger is resolved – not quite how I remembered it. There was a bomb in the laptop, but the detonator didn’t go off (and Ellie and Maisie survive, phew! But her relationship with Tom is very strained). However, we do see a bomb – yes, they’re having their cake and eating it – which is another IRA stunt, killing an ambassador or someone. And there’s lots of confusion at the start – basically Tom was meant to take the laptop to work, rather than home, and it was a diversion. But still, a clever and cunning way out of the cliffhanger.

But all of that is actually a completely separate starter – despite the Irish guy from the last episode cropping up again and getting killed. No, it’s all about the Serbians apparently, who may or may not have attacked an army base. So suddenly we’re in undercover mode! Zoe again, with a fake video store and neat microphoned cufflinks. This also gets other team members a lot to do – Malcolm appears a lot, with Colin (like a married couple!) as this episode finally cements their role as the tech guys. There’s also new recruit Sam, who hopefully lasts longer than the last one. And their HQ itself has got a makeover: not sure if the Apple Macs were there before, but lots of shiny greenish lighting and bags more style.

The episode escalates in action quickly, as it turns out their main target is Cobra – yes, they’ve been doing all these stunts to get them to convene! Slightly silly, but with a whopping twist as it turns out Harry’s moved the venue at the last minute – which is a very clever, amusing ruse indeed. Tom, however, is having a hell of a day.

Ends well though, and there’s another cracking hero slow-mo shot, this time of the team on top of a very windy roof, walking away from a DEPARTING HELICOPTER. Beats an alleyway any day. Also note – people using their mobiles when driving, naughty! In fact, Tom almost has a car crash there. And a mention of the Lockerbie bomber at the end, which means a lot more now...

Standout Moment: In the second of two twists, the armed terrorists burst in to find... a darkened, empty room! Well, not empty – Tom’s there with armed guards! Cut to Harry: “...and I’m sorry for the last minute change of venue...” Oh, you have to admire the show’s panache.
Guest Star Watch: BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH! Seriously! Bit of a minor role, and he’s got a bright light shone at him in the one scene he’s in, but still... wow! Also Natasha Little, who played a rather flirty doctor who I seem to recall having an affair with Tom or something. (But doesn’t Christine Dale too? Argh!) – yeah, she was in Case Histories and later Young James Heriot. Great line too: “Are you the boyfriend?” “No.” “Oh. There is a god.”
Hellos and Goodbyes: New agent Sam is introduced, with a nice accent. She was also in Case Histories apparently. (And the doctor Tom later sees, and Zoe’s mystery man)
Death Count: I counted about seven! Four guards in a military takeover scene (classic ambush), the Irish guy at the start in the lift (off-screen, but we see the body and also him seconds before), and two guards at least in the Cobra house. The ambassador bloke and much of his family died in the bomb blast, but that’s off-screen. Still, a lethal episode!

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