22 September 2015

Spooks 2.5: I Spy Apocalypse - Micro-Review

A masterpiece. God, it’s... it’s not Spooks, but it’s stunning. The team get locked in the Grid, as part of a training exercise. But it soon becomes apparent the exercise is very real indeed... and they’re cut off from the outside. It’s Spooks’s “The Edge of Destruction” (but far better), or “Midnight”.

You can almost tell that they filmed it in sequence, as a sort of a play, on the one set. (I did think it feels really good if they did it out of sequence). So lots of amaaaaazing acting in this one, from the regulars and beyond.

‘On one set’ – which gets very messy as they tear it up! But it doesn’t resemble the set at all – the lighting is phenomenal. Dark and moody, lots of colours – red, blues particularly. They even get out torches at one point. They must have had a field day – looks stunning.

It soon transpires that the government is gone, people are dead, and it’s the end of the world, Survivors style, Every realistic touch has been added – a plausible threat, real-world infection spread by toxic nerve gas, Radio 4 off air, even people on blurry video links in the outside world. Harry is in on it though – he stays sidelined, before becoming dangerously ill...

Some lovely guest stars too, notably two Government officials who get more and more anxious and paranoid, threatening to go outside to see their family and restore government. Tom (who’s been trying to keep morale up) threatens to shoot them, and then-

The lights go up, the intensity drops clean away, and everyone looks tired (well it does last, like 24 hours!). Harry is notably all jolly and drinking champagne, and the people off-screen who ‘died’ come in... it’s like the post-wrap filming party. Such a brilliant turnaround for the ending - you realise just how intense it was, and how much you and they believed in it (despite it only being Episode 5!).

Standout Moment: Tom corners Harry, who’s being decidedly remote about the whole business, coy about the government being lost. But then – in a perfectly lit shot making him look all deathly – Harry reveals he is ill, spread from the toilets. The infection is inside...
Guest Star Watch: Mark Lewis Jones (Welsh actor who’s been in everything) plays one of the officials, and a very good job too. And before they were famous – Doctor Who/Eastenders actor Jo Joyner plays a doomed fireman, and James Holmes (yes, off of Miranda!) is beaten up at the start in exposition footage.
Hellos and Goodbyes: Nobody. Though – the footage at the start, on the ‘Previously’, has Tom and his doctor girlfriend (Vicki, wasn’t it?) at a loch. I don’t remember that AT ALL! (She’s in next week though, for about the last time I believe)
Death Count: Nobody – because it was all a training exercise, hoorah! (If not – millions of people – just not on screen! Including the city of Bath, reportedly, gulp!) Also one very near gunshot which turned out to be blanks later. (Note: no deaths at the footage at the start, though some violence)

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