19 September 2015

Spooks 2.2: Nest of Angels - Micro-Review


The inevitable – yet surprisingly late – Islamic extremist episode. A staple of Spooks of course – they’ll do it again. This one has all the trademarks you’d expect – child suicide bombers, teaching against America, urban setting. But it’s important that it’s empathetic and balanced – it’s not all Muslims, just lead by a crazy extremist. It’s one of the series’s most chilling plotlines, because of what we know has happened – but it’s important that they dealt with the subject realistically when responding to the events of 9/11 etc.

The story itself is not bad – in fact the episode is rather good, and tense. They know they’re doing something illegal in the Mosque (impressive opening sequence with torture and someone being thrown down onto a car roof), but they can’t do anything legally without evidence.Then comes in the brilliant Alexander Siddig – a reluctant Algerian spy who offers to go in there for them (because MI5 don’t have any suitable agents! Ha!) But can they trust him and his unorthodox methods (or he just doesn’t like boxes of chocolates!) – could he be a double agent? (Though that part wasn’t really that well explained, in reality he wanted to be a hero I think.)

A creepy ending as the boy who is going to be a suicide bomber goes into a school playground, and then a tense standoff with the main characters. But actually, in the end, he can’t talk him out of it. It’s an unexpected end (if getting overly long by that point) and also a terrificly done explosion.

Meanwhile, Tessa makes a reappearance, Ruth arrives (hooray!), and Tom gets attention from that doctor (well, for one night) and also Christine Dale, who’s back in it at long last!

Standout Moment: A tense standoff between Alexander Siddig’s character and the boy. “Your shirt... you’re an Aston Villa fan,” he says, trying to calm the boy. But in the end it doesn’t work. (Or the scene with him slow-mo walking into the playground... brr!)
Guest Star Watch: Alexander Siddig (Primeval, notably) adds credibility to his role – he’s a good actor.
Hellos and Goodbyes: Ruth!!!! Hooray – now the show really starts! She’s very nervous and young and lively here – and nice to see Harry being jokey with her. Oh, it was so good back then, before things all went wrong... And also Tessa and Christine make reappearances – the former now in her ‘Phillips Security’ private firm. Though it won’t be the last we hear from her I think...
Death Count: Five? ‘Johnny’ in hospital, two men shot whilst guarding the boy (if they died, that is – but they didn’t move much afterwards), and Siddig and the boy at the end, sadly.

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